Barack Obama’s new attack ad says John McCain is out of touch, out of ideas, and running out of time.
** THE FAR RIGHT CRACK-UP. DRUDGE ASKS, RE OBAMA: ABCCBSNBCNYTLATWSJCNNMSNBCAPREUTERSAFPPOLITCO FTTIMEWASHPOSTNEWSWEEK:CAN THEY ALL BE WRONG?
** ARNOLD CALLS SPECIAL SESSION ON DAY AFTER ELECTION. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has called the California Legislature – lameduck though it will be, back into session on November 5th to deal with the, deepening, chronic California budget crisis. There will be fewer Democrats, but also more lameduck Republicans. You can do the math.
** PALIN REFUSES TO URGE A STEVENS RESIGNATION. U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, the senior senator from Alaska, has today been convicted – not at all surprisingly – on multiple counts of political corruption. Yet Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the supposed maverick from the Great White North, has notably declined to urge him to step down.
Palin, as I have reported earlier, was actually a co-director of a Stevens political action committee. Which did not fit in with the far right storyline on her. But did have the virtue of according with reality.
I looked at Palin early on, and rejected her as a potential VP as it was perfectly obvious to me that she had done nothing that qualified her for the office and, worse, lacked the intellectual qualifications for the White House. And if that offends anyone who imagines that inclination is the same as intellect, so be it, sport.
Here is my prediction. I have identified Palin as, in reality, a good old girl of Alaska’s corrupt politics. She will not call for her erstwhile mentor to step down, especially as it is increasingly obvious that she and John McCain will lose the national election for an anxious Republican Party.
There is what is faux and what is true. This is what is true.
** ALASKA REPUBLICAN SENATOR CONVICTED ON MULTIPLE COUNTS OF POLITICAL CORRUPTION. US Senator Ted Stevens, locked in a tight re-election battle, has been convicted on seven counts of political corruption. Sarah Palin was a co-director of his political action committee. This almost certainly means that the Democratic challenger will defeat Stevens next week.
** ARIZONA POLL: MCCAIN BY 5. John McCain’s lead in his home state of Arizona is just five points over Barack Obama, 51% to 46%, in the brand new Rasmussen poll. This dramatically illustrates how the Democrats’ new Western strategy is working. Were McCain’s not Arizona’s longtime senator, this state would be going the way of New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. Obama leads in his home state of Illinois by a whopping 61-32.
** VIRGINIA POLL: OBAMA BY 9. The new Survey USA poll of battleground Virginia shows Barack Obama holding a large and steady lead over John McCain, 52% to 43%. Virginia hasn’t gone Democratic in a presidential race since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson crushed Barry Goldwater, who held McCain’s Senate seat before him. Virginia has had heavy early voting, mostly for Obama, who has an extraordinary field operation my ancestral state.
** MOST THINK BILL AYERS ATTACKS HURT MCCAIN, NOT OBAMA. John McCain’s campaign attacks against Barack Obama for his attenuated relationship with ex-domestic terrorist Bill Ayers have backfired, according to the Republican-owned Rasmussen poll. The numbers show that only 28% of likely voters felt the attacks hurt Obama, 15% had no opinion one way or another, and a whopping 50% felt the attacks actually hurt McCain.
The Bill Ayers stuff has been pushed incessantly by the right-wing blogosphere and talk radio. And now it has fallen flat.
NWN predicted from the beginning that the Ayers attacks wouldn’t work. The connection is far more attenuated than the fervid imaginings of the far right had it. And the issues are so much bigger. I could be linked to be both the far right and the far left if someone wanted to play that silly assocation game about my views.
Barack Obama spoke to a crowd of more than 100,000 yesterday in Denver, Colorado, the largest rally of the campaign.
The Morning Column: MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK
Eight days. Eight days until Barack Obama likely makes history as the first African American president of the United States.
Democrats are poised on the verge of an historic, across-the-board victory. Last week, top Republicans told me they expect not only an Obama victory, but also the loss of 5 to 8 seats in the U.S. Senate and 30-plus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, California’s elections – Obama has a massive 56-33 lead in the Golden State – focus on the panoply of ballot propositions. There are two controversial measures, ironically opposed by most of the environmental community, to promote renewable energy, a high-speed rail measure that may, shortsightedly, fall prey to bad economic times, and yet another attempt to require parental notification on teen abortions. Along with the two highest-profile propositions, the attempt to repeal the Supreme Court-granted right to same-sex marriage and the attempt to pass the first major redistricting reform initiative.
But before getting to those, back to Obama v. John McCain.
The campaign this week is playing out mostly in longtime red states, where Obama is on the offensive. I wrote in the last MMQB that Obama’s national lead was likely to dip last week, then expand again. It didn’t dip last week. There are a few signs it is dipping now. But not much.
John McCain, speaking to camera in this brand new TV ad, acknowledges that the Bush/Cheney years haven’t worked, pledges to do better, and warns that Barack Obama is a big taxer with bad judgment.
