Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is race a bigger factor than the polls suggest?

Mr. Obama's campaign concedes it has no clear example of a Republican attack that expressly cites Mr. Obama's name or race. Yet in the last few days some Obama supporters were at it again, suggesting that a McCain ad attacking Mr. Obama as little more than a "celebrity," by featuring young white women such as Britney Spears, is an appeal to white anxiety about black men and white women.

The race issue is clearly not going away. And the key reason -- to be blunt -- is because there is no telling how many white voters are lying to pollsters when they say they plan to vote for a black man to be president. Still, it is possible to look elsewhere in the polling numbers to see where white voters acknowledge their racial feelings and get a truer measure of racism.

In a Wall Street Journal poll last month, 8% of white voters said outright that race is the most important factor when it comes to looking at these two candidates -- a three percentage point increase since Mr. Obama claimed the Democratic nomination. An added 15% of white voters admit the candidates' race is a factor for them. Race is even more important to black voters: 20% say it is the top factor influencing their view of the candidates, and another 14% admit it is among the key factors that will determine their vote. All this contributes to the idea that the presidential contest will boil down to black guy versus white guy.

Consider also a recent Washington Post poll. Thirty percent of all voters admitted to racial prejudice, and more than a half of white voters categorized Mr. Obama as "risky" (two-thirds judged Mr. McCain the "safe" choice). Yet about 90% of whites said they would be "comfortable" with a black president. And about a third of white voters acknowledged they would not be "entirely comfortable" with an African-American president. Why the contradictory responses? My guess is that some whites are not telling the truth about their racial attitudes.

A recent New York Times poll found that only 31% of white voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama. That compares to 83% of blacks with a favorable opinion. This is a huge, polarizing differential.

But polling can be tricky. In May, a Pew poll asked voters about Mr. Obama but did not give them the option of saying they are undecided. In that poll, whites split on the candidate, 45% saying they had a favorable opinion, 46% unfavorable. When white voters had the option of being undecided, as they did in the Times poll, 37% of whites said they had an unfavorable opinion of him, but 26% said they were undecided.

To win this campaign, Mr. Obama needs to assure undecided white voters that he shares their values and is worthy of their trust. To do that he has to minimize attention to different racial attitudes toward his candidacy as well as racially polarizing issues, and appeal to the common experiences that bind Americans regardless of color.

Mr. Obama has shown an unprecedented ability to cross the racial divide in American politics. He did particularly well in managing caucus states, such as Iowa, where highly energized supporters, especially idealistic young white supporters, minimized the impact of negative racial attitudes with passionate participation.

But the white Democratic caucus voters in Iowa, where there are relatively few racial issues, are decidedly more liberal than white voters nationally. In primary states from New Hampshire to Texas and California, Mr. Obama lost when one of two things happened. Either working-class white voters did not participate in polls, or some white voters lied and told pollsters they planned to vote for him before casting their votes for another candidate.

There are going to be more of those wobbly white voters in November. The size of the white vote in a general election race dwarfs the white vote in the Democratic primary. Based on the 2004 presidential contest, whites make up about 77% of voters and blacks 11%.

In the Democratic primaries there were states, especially in the South, where blacks made up nearly half of the electorate. But in the general election there are no states where blacks make up so large a percentage. Even in Southern states such as Georgia and North Carolina, where blacks made up about a quarter of the vote in the last presidential election, it will be an upset if Mr. Obama manages to win. Those states have a history of Republican dominance in presidential contests. Even an energized black vote is unlikely to make Mr. Obama a winner anywhere in the South, although some Democrats hold out hope for Virginia.

In 2004, John Kerry had a 46% favorable rating among white voters, barely better than Barack Obama's. But Mr. Kerry lost. Mr. Obama needs to do better with whites. But the white voters' view of him is still clearly unsettled.

Polls show white voters struggling to identify with him as a fellow American who, to quote Bill Clinton, is able to "feel your pain." When the New York Times poll asked whether Mr. Obama cares about "the needs and problems of people like yourself," 70% of whites answered "a lot" or "some." But 28% of whites said Mr. Obama cared about them "not much" or "not at all." Compare that with the 72% of black voters who said Mr. Obama cared about them "a lot." The same Times poll had Mr. Obama leading Mr. McCain by six percentage points, 45-39, but trailing by nine points among white voters, 37-46.

After Jesse Jackson's vicious comments about Mr. Obama, some political strategists suggested that a split with Mr. Jackson and his racially divisive politics could help Mr. Obama with white voters. But polls have yet to reveal this.

