Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate Agon

When it comes to watching televised political events, I prefer CSPAN or Fox News. For some reason, I chose CNN last night as my source of coverage for the presidential debate at the University of Mississippi. It turned out to be a good one because the network featured simultaneous audience response tracking across the bottom of the screen. It's one thing to listen to a candidate's position. It's quite another to see how people respond to the talk in real time.

Overall, I'd say the debate ended with a slight advantage to John McCain, perhaps a 55-45 edge. As several pundits have already commented, this represented a win for Barack Obama as he already had a five to six point lead in the national polls. We'll have a better understanding of the debate impact, of winners and losers, early next week when the next round of polls are released.

But getting back to those lines crawling across the screen . . . CNN was kind enough to provide us with three tracks: Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. As expected the tracks responded appropriately when the respective party candidates spoke. The Independent track showed the greatest swings and sharpest spikes. Surprisingly, the old man, McCain, seemed to provide most of the reasons for those responses. Barack Obama's eloquent, hypnotic, sweeping, debate club rhetoric often registered a glaring flat line response. This isn't to say he spoke nonsense. The subjects, verbs, and predicates lined up well; it's just that much of what he had to say was the broad brush word painting we've been hearing for several months. That may be all that's needed to pave the way to the White House given the economic meltdown we may be facing next week.

The meltdown, however, may provide the seeds for another surge for McCain, if he can be credited with engineering a bipartisan fix to the financial industry. This evening, 9/27, that seemed to be taking shape among Republicans on the Hill. Still, McCain must overcome great odds to approach parity with Obama as we near the election. The next five days could not only the economy, but also the next presidency. That said, the next four years would appear to be anything but a flat line experience for Americans, regardless of who sits in the White House.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Viral Lobotomy

It was bad enough having my on-line psychiatrists on vacation during the whole month of August. Then, a week or so ago perhaps during a search for photos of Wales, my computer - a shared machine - contracted a wonderful virus. In an instant, the C drive evaporated. The usual pop ups appeared offering a grand opportunity either to purchase security software or select from a variety of porn icons growing on my start up page. After a few days, the patient was delivered into the hands of a trusted technician. Hard disk therapy was successful. Function was restored. I have been rebuilding files and will resume posting 9/27.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Obama Campaign in Free Fall

Friends, this is sickening. Today, the Obama campaign pushed out its latest attack add saying that McCain "doesn't know how to use a computer [and] can't send an email." I think it's time to hire some new management. Obviously, the current group overlooked several of the points I listed in yesterday's post. If they had performed a simple search, perhaps they would have discovered an article in the Boston Globe dated March 4, 2000. Jonah Goldberg, at National Review's The Corner, has the link and the details. The conclusion is simply that McCain's hosts at the Hanoi Hilton beat him so badly that he cannot use a keyboard, comb his hair or tie his shoes. He cannot perform several basic daily functions. In other words, he is disabled.

The fact that this ad survived the brainstorming session is beyond stupid, and another sign that the Obama campaign is completely panicked and in full reactive mode. After throwing many of his allies under the bus, Barack Obama is about to join them at the hands of the fawning media and left wingers who cannot cope with the thought of impending loss.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Time Out

Today, John McCain and Barack Obama put aside their battle for the White House to remember the attack on the World Trade Center. Seeing them standing there, side by side, heads bowed, hands folded "at rest," it's almost like watching two little boys in church when the preacher eyes them. Once out of the collective eye and the commemorative voice, they'll be picking away at each other at the stroke of midnight.

The bickering we'll see may be just a preview of the coming attractions if the Democrats fail to come to the aid of their standard bearer. First, he needs a strong sedative and some rest so he can get rid of that stressed look he's had lately. I'd recommend a nice vacation, but he took one about two weeks ago. That wouldn't look good.

Second, he needs to get over Governor Palin. She's in this race for the duration and has most certainly deflated his celebrity ego. His handlers need to remind him that he's running against McCain. Every time he get flustered over Palin, the words go out, the videos go out, he looks weaker and the voters look away.

