Sunday, August 31, 2008

Picking on Palin's Intelligent Design Views

Most informed people think that competiting views about human orgin are wrong and evolution is the only view.

It is sad that these folks don't have an open mind and if you press them on why they belive tht evolution is the only view, one finds that they are mis informed about evolution.

I don't belive any of the popular views on human orign, including evolution and Intelligent Design. But just most folks in the US, I learned in school that evolution is 'fact'.

But it seems more and more clear that evolution is not a fact and really not an empirical science and you cannot apply the methods of empirical sciennce to 'prove' evolution or give credence to evolution as being a theory.

From David N. Menton, Ph.D

'..evolution is not observable, repeatable, or refutable and thus does not qualify as either a scientific fact or theory.

The most important requirement of empirical science is that any object or phenomenon we wish to study must first be observable. While we may assume the existence of events not witnessed by human observers, such events are not suited to study by empirical science. Secondly, the object or phenomenon we wish to study must be repeatable.

First, evolutionists tell us that major evolutionary changes happen far too slowly, or too rarely, to be observable in the lifetime of human observers. Most living organisms and their offspring are said to remain largely unchanged for tens of thousands, or even millions, of years. According to the evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky, even when evolutionary changes do occur, they are by nature "unique, unrepeatable, and irreversible." Dobzhansky tells us that the "applicability of the experimental method to the study of such unique historical processes is severely restricted." The well-known evolutionist Paul Ehrlich says the theory of evolution "cannot be refuted by any possible observations" and thus is "outside of empirical science."

So picking on Palin for her advocacy to teach competiting theories of human origin is a fools game.

Bring down the Cost of Healthcare so more people can afford it

It is interesting that a member of AMA gives a number of ways to increase coverage except for the obvious. Why can't they reduce the cost of healthcare? Reduction in price will increase the quantity demanded, meaning that more people who were priced out will be able to consume healthcare!!

From Marketwatch

Dr. Nancy Nielsen, president of the American Medical Association, said in a statement that many patients are priced out of coverage, and that covering all Americans would be a "good first step."
"We advocate for a shift in tax incentives for health insurance so lower-income Americans get money to purchase coverage," she added. "We also want insurance-market reforms to provide individuals more choices and ensure coverage for high-risk patients."

Republicans Are Going To Show That Women Matter!!!

Obama's blunder in ticking off women by not taking their charge of sexism will be used aganist him.

With the selection of Sarah Palin and the reminders that Hillary was passed over and not seriously considered will allow them to get that 20% of Hillary supporters to reconsider John McCain.

From the NYT:

Few people claim to understand the dynamics of the Clinton vote. In the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted Aug. 15-20, 22 percent of voters who said they had voted for Mrs. Clinton in the primaries say they now support Mr. McCain, while 61 percent back Mr. Obama. Among the women who voted for Mrs. Clinton, 17 percent say they support Mr. McCain, and 63 percent Mr. Obama. (The rest were undecided.)

“This says again, you can’t take these women for granted,” Ms. Walsh said. “There’s going to be a need to really reach out to them, to highlight the difference between John McCain and Barack Obama on the issues women care about.”

For all the emotion of the week, she said, the lesson is clear: “We matter.”

Party Gender Wars: GAME ON!!

More clips from the NYT:

Karen O’Connor, the director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, said the convention’s constant repetition about the “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling” had left many people depressed. “If 18 million votes is not enough, what does it take in the Democratic Party to get a woman on the ticket?”

The Palin nomination complicates the gender question in many ways.

Few people claim to understand the dynamics of the Clinton vote. In the most recent New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted Aug. 15-20, 22 percent of voters who said they had voted for Mrs. Clinton in the primaries say they now support Mr. McCain, while 61 percent back Mr. Obama. Among the women who voted for Mrs. Clinton, 17 percent say they support Mr. McCain, and 63 percent Mr. Obama. (The rest were undecided.)

All Is Not Calm on the Democratic Front

From the NYT

At the very least, Ms. Palin’s selection unleashes gender as a live issue again, just when Democrats thought they had it under control. (This might not be a bad time for Mr. Obama to reconsider that question of retiring Mrs. Clinton’s campaign debt.)

“This puts the issue back on center stage,” said Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “There are going to be some really fascinating conversations that are going to come up around gender, in some ways that nobody expected.”

“To go against Hillary is not easy for us,” Ms. Hackney said. “We don’t take that lightly. We just don’t think he has a message. We don’t think he’s good for women.”
“It’s not about being bitter for Hillary,” she said. Still, “I think the Democratic Party took women for granted in the primary, they didn’t step on sexism when they should have, and I can’t support them.”

Gender Discord With Obama Alive & Kicking

Seems like the all the kumbaya at the Democratic Convention was for naught!!

There seems to be mulitple camps of Hillary supporters in terms of how they are going to vote in November.

1. Write in Hillary as a candidate
2. Vote for the Green party
3. Vote for McCain Palin
4. Stay at home or don't vote for a Presidentail candidate

Obama's Economic Policies Short on Beef

From NYTimes Magazine

When Obama gives a speech about his economic plan, there is often a moment when you can sense him shift from poetry to prose. He can be inspiring when talking about how the country ended up being the envy of the world. But when he comes to the part about what he wants to do next, how he wants to keep America the envy of the world, it can sound a little like a State of the Union laundry list.His advisers are divided about how much of a problem this is. Some of them told me that he did have a unifying theme — the middle-class squeeze — and that it would become clearer to voters as they began paying closer attention to the race. Others said they didn’t think Obama had yet come up with a simple way to explain how he would alleviate that squeeze.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Clinton Started The Fight That McCain Is Going to Finish

What is lost in the the Democratic convention hoopla is that Hillary Clinton planted many of the seeds questioning Obama's credentials to be commander in chief!

18 million DEMOCRATS bought this argument or agreed with her.

McCain's team is smart for focusing on the same hammer issues that Clinton used against Obama.

Hey Obama, It is the Economy Stupid!

The audacity of Obama to state that McCain is out of touch on the economy.


Obama's tax policies is the wrong type of policies for this economy. You don't raise taxes during a slow down! You increase government spending and give back money to the tax payers so that THEY can allocate it to its best use!

Really, the nerve of this guy.

