As someone who was on the Obama train even before that cold day in Springfield when he announced his candidacy twenty months ago, it's hard to believe there are only fourteen days left in this election. Fourteen days to do everything we can to persuade folks to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and to make sure that they vote and that their votes are counted.
Now is not the time to be complacent, to be comforted by the encouraging graphs at FiveThirtyEight.com. Now is the time to leave nothing on the table, nothing to chance, and this goes for the presidential level as well as all the worthy races you have going on locally.
And start thinking about Election Day. If at all possible, take the day off work or skip school. We need you out there at the polling places and making sure people get there. Contact your local field office and make a commitment to what you'll be doing on Tuesday, November 4.
If you're a lawyer or law student, I urge you to join me on the Obama Voter Protection team. Even if you've never billed 0.1 hours of election law in your life, you have talents that we need out there to ensure that every voter who is legally able to do so can vote in an intimidation-free environment and have his or her vote counted.
Just make sure you're doing something, and posting comments here isn't enough. Tell us what your plan is for the next fourteen days.
edited: Scatterbrain that I am, I neglected to mention what I'll be doing on Election Day. I'll be the Obama Voter Protection ward captain for the ward in Northeast Philadelphia where I grew up, which includes parts of the 8th and 13th congressional districts, and with regards to which I am quite familiar with previous attempts at all sorts of electoral shenanigans. We are ready.
Yesterday, conservative talker Michael Savage joined Rush Limbaugh and Mike Gallagher in arguing that Gen. Colin Powell’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) was based entirely on race. As Media Matters first noted, Savage expanded on his argument by claiming, “[T]he only people who don’t seem to vote based on race are whites of European origin.” Listen here:
Powell said specifically during his Meet the Press appearance that his endorsement was not based on Obama’s race. “If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago,” he remarked.
Americans appear ready to sweep a lot of Democrats into office on November 4. Not only does Barack Obama maintain a solid lead in the popular vote and electoral vote estimates, several Senate races that appeared safe Republican holds a few months ago are[...]
Read The Full Article:
The GOP effort to suppress the vote has reared its head in Nevada.
How may peope are we talking about? Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun reports: "I understand that 2,300 forms have been identified in urban counties."
Lowden argues that allowing these people to vote on the spot after fixing the errors violates a law that requires voter registration be closed three weeks before election day. She wants these voters to be made to cast provisional ballots -- which are often tied in legal challenges before being counted.
Miller's office has said it is working on an interpretation of the law.
Last month, Miller engineered a high-profile raid on an ACORN office in Las Vegas after fraudulent registration forms were submitted, despite the fact that ACORN claimed it was cooperating with investigators.
Politico is reporting that the RNC has spent more than $150,000 on clothes for Sarah Palin and crew. You can read the article, and view the slide show for the details, but as the female member of the DCW team, I have a few comments my cohorts here might not consider.
First, the bill at Barney's was $789.72. I doubt this, because about the only clothing you can buy at Barney's for that little money are the cheap jeans, and she's been wearing dresses and suits. Unless, of course, you buy from the co-op collection, but I viewed the slide show, and I'm doubting that.
The RNC spent close to $9500 at Macy's, and over five grand at Bloomingdale's. While I've never done it personally, I know it actually is easy to drop five grand at Bloomies in a brief period of time because I've watched people do it. But close to ten grand at Macy's? HHHMMM, I'm thinking it's a different Macy's from the one we have here where the "Everyday Value Long-Sleeve Crew Neck Tee" is $12.98. Honest, EVERY DAY. I know this because I own three of them.
In the interest of full disclosure, I prefer to spend as much time in jeans and Crocs as is humanly possible, because I value comfort over fashion. I do, however, clean up nicely when necessary, and yes, clothes cost. Good clothes usually need to be altered: a dart here, a tuck there. An initial fitting, the work, and the second try-on to make sure everything worked right.
So the thing that perplexes me is this: when you go for the fitting, you need to stand very still as you're attacked by a woman with a mouth full of straight pins channeling my grandmother (don't ask, it's a long story). Is there some reason that while Spunky was standing frozen to avoid getting pin pricked, her RNC handler couldn't have held up flash cards teaching her names of newspapers and Supreme Court decisions?
Read The Full Article:
Live from Cincinnati: It's Tuesday afternoon! Is that quick and bloggy enough for the TPM Café? Well, here's my not so bloggy beginning, with a thought to loosening up later in the week once I get my first, coherent two cents on the cyber-table.
Yes, the standard vote-choice question developed by Gallup and imitated by countless other pollsters certainly does minimize the "undecideds", especially during the earlier time periods preceding the election, such as the summer. So David's post and critique of the standard practice in the field (elaborated in his book, which I just finished reading last week) is largely on target, but I don't think David goes quite far enough in digging into a even bigger issue: the meaning of saying you're "undecided" or that you "haven't made up your mind" or "could change your mind before Election Day".
