Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Google's "Help Obama" campaign

Heh! I have thought of an amusing response to Google's harassment of this blog. I have moved it not to another platform but to another blogspot address! It is now at

I call it DUMBama in reference to the fact that all Obababy seems able to do is spout Leftist boilerplate in a nice voice.

Google will probably delete this blog once I cease making requests to remove the spam flagging but that hardly matters. Being a cautious old conservative, I already have duplicate archives online elsewhere -- e.g. here.

The gaffemeister 'Brags' About 'Negative Ads That Are Completely Unrelated to the Issues at Hand'

"If we're going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily," Obama said.

Just note that if McCain had said that, it would be seen as a sign of age and dementia. If Palin had said that, it would be a sign she's not ready for prime time. If Biden said that... well, that scenario presumes that a reporter would be around to notice, but if he did, it would mean that it's a Monday.



WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence. According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July. "He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion." "However, as an Iraqi, I prefer to have a security agreement that regulates the activities of foreign troops, rather than keeping the matter open." Zebari says.

Though Obama claims the US presence is "illegal," he suddenly remembered that Americans troops were in Iraq within the legal framework of a UN mandate. His advice was that, rather than reach an accord with the "weakened Bush administration," Iraq should seek an extension of the UN mandate. While in Iraq, Obama also tried to persuade the US commanders, including Gen. David Petraeus, to suggest a "realistic withdrawal date." They declined.

Obama has made many contradictory statements with regard to Iraq. His latest position is that US combat troops should be out by 2010. Yet his effort to delay an agreement would make that withdrawal deadline impossible to meet. Supposing he wins, Obama's administration wouldn't be fully operational before February - and naming a new ambassador to Baghdad and forming a new negotiation team might take longer still.

By then, Iraq will be in the throes of its own campaign season. Judging by the past two elections, forming a new coalition government may then take three months. So the Iraqi negotiating team might not be in place until next June. Then, judging by how long the current talks have taken, restarting the process from scratch would leave the two sides needing at least six months to come up with a draft accord. That puts us at May 2010 for when the draft might be submitted to the Iraqi parliament - which might well need another six months to pass it into law.

More here

McCain Camp Demands Answers on Obama's Illegal Interference with US Foreign Policy

As CJ says, the media can't ignore this as they'd like. If McCain makes an issue out of it, it is an issue, whether they like it or not.*
At this point, it is not yet clear what official American negotiations Senator Obama tried to undermine with Iraqi leaders, but the possibility of such actions is unprecedented. It should be concerning to all that he reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the US administration in power. If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas. Senator Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq's Foreign Minister during their closed door meeting. The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Senator Obama's judgment and it demands an explanation.

* By the way, this dynamic mitigates McCain's sorta-annoying playing of the victim card of late. The MSM simply will not report on this stuff unless McCain pushes it out there. They will do all of Obama's dirty work without prompting (allowing Obama to sail above it), but they won't do the same for McCain.

Indeed, all the press wants to do now is dig up derogatory rumors about Sarah Palin. It's only by injecting other storylines into the media directly he can even hope to push the MSM off its singleminded focus on getting Palin.

Is McCain pushing some kinda silly stuff about lipstick and pigs of late? Yes. But it's not as if he's "distracting" the media from important issues. If they weren't covering silly shit like the lipstick thing (which was deliberate, but is still silly), the MSM would just be pushing others silly shit, like Sarah Palin taking expense per diems to which she was legally entitled, or somehow "misleading" the public into thinking she visited Iraq by consistently stating she'd visited Kuwait.

For those of you who want a debate on the "real issues" -- it's simply not possible right now. The MSM is on a Palin hunt and no story is too silly to smear her with.

Now this -- Obama directly and deliberately interfering with the foreign policy power entrusted by the Constitution to the sitting president only (with the advice and consent, and not interference and sabotage, of the Senate) -- is a very serious issue indeed.


$126,000 From Fannie and Freddie? In Four Years?

Obama has two new ads up, both highlighting McCain advisers who have been employed as lobbyists.

If having a staffer who has worked as a lobbyist makes you "on the take," I wonder what it means when you take more money from companies like Fannie and Freddie than anybody except Chris Dodd. More than, say, 352 other lawmakers, going back to 1989. Seems like time for a response ad.
"When the highly-paid CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac felt reformers closing in, they needed a defender. They knew where to send their money. The Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd... and Barack Obama. They gave Obama more than $126,000, in less than four years. While Fannie and Freddie was running aground, Dodd, Obama, and Congress looked elsewhere. Ask yourself who can really bring change to Washington, and keep our financial system from running aground."


Obama Needs a Tact Increase

His "computer" error continues a troubling pattern.


"John McCain is mocked as an out-of-touch, out-of-date computer illiterate in a television commercial out Friday from Barack Obama as the Democrat begins his sharpest barrage yet on McCain's long Washington career," the Associated Pressreports. You can see the ad here. "He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer," the narrator sneers. "Can't send an email."

There's just one problem: As the Boston Globereported in 2000 (hat tip: Jonah Goldberg), "McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes." Obama presumably did not intend to mock McCain for having his arms repeatedly broken by his communist captors in Vietnam. Chalk it up to carelessness--but it isn't the only example of such carelessness.

Consider the "lipstick on a pig" line last week. True, Obama did not explicitly call Sarah Palin porcine, as we noted Wednesday. It is quite possible his use of the idiom was totally innocent, as he claims. But any sensitive adult should have realized that a reference to a pig in connection with a woman might strike others as unchivalrous or sexist (interesting how much those two categories overlap, but that's a topic for another column).

Blogger "Jim Treacher" complies a list of other instances in which Obama has acted like--Treacher's word--a "jerk." He leaves out perhaps the costliest example: the New Hampshire debate in which Obama said to Hillary Clinton: "You're likable enough, Hillary." Karl Rove argued that this show of arrogance helped cost Obama the New Hampshire primary.

Does it matter? Remember when President Bush got pilloried when he referred to the war on terror as a "crusade"? He obviously did not mean to suggest that his goal was to impose Christianity on the Muslim world, but his critics were right to be concerned that he might have conveyed the wrong message internationally.

One of Obama's biggest selling points is if we elect him, the world will like America again. He also promises to meet directly, without preconditions, with adversaries of America such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez. It appears that he has a tendency to make foolish and aggressive statements--a weakness that now endangers only his campaign, but that could, if he were president, have serious consequences for U.S. foreign policy.

It is true, as Obama's defenders contend in rather harsher language than is warranted, that the McCain campaign and Obama's critics have interpreted Obama's various miscues in the harshest possible light. But would America's adversaries be any more charitable in responding to the words of a U.S. president?


Comparing Obama and McCain On Public Service

Obama wants to turn the whole nation into government employees

Both John McCain and Barack Obama exhorted Americans to dedicate themselves to public service in an appearance at Columbia University on Thursday, to mark the seventh anniversary of 9/11. But Americans need no lectures from politicians to participate in their nation's civic life. They need them to stay out of the way. Between the two, Sen. Obama is far less likely to do so.

At first blush, the two candidates appear indistinguishable on the subject. Both have urged Americans to look beyond their individual, material pursuits and commit themselves to causes greater than themselves -- Sen. McCain arguably even more aggressively than Mr. Obama. The difference is that for Mr. McCain this is a moral ideal. For Mr. Obama, it is a governing mission. "Making that call to service will be a central cause of my presidency," he declared in an Independence Day address at the University of Colorado and elsewhere.

Mr. McCain certainly uses his bully pulpit to proselytize Americans about public service. But he more or less stops there, even repeatedly cautioning during the Columbia forum against federalizing public service, although that doesn't mean that he wouldn't throw taxpayer money at some of his pet service projects. However, his Web site offers nothing near what Mr. Obama is proposing.

Mr. Obama has laid out a 10-page vision statement that includes virtually every program proposed by the left and the right in recent memory and then some. President Bush's controversial faith-based initiative? He'll keep it. President Kennedy's Peace Corps? He'll double it. Even Mr. McCain's seven-year-old plan to raise a domestic civilian force to fight terrorism and triple enrollment in AmeriCorps gets a plug.

In addition, Mr. Obama would create several new corps of his own: a Classroom Corps to help teachers and students in underperforming schools; a Health Corps for underserved areas; a Clean Energy Corps to weatherize homes and promote energy independence. The last is separate from his Global Energy Corps, to promote low-carbon energy solutions in developing countries.

Mr. Obama calls all this his "Plan for Universal and Voluntary Citizen Service." It might live up to its "universal" billing, given that it would prod Americans of all age groups -- from preteens to retirees -- to sign up. But as to its voluntariness, the plan will make generous use of Uncle Sam's money -- and muscle.

By Mr. Obama's account, he will make federal education aid conditional on schools requiring that high-school and even middle-school students perform 50 hours of service each year. He will also offer college students $4,000 every year for doing 100 hours of public service. That works out to $40 an hour -- a deal that only the very wealthy could refuse. (The Obama campaign puts the price tag for this alone at $10 billion.) He promises to provide older Americans who perform civic service with "additional income security, including assistance with retirement and family-related costs, and continuation of health-care coverage." But a government that links benefits to service can take away benefits for nonservice.

