another meaningless endorsement for barack

Didn’t realize the Obama bandwagon had any empty seats after Colin Powell endorsed him on Meet the Press.  Now he gets the support of another former Bushie, Scott McClellan.  Now all those undecided voters can finally make up their mind to vote for Barack.  No doubt they were waiting on those two endorsements to figure out which candidate to support.  Doesn’t it bother Obama that so many former Bush administration people support him?  After all…Bush has been the worst president ever, right?   How much are these endorsements really worth?

I suspect…not very much.

average joe

McCain has a new ad continuing with the Joe the Plumber theme. Here it is.

Personally, I think the original was much more effective.

Something I’ve been wondering lately though — isn’t it possible that an alarming number of people have already bought into the myth that everybody benefits when Barack Obama spreads our wealth around?   I don’t think Republicans have been able to make the argument that higher taxes on the rich harm the economy, or that big government is undesirable.  Thanks in large part to President Bush, the distinction between Republicans and Democrats has been blurred.  Now both parties (or at least much of the Republican “leadership”) support big, activist government.  Even our standard-bearer John McCain has been ok with higher taxes for the wealthy in the past, and he’s also promoting more government involvement in the economy with his $300 billion.  That’s why he can’t convincingly sell himself as an alternative to Barack’s wealth spreading and tax-raising agenda.  McCain is not an ideologue.  He’s not a conservative, although he’s closer to being right on taxes and spending than Barack Obama is.

This election is winnable for John McCain, but his strategy has been terribly flawed.  Senator McCain should have started questioning Senator Obama’s judgment with all these radical friends and associates a long time ago.  Now is the time to poke holes in Obama’s tax plan and set the record straight about his own health care plan.  Obama has been running all these misleading ads about McCain, and there has been no answer from McCain.  That’s no way to win an election.

debate thoughts

This was Senator McCain’s strongest debate yet.  He came out swinging, and it was great to see that.   He was able to take advantage of Obama’s conversation with Joe the Plumber and to make the case that Obama’s tax plan is the wrong solution to the country’s financial struggles.   The whole discussion on taxes should have been a clear advantage to Senator McCain, because increased government spending and increased business taxes will hurt the economy.   John McCain is hardly a perfect representative of responsible government spending when he wants to spend an additional $300 billion (that he proposed in the last debate).  That said,  it’s an unwise suggestion for someone who says that he wants to increase productivity, job creation, and to strengthen our economy to propose higher business taxes.  That’s what Barack Obama wants to do.   Proposals to increase government programs and spending are just as irresponsible — considering that the average American doesn’t have the luxury of spending more than they can afford once their credit cards are maxed out.  The government’s credit cards must be shredded. NOW.  This is a message that resonated with me, if not the “undecided” people in Frank Luntz’s focus group.

Were there missed opportunities for McCain? Of course.  He wasn’t able to close the deal on his economic argument or explain why Obama’s radical friends should concern the average person.  McCain has the right philosophy on the economy and taxes, which is that lower taxes promote growth, both for businesses and for individuals.  Obama seems to concede some of that argument.  Why else would he brag about his various tax credits and claim that 95% of workers get a tax cut?  Interesting wording there.  It doesn’t specify that they have to be tax-paying workers.  But that’s a argument for another day.

Finally we hear about William Ayers and ACORN.   McCain didn’t make the right connection here.  No, we weren’t asking him to call Barry a socialist or a terrorist just because he had some friends who could be described that way.  (At least I wasn’t.) The question should have been about Barack Obama’s character and judgment.  What drew these assorted malcontents to Barack Obama?  Did he know the full extent of Ayers’ crimes and political philosophy?  Why couldn’t Barack Obama recognize that it was unwise to be friendly with people like Ayers, Rezko, Wright, and those famous community organizers who enable voter fraud?  If he truly was unaware about all the questionable activities these people engaged in,  isn’t it possible that he would be just as clueless about the foreign leaders he might meet as President?  Those are only a few of the questions I had.   Surely McCain’s campaign staff can figure out a way to stick this subject in one of their “ready to lead” ads.

Some random observations:

Loved McCain questioning Biden’s judgment on foreign policy.  About time someone did.

Barack Obama is like a robot.   He never strays from his script, and even when McCain made some very serious charges against him, he was always able to bat it down with very little effort.  He may lie and disassemble, but he’s very smooth, and nobody can ever pin him down on it in a way the audience at home could notice.  That’s such an annoying characteristic.   He is even more of a Teflon Man than Bill Clinton ever was.

