Tag Archives: John McCain

Not to bring up polls again, but…

Yes, I know I blogged earlier that I didn’t want to blog on polls, because they’re unreliable this year due to the complete absence of solid and consistent standards, demographic balances, or turnout models from one poll to the other. However, I’m going to blog on polls once again before the election is over, and I’ll be staying true to my word because it’s another blog post on polling unreliability.

OK, I also know it sounds like I’m trashing a field of professional study of which I was a part for some time, but I’m really not; I still believe in the basic soundness of political polling. I simply think this year’s election dynamics are unique in their unpollability. However, there is an area of political polling in which I have never had any faith, at least not since I knew what they were. The area is that of the damnable exit poll.

More wonkery, notes of caution for Obamacolytes, and reasons for optimism for McCainiacs, below the break.

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Starving us of energy, for our own good

Does Barack Obama even want Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, or Virginia?

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there…. So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

So said Sen. Obama in a San Francisco Chronicle interview in January. (More here, here, and here) Fairly in line with Joe Biden’s professed hosility to coal of any kind (video here). Residents of the above coal-producing swing-states and others will be delighted to hear of Obama’s ambition to put them all out of work by way of punitive government fees. He went on to say that “under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” (Obviously, this was back when Hillary was still “inevitable” and Obama had less to lose.)

So with what, pray tell, would Obama fill the cavernous energy gap left by all of our shuttered coal plants, which after all do represent by far our biggest domestic energy source (nearly half our power production) and would leave us almost totally dependent on foreign energy sources if “bankrupted” by Obama’s cap-and-trade system?

The not-so-pretty search for an answer, with one alternative after the other shoved off the table, below the break.

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No. 1 on YouTube for a reason

Obamagirl is prettier, but if I were an undecided voter this weekend, this video would put even her out of my mind. Make absolutely sure you watch past the spoken part.

I saw this video some time back (it’s was uploaded two months ago), but according to the BBC it’s become “the most-viewed election-related video on the YouTube website” since then, racking up over 11.3 million hits as of this posting.

The most striking part about it (outside of its content) is that while the McCain campaign did make a decision early on to spend less money on TV and more on YouTube advertising, the campaign never even had a hand in this. It’s entirely homemade; filmed, edited, and uploaded by volunteers, and starring an Iraq veteran who remains nameless throughout. McCain’s most effective Internet ad didn’t cost him a dime.

UPDATE: Fox News’s Shep Smith interviewed the no-longer-unnamed soldier, Sgt. Joe Cook, during his hour-long show. It was actually a fairly good interview, with Smith pressing Sgt. Cook to explain his assertion in the video that Sen. Obama has been “disrespectful” to the troops, but doing so respectfully himself, and in a manner that evokes a civil and enlightening exchange.

As with Joe Wurzelbacher and Tito Muñoz, I hope Sgt. Cook has a minimum of skeletons in his closet, or he can expect a lot of unwanted attention in the next few days. Fortunately, this late in the game, and with the race this close, I doubt that even the most bloodthirsty oppo professional on Obama’s staff, or the most starry-eyed Obama cheerleader in the media, will be so stupid as to go through the garbage cans of a wounded Iraq veteran who served honorably.

Kiss Alaska goodbye. Thank Ted Stevens.

Newly convicted Sen. Ted Stevens is digging in his heels, and this blogger sees no sign of any intent to resign, before or after the election. The man honestly thinks he won’t spend day one in jail; I don’t think he’s capable of envisioning a Senate without him.

National Republicans are abandoning him, the state party is clinging to him, his fellow senators (of both parties) are talking openly about expelling him, and local political experts are still saying he might eke out one final re-election victory.

News developments, analysis, and more wonkery below the break.

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Rally featuring Tito the Truck Driver

[UPDATE: Welcome, Fox News “Embeds” readers! Feel free to have a look around, starting with a click on the banner art for the latest posts. Check out recent posts on polls, energy, redistribution, what it means to be “rich,” and hey, maybe a little wildlife photography.]

Joe the Plumber has generated an honest-to-gawd sequel: Tito the Truck Driver, who introduced Sarah Palin at a McCain-Palin rally today.