Mark's right: "A preference is often not a final decision." preference is often not a final decision." And yes, Nancy, question wording may just be the tip of the iceberg for all the reasons you have enumerated, particularly the likely voter screens and turnout models, a lot of which appears to be proprietary and therefore unavailable for us un-insiders to scrutinize.
But I'm thinking of deeper iceberg: What exactly does it mean when someone says they're "undecided", that they "might change their mind", or that they "lean" this way or that way? And do these response categories mean the same thing in late October or early November when voters' preferences are presumably firmer as they do in June, July, August or September? I would wager that an in-depth cognitive interview probing the meaning of these response categories would turn up a lot of apples, oranges, and pears sitting underneath the exact same response category chosen by different respondents and that this would vary over the campaign period as well. A lot of this, in fact, strikes me as reminiscent of the problem with middle response and don't know/not sure categories in survey questions. If a respondent says he or she is "undecided", for example, it might mean.... they're genuinely ambivalent and torn between the candidates; or they want to avoid committing himself or herself publicly to an interviewer asking about their vote preferences; so the safe option is "undecided" or "might change my mind". Or perhaps they're consciously concealing their vote preference and just don't want to tell us who they're voting for (a place for the "Bradley Effect" or "Reverse Bradley Effect" to hide?). Or maybe they just haven't thought about that the election that much yet, so in this case, saying you're "undecided" represents another form of a "don't know" or indifferent response, especially during the summer or spring months preceding the election.
So David's suggestion for a new vote question, along with Nancy's and Mark's ideas, will certainly help us get a better handle on how the uncertainty of voters' preferences fluctuate across the course of the campaign and how we can go about getting better info on what the pollsters actually do in the dark, proprietary recesses of their operations--fuggettabout getting at the "truth"! But I don't think we have a very good grasp, if any, short of some well-designed cognitive interviews, at what it actually means to be uncertain about who to vote for, now, and how that differs from being uncertain last summer, winter or spring? There's lots of ambiguity sitting in the standard question and in David's new question too. So we have lots and lots to think about before we sleep...more later.
George Bishop is a professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati.
After weeks of often ineffectual negative attacks against Barack Obama, the McCain campaign seems to have settled on a new rhetorical approach to use against the Democratic nominee: he's a socialist. Nearly 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall it seems the Red Menace has returned to the campaign trail. Yet at a time when the economy is faltering and voters are looking for government to lend a helping hand such attacks have little chance of succeeding.
In a sense, Mr. Obama has no one to blame but himself for this new GOP attack. It is a direct result of his now legendary sidewalk encounter with "Joe the Plumber" in Ohio. There, the Democrat defended his proposal for raising taxes on those who make more then $250,000 by saying that well-off Americans need to "share the wealth" with those who were less fortunate. Sen. McCain and his Republican cohorts quickly took this as evidence of Mr. Obama's wealth redistribution tendencies and began to tar him with the socialist label.
Of course, charges of "socialism" are not necessarily new for Republicans: over the past year they have made quite a reappearance in the country's political discourse. During the G.O.P primaries, Rudy Giuliani regularly accused the Democrats of "socialist" intentions, former Governor, Mitt Romney, compared Hillary Clinton's economic policies to those of Karl Marx and during last year's debate over the extension of the SCHIP bill, which provided children's health insurance, accusations of government-run health care were regularly bandied about. Even today at Republican campaign rallies, cries of "Bolshevik," "Communist," "Socialist," even "Go to Cuba" are being heard.
Nonetheless, in the context of today's present political environment it's a somewhat bizarre political broadside. If Mr. Obama is intent on enacting a socialist agenda he is keeping it pretty well hidden. And a tax policy that asks higher earning Americans to pay more and asks lower earning Americans to pay less is not socialism; it is the essence of the country's progressive taxation system. For some Republicans it seems that any deviation from the party's economic orthodoxies is construed as a slippery slope move toward statism.
Accusations of socialism have a particularly strange tinge coming from John McCain. After all it was less a month ago that the U.S. Congress passed a $700 billion bailout package, which included, among other things, a provision that allowed for the Treasury Secretary to basically nationalize the U.S. banking system . . . and John McCain voted for that bill. Today on the campaign trail Mr. McCain regularly talks about his plans to buy up bad mortgages from taxpayers who are in over their head. For those Americans who are making their regular monthly mortgage payments such a plan may sound to them like "sharing of wealth."
But of course charges of socialism have less to do with the reality of Barack Obama's health care policies or his tax plans and more the desire of Republicans to raise fears about Sen. Obama's legislative intentions should he become President. Such attacks are reminiscent of both the familiar GOP charge that Democrats are tax-and-spend and more than a generation of Republicans attacks on Democratic welfare policies (indeed, in his Saturday radio address, Mr. McCain raised the specter of 'welfare' checks being sent to undeserving Americans if Senator Obama is elected). In much the same way that every four years Democrats allege that Republicans want to gut Social Security, the G.O.P is falling back on its quadrennial accusation that Democrats want to increase the role of government, raise taxes, increase spending and strangle the free market with overbearing regulation.