The real issue is why Mr. Obama thinks it is necessary to take such extraordinary steps to push all Americans into service. Americans every year contribute close to $300 billion out of their own pockets to charities at home and abroad. This is the highest of any nation -- seven times more than Germans and 14 times more than Italians per capita. Americans are equally generous with their time. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service -- a federal agency -- last year Americans volunteered 8.1 billion hours of service valued at $150 billion to community organizations.

Mr. Obama doesn't think this kind of voluntary effort is sufficient, because it can't deliver social justice. In his memoirs and elsewhere, he distinguishes between community service and organization. Community service, he believes, can offer short-term relief to those temporarily down-and-out, through things like church food pantries or homeless shelters. It can also address concrete problems such as vandalism or crime through neighborhood watches.

However, Mr. Obama believes -- as he wrote in a 1990 anthology, "After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois" -- that this kind of service plays into the "individualistic bootstrap myth." It doesn't by itself help the disenfranchised trapped in inner cities.

For that, Mr. Obama wants collective political action, i.e., bottom-up mobilization, to help the disaffected extract resources from the powers-that-be to remake their communities. This is what Mr. Obama attempted to do during his years as a community organizer. And that's what he hopes all his cadres of social workers would also do.

Mr. Obama's moral vision presupposes that the key to individual advancement is securing a larger share of a fixed social pie from those who control it. This posture, relevant in premodern patronage systems, is profoundly at odds with the modern, market economy in which individuals don't have to wrest resources from others to prosper; they have opportunities to create their own. That requires a morality of independence and self-reliance -- precisely what Mr. Obama downplays with his comments about the "individualistic bootstrap myth."

Bolstering this morality is a complex task that will involve addressing social policies that have contributed to the breakdown of families, sapping crucial psychological resources from inner-city communities -- as Mr. Obama himself has acknowledged on occasion. It won't be accomplished by deploying federally funded armies of self-righteousness.

In his first memoir, "Dreams from My Father," Mr. Obama tells how he mobilized residents of a housing project to get the Chicago Housing Authority to clean up asbestos in their walls. The agency did, then ran out of funds for even more pressing problems like repairing leaky roofs, leaving residents even worse off.

Mr. Obama's take-away: more activism for more funds. One fellow activist, a diminutive, married woman, demurred. "Ain't nothing going to change, Mr. Obama," she told him. "We just gonna concentrate on saving our money so we can move outta here as fast as we can." She is the one who learned the right lesson.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obama misrepresents his past -- to make it seem more successful and prestigious than it was

Typical psychopathic lies

It has been noted by Charles Krauthammer and others that very few people have stepped forward to vouch for Barack Obama. Indeed, there would seem to be an especially conspicuous absence of witnesses to the years after graduated from Columbia and before he moved to Chicago to work as a community organizer.

Well, it turns out that one of his co-workers has in fact written about Mr. Obama during those days. And while he is an admitted fan of Obama’s, he claims that he has inflated his resume considerably. Others who worked with Obama at Business International have subsequently chimed in.

First, Mr. Obama’s version as presented in from Dreams From My Father, pp 55-6:


… And so, in the months leading up to graduation, I wrote to every civil rights organization I could think of, to any black elected official in the country with a progressive agenda, to neighborhood councils and tenant rights groups. When no one wrote back, I wasn't discouraged. I decided to find more conventional work for a year, to pay off my student loans and maybe even save a little bit. I would need the money later, I told myself. Organizers didn't make any money; their poverty was proof of their integrity.

Eventually a consulting house to multinational corporations agreed to hire me as a research assistant. Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office and sat at my computer terminal, checking the Reuters machine that blinked bright emerald messages from across the globe. As far as I could tell I was the only black man in the company, a source of shame for me but a source of considerable pride for the company's secretarial pool. They treated me like a son, those black ladies; they told me how they expected me to run the company one day…

Nevertheless, as the months passed, I felt the idea of becoming an organizer slipping away from me. The company promoted me to the position of financial writer. I had my own office, my own secretary, money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors-see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand-and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.

Then one day, as I sat down at my computer to write an article on interest-rate swaps, something unexpected happened. Auma called. I had never met this half sister; we had written only intermittently… [A] few months after Auma called, I turned in my resignation at the consulting firm and began looking in earnest for an organizing job…

We are supposed to believe that “something happened” and the rest is history. Here, however, is a somewhat different perspective on Obama’s halcyon days as a “spy behind enemy lines,” from a site called Analyze This:

Barack Obama Embellishes His Resume

July 9th, 2005
Dan Armstrong

Don't get me wrong - I'm a big fan of Barack Obama, the Illinois freshman senator and hot young Democratic Party star. But after reading his autobiography, I have to say that Barack engages in some serious exaggeration when he describes a job that he held in the mid-1980s. I know because I sat down the hall from him, in the same department, and worked closely with his boss. I can't say I was particularly close to Barack - he was reserved and distant towards all of his co-workers - but I was probably as close to him as anyone. I certainly know what he did there, and it bears only a loose resemblance to what he wrote in his book. Here's Barack's account:

Eventually a consulting house to multinational corporations agreed to hire me as a research assistant. Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office and sat at my computer terminal, checking the Reuters machine that blinked bright emerald messages from across the globe. As far as I could tell I was the only black man in the company, a source of shame for me but a source of considerable pride for the company's secretarial pool.

First, it wasn't a consulting house; it was a small company that published newsletters on international business. Like most newsletter publishers, it was a bit of a sweatshop. I'm sure we all wished that we were high-priced consultants to multinational corporations. But we also enjoyed coming in at ten, wearing jeans to work, flirting with our co-workers, partying when we stayed late, and bonding over the low salaries and heavy workload.

Barack worked on one of the company's reference publications. Each month customers got a new set of pages on business conditions in a particular country, punched to fit into a three-ring binder. Barack's job was to get copy from the country correspondents and edit it so that it fit into a standard outline. There was probably some research involved as well, since correspondents usually don't send exactly what you ask for, and you can't always decipher their copy. But essentially the job was copyediting.

It's also not true that Barack was the only black man in the company. He was the only black professional man. Fred was an African-American who worked in the mailroom with his son. My boss and I used to join them on Friday afternoons to drink beer behind the stacks of office supplies. That's not the kind of thing that Barack would do. Like I said, he was somewhat aloof.

. as the months passed, I felt the idea of becoming an organizer slipping away from me. The company promoted me to the position of financial writer. I had my own office, my own secretary; money in the bank. Sometimes, coming out of an interview with Japanese financiers or German bond traders, I would catch my reflection in the elevator doors-see myself in a suit and tie, a briefcase in my hand-and for a split second I would imagine myself as a captain of industry, barking out orders, closing the deal, before I remembered who it was that I had told myself I wanted to be and felt pangs of guilt for my lack of resolve.

If Barack was promoted, his new job responsibilities were more of the same - rewriting other people's copy. As far as I know, he always had a small office, and the idea that he had a secretary is laughable. Only the company president had a secretary. Barack never left the office, never wore a tie, and had neither reason nor opportunity to interview Japanese financiers or German bond traders.

Then one day, as I sat down at my computer to write an article on interest-rate swaps, something unexpected happened…. I had never met this half sister; we had written only intermittently. .[several pages on his suffering half-sister] .a few months after Auma called, I turned in my resignation at the consulting firm and began looking in earnest for an organizing job.

What Barack means here is that he got copy from a correspondent who didn't understand interest rate swaps, and he was trying to make sense out of it.

All of Barack's embellishment serves a larger narrative purpose: to retell the story of the Christ's temptation. The young, idealistic, would-be community organizer gets a nice suit, joins a consulting house, starts hanging out with investment bankers, and barely escapes moving into the big mansion with the white folks. Luckily, an angel calls, awakens his conscience, and helps him choose instead to fight for the people.

Like I said, I'm a fan. His famous keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention moved me to tears. The Democrats - not to mention America - need a mixed-race spokesperson who can connect to both urban blacks and rural whites, who has the credibility to challenge the status quo on issues ranging from misogynistic rap to unfair school funding.

And yet I'm disappointed. Barack's story may be true, but many of the facts are not. His larger narrative purpose requires him to embellish his role. I don't buy it. Just as I can't be inspired by Steve Jobs now that I know how dishonest he is, I can't listen uncritically to Barack Obama now that I know he's willing to bend the facts to his purpose.

Once, when I applied for a marketing job at a big accounting firm, my then-supervisor called HR to say that I had exaggerated something on my resume. I didn't agree, but I also didn't get the job. But when Barack Obama invents facts in a book ranked No. 8 on the NY Times nonfiction list, it not only fails to be noticed but it helps elevate him into the national political pantheon.