I would strongly advise the McCain team to get some ads together on three themes.  The first is the economy.  Explain in 30 seconds or less how your tax plan is being misrepresented by the Obama campaign.  In a separate ad, talk about the effects of implementing Obama’s tax plan on people like Joe the Plumber.  If you could get the original for an ad, that would be outstanding.  The second is health care.  Make the case for your $5000 tax credit and explain the additional benefits on it — portability, etc.  The reason Obama is winning on these issues is because the only ads we see on these issues are Barack’s.  The third is an ad about all Barack’s radical friends that would improve on the previous ads.   One sentence each on Ayers, ACORN, Wright, and Rezko explaining the relationship each had to Barack Obama.  Then say, Barack Obama didn’t see anything wrong with these relationships until they harmed his political career.  Bad associations.  Bad judgment.   He trusted these people.  Do you trust Barack Obama with the White House?

(or something like that)

That’s all I have…glad the debates are finally over.

that explains it

So we were all wondering why McCain was hesitant to attack Obama on ACORN. Now we know. Grrr.

Via Michelle Malkin, a February 2006 press release showing that McCain and ACORN shared space at an amnesty rally:


Major Rally in Miami to Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Senator John McCain and many others to speak at the rally at Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus

Miami, Florida – February 20, 2006 ? Leaders from a diverse array of sectors will hold a rally in Miami on Thursday, February 23, 2006, in support of comprehensive immigration reform in an effort to keep immigration reform at the forefront of the public debate. Leaders from both political parties, immigrant communities, labor, business, and religious organizations will gather to call on Washington to enact workable reform.

The rally will feature Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as the headline speaker along with elected officials, immigrants and key local and national leaders. Sen. McCain is one of the chief sponsors of the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act; bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation introduced last Congress and scheduled for consideration by the Senate in the coming weeks. A similar rally with Sen. McCain is planned for New York City on February 27.

WHO: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL.), and immigrant, religious, community, business and labor leaders.

WHAT: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Rally

WHEN: Thursday, February 23, at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus

Chapman Conference Center
Bldg 3000
300 NE 2nd Avenue

EDITOR’S NOTE: Miami Press Availability: Sen. McCain will be available for interviews starting at 4:15 p.m. on location, Feb. 23.

The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act was introduced in the Senate by Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and John McCain (R-AZ) and in the House by Representatives Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL). It addresses border security and illegal immigration while bringing the 11 million undocumented immigrants out from the shadows and onto a path to legal permanent status; setting up legal channels and realistic caps for workers and family members to enter in the future; providing for tough enforcement; and enabling more immigrants to learn English and prepare for citizenship.

The rally in Miami is being sponsored by the New American Opportunity campaign (NAOC) in partnership with ACORN, Catholic Legal Services – Archdiocese of Miami, Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Miami Dade College, People for the American Way/Mi Familia Vota en Acción, Service Employees International Union, and UNITE HERE.

Nice job Senator. You can’t raise legit criticisms of Barack Obama because it turns out that you had a relationship with ACORN too. Just as we have criticized Senator Obama for working with ACORN, we now condemn you for doing so. Can the news get any worse for Senator McCain? That’s hard to imagine right now. I’m becoming even more concerned about voter fraud, whether enabled by ACORN or some other organization, because this election will be close — despite the media’s effort to end this election early. Get the lawyers ready. We must do our best on the grassroots level to make sure each vote cast is a legal one.


The slumping economy has become a primary contributing factor to McCain’s current struggles.  McCain hasn’t helped matters by fumbling his first response to it.   He has allowed Barack Obama to win the argument on taxes, and it certainly doesn’t help matters when every single ad we’re seeing on TV talks about Barack’s middle class tax cuts and McCain’s tax breaks for big oil and corporations.  Senator McCain has a winnable argument on his economic policies and on his health care plan.  He hasn’t effectively sold either one, and he hasn’t been able to break free from the Bush administration’s economic policies — only some of which played a part in the financial crisis we are in.  All this is good for Barack Obama’s viability as November 4th approaches.

McCain’s lack of a coherent message to counter Obama’s claims about his economic proposals is only part of the reason Republicans are frustrated with McCain.  Some of us just can’t understand why legitimate questions about Barack Obama don’t seem to affect his electability.  As I’ve said in previous posts, I think that the relationships with Ayers and ACORN matter a great deal, but the Democrats’ involvement and complicity in enabling Freddie and Fannie to do what they did is more relevant.  This should be part of the message when we are focused on the economy — the Democrats, including Barack Obama (who took campaign cash from Fannie and Freddie) are complicit in the financial mess we are in today.  It goes without saying that I believe that the Bush administration has made the situation worse by this bailout deal, but we have yet to see the full impact of Congress’ approval of that deal.