The larger political problem for Republicans, however, and the fly in the ointment to this "socialist" mantra is that more and more Americans are today looking to government to help with the economic challenges facing the country. For example, a government-run single payer health care plan, which Republicans constantly warn against, is actually backed by more than half of all Americans. "Socialist" programs that 'share wealth" like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid have broad bipartisan support - and Senator McCain has even decreed that Social Security should be immune from the spending freeze he wants to enact if elected President.
Nearly half of all Americans think there is not enough government regulation of business - a mere quarter think there is too much. Support for a strengthened social safety net is at its highest levels in more than 20 years. In fact, according to a 2007 Pew Research Center poll 69% of Americans think government should care for those who can't take care of themselves and 54% should help the needy even if it puts the country in greater debt. In the wake of the country's worst financial crisis since the Great Depression one would imagine those numbers are even higher today.
Americans today seem far more sympathetic to the notion that government should be playing a more forceful in the workings of the economy - and appear to be relatively unbothered by the fact that Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and provide tax breaks for those lower down on the food chain. And why should they; it is middle class Americans who will reap the greatest rewards of Mr. Obama's proposed tax policies.
Since the days of the New Deal, Americans have largely accepted the notion that government has a crucial role to play; even if at times have occasionally wanted to see that role be constrained. In fact, it's been many years since a major party candidate has so directly accused his opponent of having socialist intentions; not since the uncompromising Barry Goldwater and before that the hapless Herbert Hoover, who in his 1928 and 1932 runs for the White House regularly warned about socialist economic policies (this fact makes Mr. McCain's recent allegation that Mr. Obama was imitating the policies of Mr. Hoover that much more surreal).
For Republican partisans, Senator McCain's words no doubt resonate, but with a mere two weeks until Americans cast their ballot, it seems highly unlikely that undecided independent voters are going to be swayed by fears of socialism. The reality is that Americans seem far less concerned about socialism; and far more alarmed that the federal government will do nothing at all.
In the end, Senator McCain and Governor Palin are singing off an old Republican attack hymnal, unfortunately for them, it's not so clear that the congregation is paying attention.
Domestic violence cases are nasty and nearly impossible to untangle. And especially tough for kids who get caught in the middle. The one constant: women who have been so beaten down that they don't feel like they have anyone to turn to are the ones[...]
Read The Full Article:
People do not like a loser, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is starting to be a stinker -- if you go by his own party's behavior.
First, well known conservative pundit George Will seems to have had it with The Maverick -- McCain's deer-in-the-headlights reaction to the economic crisis seems to have sent Will over the edge. Then, in the course of a week, Christopher Buckley -- columnist for the Weekly Standard, a conservative handbook founded by his famous father William F. Buckley -- broke ranks and endorsed Sen. Barack Obama. By the way, Buckley got fired for his trouble. How dare he exercise independent thinking!
Then, Gen. Colin Powell, a respected former military man and Bush 43's first secretary of state, came out on Meet the Press for the junior senator from Illinois -- and Rush Limbaugh pretty much called Powell a racist for his trouble. Also this past week, conservative Philadelphia talk show host Michael Smerconish endorsed Obama, live on his WPHT show on Friday (you can listen to his rationale here). Truly, you cannot make this stuff up.
Then, just today, CNN reported that top McCain campaign officials are "making tough decisions" -- pulling campaign staff about of states they no longer see as winnable: Colorado, New Mexico and Iowa. Instead, the campaign is counting on Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and an improbable comeback in Pennsylvania to tip the electoral college balance. In defense, the McCain campaign said: "We see the race tightening both internally and in public polling. We are within striking distance in the key battleground states we need to win." One clearly has to wonder -- what kinda crack are the McCain people smoking?
Frankly, why do they bother to announce this kinda stuff? Talk about scary red flags. Holy smokes, Batman, this campaign's on fire -- and the rats are leaving the ship. Worse, in key states, the McCain campaign is literally giving up the ship.
Lest you think The Zaftig Redhead is becoming overconfident regarding an Obama victory, au contraire. I have no illusions about the dirty tactics and shady voter suppression efforts headed our way. That's why I am encouraging everyone who can to take part in early voting or absentee balloting. This will minimize the impact of these last ditch, underhanded efforts to swing or suppress the vote, and will help to minimize the lines at the polls on election day -- which by all accounts are going to be long. Let's beat them at their own game folks -- for those of you who can, get out there and vote, NOW!
Copyright 2008. The Zaftig Redhead. All Rights Reserved.
Read The Full Article:
Merrill Lynch executive vice president Peter Kraus “is likely to leave with more than $10 million in compensation” after the company was bought by Bank of America last month. “He isn’t affected by a provision in the government’s rescue plan that curbs executive compensation, a person familiar with the situation said,” the Wall Street Journal noted. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Merrill Lynch “plans to cut about 500 jobs in its trading division as Chief Executive Officer John Thain shrinks the workforce to gird for a recession.”