Lack of Vision in Obama's Economic Policies

In John Kao's book Innovation Nation, describes a scenario for he US to become a leader in technology. It describes how Singapore, Finland, China are spending large amounts on technology in many fields.

Obama wants to build bridges and the infrastructure and bring back jobs that won't help America be more competitive.

From NYTimes Magazine

From there, Obama moved the conversation toward a discussion of how the government could improve the nation’s infrastructure — its backbone of bridges, roads, tunnels, airports and the like, much of which has seen better days. Since the dawn of the Age of Reagan, the idea that government spending can be a good thing for the economy has been out of favor, even among Democrats. But it’s now making something of a comeback, particularly within Obama’s camp. His agenda calls for about $50 billion in new annual spending on various investments, including infrastructure, alternative energy and scientific research. (To put that in perspective, the cut in the payroll tax would cost about $70 billion a year.)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Political Porno Exhibited By Obama in the last day of the convention

The stage setting, the props, the fireworks; all for naught IMHO.

History will show that his speech was not in any way historical.

The sustained hype over the course of last two years culminated in less than a substantive bang.

Really everybody knew this is a historic moment!

Palin's Choice Seems to Have Caught Team Obama off Guard

Looks like team Obama was caught off guard with the announcement of Sarah Palin as McCain's VP choice.

The fact that post convention coverage was almost null except and all the news has been about Palin is a reflection of the unpreparedness of team Obama.

You don't get the feel that they gamed this scenario! Which means they are retooling the post convention agenda. Which means the expected bounce for Obama will be muted.

Team McCain seems to have played the right hand again.

So the economy is not as bad, the war in Iraq is not a big issue as it was and now the Republican ticket has a high probability to peel off the sliver of independents and women voters for a McCain win.

Palin seems to have all the positives for right segments of the electorate for her to win.

With the Economy Stabilizing - Obama is running out of bullets

The Iraq issue has been contained and is helping McCain.
Foreign policy issues are helping McCain.
The economy is stabilizing and helping McCain.

Now Obama has to resort to traditional government interventionist issues like Healthcare, Social Security, etc. It is going to make him look like a tax and spend liberal.

Exactly what the Republicans want and they will hit him hard to get that sliver of Democrats and Independents.

Obama's Diss Toward Clinton Will Cost Him

I love that the press wants to rain on the DNC's party by reporting all the rift between Hillary supporters and Obama.

This story about a meeting between the two will surely stoke the flames higher. I'll bet that more female democrats are going to vote for the Green Party than ever before!

Here is the excerpt from the Washington Post:

As Clinton prepares for her address to the Democratic convention Tuesday night, Obama's decision to pass her over remains central to the ongoing story of their strained relationship. It has also contributed to what associates say has been a difficult emotional period for the former first lady in the two months since ending her bid. One adviser described her as outright "depressed" in July, while another said she was "moving forward" and a third said she has simply been trying to get through November before making decisions about where next to take her life.

The Economy Is Not Tanking - Stupid

More news that the economy is doing better than anticipated.

The timing could not be better for McCain. It should seriously blunt what Obama is going to say tonight!!!

I am betting that team McCain is getting the word out to every news org covering tonight's event.

From the WSJ:

Economy Grew 3.3% in 2nd Quarter, Much Higher Than Initial Reading

Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 3.3% annual rate April through June, the Commerce Department said Thursday in a new, revised estimate of second-quarter GDP.

Originally, the government had estimated second-quarter 2008 GDP climbed 1.9%. First-quarter GDP increased 0.9%.

Net exports in the second quarter were stronger than first believed, Thursday's data showed -- another reason for the large upward revision to GDP. Exports rose 13.2% instead of 9.2% as reported originally. Imports fell 7.6% instead of 6.6% as first reported. So, trade contributed 3.10 percentage points to second-quarter GDP. Originally, trade was seen adding 2.42 percentage points. Surging exports have served as a lifeline to the soft U.S. economy

Obama's Liberal Socialist Economic Policies

There is, however, a more philosophical critique of Obama’s tax policies. It’s one that Douthat and Salam make in “Grand New Party.” The book doesn’t mention Obama by name, but it contains one of the best summaries of his economic policy that I have read. The authors describe a new-model liberal consensus that weds “the free-market centrism of the Clinton years to a revived push for European-style social democracy.” This neoliberalism, as they call it, wouldn’t involve the big-government programs of the postwar years, but the government would come to play a larger role in the economy and would redistribute much more income from the rich to everyone else. “This is, in many respects, a deeply un-American solution to the problems facing our country,” the authors write, “one that would emphasize dependence over self-sufficiency and bureaucratic condescension over self-help.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barak Can Articulate But He Won't Be Able to Accomplish Jack

From the AP:

Obama's spending plans and middle-class tax relief will collide with the hard reality of exploding budget deficits.

Obama's tax proposals come with a hefty price tag. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, a joint effort of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, estimates that Obama's tax proposals would reduce projected tax revenue by $2.95 trillion over the next decade.

His longer-term solution, encouraging alternative energy by creating a $150 billion clean energy fund, relies for financing on a program of selling pollution allowances to combat global warming that is even more uncertain..

While the plan would help millions of people obtain health insurance, some health analysts say it falls short of universal coverage. The Tax Policy Center says the Obama plan would reduce the number of uninsured by 18 million in 2009, from the current figure of 45 million. That still would leave millions uninsured.

The United States has already reversed many policies other nations saw as isolationist or bullying — for example, by joining international diplomatic efforts with "axis of evil" nations Iran and North Korea. Obama would continue those efforts and others without any greater guarantee of success.

A troop pullout is feasible and conforms roughly to a withdrawal timetable advocated by the Iraqi government. But a 16-month timetable risks shifting responsibility to Iraq's security forces before they are ready, and it gives the insurgents an explicit target date for waiting out the Americans.

With the budget stretched thin, a huge infusion of cash for early childhood education or college costs seems unlikely. Federal spending on education has already been rising for more than a decade.

Biden's Working Class Roots leads to big PAC Money!

From the LA Times

Federal Election Commission records show that firms whose PACs have donated to Biden include Rupert Murdoch’s News America, Microsoft and Safeway. He took the PAC donations from 2005 through mid-2008, with $141,800 coming this year.

Most of the money--$279,000--came from organized labor, including $11,000 from postal workers and $25,000 from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which has a stake in congressional decisions.

