Saturday, July 28, 2007

Obama Flip-Flops Detailed

Barack Obama has made a HUGE deal this week about under what circumstances he would talk to hostile dictators. (See posts below, including "Tea and Crumpets with Kim Johg Il). HillaryHub is up with banner headlines linking to an ABC story profiling Obama's flipflopping on the issue.

Apparently he was for talks with no conditions before he was against them.

The fact that Hillary got the better of him on this whole story, which has lasted for a week, plus the fact that he has been incredibly inconsistent from day to day shows a couple of things:

1. Barack doesn't do well when he is in a defensibe posture.

2. His judgement is lacking about how and when to respond. (Recall the ill-fated "Bush-Cheney Lite" conflagration on Thursday. ) He lashes out.

3. He has Kerry-esque issues in terms of arriving at and articulating a clear position. I like John Kerry, and I think that he got a raw deal on not having a "clear" position on Iraq in 2004. It was a complex issue and he was pretty consistent. Obama has had four positions in four days on a very simple question.

He is not ready to face the Republican filth machine.

Koko is pondering who to root for in Indianapolis...

Posted by Picasa

Maybe I will root for the 48 this weekend...


But I did like Lowe's doing this.

They have pulled all of their advertising from the O'Reilly Factor, as they say it is "inconsistent" with their desired strategy.

Friday, July 27, 2007

NC, AR, LA giving Dems more Electoral Votes

North Carolina is very close to joining Maine and Nebraska as apportion states in the Electoral College. Arkansas and Louisiana are also exploring the idea. How this works is as follows:

The winner of the overall popular vote in a state gets the two at large electoral votes. Then, the winner in each congressional district gets a vote.

As an Arkansan, I can tell you that if this had been in effect even only in this small state, Al Gore would have been President. Gore carried the 4th (Pine Bluff) and 1st (Jonesboro - Helena). He would have gotten two votes from Arkansas, and Bush would have gotten four. That would have made his total 271, or one more needed.

All three of the states exploring the change are basically red states with blue districts. This means more electoral votes for Democrats every time.

In the past, this hasn't come into play, even in the states that apportion. Maine is so blue and Nebraska is so red that the Democrat has carried both of Maine's CDs in recent elections and the GOP has carried each of Nebraska's three districts. (The Omaha - Lincoln district is competitive.)

MyDD with details.

To illustrate the impact, explore Dave Leip's Political Atlas, note the CD split in each state. (Important note: For this site, Democrats are RED and GOP is BLUE.)

Exact figures: Would have given Kerry 4 more votes in '04 and Gore 6 more in 2000 if change had been in effect in all three states.

Indianapolis picks

For my office pool, here are my picks for Indianapolis:

24 Gordon- winner (I would hate to see it, but it will probably happen...)
48 Johnson- (ugh)
17 Kenseth- (2nd last year. Not really good a flat tracks, but always a good pick)
29 Harvick- (has won here once before and is really good at flat tracks.)
2 Ku. Busch- (Has been good here. Besides I need a car from the Penske stable...)
5 Ky. Busch- (I hate Hendrick Motorsports.)
11 Hamlin- (Really good at flat tracks, also.)
20 Stewart- (1 win. Seeing him climb the fence at Chicago didn't make me like him more.)
31 Burton- (Led the most laps at Indy last year.)
07- Bowyer- (Will make it 3/3 Childress cars in the top 10.)
42- Montoya- (He's raced at Indy more than anyone, and won the Indy 500.)

The Friday Mammary Roundup

Hillary! has boobs and she knows how to use them. A fundraising letter about your cleavage seems to be an odd postscript to a week in which she scored lots of points in many circles vis-a-vis being a serious potential President.

From Real Clear Politics: Hillary beats Obama this week.

New York Times weighs in on 2008 Congressional battle.

Finally updated- the Federal Election Commission with findraising totals and an interactive map for the Presidential race through 2q 07.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Roundup

South Carolina Poll: Hillary +15 (and this was supposed to be Obama's best shot in early primaries....) This is a post-debate poll.

"Don't fuss at me..." Fred Thompson gets heckled and responds. From CNN.

And Romney weighs in on the Clinton-Obama fight.