As Mr. Armstrong suggests, if Obama would exaggerate about such things as this, what else has he exaggerated or made up out of whole cloth? The comments to this post are also quite intriguing:

Comment from Bill Millar

Time: October 30, 2007, 8:17 am
Cathy Lazere [another commentor] calls Barack self-assured? That's putting a nice spin on it. I found him arrogant and condescending. The thing is, I worked next to Barack nearly every day he was at Business International-on many days angling for possession of the best Wang word processing terminal. I had MANY discussions with Barack. I can tell you this: even though I was an assistant editor (big doings at this "consulting firm") and he was, well, he was doing something there, he certainly treated me like something less than an equal.

Funny thing. A journalism/political science major. Writing about finance. Pretending in his book to be an expert on interest rate swaps. I remember trying to explain the nuance of these instruments to him in the cramped three Wang terminal space we called the bull pen. In contrast to his his liberal arts background, I had a degree in finance and Wall Street experience, so I knew what I was talking about.

But rather than learn from a City College kid, the Ivy Leaguer just sort of rolled his eyes. Condescendingly. I'll never forget it. God forbid he leave the impression that a mere editor like myself knew more about something than did Barack. He was like that.

But know what? I can forgive him for being immature-which is probably all that was at the time. Don't we all believe we know everything at just around that age?

That said.he was a lot older when he wrote his book. Mature enough by this time to realize that his account of his time at Business International could be described as embellishment…

By the way, there should be no doubt as to Mr. Armstrong’s bona fides on this subject. Even the New York Times has cited him as an authority for an article on this period of Mr. Obama’s storied life.

More here

Michigan: Obama's old firm deep into voter fraud again

One of Obama's first jobs out of college as a "communitay organizer" was for ......... ACORN!

Several municipal clerks across the state are reporting fraudulent and duplicate voter registration applications, most of them from a nationwide community activist group working to help low- and moderate-income families. The majority of the problem applications are coming from the group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has a large voter registration program among its many social service programs. ACORN's Michigan branch, based in Detroit, has enrolled 200,000 voters statewide in recent months, mostly with the use of paid, part-time employees.

"There appears to be a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications," said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State's Office. "And it appears to be widespread." Chesney said her office has had discussions with ACORN officials after local clerks reported the questionable applications to the state. Chesney said some of the applications are duplicates and some appear to be names that have been made up. The Secretary of State's Office has turned over several of the applications to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The U.S. Attorney's Office on Friday declined to confirm whether an investigation was taking place.

In recent years, ACORN's voter registration programs have come under investigation in Ohio, Colorado, Missouri and Washington, with some employees convicted of voter fraud. ACORN officials said they were looking into the problem. "We'll do an investigation to see what's happening," said David Lagstein, a spokesman for the Detroit office. "If it's really as many as that, it warrants further investigation."

In Pontiac, where several thousand applications have been submitted by ACORN in the last few weeks for the November election, the clerk's office is finding that numerous applications are sometimes filed under one name. "What it causes is a slowdown of our operations," said Pontiac City Clerk Yvette Talley. "They're steadily coming in, and we are finding a huge number of duplications." Talley said she could not provide an exact number.

Clerks are required to check their records against a statewide database of all registered voters within their jurisdiction, so it would be unlikely that duplications would allow voters to cast their votes more than once, Talley said. "We catch them all, but it's taking up a lot of our time," she said.

In Oak Park, clerk Sandra Gadd said they have been seeing "lots of duplication" from ACORN in recent months but were reassured by ACORN officials that the group was working to correct the problem. "They've been very cooperative," Gadd said. "I spoke with them this week. They called me, and they're willing to go door-to-door to do whatever they have to do to take care of this."

ACORN is the nation's largest community organization for low- and moderate-income families. Created more than 30 years ago, it has branches in 100 cities and claims 350,000 families as members. It works to help create affordable housing and health care, and to improve job conditions and neighborhood schools.

Lagstein said ACORN's Detroit office has hired dozens of employees for the voter registration program and that any problems likely stem from sloppiness or incompetence -- not an intent to let people vote more than once. "We're proud of our efforts to increase voter registration, and we have aggressive training for our staff to make sure the cards are filled out appropriately," he said. ACORN has a method to track the workers who filled out individual registration cards, which will allow investigators to question the workers, Lagstein said. "We certainly do our best to keep the duplications as low as possible, so we'll have to evaluate what's happening here," he said.

Source. (ACORN regularly use the "rogue employee" excuse)

Stasi tactics from Camp Obama

Andrew Bolt in Australia's HeraldSun entertainingly fisks the media's attempt to destroy Sarah Palin by pouncing upon her first TV interview on foreign affairs to find out whether she knows who Putin is. As Bolt shows, the joke however is on them.

As James Taranto writes on the WSJ blog, the Obamasphere is descending from hysteria to depravity by using Palin's decision actually to give birth to her son Trig as apparent proof of her unfitness for office. When they look at Trig, they don't see a small and vulnerable human being; they don't see the power of love triumphing over adversity; all they see is a handicapped thing that should never have been allowed to live.

Offensive and disgusting, indeed - and how revealing about the `liberal' conscience -- but what it also shows is that the chattering classes have understood that this election might just call a halt to the agenda of social and moral nihilism that masquerades as progressive politics. Hence the weeping and wailing and rending of garments, in between firing the poisoned darts at Sarah Palin, on both sides of the Atlantic. And that's why social conservatives everywhere - aka people who prefer truth over lies, right over wrong, morality over anarchy and the continuation of western civilisation over the forces of totalitarianism that threaten it - have suddenly raised their heads above the sandbags and seen a sign they never thought they'd see: that civilisation might just be fighting back.

Meanwhile Camp Obama, it seems, is in imminent danger of having a collective nervous breakdown. They've totally forgotten that The One is actually running against John McCain and have allowed themselves to become fixated instead by his running-mate. Obama looks and sounds rattled and knocked off his stride, a fact which in itself is deeply damaging: if he falls to pieces on account of a hockey mom from Alaska, what the hell would he be like faced with Ahmadinejad? Is Obama a man or a moose?

Apparently Camp Obama has parachuted dozens of operatives into Alaska to find the skeletons in the Palin closet that it just knows must exist. Unable to process the fact that the left might not come into its rightful inheritance of power, which as we all know is the natural order of the universe, it is behaving like an American Stasi.

And the more it behaves in this grotesque manner, the more counter-productive it all is. Palin is a kind of barium meal for the US body politic: as she is ingested deeper into the system, the nastiness and sheer malevolence of the Democratic party and its bullying cheerleaders in the media are being sickeningly illuminated all around her. As a result, the media and the Democrats are merely doing untold damage to themselves, particularly since the blogosphere is shredding the smears being hurled at Palin as fast as they are being produced.

But hey - this is the only way left-wingers know of dealing with `the right'. They characteristically flinch from engaging in proper argument with their political opponents by debating the issues. No, what they invariably do instead is to reach for the insult and the smear, the character assassination, the career-ending labels of `racist', `sexist', `homophobe', `Islamophobe', 'hard right', `fundamentalist' and all the rest of it. Because their aim is not to discuss but to destroy their opponent altogether and thus to shut down the argument before it can get going.

What does that tell us? That the totalitarian left is terrified of argument because it knows itself to be on very weak ground. It does not have the confidence of its own supposed convictions. For sure, it is fearful that its opponents might win the electoral battle; but much more urgently, it is absolutely terrified that they might be right. That's really why the left never wants to have the argument - in case it exposes the vacuity of its own position to itself.

A vital part of leftist thinking is the assumption that to be on the left is the only sensible/decent/principled position to hold and therefore cannot ever be wrong; and that is because to differ from the left is to be of `the right', and the right is irredeemably evil. (The idea that to be opposed to the left is not necessarily to be on `the right' or indeed to take any position other than to oppose ideology and its brutal effects is something that the left simply cannot get its head round). And so the true nightmare is that if `the right' turns out to be actually right on anything and the left to be wrong, by accepting this fact the left-winger will by his own definition turn into an evil right-winger. His entire moral and political identity will crumble and he will grow horns and a tail. So to prevent any possibility of this catastrophe occurring, the opponent has to be eliminated.

That is what is being done to Sarah Palin. That is why her interview is at this very moment being misreported and distorted even though millions of people watched and heard it. That is why she is being attacked with a fresh smear every second minute. That is why her entire family is being turned over while the media is totally silent on the genuinely disturbing questions about Obama's connections and views. This is fast becoming an election about the gross abuse of power. McCain should take this issue and run with it as loudly and as furiously as he can.



By Jeff Jacoby

All through the spring and summer, opinion polls tracked a growing confidence that Barack Obama could handle the economy better than John McCain. Just before the Democratic convention in August, Gallup had Obama leading McCain on the economy, 54-38 -- a 16-point margin. But now Obama's lead has nearly vanished. Gallup's latest numbers, released Sept. 10, show the candidates nearly tied. Just 48 percent say Obama would be more adept at superintending the economy; 45 percent choose McCain.