Additionally, Biden has taken at least $44,750 from political action committees funded by plaintiffs’ attorneys, including $10,890 from the Assn. of Trial Lawyers of America.

Some law firms whose PACs have donated to Biden’s leadership committee have....

...lobbyist operations. Obama rejects money given by Washington lobbyists, contending that like PACs, they are emblematic of the Beltway culture.

Biden has taken at least $25,000 from PACs that represent banks, most of which backed legislation to limit consumers’ ability to declare bankruptcy. Biden supported their bill.

Biden took $24,225 from telecommunications PACs, including ones fund

Barak's Friends Should be Blamed for the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

From 2003 NYT article:

Among the groups denouncing the proposal today were the National Association of Home Builders and Congressional Democrats who fear that tighter regulation of the companies could sharply reduce their commitment to financing low-income and affordable housing.

''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''

Representative Melvin L. Watt, Democrat of North Carolina, agreed.

''I don't see much other than a shell game going on here, moving something from one agency to another and in the process weakening the bargaining power of poorer families and their ability to get affordable housing,'' Mr. Watt said.

Obama Can't Claim MLK's Mantel

Today, Senator Barack Obama, with the most liberal voting record in the US Senate, is delivering his political acceptance speech, in an apparent attempt to assume for himself the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King.

Dr. King did not embrace the type of secularist agenda promoted by Obama and the Democratic Party of today, which includes fostering dependency on welfare that breaks up families, supporting same-sex marriage and partial-birth abortion, and banning God from the public square.

Repbulicans Were Responsible for Providing African Americans the Opportunity

How soon we forget!!!

Tt was the Republicans who fought to free blacks from slavery and amended the Constitution to grant blacks freedom (13th Amendment), citizenship (14th Amendment) and the right to vote (15th Amendment). Republicans passed the civil rights laws of the 1860s, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Reconstruction Act of 1867 that was designed to establish a new government system in the Democrat-controlled South, one that was fair to blacks.

Republicans also started the NAACP and affirmative action with Republican President Richard Nixon's 1969 Philadelphia Plan (crafted by black Republican Art Fletcher) that set the nation's fist goals and timetables. Although affirmative action now has been turned by the Democrats into an unfair quota system, affirmative action was begun by Nixon to counter the harm caused to blacks when Democrat President Woodrow Wilson in 1912 kicked all of the blacks out of federal government jobs.

JFK Voted aganist the civil rights act of 1957

Obama has a knack for choosing his past idols!!

From Human Events

Democrat President John F. Kennedy is lauded as a proponent of civil rights. However, Kennedy voted against the 1957 Civil Rights Act while he was a senator, as did Democrat Sen. Al Gore Sr. And after he became President, Kennedy was opposed to the 1963 March on Washington by Dr. King that was organized by A. Phillip Randolph, who was a black Republican. President Kennedy, through his brother Atty. Gen. Robert Kennedy, had Dr. King wiretapped and investigated by the FBI on suspicion of being a Communist in order to undermine Dr. King.

Marting Luther King was a Republican!!

He joined the Republican party because it was the party because the party stood for freedom and supported civil rights for African Americans.

The Democrats on the other hand were for segregation and Jim Crow laws.

From Human Events

And as one pundit so succinctly stated, the Democrat Party is as it always has been, the party of the four S's: slavery, secession, segregation and now socialism.

It was the Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery and passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. The Democrats started the Ku Klux Klan to lynch and terrorize blacks. The Democrats fought to prevent the passage of every civil rights law beginning with the civil rights laws of the 1860s, and continuing with the civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s.

During the civil rights era of the 1960s, Dr. King was fighting the Democrats who stood in the school house doors, turned skin-burning fire hoses on blacks and let loose vicious dogs. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who pushed to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and sent troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools. President Eisenhower also appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court, which resulted in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision ending school segregation.

Bill Clinton Lambasted Obama For Lack Of Experience

Bill Clinton couple of months ago said that Obama was inexperienced. He was right.

He said that the Republicans attacked him for lack of experience but he forgot to mention that he had 12 years of experience as a governor.

How can you fool people now by telling them that Obama is ready now?

It is going to be hard to swallow!!! Those blue collar workers in the swing states are going to be skeptical!

Clinton Releases Delegates but does not tell them to vote for Obmama


If the Democrats as so united why all this at the convention? From Fox News

“As part of that tradition, I’m here today to release you as my delegates,” she continued, prompting shouts of “no!” from die-hard Clinton backers in the room.

But while Clinton said some of her delegates will choose to vote their hearts, or to vote for Senator Obama to demonstrate their commitment to party unity, she isn’t directing them to do either.

John McCain just needs a sliver of democrats and independents to vote for him to tip the scales.

I am sure the Republican National Committee is ramping up their media blitz to do this. Between Biden and the other Democrats talking trash about Obama they have ample material.

Also sometime in October the press is going to rehash all the other stuff written about Obama as the country gets serious about who they are going to vote.

It is actually nice that the press fell in love with Obama early. With a tight race they are going to dig hard to find the real Obama as competition for coverage heats up.

Racist Biden Comments

Where are the Obamanuts calling Biden a racist?

They must be hiding because he is a VP candidate!!

From the AP

He did not elaborate, but aides said it was mostly a reference to Biden's reputation for long-windedness and off-the-cuff remarks that sometimes backfired. He ended his 1988 presidential run amid allegations of plagiarism. As he began a 2007 run, he called Obama "articulate" and "clean." He also drew criticism for saying "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent."

If it was an off the cuff remarks why would he say it when he knew he was being recorded! I don't buy it.

Monied Clinton Supports Switch to McCain

It was inevitable that of the 18 million folks who bought into the message that Obama is unqualified, not ready to be President etc to vote with their feet and wallet and switch sides.

Here are a few of them and expect more to follow as momentum switches from Obama to McCain. Smart money knows that you need to back the winner regardless of what your emotion tells you.

From ABC News:

More than 85 of Clinton's fundraisers, including Donald Trump, Univision chief executive Joseph Uva, cable mogul Charles Dolan, philanthropist Norma Hess and one of Florida's biggest lobbyists appear to be skipping Barack Obama when it comes to writing checks for the general election, according to an review of campaign finance records. These Clinton donors have contributed at least $200,000 to McCain's campaign in the last few months, an amount which doesn't include larger contributions to the Republican joint fundraising committees.