McCain is trying to win Pennsylvania, a blue state where Obama’s notorious San Francisco fundraiser “Bittergate” comments hurt him in the primary against Hillary Clinton. But McCain’s not Clinton. He has yet to articulate a credible economic message in times of economic turmoil, falling back repeatedly on the tried and true Republican standby that Obama, like all Democrats in Republican campaigns, is a big tax-and-spender. That won’t work in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Obama is on the offensive in the Mountain West, which is turning for him as Gary Hart hoped and anticipated would happen for Democrats 20 years ago. And in the Midwest and selected Southern states.
Bill Clinton, incidentally, joins Obama on the campaign trail this week in Florida and perhaps elsewhere.
Team McCain is left to play a mixed game of limited offense and a lot of defense. Look for themes this week of Obama as closet socialist and McCain as the best commander-in-chief, with McCain belatedly trying to separate himself from the albatross known as Bush/Cheney.
And a helping of fear about what unquestioned Democratic control of the Presidency, the Senate, and the House would mean. In a bad way, of course.
In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger – with the state’s finances settling down in the short-term through successfull sales of the usual revenue anticipation notes – is fixing to call a post-election special session of the Legislature to deal with the deepening nature of the state’s chronic budget crisis. He is also looking to pull off – with the assistance of Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, former Controller and Obama honcho Steve Westly, and former Governor Gray Davis – the first successful redistricting reform initiative, Prop 11. There’s a decent chance that will happen.
And supporters of same-sex marriage appear to have stabilized their campaign against Prop 8, which has been buoyed by big money from members of the Mormon Church, which has only a small presence in California, and hard-hitting ads featuring San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s highly impolitic comments that gay marriage is here to stay “Whether you like it or not!”
The No on 8 campaign had something of the feel of a movement, identity politics campaign, but has recouped with hard-hitting ads attacking what it calls the lies of the Yes on 8 campaign that affirming the right to same-sex marriage will require the teaching of homosexuality in the schools. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell does a deft job of making the argument in the new ads.
So, another week of rollicking action in store …
** GLOBAL OBAMA: BIG OPPORTUNITIES, BIGGER CHALLENGES. If he wins, Obama will have the global popularity that no American president has had in a great many years. But what sort of challenges will counter the global opportunity that an Obama presidency might afford America? … From my Friday column.
** WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama is in Canton, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Joe Biden is in Greenville, North Carolina and New Port Richey, Florida.
John McCain is in Cleveland and Dayton, Ohio and Pottsville and Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Sarah Palin is in Leesburg, Fredericksburg, and Salem, Virginia and Hershey, Pennsylvania.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger meets with California legislative leaders this morning to discuss a special legislative session on the deepening chronic state budget crisis for next month. And he campaigns for the Proposition 11 redistricting reform initiative today in Fresno.
He’s joined at the Fresno County Farm Bureau this morning by Fresno Mayor and former Heat of the Night star Alan Autry, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Amy Huerta of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Francine Farber of the League of Women Voters of Fresno and Paul Wenger, First Vice President of the California Farm Bureau Federation.
** TV AD WARS: MCCAIN’S JOE THE PLUMBER CAMPAIGN (SERIOUSLY). With two weeks to go, it looks like John McCain is going with Joe the Plumber as the advertising centerpiece of his campaign. Still. That seemed in question to me yesterday, as the fellow’s vogue of last week is already fading. But it may be, that absent some fantastic new character attack against Barack Obama, it’s the campaign’s best shot left at attempting to drive an economic message. Talk about your “mad men.”
So McCain has flickery ads with grained-up up the footage, with a message making it sound like Obama will raise everybody’s taxes. I guess that’s what they think they have to do to punch through when Obama is out-gunning them 4 to 1 on the air. You can see one version of a Joe the Plumber ad above, and one below.
McCain has lately been playing that Joe the Plumber card hard, invoking him more than running mate Sarah Palin, who polls show has become a liability outside the conservative Republican base. That means scaring voters about Obama and his “socialist” policies, as McCain put it the other day, as a big tax-and-spender. But in this environment, most voters probably want government to spend in order to stimulate the economy and provide more of a safety net. So the success of this tack depends on the McCain campaign’s ability to convince people that Obama would raise their taxes, and not the taxes of rich people and corporations. … From last Tuesday’s column.
** INSIDE THE “BRADLEY EFFECT.” Barack Obama has won all three presidential debates over John McCain. He has a solid lead in the polls. What could go wrong for him? Well, many say the polls could be wrong, skewed by a hidden racist vote.
The “Bradley effect” — the notion that white voters lie to pollsters when a black candidate is in the race — has become widely known. But what you think you know from the campaign that gave rise to the phrase, then Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s ultimately near-miss race for governor of California in 1982, isn’t so.
I was in the middle of that, doing opposition research for Bradley’s campaign. I vividly recall election day that November, as reports from the exit polling done by California’s leading polling organization, the Field Poll, circulated. It seemed that Bradley, the first black mayor of Los Angeles, was headed for a big win as California’s first black governor. … From my recent Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading down again in the $62 to $63 per barrel range.
OPEC, meeting in Vienna on Friday, announced a 1.5 million barrel per day production cut. But, with stock markets slumping further in Asia and Europe, this move has failed to arrest the oil slide.
The drop of over $8r per barrel since the record high three months ago comes on acknowledgment that the weak US economy will cut future demand and on the easing of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. It is clear that that, contrary to much chatter, neither the US nor Israel is about to launch a strike against Iran. And the Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium in the oil market.
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