Looks like voters have started paying attention to Obama's economics. On Sept. 8, Fox News broadcast an interview between Obama and Bill O'Reilly that focused on taxation and the economy. Obama repeated his pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, while raising taxes on the tiny fraction who earn more than $250,000. "That's class warfare," O'Reilly objected. "You're taking the wealthy in America, the big earners . . . you're taking money away from them and you're giving it to people who don't. That's called income redistribution. It's a socialist tenet. Come on, you know that."

"Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill," Obama replied. "Teddy Roosevelt supported a progressive income tax." He acknowledged that he doesn't enjoy paying taxes either -- "you think I like writing the check?" -- but that "there are certain things we've got to do." His tax proposal, he explained, was really a matter of . civility: "If I am sitting pretty and you've got a waitress who is making minimum wage plus tips, and I can afford it and she can't, what's the big deal for me to say, I'm going to pay a little bit more? That's neighborliness."

If that is Obama's rationale for making the tax code even more steeply progressive than it already is, it's no wonder voters are having second thoughts about his economic aptitude.

"Neighborliness." Perhaps that word has a nonstandard meaning to someone whose home adjoined the property of convicted swindler Tony Rezko, but extracting money by force from someone who earned it in order to give it to someone who didn't is not usually spoken of as *neighborly.* If Citizen Obama, "sitting pretty," reaches into his own pocket and helps out the waitress with a large tip, he has shown a neighborly spirit. But there is nothing neighborly about using the tax code to compel someone else to pay the waitress that tip. Taxation is not generosity, it is confiscation at gunpoint. Does Obama not understand the difference?

Perhaps he doesn't. Eager though he may be to compel "neighborliness" in others, he has not been nearly so avid about demonstrating it himself. Barack and Michelle Obama's tax returns show that from 2000 through 2004, when their adjusted gross income averaged nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, their annual charitable donations amounted to just $2,154 -- less than nine-tenths of 1 percent. Not until he entered the US Senate in 2005 and began to be spoken of as a presidential possibility did the Obamas' "neighborliness" become more evident. (In 2005-2007, they gave 5.5 percent of their income to charity.)

Obama claims his proposal would lower taxes for 95 percent of Americans, but well over 43 million tax returns, one-third of all those filed, already reflect an income tax liability of zero. In fact, Obama says, his plan would eliminate income taxes for an additional 10 million taxpayers. What he is really proposing, therefore, is not tax relief but a bald transfer of cash -- $1,000 per family, he pledges -- from the wealthiest Americans to everyone else. In 1972, George McGovern advocated something similar -- a $1,000 "demogrant" for every US citizen. Just last year, Hillary Clinton suggested that the government start off every new baby with a $5,000 savings account. Voters didn't take the bait when McGovern and Clinton offered it. Here's betting they won't take it now.

Why not? Because you don't have to be rich to be skeptical when a candidate argues that the top 1 percent of taxpayers, who earn 22 percent of the income in this country but pay 40 percent of the income taxes, aren't being taxed enough. Nor do you have to be an economist to wonder about the grasp of a nominee who tells 95 percent of the public that they can have something for nothing. Obamanomics may look pretty at first glance. But voters are focusing more closely now, and they can see beyond the lipstick.


Tax Cuts, Real and Imaginary: Obama's spending programs in disguise

by Newt Gingrich & Peter Ferrara

Thirty years of Republican tax policy have now completely eliminated federal income taxes on the poor and lower middle-income Americans, and almost eliminated them on middle America.

The latest data from the Congressional Budget Office and the Internal Revenue Service show that the lowest 40 percent of income earners as a group actually receive net payments from the federal income tax system. (They get 3.8 percent of total federal income tax revenues instead of paying any income taxes.) The middle 20 percent of income earners pay 4.4 percent of federal income taxes. Thus the bottom 60 percent of income earners together, on net, pay less than 1 percent of all federal income taxes. (These workers earn 26 percent of national income.)

The data show that the top 1 percent of income earners now pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes, which is almost double their share of the national income. The top 10 percent pay 71 percent of federal income taxes, though they earn just 39 percent of the nation's pretax income.

This is a result of the across the board income tax rate cuts adopted by Ronald Reagan and the current President Bush, plus the Earned Income Tax Credit first proposed by Reagan in the 1970s, and the child tax credit enacted into law as part of the 1994 Contract With America.

Barack Obama claims to be proposing income tax cuts for low and moderate income and middle class workers, but Reagan Republicans have already eliminated most of their income tax liability. What

Obama is calling tax cuts for the middle class is really a slew of refundable federal income tax credits that would primarily go to those who are paying little or no federal income taxes now. Such credits would primarily not reduce tax liability, but instead be checks from the federal government for child care, education, housing, retirement, health care, even outright giveaways. These are not tax cuts. They are new federal spending programs hidden in the tax code.

When Obama says that he will cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans, he is talking about his proposal for a $500 refundable income tax credit for all but the top 5 percent of income earners. For the bottom 40 percent of income earners, this will be just another check from the federal government rather than a reduction in tax liability. It is another sharp increase in government spending rather than any sort of tax cut. An arbitrary cash grant does not, moreover, do anything to improve the economy or incentivize productive business. That only comes from cutting tax rates. What Obama is proposing here is really quite similar to George McGovern's 1972 plan to send everyone a $1,000 check, which voters rightly saw as a crass vote-buying scheme rather than serious policy.

Obama also proposes to increase the top marginal tax rates for virtually every major federal tax. These increases would not come remotely close to financing the trillion dollars of increased direct federal spending Obama is promising--including a new national health insurance entitlement that would be bigger than any of the massive entitlement programs we already have and already have trouble paying for. Indeed, if the tax rate increases cause a serious enough economic decline, they will lose revenue on net.

More here

Obama losing the independents

Independent voters - the largest and fastest-growing segment of the American electorate - were always going to determine the winner of this election. And in contrast to past contests like 2004, where independents viewed the choice between President Bush and Sen. John F. Kerry as a vote for the candidate they disliked least, independents had a dream campaign in `08: two compelling nominees who ran against the polarizing establishments of their own parties with explicitly post-partisan appeals. It was a year in which Karl Rove's play-to-the-base politics seemed to be on the ash heap of history.

In the wake of Sarah Palin, John McCain has opened up a 15-point lead among independents, according to a new Gallup Poll - and Barack Obama has a real problem.

Since the GOP convention and his selection of the Alaska governor as his running mate, McCain has changed a months-long tie among independents into a 52 to 37 percent advantage. Support for McCain among self-described "conservative Democrats" has jumped 10 points, to 25 percent, signaling the shift among swing voters to McCain.

The candidate's surge tracks the script the campaign had written for the party convention. Joe Lieberman's sleepy but substantively centrist speech was the preamble to McCain reframing the Republican Party around national security, fiscal conservatism and corruption reform. The result: he elevation of the independent maverick.

This is more good news for McCain, but you would think it would result in a larger lead, which is now hovering around three to four points. I think the problem is that the polls are still reflecting part identification numbers that are out of sync with the current alignment which has been moving toward the GOP ever since the convention. That is why the likely voter totals give McCain a larger lead.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

If You Like Michigan's Economy, You'll Love Obama's

Despite the federal government's growing economic dominance, individual states still exercise substantial freedom in pursuing their own economic fortune -- or misfortune. As a result, the states provide a laboratory for testing various policies.

In this election year, the experience of the states gives us some ability to look at the economic policies of the two presidential candidates in action. If a program is not playing in Peoria, it probably won't work elsewhere. Americans have voted with their feet by moving to states with greater opportunities, but federal adoption of failed state programs would take away our ability to walk away from bad government.

Growth in jobs, income and population are proof that a state is prospering. But figuring out why one state does well while another struggles requires in-depth analysis. In an effort to explain differences in performance, think tanks have generated state-based economic freedom indices modeled on the World Economic Freedom Index published by The Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation.

The Competitiveness Index created by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) identifies "16 policy variables that have a proven impact on the migration of capital -- both investment capital and human capital -- into and out of states." Its analysis shows that "generally speaking, states that spend less, especially on income transfer programs, and states that tax less, particularly on productive activities such as working or investing, experience higher growth rates than states that tax and spend more."

Ranking states by domestic migration, per-capita income growth and employment growth, ALEC found that from 1996 through 2006, Texas, Florida and Arizona were the three most successful states. Illinois, Ohio and Michigan were the three least successful.

The rewards for success were huge. Texas gained 1.7 million net new jobs, Florida gained 1.4 million and Arizona gained 600,000. While the U.S. average job growth percentage was 9.9%, Texas, Florida and Arizona had job growth of 18.5%, 21.4% and 28.9%, respectively.

Remarkably, a third of all the jobs in the U.S. in the last 10 years were created in these three states. While the population of the three highest-performing states grew twice as fast as the national average, per-capita real income still grew by $6,563 or 21.4% in Texas, Florida and Arizona. That's a $26,252 increase for a typical family of four.