But the defecting donors, along with a significant segment (20 percent) of Clinton fans who have expressed support for McCain in recent polls, could present a problem for Obama in the general election.

"That speech was amazing, but it's not going to change my mind," one Texas donor, who gave $2,300 to Clinton earlier this year and contributed $2,300 to McCain last month, told "I talk to plenty of people like me who just won't accept an unqualified president."

House of Blues at Temple Obama Tonight

Most working class voters are not going be more accepting of Obama when they see folks unlike them worship Obama at the altar of celebrity.

He is no JFK or MLK. Just antoher liberal pandering politician, palcating the masses with a vile version of his vision.

The Republicans are going to follow up quickly with attack ads. From the Politico

The McCain campaign Wednesday released a memo mockingly titled, "Proper Attire for the Temple of Obama (The Barackopolis)," a reference to the classical stage design in place for his speech. The campaign is already prepared to pull the trigger on ads spun out of the Invesco Field event.

Great Strategic Move by Team McCain Aganist Team Obama

Give it up for Team McCain for taking a page from jujitsu, a martial art that employs the illusion of yielding to an attack to overcome it, and using Obama's celebrity status aganist him.

The celebrity attack was timed after the irreversible desision by team Obama to hold the acceptance speech at Invesco stadium. Now it looks like that decision is going to haunt Team Obama as they try to appeal to the blue collar swing voters.

I have blogged about the classic branding mistake that team Obama has made. That is you cannot position a brand from one segment to another when the vectors of differntation are orthogonal.

How do you fool people into beliving that you are for the common man when you have images of 80,000 liberal, self selected nuts fauing over you! YOU CAN'T.

John McCain's team is going to hit hard with these images and team Obama is to blame!!

Here are some excerpts regardign this from Politico:

Senior Democratic officials are expressing serious concerns about the political risks posed by Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High tonight.

From the elaborate stagecraft to the teeming crowd of 80,000 cheering partisans, from the vagaries of the weather to the unpredictable audience reaction, the optics surrounding the stadium event have heightened worries that the Obama campaign is engaging in a high-risk endeavor in an uncontrollable environment.

A common concern: that the stadium appearance plays against Obama's convention goal of lowering his star wattage and connecting with average Americans and gives Republicans a chance to drive home their message that the Democratic nominee is a narcissistic celebrity candidate

"We already know he is a rock star; we already know he can bring 85,000 people together in a stadium. He has done it multiple times. He needs to talk to people who haven't made up their minds yet," said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.

"It's likely that the campaign would do it differently if it had to do it again because the decision was made before the European trip," said a senior Democratic elected officeholder who has worked closely with the Obama campaign.

Obama is Interested In Wealth ReDistribution

The NYTimes Magazine article is a very slanted piece with quotes and figures from organizations supporting Obama.

There are a few nuggets that the editors threw in to show some balance to the story. Here is one.

These tax cuts are really the essence of his market-oriented redistributionist philosophy (though he made it clear that he doesn’t like the word “redistributionist”). They are an attempt to address the middle-class squeeze by giving people a chunk of money to spend as they see fit. He would then pay for the cuts, at least in part, by raising taxes on the affluent to a point where they would eventually be slightly higher than they were under Clinton.

All Talk And No Action From Obama makes Clinton supports think twice

Here is a summary of Clinton supports who want to vote for McCain.

"Obama has said a lot of stuff, but nothing with a concrete vision," says Book. "I have heard at least some sensible things from Senator McCain. He's a comeback kind of guy and I've heard from many other people who are clearly leaning in his direction.

In any bitterly-fought contest like this year's Democratic primary, there are bound to be disaffected voters on the losing side, says Costas Panagopoulos, professor of political science at Fordham University.

But he predicts that party defections will be much more common this year, especially to the detriment of Democrats and Obama due to McCain's moderate reputation.

Into Thin Air - Obamanuts Dazed in Denver

Democrats seem nervous and apprehensive in Denver! Yea baby.

Some excerpts from NYT:

I guess when you lose two elections in a row, people learn from that.” Blame nervous Democrats who are remembering their brash optimism in 2000 and 2004.

“The one thing that Democrats have learned is that if anyone can lose an election, it’s the Democrats,” said Kevin Bondelli, the owner of a design and consulting firm in Arizona. “In the last eight years, we’ve become a lot more respectful of the Republican political machine.”

Still, there was a distinctly subdued mood at parties like the “Red Hot Affair,” sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. There, as almost everywhere, Democrats acted as if it was too soon to celebrate. “There’s still a lot of apprehension and maybe nervousness about what actually may happen on Election Day,” said Malcolm Grace, a former Democratic staff member in the House of Representatives; he now working as a lobbyist.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Romney Is Right - Obama is not ready to be Pres

From the Christian Science Monitor

“I don’t think he has the judgment which is developed through years of experience in life that prepares him for assuming the title of president of the United States and commanding the most powerful military and guiding the most powerful economy,” he said.

Left leaning economic policies of Obama

NYTimes Sunday Magazine has a lengthy piece on Obama's economic views.

Here is an excerpt

For all his skills as a storyteller and a speaker, he has not settled on a compelling message about how to put the economy on the right path.

The lack of such a message has contributed to several of his worst moments over the last year. Most recently, the campaign has come out with a series of small-bore, populist energy plans — a windfall-profits tax on oil companies, a crackdown on speculators, a partial opening of the strategic oil reserve — that seem more political than economic. The most glaring misstep on this score was his comment this spring about bitter rural voters clinging to guns and religion. It was, in effect, an admission that his own message about the economy hadn’t yet broken through.

Hillary Clinton Supporters Are Loyal

From NYDaily News

But Monday, Team Obama had to spend much of the time fighting for supporters in its own tent, battling back against reports that deep bitterness remains among Hillary Clinton's legions of backers.

A CNN poll Sunday found 27% of Clinton voters like McCain better than they do Obama. A Gallup/USA Today survey found only 47% of Clinton's backers were sure they would back Obama.

Durbin, along with longtime Obama confidant and adviser Valerie Jarrett, praised the New York senator's efforts to heal the divide, but they still sounded like they thought she had a big hand in creating it.

"Hillary Clinton was doggedly determined to see this through to the end," Durbin said, referring to the later days of the primaries when many observers thought Clinton should have dropped out to heal the party

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Democrats are anxious about Obama

After all the blind faith and hoopla they are still anxious about Obama?