Another frustration I have is that McCain doesn’t have a problem with trashing his fellow Republicans whether or not they deserve it, but up until this point in the campaign, he has been relatively hands-off with Obama.  He criticized the NC GOP for running the Wright ad, and the media approved of that move.  He absolutely destroyed Mitt Romney in the primaries with negative attacks.  He clearly did not like Mitt Romney, so it’s no surprise that he hit Romney hard.  What we want from McCain is not to act out of character (as far as the way he normally treats Democrats), but to explain why Barack Obama is the wrong choice for our country.  We aren’t asking for scorched-earth rhetoric from McCain against Obama (at least I’m not) — we are just asking for him to keep raising questions about Obama’s record.

Continue reading

why it all matters

While it would be wise for Senator McCain to focus on an economic message — and that must be his first priority —  he should not ignore the influence of Ayers and ACORN on Barack Obama’s political development.  Because Senator Obama doesn’t have much on his resume before becoming a US Senator,  we have to take all of his prior work experience into account.  If Senator Obama wants to make his community organizer days a part of his relevant experience to be president, then it’s not unreasonable to ask questions about what he did in that position and about those who helped him form his political philosophy.  I’m not accusing Obama of being a terrorist, wanting to blow up buildings,  or supporting voter fraud.  I suspect he just used their political influence to win elections, which is cynical but not criminal.  However, it does damage his image as someone who is going to change Washington and fight corruption.

All we are asking for is a little transparency here.  You know, the same kind the Democrats promised in ’06 when they won Congress.  The argument from the Obama campaign has always been that he has better judgment than John McCain and George Bush because he opposed the war in Iraq, and that all that Washington experience doesn’t matter if it leads to bad choices.  Shouldn’t we judge Obama by the same standards he uses for his opponents?  Isn’t it bad judgment to have a friendly relationship with an unrepentant terrorist, no matter what your personal views are on using explosive devices to cause destruction?  Shouldn’t we question the judgment of someone who has ties to a group that has clearly been involved in voter fraud?

There are two uncomplimentary explanations of Barack’s relationship with Ayers and ACORN.  One is that he knew about the radical stuff and it didn’t bother him.  The other is that he was completely unaware of all this, and now that he knows, he condemns those activities.  Either way, it should concern Americans about Barack Obama and his ability to serve as our president.  Do we want someone who is so incapable of recognizing a bad guy when he sees one to face off against foreign bad actors like Kim Jong Il and Ahmadinejad?  I don’t.

That’s why Ayers and ACORN are relevant to the discussion during this presidential race.

What will resonate with the American people down the stretch?  Telling them the truth about the economy.  That means not only mentioning the culpability of Chris Dodd and Barney Frank in this financial mess, but also providing a clear break from the policies that got us in the situation we are in today.  It’s much easier to find Democrats to blame for what happened with our economy than it is to find Republicans, and it’s almost impossible to blame John McCain.  But the blame game will only move the ball so far.  Senator McCain needs a better answer to Barack’s economic plan, and he also needs to propose reforms that can prevent the mistakes we made from happening again.  Right now Barack is winning on the economy.  If McCain doesn’t poke some holes in Barack’s economic plan, he loses the election.

where we stand

A couple thoughts on the debate — the format was awful, but I expected more of Tom Brokaw.   We didn’t get any new information out of this debate (other than McCain’s call for more bailouts, but I’ll get to that).  Neither candidate was able to challenge his opponent’s comments in any depth, and this worked great for Obama.  It drives me nuts every time I hear Obama’s claim that 95% of the people will get a tax cut under his tax plan.   As we all know,  a much lower percentage of Americans actually pay taxes.  He is never challenged on this claim.  Since we know the economy will continue to struggle for a while, it makes sense to force the government to sacrifice some of its largesse for the good of all Americans.   That’s why I believe John McCain was on the right track when he proposed a spending freeze (with a few obvious exceptions).   If we are forced to make tough budgetary choices in our own lives, then the government must make some spending cuts as well.

While I have serious doubts about many of Barack Obama’s spending proposals,  John McCain insists on proposing to spend $300 billion more taxpayer dollars on buying up mortgages.  Can’t we start this election over with two different candidates?  If there’s any other candidate who is more tone-deaf to conservatives than John McCain, I have yet to see one.  As a candidate of reform, he should have fought the bailout and the pork added to it, as well as casting a vote against it.  This bailout was eventually going to pass, so there would have been no political risk to McCain if he made a real maverick choice for once.  He also should have promised to review the bailout deal after becoming president to see if that deal is producing the desired results.  This would have put him in a much stronger position on the economy, since there was and is much public opposition to the bailout deal. 

It’s because of my opposition to Barack Obama and his plans for this country and for our economy that I am supporting John McCain and encouraging others to do the same.  One thing’s for sure…no matter who wins this election, it won’t be a fun 4 years.

the debate

The McCain campaign has to be pleased with the way Sarah Palin performed in the debate Thursday night. She went toe-to-toe with a Senate lifer. She was able to recover from those unflattering interviews, and she was also able to get a couple good shots in at Joe Biden in the process. She did benefit from low expectations, and I take that into account when evaluating the results, but she easily cleared that bar. Those who loved Sarah before the debate were validated, and those who thought she wasn’t the best choice for a VP have some ammo to make that case after watching the debate.