By comparison, Illinois gained only 122,000 jobs, Ohio lost 62,900 and Michigan lost 318,000. Population growth in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois was only 4.2%, a third the national average, and real income per capita rose by only $3,466, just 58% of the national average. Workers in the three least successful states had to contend with a quarter-million fewer jobs rather than taking their pick of the 3.7 million new jobs that were available in the three fastest-growing states.

In Michigan, the average family of four had to make ends meet without an extra $8,672 had their state matched the real income growth of the three most successful states. Families in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois struggled not because they didn't work hard enough, long enough or smart enough. They struggled because too many of their elected leaders represented special interests rather than their interests.

What explains this relative performance over the last 10 years? The simple answer is that governance, taxes and regulatory policy matter. The playing field among the states was not flat. Business conditions were better in the successful states than in the lagging ones. Capital and labor gravitated to where the burdens were smaller and the opportunities greater.

It costs state taxpayers far less to succeed than to fail. In the three most successful states, state spending averaged $5,519 per capita. In the three least successful states, state spending averaged $6,484 per capita. Per capita taxes were $7,063 versus $8,342.

There also appears to be a clear difference between union interests and the worker interests. Texas, Florida and Arizona are right-to-work states, while Michigan, Ohio and Illinois are not. Michigan, Ohio and Illinois impose significantly higher minimum wages than Texas, Florida and Arizona. Yet with all the proclaimed benefits of unionism and higher minimum wages, Texas, Florida and Arizona workers saw their real income grow more than twice as fast as workers in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.

Incredibly, the business climate in Michigan is now so unfavorable that it has overwhelmed the considerable comparative advantage in auto production that Michigan spent a century building up. No one should let Michigan politicians blame their problems solely on the decline of the U.S. auto industry. Yes, Michigan lost 83,000 auto manufacturing jobs during the past decade and a half, but more than 91,000 new auto manufacturing jobs sprung up in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Texas.

So what do the state laboratories tell us about the potential success of the economic programs presented by Barack Obama and John McCain? Mr. McCain will lower taxes. Mr. Obama will raise them, especially on small businesses. To understand why, you need to know something about the "infamous" top 1% of income tax filers: In order to avoid high corporate tax rates and the double taxation of dividends, small business owners have increasingly filed as individuals rather than corporations. When Democrats talk about soaking the rich, it isn't the Rockefellers they're talking about; it's the companies where most Americans work. Three out of four individual income tax filers in the top 1% are, in fact, small businesses.

In the name of taxing the rich, Mr. Obama would raise the marginal tax rates to over 50% on millions of small businesses that provide 75% of all new jobs in America. Investors and corporations will also pay higher taxes under the Obama program, but, as the Michigan-Ohio-Illinois experience painfully demonstrates, workers ultimately pay for higher taxes in lower wages and fewer jobs.

Mr. Obama would spend all the savings from walking out of Iraq to expand the government. Mr. McCain would reserve all the savings from our success in Iraq to shrink the deficit, as part of a credible and internally consistent program to balance the budget by the end of his first term. Mr. Obama's program offers no hope, or even a promise, of ever achieving a balanced budget.

Mr. Obama would stimulate the economy by increasing federal spending. Mr. McCain would stimulate the economy by cutting the corporate tax rate. Mr. Obama would expand unionism by denying workers the right to a secret ballot on the decision to form a union, and would dramatically increase the minimum wage. Mr. Obama would also expand the role of government in the economy, and stop reforms in areas like tort abuse.

The states have already tested the McCain and Obama programs, and the results are clear. We now face a national choice to determine if everything that has failed the families of Michigan, Ohio and Illinois will be imposed on a grander scale across the nation. In an appropriate twist of fate, Michigan and Ohio, the two states that have suffered the most from the policies that Mr. Obama proposes, have it within their power not only to reverse their own misfortunes but to spare the nation from a similar fate.


Barack Obama under fire for ignoring advice on how to beat John McCain

Barack Obama and his senior advisers are under fire for ignoring the advice of Democratic senators and governors who are concerned that they do not know how to beat John McCain

The Democratic presidential candidate's slump in the polls has sparked pointed private criticism that he is squandering a once-in-a-generation chance to win back the White House. Party elders also believe the Obama camp is in denial about warnings from Democratic pollsters that his true standing is four to six points lower than that in published polls because of hidden racism from voters - something that would put him a long way behind Mr McCain.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that senators, governors and union leaders who have experience of winning hard-fought races in swing states have been bombarding Obama's campaign headquarters with telephone calls offering advice. But many of those calls have not been returned. A senior Democratic strategist, who has played a prominent role in two presidential campaigns, told The Sunday Telegraph: "These guys are on the verge of blowing the greatest gimme in the history of American politics. They're the most arrogant bunch Ive ever seen. They won't accept that they are losing and they won't listen." After leading throughout the year, Mr Obama now trails Mr McCain by two to three points in national polls.

Party leaders and commentators say that the Democrat candidate spent too much of the summer enjoying his own popularity and not enough defining his positions on the economy - the number one issue for voters - or reaching out to those blue collar workers whose votes he needs if he is to beat Mr McCain. Others concede that his trip to Europe was a distraction that enhanced his celebrity status rather than his electability on Main Street, USA.

Since Sarah Palin was unveiled as Mr McCain's running mate, the Obama camp has faced accusations that it has been pushed off message and has been limp in responding to attacks. A Democratic National Committee official told The Sunday Telegraph: "I really find it offensive when Democrats ask the Republicans not to be nasty to us, which is effectively what Obama keeps doing. They know thats how the game is played."

Mr Obama tried to answer that critique on Friday when he responded in kind, issuing an attack advert depicting his Republican opponent as out of touch and mocking the 72-year-old Mr McCain's confession that he does not know how to use email. He rammed home the point during a rally in New Hampshire, pointing out Mr McCains recent admission that he was divorced from some of the challenges of ordinary Americans. Mr Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, called it the first day of the rest of the campaign.

But that was the fourth time in the last nine months that Mr Obamas team have been forced to declare that the gloves are coming off. And Mr Plouffe's dismissal of Democratic doubts as hand-wringing and bed-wetting only served to reinforce the growing doubts about what some see as a bunker mentality among Obama's inner circle - where outside advice, even from highly experienced people, is not welcomed. The Democratic strategist told The Sunday Telegraph: "They think they know best. They don't return calls. There are governors and senators calling them up with ideas. They don't get back to them. "These are senior people from the border states and the South who know how to beat Republicans, and they're being ignored. They ignored everyone during the primaries and they came through it, so they think they can do the same again."

Mr Obama has never won an electoral contest against a strong Republican candidate. David Axelrod, his chief strategist has been hailed as a political genius for beating the Clinton machine, but Democrats now point out that he has never run a successful campaign in the heartland states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Virginia, which will decide the election. His expertise is in mobilising young, educated and black voters in urban areas.

Mark Cunningham of the New York Post summed up the private views of many: "If it suddenly seems like the Obama campaign doesn't have any idea what it's doing, maybe that's because it doesn't."

Party elders are also studying internal polling material which warns the Obama camp that his true standing is worse than it appears in polls because voters lie to polling companies about their reluctance to vote for a black candidate. The phenomenon is known in the US as the Bradley effect, after Tom Bradley, a black candidate for governor of California who lost after leading comfortably in polls. The strategist said: "I've seen memos where they've been told to factor in four to six points for the Bradley effect, but they're in denial about it. They say the polls also underestimate the enthusiasm of young voters and African Americans and they believe that balances things out. But that's a wing and a prayer stuff. There's previous evidence for the Bradley effect."

Other Democrats are openly mocking of Mr Obama's much vaunted "50-state strategy", in which he spends money campaigning throughout the US in the hope that it will force Mr McCain to divert funds to previously safe states. Critics say a utopian belief in bringing the nation together has trumped the cold electoral calculus that is necessary to triumph in November. Doug Schoen, a former pollster for Bill Clinton, last week declared it insanity not to concentrate resources on the swing states. The Democratic strategist said: "My Republican friends think its mad. Before Sarah Palin came along we were investing money in Alaska, for Christ's sake, that could have been spent in Ohio and Pennsylvania. "It assumes Republicans are stupid and, when it comes to winning elections, they're not."

The one thing everyone agrees the Obama camp have woken up to is the toxic effect on their chances of Mrs Palin's arrival on the national scene. Polls show that white women voters, attracted to her down home virtues, now support Mr McCain by a margin of 12 points, the same lead among white women that George W. Bush enjoyed over John Kerry in 2004. Until recently, Mr Obama led among that group of voters by six points.

A senior aide to one of the most powerful Democrats in the House of Representatives voiced the fears of many: "Palin doesn't just play to the Republican base. She has much broader appeal." The aide said that her repeated mockery of Mr Obama's boasts about his time as a community organiser in Chicago are "the most effective criticisms of Barack Obama we have yet seen." He said: "Americans in small and medium size towns dont know what the hell a community organiser is. Real Americans graduate from high school or college and get a job that pays a wage. Campus radicals go off and organise a community."