I can't wait for the McCain campaign to take advantage of this.

From NYT:

Democrats gathering here for their nominating convention are significantly more nervous about Senator Barack Obama’s prospects this fall than they were a month ago, and are urging him to use the next four days to address weaknesses in his candidacy and lingering party divisions from the primary fight.

“Back in June and July, I truly thought he was going to blow McCain out of the water and carry 30 or 40 states,” said Donald Fowler, a former national Democratic chairman who supported Mrs. Clinton in the primary. “What has happened is that Republicans — McCain specifically — have really twisted his great charisma, this electric personality, to discredit his ability, his experience, his capacity, his judgment. I fear they are about to do to him what they did to Gore.”

John McCain is right: We are not in a recession

Via Greg Mankiw

According to a National Economic Research Board paper:

Monthly US data on payroll employment, civilian employment, industrial production and the unemployment rate are used to define a recession-dating algorithm that nearly perfectly reproduces the NBER official peak and trough dates. The only substantial point of disagreement is with respect to the NBER November 1973 peak. The algorithm prefers September 1974. In addition, this algorithm indicates that the data through June 2008 do not yet exceed the recession threshold, and will do so only if things get much worse.

Hollywood for McCain - Nice to see these stars support McCain

Give it up for these celebs who publicly support John McCain:

Stephen Baldwin
Pat Boone
Wilford Brimley
Dean Cain
Jon Cryer
Robert Duvall
Angie Harmon
Patricia Heaton
Lorenzo Lamas
Craig T. Nelson
Gail O’Grady
Jason Sehorn
Gary Sinise
Jon Voight

Obama's Economic Advisors Flip Flop

Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman wrote an oped piece in the WSJ.

It is interesting that they as advisers to Obama are back tracking on at least two issues that they previously favored.

Greg Mankiw points this out.

That is, Senator Obama appears to embrace the principle that dividends should be taxed at a much lower rate than ordinary income. (Recall that this income has already been taxed at the corporate level.) This principle was a fundamental premise behind the 2003 tax bill, signed by President Bush and opposed at the time by a vast majority of Democrats in Congress. If we can now achieve bipartisan consensus to limit the tax burden on corporate capital, that would be a significant step in the right direction.

On an unrelated issue, however, the Furman-Goolsbee piece seems to take a surprising step away from bipartisanship. They take a swipe at Senator McCain's proposal to replace the tax exclusion for employer-provided health insurance with a more flexible health insurance credit. When President Bush suggested a similar idea last year, Furman and coauthors called it "a step in the right direction," and many other commentators agreed. It is too bad that Team Obama is now dissing the proposal.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama Fans' Predictions for the Convention

From the Washington Post:

But given the obvious weakness he displayed in the primaries and because the economy now is the dominant issue in the minds of voters, there's a sense among strategists outside Obama's campaign that he needs to focus like a laser on the insecurities and anxieties of the working class and middle class.

Judging by the immediate reaction, Biden's addition will be a significant plus for Obama at the convention.

There were predictions that Obama would get a healthy bounce once he wrapped up the nomination in June. That didn't happen. There were similar predictions when he set out on his tour of the Middle East and Europe in July. Once again, the predictions proved faulty.

Obama's team sees opening up the acceptance speech to tens of thousands of ordinary people as a symbol of the grass-roots energy and volunteer spirit that helped power Obama to the nomination.

Many agree with Republicans about the need for Obama to use the week to fill out his personal story. "Obama is in a similar position to Bill Clinton in '92," Democratic strategist Tad Devine said in a message. "People need to get a handle on him. In the end, this election is about him. He needs to let people know as much about his values and priorities as he can in four days."

Obama's Policies will Raise the Effective Tax rates to 50%

From economists calculations, Obama's policies will increase effective tax rates.

In a slowing economy you want the consumers to have more money not less money.

Greg Mankiw writes about the calculations.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

McCain Will Pick a Governor to Counter Biden

It is obvious that McCain will chose a current or former governor to attack Biden's inexperience of running any sort of organization.

Will it be Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, Mark Sanford or Bobby Jindal?

My pick - Mitt Romney or Bobby Jindal

Why Middle America Will Swing Away from Obama

Hillary Clinton tapped into the discontent with Obama in the non urban parts of the big swing states.

If the Republicans can hammer away at Obama's elitist views and actions they can sway just enough voters toward McCain.

Here is a story from the NYTimes that hints at this.

But Mr. Obama does not sound like a sure bet.

“Obama’s very charismatic but if you listen closely, he hasn’t said a whole lot,” Mr. Sylvester said.

In Raccoon, Kelly Dobbins, a middle-aged factory worker, offered the same. “I’m like a duck in the water — I float there but underneath I’m paddling hard as I can go,” Mr. Dobbins said. “What’s pushing me toward McCain is Obama. Who is he? Where does he stand?”

Such questions hint at a cultural disconnect.

After Hillary, Biden was probably on the Republican's Short List

It was obvious from the immediate response from the McCain camp that Biden's selection was planned for.

The Biden choice by Obama seems to have been a result of the recent foreign policy developments and the poll numbers indicating that most Americans do not trust Obama.

With all the talk of hope and change it is ironic that a 30+ year veteran of the Senate, a Washington insider was picked.

Biden has no leadership experience and like Obama has no experience running any government sized organization.

With Biden's moderate voting history, I think the McCain campaign will use every bit of sound and video bites to get that sliver of the population that mistrusts Obama!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama's Favors Central Planning For Healthcare

If your health or the health of a loved one is important why would you want to trust a system run by the government?

Government healthcare is inefficient and Obama favors this approach.

From the WSJ:

'If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system," Barack Obama told an audience in Albuquerque on Monday. He was lauding the idea of a health-care market -- or nonmarket -- entirely run by the government.

The goal, like HillaryCare in the 1990s, is to displace current private coverage and switch people to the default government option. What's new is Mr. Obama's smoother political packaging.

With good reason, critics often call this a back-door route to a centrally planned health-care bureaucracy. For all his lawyerly qualifications, Mr. Obama has essentially admitted that his proposal is really the front door.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Obama has no interest in educating the young

In a previous post I commented that Obama has flip flopped on school vouchers. If he is elected then you can guarantee that he will go with the status quo and do nothing about giving parent the choice to pick their schools.