Could a Jackson-Obama split cause black voters to lose enthusiasm for him -- dividing their loyalties between the two most prominent black political voices of this era? Opinion surveys do not indicate this is likely. Polling done by Gallup just before Mr. Jackson's outburst indicated that 29% of black Americans chose Mr. Obama as the "individual or leader in the U.S. to speak for you on issues of race." Mr. Jackson came in third with only 4% support (behind Al Sharpton, who had 6%). Last year, a Pew poll focusing on racial attitudes found 76% of blacks judged Mr. Obama a "good influence," a full eight points higher than Mr. Jackson.

Jodie Allen, a senior editor at Pew, wrote recently that a poll Pew conducted last November showed clearly that "the black community is at least as traditional in its views as the larger American public." Blacks in the Pew poll were just as likely as whites to take a hard line opposing crime (as long as black neighborhoods are not unfairly targeted), to condemn the shocking number of children born out of wedlock and express disgust with the violence and misogyny in rap music.

Mr. Obama needs to hammer home these conservative social values to capture undecided white voters. He might lose Mr. Jackson's vote. But he won't lose many black votes, and he will win the undecided white votes he needs to become America's first African-American president.


Document Expert Discovers Another Person's birth certificate Used To Forge Obama's

The evidence that the certificate of live birth (COLB) produced to prove the date and place of Sen. Barack Obama's birth is a forged document just keeps getting more damning. A board-certified computer forensics examiner with more than 20 years experience, including clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice for sensitive work, has determined that the Obama COLB is a digitally modified forgery based on a COLB belonging to another person. The expert, using the pseudo name "Techdude", intends to disclose the identity of the person to whom the COLB belongs if the responsible person does not come forward and accept responsibility for the forgery. Techdude writes at the Texas Darlin blog, a pro Clinton blog, as follows:
For a quick preview - the original COLB used to create the KOS COLB image belongs to a female and does not belong to Obama. Another follow up report will reveal exactly who the original underlying COLB did belong to. Trust me when I tell you it is going to be one hell of a major twist that no one would have seen coming. I had to quadruple check my results because I did not even believe it and I currently have a few other people double and triple checking my results as well just to be 100% sure.

That said, and in the interest of fairness, if the people responsible for forging the COLB come forward and admit their liability the name of the original COLB owner will not be released publicly. It is only fair to give the guilty parties a chance to take responsibility for their actions before it embarrasses a lot of people and ruins some people's reputations.

As a heads up to the guilty parties - the names and dates have already been restored - as has the fact the owner is a female born in the 70's. That is all that will be revealed publicly for now. Besides if I turn up in a ditch someplace the information is already in a few 3rd party hands and they will just release it in my place. If anyone still believes the KOS COLB is legitimate after reading this article they should seriously think about seeking professional help.

Techdude, since surfacing on the Texas Darlin blog in recent weeks to question the authenticity of the Obama COLB, has been criticized by pro-Obama supporters for refusing to identify himself. "My full name and contact information will be released shortly once the entire set of facts has been released to the public," Techdude writes. "This way if I end up at the bottom of a construction site someplace in NJ the world will still have all the information I was going to provide." Earlier, Techdude reported that pro Obama supporters had tracked down his home address, vandalized his car and hung a dead rabbit over his doorway.


Co-operation with Europe: More Obama ignorance shown up

LAST weekend, Barack Obama dazzled crowds in Europe. Discussing international security, he spoke eloquently about needing an American-European partnership to defeat terrorism. In Paris, he said that "terrorism cannot be solved by any one country alone," and that we should establish partnerships. In Berlin, he expressed hope that Europeans and Americans "can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks" of terrorists worldwide.

But there's one problem. We already have a counterterrorism partnership with the European Union. And it works. Indeed, despite news media caricatures of aggressive Americans feuding with pacifist Europeans, both groups are quite serious about protecting citizens by working together. The urgency of this partnership became clear after investigators discovered that a cell in Hamburg, Germany, had helped in Al Qaeda's attacks against America on Sept. 11, 2001. After bombings in Madrid and London, the partnership expanded. Since then the number of attacks and plots aimed at our European allies has dropped. And here in the United States, of course, Al Qaeda has been unable to attack since 9/11.