Peggy Noonan, the former Reagan speechwriter, blamed the defection of women voters from Mr Obama on the atom bomb of ritual abuse by left-wing bloggers and Democratic officials, painting Mrs Palin as a bad mother and religious weirdo. Ms Noonan wrote: "The snobbery of it, the meanness of it, reminded the entire country, for the first time in a decade, what it is they don't like about the Left."

The Republican strategist Dan Schnur said that the effect was to repel blue collar, family-oriented voters. "They didn't like Obama in the primaries and voted for Hillary. And they still don't like him now so they're voting for Palin. "Obama can still win these voters over, but his difficulty in establishing an emotional connection with them is probably his greatest challenge between now and election day."

On Thursday Mr Obama did take advice from Bill Clinton, who is understood to have suggested ways to show those workers that he cares, an area where the former president excelled. But it is a measure of his plight that the man who derailed the ambitions of Mrs Clinton, the most powerful woman in Democratic politics, now needs help from her husband to overcome the popularity of another alpha female who may be an even greater risk to his White House ambitions.


Obama investment in Florida not paying off

Barack Obama could be on the verge of falling out of contention in Florida. Despite spending an estimated $8-million on campaign ads in America's biggest battleground state and putting in place the largest Democratic campaign organization ever in Florida, Obama has lost ground over the summer. Florida has moved from a toss-up state to one that clearly leans toward John McCain, fueling speculation about how much longer the Democratic nominee will continue investing so heavily in the state.

... Obama allies say he has about 350 paid staffers in the state and about 50 field offices, including in places not known as fertile ground for Democrats, such as Sun City Center, Lake City and Sebring.

But for all the attention to Florida from the Obama campaign, there's little tangible evidence it's paying off. He is farther behind in the state than John Kerry was at this point in 2004, even though McCain began buying Florida TV ads only last week. By this time in 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign had spent $13-million on Florida TV. In the rolling average of Florida polls compiled by the Web site, Obama has never taken the lead over McCain in Florida, and the latest average shows him behind by 5 percentage points. They were tied in early August. Four Florida polls came out this week, with one showing a tied race, the others showing McCain leading by 5 to 8 percentage points.

"They've had everything going for them - momentum, enthusiasm, money, a complicit national press, a stiff wind at his back for a long time, and he hasn't been able pull ahead in Florida,'' said Republican strategist Alberto Martinez of Tallahassee. "I think Florida is one of those states that's taken off the board pretty soon, as they start focusing resources on states they can win."...

Democrats are still whistling past the graveyard putting on a competitive face on a bad situation. In some ways Florida is like a lot of states where Obama spent a lot of money and still lost in the primaries. His ads are not buying votes. With McCain finally devoting some resources in Florida he should be able to plant his flag there in November.


Ohio Slipping Away from Obama?

The latest polls in Ohio show that John McCain is establishing a consistent lead in the state. Ohio is a bellwether; no Republican has won the White House without it. If McCain can take Ohio, as well as Florida (where he also leads), he probably comes very close to re-creating the winning Bush map of 2004.

Beyond the poll numbers, former Democratic House and Senate candidate Paul Hackett thinks Obama may already have lost the state. The reason? Racism:
While the polling is close I believe it is far worse than the numbers reflect given social apprehension of middle of the road uncommitted respondents to appear racist by not supporting Obama. There has been much speculation across America regarding this phenomenon and as such can impact the accuracy of polling by at least 5 points. Thus instead of being down in Ohio by 3 or 4 points I would argue that for planning purposes the working assumption should indicate that Obama is down in Ohio by roughly 10 points. That's a lot of ground to make up in less than 60 days, and as such there must be an aggressive offense to cover such a distance.

If you think that Hackett isn't doing the Obama campaign any favors by accusing Ohio voters of racism, wait until you hear his advice for turning the race around:
The solution rests with local surrogates on the ground spreading the attack face to face coupled with an air campaign via radio and TV. The message is simple and the professionals can refine it but essentially it should contain these elements:

"Sarah Palin? Can't keep her solemn oath of devotion to her husband and had sex with his employee. Sarah Palin? Accidentally got pregnant at age 43 and the tax payers of Alaska have to pay for the care of her disabled child. Sarah Palin? Unable to teach her 16 year old daughter right from wrong and now another teenager is pregnant. Sarah Palin? Can you trust Sarah Palin and her values with America's future? John McCain? Divorced from his first wife one month and marries a billionaire influence peddler and convicted felon. John McCain, a record of rash and impulsive decisions. That's not change that's more of the same."

Stay classy, Democrats. It's clearly working great so far.


Obama locked into past while McCain sprints by him

Barack Obama knows it. The election he had in the bag is slipping away. The selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate has so thrown him off stride, as it has most other Democrats, that all the momentum he had has vanished. He's getting panicky advice from everywhere. He intends to launch more and sharper attacks, abandoning any pretense of a new and different, more civil campaign.

Democrats know something, and desperation is setting in. They have a novice campaigner who wanders off message. With every advantage in the primaries, Obama couldn't win the big states - New York, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania - against Hillary Clinton, even when he got to define the rules for running against him. She could never risk alienating the base she'll need in 2012; John McCain and Sarah Palin have no such constraints - hence the panic.

For a "change" candidate, Obama appears to be a man locked in time, unable to move past criticism, unable to move from the grip of the Democratic left, unable to adapt to the changed reality that the campaign is not the referendum on the war in Iraq or on the administration of George W. Bush that he'd envisioned.

He's begun to sound dated. Last week, for example, he devoted valuable campaign days - less than two months remain - into explaining a silly "lipstick on a pig" line. The McCain campaign had reacted, accusing him of making the reference to Palin. "I don't care what they say about me," Obama responded. "But I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and `Swiftboat politics.' Enough is enough," he said. (The Swiftboat reference is from the 2004 campaign of John Kerry).

The Democratic left is still seething from the Kerry campaign's loss and is determined to see Bush expelled from the White House in disgrace - the reason it is locked in to making this a referendum on the administration now ending.

It barely worked when the maverick McCain, no darling of the Bushites, got the nomination. With Palin, the Washington outsider, the "third term" argument is plainly absurd. But Obama can't let go, just as the lefties can't let go of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth defeat of Kerry. He can't move on.

Obama has the habit, too, of reminding voters of their doubts about him, as he did in reminding a Detroit audience that he's been accused of being less interested in protecting you from terrorists than reading them their rights. And, when he professes love of country as his basis for refusing to allow the McCain campaign to attack his words, he raises questions about why he finds the affirmation of love necessary....

Obama got this far by winning small states and Southern states he has no chance of carrying in November. In Georgia, for example, the latest Insider Advantage poll has McCain pulling 56 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Obama, numbers that are not likely to change more than 4 percentage points in November. The undecideds and those who intend to vote for third-party campaigns are at 6 percent....

The MoveOn Democrats who gave Obama the nomination are also locked into the past on Swiftboating and on Iraq. It is the latter problem that has cost Obama his credibility on the war issue and not some perceived slight to his patriotism. He was dead wrong on one of the central issues of our time and he is trying to win an election based on his superior judgment.


The left denigrates the surge to help Obama

There is a recent trend in the mainstream media now that it is clear that we are winning in Iraq to say that the surge was not that important to our success. Here is Tim Rutton in the LA Times:
The Times' story confirms the most sensational revelation contained in Bob Woodward's new book, "The War Within: A Secret White House History 2006-2007," which was published this week. Woodward revealed the technology's existence but, heeding requests from intelligence officials, declined to describe its operations except to say that it had allowed U.S. forces to locate and kill decisive numbers of senior Al Qaeda operatives and Iraqi insurgents. In what may be the book's most controversial claim, Woodward argues that the secret technology and the so-called Anbar Awakening -- in which counterinsurgency techniques developed by the Marines won over tribal leaders in that crucial Sunni-dominated province -- had as much or more to do with stabilizing Iraq as the "surge" in U.S. troop numbers.

Beyond the purely military considerations, there are potentially significant political implications. First and most obvious is the question of the surge's efficacy. The answer matters, particularly to John McCain, who has been one of the surge's most resolute supporters. If it turns out that it was only one -- and, perhaps, the least consequential -- in a confluence of successful American initiatives, then McCain could go from steadfast to stubborn in voters' minds.

This is liberal rationalization to try to cover the fact that McCain was right about the surge and Obama was dead wrong. The surge was just one aspect of a policy that Obama and most liberals opposed in Iraq--winning. The liberal alternative was not to introduce high tech efficiency to the Predators, it was to cut and run--retreat. This new narrative of the left on the surge falls on its face when you compare it to the liberal insistence on withdrawing forces.


(For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena . For readers in China or for when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Obama Can't Win Against Palin

By Karl Rove

Of all the advantages Gov. Sarah Palin has brought to the GOP ticket, the most important may be that she has gotten into Barack Obama's head. How else to explain Sen. Obama's decision to go one-on-one against "Sarah Barracuda," captain of the Wasilla High state basketball champs? It's a matchup he'll lose. If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he's running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president.