He will have the backing of the teachers union and other regulators who have no intention of trying new and innovative means to educate our young.

Vouchers help parents choose school that implement no brainer innovative methods. Most public schools change at a glacial pace because of the vested interests of the parties involved.

Schools free to innovate, free from unions, free from regulators succeed more often than not. That is because like other markets, the best solution rises to the top because those that demand the service or good are free to choose the best.

John Kao in his book Innovation Nation, goes into detail how our schools are not innovative. He gives ample examples of how different ideas are tried at private and charter schools.

Barak Obama has no interest giving parents the choice or voice in picking the best schools for their children

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Blast from the Past - Peek into The Real Obama

From WSJ:

But Mr. Obama claims to represent something different from old-style politics -- especially old-style Chicago politics. And the senator is embarrassed enough by what he did that he misrepresents it in the prologue of his political memoir, "The Audacity of Hope."

He attributes his 1996 victory to his message of hope, and his exhortations that Chicagoans drop their justifiable cynicism about politics.

The act of throwing an incumbent off the ballot in such a fashion does not fit neatly into the narrative of a public-spirited reformer who seeks to make people less cynical about politics.

It is telling that, when asked at the Saddleback Forum last weekend to name an instance in which he had worked against his own party or his own political interests, he didn't have a good answer.

The most dramatic examples of Mr. Obama's commitment to old-style politics are his repeated endorsements of Chicago's machine politicians, which came in opposition to what people of all ideological stripes viewed as the common good.

In the 2006 election, reformers from both parties attempted to end the corruption in Chicago's Cook County government. They probably would have succeeded, too, had Mr. Obama taken their side. Liberals and conservatives came together and nearly ousted Cook County Board President John Stroger, the machine boss whom court papers credibly accuse of illegally using the county payroll to maintain his own standing army of political cronies, contributors and campaigners.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama has no clothes - So much for running on hope

It was inevitable that Obama would cast his old poltical clothes that duped the democratic left and put on his real slick political clothes.

In the weeks leading up the election you will see Obama punched to a corner where he will reveal more and more of his true colors.

Here it a story from the NYTimes.

Mr. Obama, whose candidacy has been built in part on a promise to transcend traditional politics, is running the negative commercials on local stations even as he runs generally positive spots nationally, during prime-time coverage of the Olympics.

“If you can go quietly negative, that’s what he’s done; I think the perception is that he’s still running the positive campaign,” said Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis Group of TNS Media Intelligence, which monitors political advertising.

But Mr. Obama’s advertising has increasingly included spots that, like those from Mr. McCain, have been called negative and misleading by independent media analysts like, part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Obama is a Tax Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

A recent analysis from The American (American Enterprise Institute):

Senator Barack Obama declared recently that he wants to “reform our tax code so that it rewards work and not just wealth.” We think that is a great goal if it means a simple tax system with low marginal tax rates. Unfortunately, a close inspection of Obama’s proposals reveals something disquieting: he would raise marginal tax rates for many middle-income taxpayers, a bad move for anyone seeking to promote economic growth.

While both candidates will reduce their tax plans to clever sound bites, voters should consider how those plans would affect incentives to earn income. Unfortunately, Senator Obama’s proposed “tax cuts for the middle class” are actually marginal rate hikes in disguise.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Anti Obama Book to Appear on NYTimes #1 Bestseller

From the Boston Globe:

In 2004 the conservative gadfly Jerome R. Corsi shot to the top of the best-seller lists as co-author of "Unfit for Command," the book attacking Senator John Kerry's record on a Vietnam War Swift boat that began the larger, damaging campaign against Kerry's war credentials as he sought the presidency.

But the book is to make its first appearance on The New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction hardcovers this Sunday - at number one.

Senator Finegold Loves McCain - If only he would vote for him

From the LA Times:

In a recent interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that gained attention, he did not hesitate to veer from his party's line on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, scoffing at the contention that a McCain White House would simply represent a third term of the Bush administration.

Said Feingold: "The notion that somehow [McCain] is going to get in there and be some kind of ideological Newt Gingrich right-winger is a joke. There's no way that he would do that."

Feingold differs with McCain on an array of issues, most obviously the Iraq war. But he praised McCain as someone who "calls 'em as he sees 'em, and as president would call 'em as he sees 'em, and would make people mad all over the place because it wouldn't fit anybody's playbook. He would be very original."

As the Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert aptly put it in his story, "Those are not exactly Democratic talking points."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It Economics Stupid - Obama Shows his socialist stripe

From Greg Mankiw

Obama is right about the amorality (not immorality) of oil companies. But he seems to suggest that oil markets are fundamentally different than others. In fact, in all markets, reduced production capacity would increase prices and, sometimes, would increase profits as well. That is why farmers can benefit from policies that induce them to leave land fallow. (I can't say about widgets--empirical studies of that market are hard to come by.)

Maybe Obama is saying that the forces of competition are absent in the oil market and that the deliberate decision by oil companies to keep capacity below competitive levels is the reason for today's high prices. That would be a logically coherent story, but not an empirically plausible one. It is not lack of competition that is keeping oil prices high but, rather, the basic forces of supply and demand. Even if you blame OPEC for noncompetitive behavior, that fact would hardly provide a rationale for taxing domestic oil producers, as Senator Obama is proposing.

Obama the demagogue

From FoxNews:

In an interview last week on National Public Radio, Barack Obama was asked about his proposal for a "windfall profits" profits tax on oil companies. To her credit, the interviewer prefaced her question by noting that nearly all economists from across the political spectrum oppose the idea. Taxing oil company profits won't make gas any cheaper — it'll likely make it more expensive in the long run by discouraging exploration — and it won't speed the development of alternative energy sources. Obama's answer was pure demagoguery, pitting senior citizens and working class families against oil companies, who he says are reaping profits "hand over fist."

A Reasoned Attack on Obama's Character

Looks like Hillary Clinton did not pull the trigger on an attack strategy aganist Obama. Mark Penn seemed to have the right instinct to attack Obama's character.

The Republicans or some 527 group won't hesitate.

From the AP

""I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values," Mark Penn wrote in a March 2007 memo to Clinton.

Obama's background — he grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii — was a "lack of American roots," Penn wrote. Also a weakness, he added, was the divisive rhetoric of Obama's controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who cursed America during a sermon.