Sarah was great in that she spoke directly to the American people. She can connect with her audience in a way that Obama cannot. On style, Sarah easily wins this debate. But when Americans evaluate the two candidates as potential vice presidents, Biden makes the sale. Senator Biden is wrong on a great many things, but as a skilled debater, he was able to fool people into believing that he understands foreign policy and the Constitutional role of the Vice President. He gave specific policy positions on issues, and the average viewer won’t bother to check to see whether he accurately represents McCain’s positions or his (Biden’s) own. Governor Palin’s lack of specifics on policy issues hurt her case, but as she said, she has only been prepping on this for 5 weeks, so no one should have expected that she could cram 20-30 years of knowledge into her head in that short time.

Governor Palin did not change any minds by her performance Thursday night. Those who came in voting McCain will still vote for him, and those supporting Obama will still vote for Obama. There is more work to do for McCain. This election isn’t lost yet, and McCain must have a better response to the country’s economic concerns and must learn how to sell his healthcare plan. The economy is the key issue, and there must be separation from the Bush administration if McCain really wants to win this election. Sometimes we just don’t get that impression.


That’s what I thought about the McCain-Obama debate. McCain had a few good lines, but Obama did not do any obvious damage to himself when discussing foreign policy — at least not that any casual observer would notice. I don’t think either of them changed any minds tonight. I missed the part where they discussed the economy, but it probably wouldn’t have changed my opinion of this debate. McCain needed to knock out Obama, and he did not. This raises the stakes for the next two debates for John McCain, and this is a debate I believe McCain should have won because it’s an area of strength for him.

Minor point — there’s not much difference between preconditions and preparations, and Barack Obama’s explanation of this is just silly. But Barack did what he needed to do in this debate. Even though I absolutely disagree with about 95% of what Barack wants to do on foreign policy and the economy, I realize that the average American does not follow politics as closely as the bloggers and other assorted political junkies. So it’s possible that someone more detached from this than I am could see a clear winner between McCain and Obama. I didn’t.

Not surprisingly for those on the opposite side of the political debate — McCain is winning the FNC text poll 82 to 16. It was a lot closer than that.

re: forest for the trees

There is a difference between calling the bailouts a mistake and calling them one example of socialism.  I did both.  I started out by saying that I disagreed with all the bailouts, and also that I was opposed to government taking over private industry.  Not sure how I could be any more clear than I was with that.   I wasn’t excusing the Bush administration by saying that I didn’t completely understand why certain private industries got government assistance and others did not.   The bailouts are still what I said they were.   I’m just saying that it’s above my pay grade to figure out what the fallout would be from letting these businesses fail.  We have already discussed the failure of the Bush administration to limit government, and I think you know that we are in agreement that he has expanded government during his 8 years.

What are the objectives of foreign aid?  Is it to promote goodwill or to give a financial incentive to other nations to side with us in disputes at the UN?  If so, how’s that working for us?  The nations who hate us will still hate us even when we have done all we can to win their favor.  Private charities have always been able to provide financial assistance to countries who have suffered natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, and they are usually more effective in the distribution of aid  than the US government is. Maybe a freeze isn’t the way to attack this, but Obama’s going to need all the domestic funds he can get to finance all the spending he’s proposing.

Iraq and Afghanistan are necessary expenditures, and ending world poverty shouldn’t be quite as high on our priority list.   A destabilized Iraq would be a national security risk.   Leaving now could mean that at some point, we would have to go back in and fix the chaos.  We have a national security interest in Afghanistan.  Even some of your Democratic friends agree on that point.  Doesn’t Barack want to send more troops there?  So he doesn’t seem to have a problem spending money on that project.  He also appears to have some interest in delaying the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, if that New York Post story is accurate.  

Let’s review– Barack wants to spend money on some domestic programs, ending world poverty, AND continuing to leave troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Explain why his plans are so different from those of the Bush administration.  (Well…other than the raising taxes on “rich” people part of Barack’s agenda.)

We wouldn’t have to raise taxes if the federal government would use the money it has more effectively, but since this hasn’t happened during the Bush administration, it’s even less likely under an Obama administration.  We have forgotten the part of fiscal responsibility that includes cutting programs that don’t work and allocating resources where they are most needed.  If Obama or McCain have something like this in their economic plan, I haven’t seen it.  Raising taxes on anybody is not a desirable option, especially because it enables wasteful spending, and raising taxes on corporations affects everybody, not just the fat cat CEOs.