Third, he must understand that "meanings are in people." Yes, vocabulary is important, but any good speaker knows that that the audience determines meaning. I am reminded of the cartographer who was field checking his draft maps with some old mountain men. On looking at his draft, they got strange looks on their faces. When the cartographer asked why, they responded that there was no such thing as Pickett Mountain in their area. The cartographer replied that he had been most careful transcribing his research. Indeed, the cartographer and his friends were both correct. What was "Pickett" to the mapmaker was "Peak-ed" to the people who lived in the area. "Peaked Mountain" appeared on the map. Unfortunately for Obama, "lipstick on a pig" ended up on Sarah Palin. Oops! his bad. Frankly, I'm unsure he can function without a prompter or similar aid. The debates will make or break him.

Fourth, Democrats need to end the feeding frenzy on the part of their moonbat allies. Every additional dose of Bush Derangement Syndrome aimed at the opposition candidates reinforces the belief among independents that Democrats represent the unhinged. Bush isn't running this time. McCain is not Bush. The war in Iraq is coming to a quick end. A war crimes trial for the current administration? No, thank you. Get over it and move on, without the "org."

Fifth, the media is not to blame for Obama's meltdown. I have placed this point toward the end of my list, but it is by no means a minor one. It should be obvious to Obama and the party that virtually all of the dinosaur media is working overtime to get him elected. To blame the media is to bite the hand that feeds you. That's exactly what he did today. A few more attacks, and Obama's heretofore untold story will be dissected by a vicious media. If that happens, it's over.

Sixth, Biden needs a script, too. Obama's most important decision to date was his selection of Senator Biden as his running mate. In the last day, during a stump appearance, Senator Biden responded to a question by saying that he may not have been the best candidate for vice-president for the Democrats. Ya think! Second guessing at this point? Most important decision to date was a bad one. Not a good sign. William Katz (Urgent Agenda) - great new political blog - is among the first of the bloggers to mention the possibility that Biden may be setting the stage for his exit, and for Hillary's ascension to Number Two on the ticket. Could be, but it's a sure sign of desperation.

My suspicion is that Obama, in the last wisps of consciousness before sleep, is haunted by the thought of two pit bulls in lipstick. This is going to be great fun.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Politics, Polemics, and Publications

If you are a political junkie like me, the history-making news coming out of the conventions in Denver and St. Paul was nothing short of monumental. I don't play video games, but I suspect the one we'll be watching over the next sixty days will be fascinating, certainly in terms of players, and an object lesson in tactics. If this were a chess game, Obama would be in check, confused, and fitfully studying the board, knowing he just lost his queen in a careless move. Not a very comfortable circumstance for a candidate who, up to this point, had been basking in the glow of an adoring establishment media. H. L. Mencken would have loved it.

Politics aside for the moment, I believe what's really emerging from this campaign will have far-reaching consequences for that media. Like Obama, they are in check, but there is a difference. They have been in check for many years by new media: the internet information age, the bloggers, talk radio, and more. This campaign marks a tipping point for Middle America, for conservatives, for those who value reason over emotion. These groups no longer need to look to the coastal intelligentsia for their news, information, and opinion. The agenda-driven media attacks on Sarah Palin, small town American wife, mother, hunter, mayor, governor, and now vice-presidential candidate, have aroused legions of ordinary Americans to reject pseudo-journalism. Standby to watch the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Us magazine, and other suspect Obamamedia as they continue to hang themselves, oh so slowly, while they revise their strategies for the balance of the campaign.

Wouldn't it be pleasant, as well as informative, to see the restoration of journalism standards that dominated major media throughout most of the 20th century? At least we would know where to turn - the editorial pages - for opinion. Don't get me wrong, I know the history of American newspapers is filled with bias, partisanship, and polemic. Perhaps this Palin-inspired paradigm shift merely marks a restoration of early 19th century newspaper standards. I doubt that. There's reform in the air.

When I lived in suburban DC (1964-76) I devoured the Washington Post in a fit of Potomac Fever almost every day. On vacations near Romney, West Virginia, I made a 60 mile round trip just to get the Sunday edition. That's bad Fever. With Ben Bradlee as editor, and the extraordinary personality of Katherine Graham as publisher, the Post became a stellar newspaper. Toward the end of their reign in the late '90s, I believe the Post overshadowed the New York Times. Today, I don't buy either one, but I do review the Post daily as one would a hometown newspaper. As for the Times, I read the obituaries. Sometimes I wonder if they have a draft notice of their own demise. God knows they need it.