"Won't a single tape of Wright going off on America with Obama sitting there be a game-ender?" Penn wrote in a March 30 memo.

Penn's memos also contained prescient advice. The memo from March 2007 talked about the importance of a key voting bloc he called "the invisible Americans" — women and lower- and middle-class voters.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Obama is wrong on school vouchers

He panders to the teachers Union for the votes. Vouchers help low income families the most because it allows them to send their kids to better schools. They don't have to put up with the inequality of most urban school systems.

From CBS News:

In an address to the National Urban League, John McCain employed the same line of attack on Barack Obama that he used when he spoke to the NAACP a couple of weeks ago, saying of the Democrat's education policies, "his ideas are not as impressive as his rhetoric."

“In remarks to the American Federation of Teachers last month, Sen. Obama dismissed public support for private school vouchers for low-income Americans as ‘tired rhetoric about vouchers and school choice.’ All of that went over well with the teachers union, but where does it leave families and their children who are stuck in failing schools?” McCain asked. “If Sen. Obama continues to defer to the teachers unions, instead of committing to real reform, then he should start looking for new slogans.”

Obama takes African American votes for granted

Ralph Nader was right about Obama

He now has young folks thinking twice. From CNN:

Three young African-American protesters, and two white women, interrupted Barack Obama at an economic town hall in Florida Friday, accusing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee of neglecting the black community.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Obama Loves Ludacris

Obama loves Ludacris and it is going to give the National Republican Party fuel for those quasi negative ads.

Or I can see this as the swift boat issue sponsored by some shrewd McCain backer.

From the AP

Ludacris' "Politics as Usual" alludes to an imminent victory for Obama by handing out major put-downs to his rivals. It dismisses Hillary Rodham Clinton as a vice presidential candidate — "that (expletive) is irrelevant"_ and says presumed Republican nominee John McCain doesn't belong in "any chair unless he's paralyzed."

Obama's Health Care Policy Is Clinton Part Deux

From WSJ:

For the first time, low- and moderate-income families would get just as much tax relief as the very rich when they purchase health insurance. People who must purchase their own insurance would get just as much tax relief as those who obtain it through an employer. Whereas Mr. Obama would continue the current practice of giving the vast bulk of federal help to the rich (through tax subsidies) and the poor (through spending programs), the McCain tax credit would give the most new tax relief to the middle class.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Obama is Misguided on Domestic Oil exploration

If we open up domestic oil exploration and development it can fund the next wave of clean technology development.

From WSJ:

Congressional Research Service estimates that at $100 per barrel (far below today's price), producing the estimated 10 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would generate $153 billion in new federal revenues. Consider the sums we could generate if we produced new American energy in the Outer Continental Shelf far off our nation's shores, where an estimated 86 billion barrels are locked away, and in the Inter-Mountain West, where some 800 billion barrels of oil is trapped in shale deposits.

By freeing those domestic resources and increasing the supply of American energy, we can fund development of better solar, wind, biomass and other breakthrough technologies.

Reliable energy is among the most liberating forces in the world -- socially, economically and intellectually. In those parts of the world where energy is scarce or too expensive for citizens, daily life is consumed with the drudgery that the absence of energy causes.

Obamanomics Is a Recipe for Recession

Great Op-Ed from WSJ by Michael Boskin of Stanford

Yet despite his obvious general intelligence, and uplifting and motivational eloquence, Sen. Obama reveals this startling economic illiteracy in his policy proposals and economic pronouncements. From the property rights and rule of (contract) law foundations of a successful market economy to the specifics of tax, spending, energy, regulatory and trade policy, if the proposals espoused by candidate Obama ever became law, the American economy would suffer a serious setback.

To be sure, Mr. Obama has been clouding these positions as he heads into the general election and, once elected, presidents sometimes see the world differently than when they are running. Some cite Bill Clinton's move to the economic policy center following his Hillary health-care and 1994 Congressional election debacles as a possible Obama model. But candidate Obama starts much further left on spending, taxes, trade and regulation than candidate Clinton. A move as large as Mr. Clinton's toward the center would still leave Mr. Obama on the economic left.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Democrats Forced Unity

From NYTimes:

“Contentious politics is not losing politics,” said Marc Rubin, a television and movie writer. He and the co-founder of the Denver Group, Heidi Li Feldman of the Georgetown Law Center, say that a perceived forced unity imposed by party leadership is likely to alienate Clinton supporters and ultimately cost the eventual nominee the election.

What is clear is that some of Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are not ready to give up the fight. The Denver Group, established in late June, has already collected approximately $30,000, and hopes to at least double that and buy time on CNN. Its success reflects a lingering sense among some Democrats that party leaders are trying to block Mrs. Clinton from the nomination.

No Clue on Obama

From David Brooks of the NYT:

But then there is his ruthless political side, which I’m seeing more and more of. His Iraq statements are a sign of his thoroughly political nature. When the surge was being considered, he went on TV again and again and said the additional troops would not reduce violence. Today, he could just admit he was wrong. But, of course, it is an iron rule of politics that no politician — not Bush, not Obama — can ever admit a mistake. So Obama goes on TV and says he always predicted that the surge would reduce violence. In America it’s better to be seen as a confident liar than as someone who once got something wrong. And he rewrites his position with such confidence and bald-facedness it’s sort of scary.

I have to admit I used to have a sense of what kind of president Obama would make.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Winning At All Costs - Obama's Political Past

From the New Yorker.

“I am not thrilled with Barack, simply because we elected him as an Independent, and he switched over to Daley,” Alan Dobry said. Ivory Mitchell, speaking of Obama’s Senate race, said, “When he won the primary out here and he went downtown, it appears as though Daley took over the campaign for him. . . . We were excluded.”

Obama's Ultal Liberal Idealogy

From NYT:

“I’m not sure he was close to anyone,” Mr. Hutchinson said, except for a few liberal constitutional law professors, like Cass Sunstein, now an occasional adviser to his campaign. Mr. Obama was working two other jobs, after all, in the State Senate and at a civil rights law firm.

Because he never fully engaged, Mr. Obama “doesn’t have the slightest sense of where folks like me are coming from,” Mr. Epstein said. “He was a successful teacher and an absentee tenant on the other issues.”

So even some former students who are thrilled at Mr. Obama’s success wince when they hear him speaking like the politician he has so fully become.