So much for that Bush economy:

37 million Americans living below the poverty line.
28 million working Americans without any health insurance whatsoever.
Housing starts at a four year low.
The previously strong stock market tumbled today.
Heckuva job.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tea and Crumpets with Kim Jong Il

Hillary won the fight with Obama over his comment about diplomacy at the debate the other night. Reasons she won:

*Got a news cycle and a half out of a story that was, at root, negative about Obama.
*Her response at the debate got more play than they otherwise would have. She was measured and mature in her diplomatic approach.
*She showed Sen. Obama that she meant it when she said she would "deck" any opponent who crossed her.
*Neutralized the story that was coming out of the oba-media that he was perceived as the winner in some focus groups. Every story from there on out was about how he made a mess of things with his answer.

I continue to see evidence of the fact that Barack Obama is basically deranged and has a self-perception that is totally out of whack with reality. His comments at the Time Warner deal in NY was the best example to date. He seems to think that he is the best qualified candidate (GOP or Dem) vis-a-vis foreign policy.

This is absurd. He shared a debate stage on Monday night with:

*Joe Biden, who for thirty years has been a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has been its chair for at least five.
*Bill Richardson, whose negotiating skills are well known.
*Hillary!, who is the most highly traveled first lady in US history, and who, for example, went to Beijing, looked Zhang Zemin in the face and advocated for womens' rights.

You have to shake your head in bemusement.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

DEI to buy Ginn Racing

DEI is expanding to four teams. Even all of Bobby Ginn's money couldn't get the job done. Mark Martin will be in the #01 Army car this weekend, but it will be owned by Teresa Earnhardt rather than Ginn. The deal will be made official tomorrow. I hope they still bring the blue blimp!

Brickyard in five days! Preview.

So it begins...Hillary and Obama's post-debate tussle

Today, Hillary! called Senator Obama's comments in last night's debate regarding negotiations with despots "irresponsible" and "naive." Obama's statement did reflect inexperience: Senator Clinton is correct.

However, I am interested in the Clinton strategy with her follow-up interview. And there is some strategy at work: Hillary Clinton is cautious. She would not accidentally let her feelings about Obama's comments suddenly burst forth as if she had Tourette's syndrome. Her words in the interview with the Quad City Times (IA/IL) were the harshest we have seen from any candidate so far in this cycle.

The conventional wisdom in a campaign like Hillary's would generally be: "You're the frontrunner. You're winning by a couple of touchdowns. Most (if not all) people think that you won last night's debate- and every debate for that matter. The press is making a lot of hay for you at Obama's expense regarding these comments." Why so strong a statement, and why now?

It seems to me there are two possibilities.

1. This campaign, six months before he Iowa caucuses, seems to be at a crossroads. After several months in the spring of having close-ish polls showing Obama nipping at her heels, she has opened up a wide lead nationwide and is probably a little ahead in Iowa. The political media has said over and over in recent weeks that Obama and Edwards need to make a move now or have the race slip totally from their grasp with no hope of retrieval. There is a symmetry to that statement: a bold move by the Clinton campaign could dispatch her rivals and put the race out of their reach for good. Obama's statement last night promising to hold talks with those that hate us most without any qualification whatsoever gives Hillary! the opportunity to exploit Obama's biggest weakness: profound inexperience.

2. She's just doing what the Clintons do best: playing offense. Every day that is bad for Obama is good for her. Getting another news cycle out of the Obama story helps her. This is actually an extension of the first point.

AP's treatment of the dust-up. ABC

Monday, July 23, 2007

The You Tube Debate -- Who Won?

The debate is over. It was an interesting experiment that ultimately, in my view, failed. It is great to have questions from viewers, but the singing rednecks, the talking snowman, the hip-hop No Child Left Behind questioner all were beneath the dignity of a Presidential debate. I hope that when CNN holds its Republican You Tube debate in September, it is a bit more serious. On to the winners / losers:


*Clinton- As in all the other debates, she was the most Presidential and was very compelling. The Senator's handling of the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton question was masterful. It is clear that any foreign policy question that she gets she answers through a general election scope, and is more knowledgeable than any other candidate except Biden. She got more mileage out of the Edelman letter and also made Elizabeth Edwards look petty for her comments last week.

*Biden - I just find Joe Biden awfully well spoken and brave. It is not a popular thing to do in a Democratic debate to throw water on Richardson's "get out now" rhetoric on Iraq, but it is responsible. In fact (again from a general election perspective) Biden and Hillary! are the only candidates who, throughout the primary season, have shown responsibility and measured ideas for exiting Iraq. They are both plausible commanders-in-chief. Biden makes me wistful: what might have been had it not been for that Neil Kinnock ugliness in 1987...