Michael Dukakis spent the last months of the 1988 campaign calling his opponent's running mate, Dan Quayle, a risky choice and even ran a TV ad blasting Mr. Quayle. The Bush/Quayle ticket carried 40 states. Adlai Stevenson spent the fall of 1952 bashing Dwight Eisenhower's running mate, Richard Nixon, calling him "the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, and then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation." The Republican ticket carried 39 of 48 states.If Mr. Obama keeps attacking Mrs. Palin, he could suffer the fate of his Democratic predecessors. These assaults highlight his own tissue-thin resume, waste precious time better spent reassuring voters he is up for the job, and diminish him -- not her.

Consider Mr. Obama's response to CNN's Anderson Cooper, who asked him about Republican claims that Mrs. Palin beats him on executive experience. Mr. Obama responded by comparing Wasilla's 50 city workers with his campaign's 2,500 employees and dismissed its budget of about $12 million a year by saying "we have a budget of about three times that just for the month." He claimed his campaign "made clear" his "ability to manage large systems and to execute." Of course, this ignores the fact that Mrs. Palin is now governor. She manages an $11 billion operating budget, a $1.7 billion capital expenditure budget, and nearly 29,000 full- and part-time state employees. In two years as governor, she's vetoed over $499 million from Alaska's capital budget -- more money than Mr. Obama is likely to spend on his entire campaign.

And Mr. Obama is not running his campaign's day-to-day operation. His manager, David Plouffe, assisted by others, makes the decisions about the $335 million the campaign has spent. Even if Mr. Obama is his own campaign manager, does that qualify him for president? A debate between Mr. Obama and Mrs. Palin over executive experience also isn't smart politics for Democrats. As Mr. Obama talks down Mrs. Palin's record, voters may start comparing backgrounds. He won't come off well.

Then there was Mr. Obama's blast Saturday about Mrs. Palin's record on earmarks. He went at her personally, saying, "you been taking all these earmarks when it is convenient and then suddenly you are the champion anti-earmark person." It's true. Mrs. Palin did seek earmarks as Wasilla's mayor. But as governor, she ratcheted down the state's requests for federal dollars, telling the legislature last year Alaska "cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks." Her budget chief directed state agencies to reduce earmark requests to only "the most compelling needs" with "a strong national purpose," explaining to reporters "we really want to skinny it down." Mr. Obama has again started a debate he can't win. As senator, he has requested nearly $936 million in earmarks, ratcheting up his requests each year he's been in the Senate. If voters dislike earmarks -- and they do -- they may conclude Mrs. Palin cut them, while Mr. Obama grabs for more each year.

Mr. Obama may also pay a price for his "lipstick on a pig" comment. The last time the word "lipstick" showed up in this campaign was during Mrs. Palin's memorable ad-lib in her acceptance speech. Mr. Obama says he didn't mean to aim the comment at Mrs. Palin, but he deserves all the negative flashback he gets from the snarky aside.

Sen. Joe Biden has now joined the attack on Mrs. Palin, saying this week that her views on issues show she's "obviously a backwards step for women." This is a mistake. Mr. Obama is already finding it difficult to win over independent women and Hillary Clinton voters. If it looks like he's going out of his way to attack Mrs. Palin, these voters may conclude it's because he has a problem with strong women.

In Denver two weeks ago, Mr. Obama said, "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from." That's what he's trying to do, only the object of his painting is Sarah Palin, not John McCain.

In Mrs. Palin, Mr. Obama faces a political phenomenon who has altered the election's dynamics. Americans have rarely seen someone who immediately connects with large numbers of voters at such a visceral level. Mrs. Palin may be the first vice presidential candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson to change an election's outcome. If Mr. Obama keeps attacking her, the odds of Gov. Palin becoming Vice President Palin increase significantly.


Democrats Need to Shake The 'Elitist' Tag

By Lynn Forester de Rothschild

If Barack Obama loses the presidential election, it may well be the result of a public perception that he is detached and elitist -- a politician whose expressions of empathy for hard-working Americans stem more from abstract solidarity than a real connection to the lives of millions of citizens. Suggestions that Sen. Obama has failed to relate to working- and middle-class voters in swing states have dogged his campaign for months. His choice of Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate only marginally corrects the problem.

While Obama supporters attempt to dismiss the charges about their candidate's perceived hauteur, they confuse privilege and elitism. Elitism is a state of mind, a view of the world that cannot be measured simply by one's net worth, position or number of houses. Throughout American history, there have been extremely wealthy figures who have devoted themselves to genuinely nonelitist principles. (Franklin Delano Roosevelt is probably the best-known example.) At the same time, many from modest backgrounds, like Harry Truman's foil, Thomas Dewey, personified elitism.

I'm a longtime Democrat. I worked for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and supported Sen. Hillary Clinton in her presidential campaign. But I must face the uncomfortable truth that liberal elitism has been a weakness of the Democratic Party for more than half a century. In 1952 and 1956, for example, Adlai Stevenson emerged as the presidential candidate of the party's "new politics" wing. But while Stevenson's stylish, articulate, high-brow manner thrilled the nation's intellectuals, he could never connect with large numbers of working-class Democrats who found him aloof and aristocratic.

The "new politics" Democrats have found their new, improved Stevenson in Mr. Obama. In spite of his lofty liberal rhetoric, Mr. Obama is not connecting to millions of middle- and working-class voters, as well as women voters of all classes. Not only is his legislative record scant on issues that make a difference in their lives, but his current campaign is based mainly on an assumption of his transcendence.

Despite Mr. Obama's assertions that his campaign is about "you," much of his campaign is, in fact, all about him. In the months since the primaries ended, his creation and display of a mock presidential seal with his name on it, his speech at a mass rally at the Prussian Victory Column in Berlin, and his insistence on delivering his acceptance speech in front of fabricated Greek columns in a stadium holding 80,000 chanting supporters have crossed the thin line that separates galvanizing voters and plain old demagoguery. In this context, it should come as no surprise that Sarah Palin, mother of five, hockey mom turned governor and maverick reformer, would instantly zero in on the inherent weakness in Mr. Obama's candidacy, and contrast it with her own compelling life story.

It is ironic that the candidate who comes from a more privileged background -- John McCain -- can genuinely point to at least one crucial moment in his life when elitism went by the boards. Because John McCain's father was a high-ranking Navy Admiral, he was offered freedom from a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp. He refused, saying that he would leave only when every prisoner who had been captured before him was also released. Mr. McCain can truthfully tell the story of when he refused to be treated as special, and stood unflinchingly beside less-privileged Americans. It is a story that suggests the way he would govern as president of the United States.

Mr. Obama cannot point to any analogue to Mr. McCain's service. As he talks of himself, and his supporters talk about the amazing Obamaness of Obama, it is no wonder that millions of Americans, including loyal Democrats, still question whether his presidency would reinforce the splendor of Barack Obama rather than protect them and enhance their lives.


Obama's Lost Years

Barack Obama makes his first campaign visit today to his alma mater, Columbia University. Just don't ask the prolific self-diarist to talk about his undergraduate days in Morningside Heights. The Columbia years are a hole in the sprawling Obama hagiography. In his two published memoirs, the 47-year-old Democratic nominee barely mentions his experience there. He refuses to answer questions about Columbia and New York -- which, in this media age, serves only to raise more of them. Why not release his Columbia transcript? Why has his senior essay gone missing?

Now in our view, the college years shouldn't normally be used to judge a politician's fitness for office. We're not sure the transcripts of Al Gore, John Kerry and George W. Bush -- which showed them to be C students -- illuminated much for voters. The McCain campaign won't release his records, but we know he graduated at the bottom of his Naval Academy class.

But Mr. Obama is a case apart. His personal story, as told by him, made possible his rise from obscurity four years ago to possibly the White House. He doesn't have a long track record in government. We mainly have him in his own words. As any autobiographer, Mr. Obama played up certain chapters in his life -- perhaps even exaggerating his drug use in adolescence to drive home his theme of youthful alienation -- and ignored others. What's more, as acknowledged in "Dreams From My Father," Mr. Obama reconstructed conversations and gave some people pseudonyms or created "composite" characters.

Voters and the media are now exercising due diligence before Election Day, and they are meeting resistance from Mr. Obama in checking his past. Earlier this year, the AP tracked down Mr. Obama's New York-era roommate, "Sadik," in Seattle after the campaign refused to reveal his name. Sohale Siddiqi, his real name, confirmed Mr. Obama's account that he turned serious in New York and "stopped getting high." "We were both very lost," Mr. Siddiqi said. "We were both alienated, although he might not put it that way. He arrived disheveled and without a place to stay." For some reason the Obama camp wanted this to stay out of public view.

Such caginess is grist for speculation. Some think his transcript, if released, would reveal Mr. Obama as a mediocre student who benefited from racial preference. Yet he later graduated from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, so he knows how to get good grades. Others speculate about ties to the Black Students Organization, though students active then don't seem to remember him. And on the far reaches of the Web can be found conspiracies about former Carter national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who became the candidate's "guru and controller" while at Columbia in the early 1980s. Mr. Brzezinski laughs, and tells us he doesn't "remember meeting him."