“When you hear him talking about issues, it’s at a level so much simpler than the one he’s capable of,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “He was a lot more fun to listen to back then.”

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Obama Teaching Over rated

From NYT:

Liberals flocked to his classes, seeking refuge. After all, the professor was a progressive politician who backed child care subsidies and laws against racial profiling, and in a 1996 interview with the school newspaper sounded skeptical of President Bill Clinton’s efforts to reach across the aisle.

“On the national level, bipartisanship usually means Democrats ignore the needs of the poor and abandon the idea that government can play a role in issues of poverty, race discrimination, sex discrimination or environmental protection,” Mr. Obama said.

But the liberal students did not necessarily find reassurance. “For people who thought they were getting a doctrinal, rah-rah experience, it wasn’t that kind of class,” said D. Daniel Sokol, a former student who now teaches law at the University of Florida at Gainesville.

Obama The Chicago Chimera

From the New Yorker:

Perhaps the greatest misconception about Barack Obama is that he is some sort of anti-establishment revolutionary. Rather, every stage of his political career has been marked by an eagerness to accommodate himself to existing institutions rather than tear them down or replace them. When he was a community organizer, he channelled his work through Chicago’s churches, because they were the main bases of power on the South Side. He was an agnostic when he started, and the work led him to become a practicing Christian. At Harvard, he won the presidency of the Law Review by appealing to the conservatives on the selection panel. In Springfield, rather than challenge the Old Guard Democratic leaders, Obama built a mutually beneficial relationship with them. “You have the power to make a United States senator,” he told Emil Jones in 2003. In his downtime, he played poker with lobbyists and Republican lawmakers. In Washington, he has been a cautious senator and, when he arrived, made a point of not defining himself as an opponent of the Iraq war.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Obama's Pal Rod Blagojevich

Obama's lack of political scruples was evident in his support for corrupt politicians like Blagojevich and Stroger.

From the New Yorker

That year, he gained his first high-level experience in a statewide campaign when he advised the victorious gubernatorial candidate Rod Blagojevich, another politician with a funny name and a message of reform. Rahm Emanuel, a congressman from Chicago and a friend of Obama’s, told me that he, Obama, David Wilhelm, who was Blagojevich’s campaign co-chair, and another Blagojevich aide were the top strategists of Blagojevich’s victory. He and Obama “participated in a small group that met weekly when Rod was running for governor,” Emanuel said. “We basically laid out the general election, Barack and I and these two.”

“He had been my client and I had a very good relationship with him, but I didn’t sign on to the governor’s race,” Axelrod said. “Obviously he won, but I had concerns about it. . . . I was concerned about whether he was ready for that. Not so much for the race but for governing. I was concerned about some of the folks—I was concerned about how the race was being approached.” Axelrod’s unease was warranted. Blagojevich and people close to him have been tied to a seemingly endless series of scandals.

Obama's Attack on Big Oil is Idiotic

Big Oil is Owned by America's Retirement Funds! Most of the share price increase benefits the millions of Americans who are saving for retirement!

Oil sector accounts for about 20% of S&P 500 Index and the largest portion of retirement savings is invested in index funds that mimic the S&P. Why would want to tax these companies so that the government can spend more?

The Republicans are hitting back on Obama's attack on big energy.

"Barack Obama's latest attack ads shows his celebrity is matched only by his hypocrisy," said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds. "After all it was Senator Obama, not John McCain, who voted for the Bush-Cheney energy bill that was a sweetheart deal for oil companies. Also not mentioned is the $400,000 from big oil contributors that Barack Obama has already pocketed in this election."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Obama Draws the Money Line

Obama rise in Illinois state politics was immensely helped by his redistricting efforts. A process that he had criticized but disregarded when it was for his convenience.

From the New Yorker.

In the end, Obama’s North Side fund-raising base and his South Side political base were united in one district. He now represented Hyde Park operators like Lois Friedberg-Dobry as well as Gold Coast doyennes like Bettylu Saltzman, and his old South Side street operative Al Kindle as well as his future consultant David Axelrod. In an article in the Hyde Park Herald about how “partisan” and “undemocratic” Illinois redistricting had become, Obama was asked for his views. As usual, he was candid. “There is a conflict of interest built into the process,” he said. “Incumbents drawing their own maps will inevitably try to advantage themselves.”

The partisan redistricting of Illinois may have been the most important event in Obama’s early political life.

Obama's Past is A Clue To His Mindset

From NYT:

“I don’t think anything that went on in these chambers affected him,” said Richard Epstein, a libertarian colleague who says he longed for Mr. Obama to venture beyond his ideological and topical comfort zones. “His entire life, as best I can tell, is one in which he’s always been a thoughtful listener and questioner, but he’s never stepped up to the plate and taken full swings.”

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Redistricting Gets Obama His Groove Back

From The New Yorker:

Only about ten Democratic staffers had access; entry required an elaborate ritual—fingerprint scanners and codes punched into a keypad. The room was large, and unremarkable except for an enormous printer and an array of computers with big double monitors. On the screens that spring day were detailed maps of Chicago, and Obama and a Democratic consultant named John Corrigan sat in front of a terminal to draw Obama a new district. Corrigan was the Democrat in charge of drawing all Chicago districts, and he also happened to have volunteered for Obama in the campaign against Rush.

Like every other Democratic legislator who entered the inner sanctum, Obama began working on his “ideal map.” Corrigan remembers two things about the district that he and Obama drew. First, it retained Obama’s Hyde Park base—he had managed to beat Rush in Hyde Park—then swooped upward along the lakefront and toward downtown. By the end of the final redistricting process, his new district bore little resemblance to his old one.

Rather than jutting far to the west, like a long thin dagger, into a swath of poor black neighborhoods of bungalow homes, Obama’s map now shot north, encompassing about half of the Loop, whose southern portion was beginning to be transformed by developers like Tony Rezko, and stretched far up Michigan Avenue and into the Gold Coast, covering much of the city’s economic heart, its main retail thoroughfares, and its finest museums, parks, skyscrapers, and lakefront apartment buildings.

African-Americans still were a majority, and the map contained some of the poorest sections of Chicago, but Obama’s new district was wealthier, whiter, more Jewish, less blue-collar, and better educated. It also included one of the highest concentrations of Republicans in Chicago.