* Edwards - I will begrudgingly admit that John Edwards improved his standing tonight. In fact, his debate performance was just okay until the health care question came about. His answer on that question was fantastic. His frustration was, I am sure, contrived. His well-known financial security makes any personal concerns about health care remote for him. All of that aside, it was compelling and for perhaps the second time in five years of watching John Edwards, I was moved by something he said. Usually he gives me the creeps.


Obama - I know that we are six months from the Iowa caucuses. I know that a lot can happen between now and January. I know that he is the great hope of the nation (note the sarcasm), but Obama needs to make a break if he is to stop the increasingly inevitable Clinton nomination. He does attack her a bit, but it is too nuanced for it to make any impact at all. His debate performance tonight was about the same as the others-- just okay. He also needs to start speaking with some specificity about something -- anything. His buzzwords are tired. "Fighting cyncism," "hope," "fundamentally changing Washington" are just words. Without a plan of action, they do not a platform make.

We learned that he is against the war, against deficits, against underinsurance, and is against- gasp!- child molestation. What a marvel! Somebody please rewrite Profiles in Courage! The more of Obama I see, the more embarrassed I am that he is going to even be perhaps the silver medalist in this contest. He simply is not qualified- period. With greater exposure, the more it shows. Hillary made him look foolish for his answer on diplomacy with Iran and Syria. Oh, and ABC caught him exaggerating. LINK

Richardson - He wants to be in the top tier so badly. In the debates, he looks unprepared, ill-informed and uncomfortable. He was borderline inarticulate at times. Senator Biden made him look dangerously ill-informed on his Iraq withdrawal "plan." The Richardson "plan" (essentially to run ripshod out of Iraq in six months with no residual troops) would cost lives both because of the rapidity of the withdrawal and because of the lack of protection for American civilians remaining. Richardson seemed not to have considered this, where a commander-in-chief would have. That is Richardson's problem right now--he appears to be not *quite* President material.

UPDATE: 11:09 PM - The reaction from the debate has begun to flow in:

Hillary wins the InstaPoll from SurveyUSA. Link (And has favorables 10% higher than Obama).

John Edwards hated Hillary's jacket, and says so.

Um, and Mitt Romney had this to say. I really hope that the Republicans nominate this moron. I'm thinking 40 state landslide for Democrats if they do.

Monday NASCAR Roundup

Reed Sorenson (#41 Target Dodge) won the Busch Race event Saturday night at Gateway in Madison, Illinois.

Carl Edwards is not seriously hurt after a scare on a dirt track event on Sunday. Here.

Pre-Debate Roundup

Today's Political News:

Two new national polls out (Rasmussen and Washington Post), and Hillary has a steady and growing lead in both. Check out the RCP averages for the Democratic nomination here.

ABC's The Note with a weekend roundup. Includes analysis of new WaPo poll, the latest weird moment of the Romney campaign, and a debate preview.

More on the Romney debacle from MyDD. This guy's nomination would be a gift for any Democratic nominee.

John Sununu (Endangered R - NH) doesn't want President Bush to campaign with him. Here.

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), prostitute patron and moral arbiter, might not be out of legal trouble.

The debate starts soon.

Update: The Romney picture.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Junior to Make Chase? Analysts think maybe not.

Leaving DEI for Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has found himself in a very precarious 12th place just 7 weeks before the Chase cutoff. Too early to tell, but the wheels seem to be coming off of the #8 bus. Who will take that last Chase spot? Newman? Kurt Busch? McMurray? (I am betting on Kurt Busch. I am also not as sure as the author of this piece is that Bowyer will be there.)

"I am winning." -- Hillary

Senator Clinton spoke to the ed board of the Des Moines Register on Friday:

She also expressed more confidence than any other candidate we've interviewed that she will be elected."I am winning. I am beating the Republicans," she said, referring to polls. "Now I know and you know there's a long way between now and November. So what you need in a candidate is the ability to go the distance."

Full article here.

The New Blog

This blog has been incepted today. It will function as a comment page for the 2008 presidential election, goings on in political world, etc. Until a nominee is chosen, there will be an emphasis on the Democratic primaries. I will also have a lot to say about NASCAR. Indeed, the new President and the new (soon-to-be) Sprint Cup winner will both be decided in November, 2008. They will presumably not be the same person.