Officials in the American and European military, intelligence and law enforcement communities created this success, and a strong counterterrorism partnership made it possible. The key pillars are better intelligence sharing and closer law enforcement cooperation. I have witnessed this success firsthand. In 2005, I was the Pentagon's lead intelligence specialist in Iraq focusing on terrorist networks that used improvised explosive devices. Many Americans may recall the increasing casualties from these homemade devices. Despite our huge investments in technology to combat them, terrorist networks kept learning to adapt.

One challenge we had was to find where the research and testing of new bombs was taking place. Eventually, American intelligence and European law enforcement officials discovered together that much of the work was being done outside Iraq with the results transmitted via the Internet. Acting on this information, the police in France arrested electrical engineering students at a French university who had been recruited by their local mosque leaders. After these arrests, American tactical countermeasures and improvements in technology became more effective and the number of casualties from certain types of explosives declined.

Such close collaboration between the United States and France against terrorist cells in Iraq may surprise those accustomed to digesting easy sound bites of "cowboy diplomacy" and "unilateralism." But the partnership is real, and not just with France. The Germans contribute as well. I also worked on counterterrorism operations in southern Europe to stop a plot against American interests there. Thanks to German intelligence and law enforcement officials, a planned attack modeled on the 1983 truck bombing against United States marines in Lebanon - but several times larger - never happened.

Another Obama straw man is shredded. Democrats have tried to denigrate the Bush administrations achievements and its diplomacy. To do so they are willing to ignore the facts and focus on issues that have long ago been resolved. It is part of their politics of fraud.


Obama's Gift to the Late Night Hosts

Blasting McCain's latest ad, Obama meant to say the 30-second spot featured Britney Spears. Instead he said Hillary Clinton. Oops, he did it again. Check it out:
"Now we've got ads about Britney and Paris," Obama said referencing McCain's new ad comparing his opponent to the young celebrities, Spears and Hilton. "At a time when we've got bigger challenges than any time in our history and you're running ads with Hillary and er - with Britney and ah Paris in it. I mean come on. The American people deserve better."

When McCain messes up, it's because he's old, he's confused, and he's possibly got Alzheimer's. But when Obama makes a gaffe, it's because he hasn't gotten his beauty rest. Fawning journalists are awash with concern about how tireless the One is working -- not just for the sake of America, but the entire world! Under the headline, "Is Obama Getting Enough Sleep," CBS News' Michelle Levi reports, "the Illinois senator is showing signs of fatigue." Well, perhaps White House schedulers -- I mean Obama's campaign staffers -- can work in a little nap time for Obama in between his trips to the gym.

Last year, after saying Kansas tornadoes killed 10,000 people instead of the 12, Obama told reporters (eager to lap up his explanations), "There are going to be times when I get tired," he said. "There are going to be times when I get weary. There are going to be times when I make mistakes." Obama used the same explanation when he said only nine or ten people died in the Holocaust -- omitting the crucial word million -- and journalists once again lapped it up. When Obama said there were 57 states too, the media didn't poke fun of him (was he thinking about varieties of ketchup?) so much as express concern with his physical well-being. Which isn't to say Obama's explanation is all that far-fetched. My problem is just that when McCain says Sunni instead of Shia, reporters leap on it as if it revealed a lack of expertise -- as if it were some window into McCain's soul.


"Racially Tinged"? The New York Times Demonstrates Why It Is Bleeding Money

The McCain ad smacking Obama for his "all hat, no cattle" resume has generated a lot of controversy, but the New York Times' assertion that the ad is "racially tinged" tells you everything about the Times and nothing about John McCain.

No American with a brain seriously thinks John McCain would ever approve a "racially tinged" ad, and the attempt to smear McCain as a racist will backfire on the Times and Obama. There's lots to object to in McCain's record whether you are left, right or center --my writing throughout last year detailed the objections of conservatives-- but the idea that Senator McCain would ever countenance an appeal to base instincts will be instantly rejected by voters left, right and center. McCain's been around a long, long time, and voters know him. He's an honorable man, as honorable a man as has ever run for the office. The paper's credibility (and profits) have never been lower, but this sort of absurd attack proves you can indeed fall off the floor. Even as other MSMers are waking up to Obama's many flaws, the Times endorses the pathetic playing of the race card by Obama, and proves that the most elite of elite media is not merely biased towards Obama. It is owned by him.