What can be said with some certainty is that Mr. Obama lived off campus while at Columbia in 1981-83 and made few friends. Fox News contacted some 400 of his classmates and found no one who remembered him. He had transferred from Occidental College in California after his sophomore year because, he told the Boston Globe in 1990, "I was concerned with urban issues and I wanted to be around more black folks in big cities." He got a degree in political science without honors. "For about two years there, I was just painfully alone and really not focused on anything, except maybe thinking a lot," he told his biographer David Mendell. Put that way, his time at Columbia sounds unremarkable. Maybe that's what most pains a young memoirist and an ambitious politician who strains to make his life anything but unremarkable.


Palin has a dig at Obama over No.2 pick

Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin has picked at the scars of the Democratic primary fight, saying Barack Obama must now be sorry he did not name Hillary Clinton as his running mate. The Alaska governor, who is trying to enlist vast numbers of women voters to John McCain's Republican ticket, is tilting at history by trying to become America's first female vice-president.

"I think he's regretting not picking her now, I do. What, what determination, and grit, and even grace through some tough shots that were fired her way - she handled those well," Palin told America's ABC News. Palin's comments came after polls in battleground states Ohio and Pennsylvania found that she was winning growing support among the crucial demographic of white women voters. Clinton has so far not overtly attacked Palin on the campaign trail, but will venture out to stump for Obama in the key state of Ohio this weekend.

When McCain sent shockwaves through the political establishment by picking Palin two weeks ago, Clinton issued a statement congratulating her on her "historic" nomination. "While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate," Clinton said. Later, at the end of the Republican convention, the former first lady issued a new statement amending her one-liner condemning McCain at the Democratic convention. "No way, No How, No McCain-Palin," she said.

Clinton's own historic quest, to become America's first woman president, fell just short after a gruelling six-month coast-to-coast nominating duel with Obama. But the Obama campaign pounced on video footage of Palin in March, when she said Clinton's "perceived whine" during the primary campaign "doesn't do us any good - women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country". "Sarah Palin should spare us the phony sentiment and respect," Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who vocally backed Clinton during the primaries, said in an Obama campaign statement.


By 5-to-1 Public Thinks Most Journalists Trying to Help Elect Obama

A week after a Rasmussen Reports survey discovered that by a ten-to-one margin the public believes the media are trying to hurt Sarah Palin, a new Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters, briefly highlighted Wednesday night on FNC's Hannity & Colmes, determined "69 percent remain convinced that reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and this year by a nearly five-to-one margin voters believe they are trying to help Barack Obama." Specifically, "50 percent of voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama win versus 11 percent who believe they are trying to help his Republican opponent John McCain" with 26 percent saying "reporters offer unbiased coverage."

Even amongst Democrats, more think journalists are aiding Democrat Obama than Republican McCain: "While 83 percent of Republican voters think most reporters are trying to help Obama, 19 percent of Democrats agree, one percentage point higher than the number of Democrats who believe they are trying to help McCain." Most telling, "unaffiliated voters by a 53 percent to 10 percent margin see reporters trying to help Obama."

Matching the overall public perception of a pro-Obama media, "45 percent of Democrats say most reporters are providing unbiased coverage in the current presidential campaign, but only 20 percent of unaffiliateds and nine percent (9%) of Republicans agree." For Rasmussen's full summary of the poll taken on September 8 and released on September 10, see: "69% Say Reporters Try to Help the Candidate They Want to Win." An excerpt with other findings:
....Voters from both parties...are skeptical of media bias in general. Eighty-six percent (86%) of Republicans think reporters try to help the candidate they want to win, and a plurality of Democrats (49%) believe that, too. Seventy-four percent (74%) of unaffiliated voters agree. Only 21% of voters overall say reporters try to offer unbiased coverage....

Among all voters, 57% believe Obama has received the best treatment by the media, while 21% say McCain has been treated best. Only nine percent (9%) believe the media has been most favorable to Senator Hillary Clinton, who was Obama's closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Forty-two percent (42%) think reporters would hide information that hurts the candidate they want to win, but 34% do not agree. But there's a partisan divide here: While 63% of likely McCain voters believe reporters would hide information harmful to the candidate they favor, 52% of potential Obama voters do not agree....

The new Rasmussen survey echoes two other recent polls, one by Rasmussen and one by Fox News. My September 4 NewsBusters item, "Poll: By 10-to-1 Public Says Reporters 'Trying to Hurt Palin,'" recounted:
"Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November," Rasmussen Reports announced Thursday in posting survey results which determined "just five percent (5%) think reporters are trying to help her with their coverage, while 35 percent believe reporters are providing unbiased coverage." In Thursday's "Grapevine" segment, FNC's Brit Hume highlighted the findings from the poll of 1,000 "likely voters."
By wide margins, more Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters see the media as trying to hurt rather than trying to help Palin. For Republicans it's 80 to 6 percent, for Democrats 28 to 4 percent (with 57 percent believing reporting is unbiased) and for unaffiliated voters it's 49 to 5 percent.

And my July 25 posting, "Fox Poll: Two-Thirds Recognize Journalists Want Obama to Win," reported:
Just days after a Rasmussen Reports survey was released showing more than three times as many likely voters "believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage" than help John McCain, a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll taken July 22-23 of 900 registered voters discovered six times as many think "most member of the media" want Obama to win than wish for a McCain victory. On Thursday's Special Report, FNC's Brit Hume relayed: "67 percent of the respondents think most media members want Obama to win. Just 11 percent think most in the media are for McCain."
A article added this damning finding: "Only about 1 in 10 (11 percent) volunteers the belief that the media is neutral on the race to become the 44th President of the United States." Those polled recognize the tilt in action: "When asked to rate the objectivity of media coverage of the campaigns, Americans feel Obama gets more of a positive spin by a better than 7-to-1 margin (46 percent more positive toward Obama; 6 percent more positive toward McCain)."

The "How the Public Views the Media" section of the MRC's "Media Bias Basics" lists many more surveys of how the public perceive journalists and the news media


Signs of trouble for Obama with working moms

Jessica Goral had pretty much made up her mind two weeks ago: she was going to vote for Barack Obama. Then John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running-mate. “She empowers a lot of women,” said Mrs Goral, a mother of two in Macomb County – a national bellwether in the battleground state of Michigan and an area rich in white, working-class swing voters who will play an important role in deciding the election in November.

“I like that she’s a brand new mother, and that she has the courage to stand behind her pregnant daughter. She relates to working women. For all of us who have children at home but have to go to work every day – she has given us a sense that we can still do it and can be an excellent mum,” she said. “Sarah Palin is a role model. She’s made me more likely to vote Republican.”

If Mr Obama should be in any doubt how gravely the vice-presidential nomination of the Governor of Alaska has imperilled his White House ambitions, then a day spent in Macomb County will make this clear: white women who voted for John Kerry in 2004 are suddenly deserting the Democratic Party.

This is Mount Clemens, in the heart of Macomb County, where the pollster Stan Greenberg first identified the phenomenon of the Reagan Democrats – the working-class, socially conservative, traditionally Democratic whites who deserted the party for Ronald Reagan in 1980. It is fair to say that this critical swing group now has a new name: Palin Democrats.

The Times spoke to dozens of women here – perhaps the key demographic in this election – in an area that is 88 per cent white, has one of the highest unemployment and home repossession rates in the country, and will play a big role in determining who wins Michigan in November. It is a crucial swing state that no Republican has won since 1988 but where Mr Obama is particularly vulnerable. Nearly all said that they were still undecided. Yet the disturbing fact for Mr Obama was how many said that they had been leaning towards him – until Mrs Palin entered the race. It lends new credence to a poll last week that showed white women fleeing from Mr Obama to Mr McCain.

Katherine Herman, 45, is a lifelong Democrat who has never voted for a Republican. Until now. “I have a friend who’s a Democrat, and like me, it’s Sarah Palin that’s caused her to lean in favour of McCain. Palin is tenacious. She’s sure of herself and would make good decisions for all Americans,” she said.

Stephanie Parker, 23, a single mother puffing on a Marlboro menthol cigarette in Main Street, Mount Clemens, voted for Mr Kerry and had been drawn to Mr Obama. “Palin’s made a big difference. I think she’ll do us great. What she stands for is fantastic,” she said. What does she stand for? “I couldn’t tell really. But I love her.”

Jennifer Zvara, 22, another single mother who voted for John Kerry, said: “I’m undecided but leaning more towards McCain because of Palin. It’s a women thing. She’s one of us. This race is about the running-mates – it’s not about Obama any more.”....

Michigan has been run into a ditch by Democrat energy policies and by a Democrat governor and legislature trying to tax their way out of a one state recession. There are plenty of reasons to vote against Democrats in Michigan and Palin is just one more for some.


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