"Dollar Bill" Obama had a bad few days and reflexively appealed to race, and not for the first time. ("And did I mention, he's black?") Because racism is immoral, the attribution of it to a person innocent of the charge is a slander, and Obama has slandered John McCain and a lot of people as a result. This will not sit well with voters who have deep reservations about the inexperienced, untried "citizen of the world" peddling pompous rhetoric to Europeans while skipping out on meetings with wounded troops. John McCain's "energizer bunny" campaign excites very few people even as it reassures millions, and Obama's impulse to self-destruct should not be under-estimated. Perhaps a majority of Americans still understand that we remain at war with a committed and ruthless enemy, and that sending in a rookie who can't even handle a hard-hitting television ad is not exactly the best bet for the country's safety.


Rove protege unleashing Obama attack

DEMOCRATS are worried Barack Obama is not doing enough to hit back at John McCain in the face of a barrage of personal attacks mocking the candidate - crafted by the same people who helped scuttle John Kerry's presidential ambitions in 2004. Senator Obama's rival launched a new ad on the internet at the weekend that mocked Senator Obama as "the one", showing clips of the candidate at his more hubristic moments, which critics say have given his campaign a messianic quality. Amid crowd chants of "Obama!", the ad shows bright-lit stairways and notes 2008 will be the year the world will be "blessed". It also replays clips of Senator Obama's speeches claiming how his presidency could help put an end to global warming, cut-in with footage of the late Charlton Heston playing Moses and parting the sea. The narrator says "Barack Obama may be the one. But is he ready to lead?"

The McCain camp's tactical move in the past week to negative campaigning with biting advertisements has dominated the airwaves and is credited to Steve Schmidt, who is leading McCain's new push after formally taking up a role in the campaign last month. Mr Schmidt, 37, was a chief player in the George W. Bush re-election campaign in 2004 and seen as a Karl Rove protege, who President Bush dubbed "the architect" of his victories. Mr Schmidt was one of the masterminds of the attack ads on Senator Kerry in 2004, including the infamous windsurfing advertisement, which portrayed him as a weak leader going where-ever the wind blowed.

Senator Obama's speeches have given the McCain team plenty to work with as some party insiders urge him to tone down his rhetoric. In his victory speech on June 3, when he finally emerged victorious over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary, Senator Obama spoke in now familiar epochal terms. "I am absolutely certain that generations from now," he said, "we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." On the internet, fawning blogs have even created sites dedicated to Obama as a "messiah", while others mock him.

Many Democrats are worried that despite this being an election for the Democrats to lose - given an imploding economy and the public disenchantment with the Iraq war - Senator Obama is only marginally ahead of Senator McCain in the polls. And in the past week, as the negative campaigning started in earnest, those poll numbers have slipped, too. In one poll last week, Senator McCain took a small lead among registered voters. "Some Obama backers are right to worry the relentless daily attacks on the candidate will take their toll on the campaign," says Donna Brazile, Al Gore's campaign manager in 2000. "These types of campaigns - which the media often helps todrive as it analyses the effectiveness of the attacks before questioning the accuracy of theinformation - will continue from now until election day (on November 4)," she said. "And it's time for the Obama campaign to build a political firewall by using outside surrogates unaffiliated with the candidate to debunk these misleading attacks."

The attacks also come as Senator Obama has announced several policy shifts in the past month that take him back to the centre of US politics, supporting, for instance, controversial domestic surveillance legislation as well as championing a more nuanced position on the Iraq Warthan he did during campaigning in the primaries against Senator Clinton.

Respected US political observer Michael Barone wrote at the weekend that polls now indicate "there is some evidence that the balance of enthusiasm has shifted and that young people - who seemed to turn out and vote for Senator Obama in unusually high numbers in the primaries and caucuses - are no longer so enthusiastic about him". An ABC/Washington Post poll last month asked registered voters if they were "certain" to vote. Only 46 per cent of voters under 30 said they were, which compared with 66 per cent in February when Senator Obama's victories against Senator Clinton electrified the electorate. And Mr Barone notes that the 46 per cent of young voters saying last month they were certain to vote was far lower than the 79 per cent of voters aged 65 and over who said they were. Senator Obama, at 46, is widely expected to sweep the youth vote while Senator McCain is 71 and appeals to older voters.

Asked yesterday about the McCain camp's portrayal of him as arrogant, Senator Obama said: "It's not really clear exactly what it's based on. "I think they are cynical and want to distract people from talking about the real issues." But he also admitted yesterday that his personality is ripe for attacks that try to redefine him, saying: "I'm young, I'm new to the national scene, my name is Barack Obama, I'm African-American, I was born in Hawaii, I spent time in Indonesia. "I'm sort of unfamiliar and people are trying to still get a fix on where I am, where I came from, my values and so forth in a way that may not be true if I seemed more familiar."



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