Tito first burst onto the scene when he confronted Mother Jones columnist David Corn at an earlier rally, surrounded by a small crowd in high moral dudgeon. (Corn was there to demonstrate to the world what a savage bunch McCain-Palin supporters were.) Tito laced into Corn for the media’s shabby treatment of Joe Wurzelbacher, AKA Joe the Plumber, and their general, all-around in-the-tankitude regarding Barack Obama. Corn went through most of the exchange with the same deer-in-the-headlights look on his face that he and so many of his colleagues love to ascribe to Gov. Palin.

It got him noticed, and it eventually got his name out. He next turned up in the McCain-Palin campaign’s very effective ad released last week, “I Am Joe,” in which a succession of blue-collar workers and small-business owners vocally identified with Joe the Plumber and described what makes them like him. This was where the angry guy in the hardhat from David Corn’s ill-fated foray into Red-State America introduced himself formally as “Tito the Truck Driver.”

Now he appears to have joined the McCain-Palin ground team on a semi-permanent basis as a VIP, introducing Sarah Palin for her rally speeches. Not bad for a Colombian immigrant who came here with nothing.

I just hope, for Tito’s sake, that he has his taxes in order. Especially now that David Corn has a mad-on for him.

UPDATE: Thanks to Anchoress, who tells me Tito’s full name. Joe Wurzelbacher, meet Tito Muñoz.

Welcome to the bighouse, Ted. Now what?

The Congressional Indicted Caucus officially has one fewer member. Senator Ted Stevens has been convicted on all counts. To quote a certain played-out, over-the-hill cartoonist: “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” (More here, here, here, and here.) For his part, Stevens has announced he will appeal, maintaining his innocence and lacerating the prosecutors for what I admit was some pretty messed-up lawyering.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see Sen. Stevens go, which will come as no surprise to WitSnapper readers (who may have read my thoughts on the man here, here, here, here, and elsewhere). His Senate seat will likely go to his Democratic opponent, Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, now effectively running unopposed. Republicans now are scrambling to assess their very limited options.

Bunches of scenario-weaving below the break.

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“You got served, beeyotch!”

OK, after that last post I think we desperately need to lighten the mood a bit. This oughta work. Kick back and relax for the McCain vs. Obama Dance-Off! It’s on!

Stick around for the surprise twist. Whoever made this video has waaaaaay too much spare time, but all the same I’d say it was worth every second. (H/T the Corner.)

Sadistic Butchers for Hope and Change ’08 UPDATE: Police pronounce story Tawana 2.0

Police say a college student and McCain volunteer in Pittsburgh was mugged and mutilated by a man who, upon seeing a McCain sticker on her car, took out a knife and carved a “B” in her face.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said the robber took $60 from Todd, then became angry when he saw a McCain bumper sticker on the victim’s car. The attacker then punched and kicked the victim, before using the knife to scratch the letter “B” into her face, Richard said.

Further details here, here, and here.

Says Instapundit:

This is so serious that I predict it will get almost one-tenth as much national coverage as something some guy may have yelled at a Palin rally once.

I dunno. There are some weird things about the “B” on her cheek (see the photo here, provided by the alleged victim). This looks more like an attack from a scratcher than a slasher. And why is it backwards? Isn’t that what a careless mirror job would look like? I’m detecting shades of Tawana Brawley. I will most certainly feel worse than horrible for writing this paragraph if this turns out to be a legit attack, but I can’t quite get past that photo.

UPDATE: Ace of Spades and Miz Michelle appear to share my discomfort, though Ace notes the unlikelihood of giving oneself a black eye.

UPDATE II: Police plan to administer a polygraph, says Captain Ed. Apparently there are some things about her story that don’t jibe with the ATM camera footage. For now, say police, they are treating it as a “credible report;” we’ll see if she consents to the polygraph, and if so, how she does.

UPDATE III: Fox News has just announced on the air that local police have decided the woman, Ashley Todd, made the whole thing up. My thanks to the Bloomfield Police Department for sparing me some major league guilt for my aforementioned skepticism.

UPDATE IV: We have a confession, and a perp walk for filing a false report. (H/T Hot Air.) Apparently this volunteer has a history of mental problems, and (natch) she’s upset with the media for hyping the whole thing.

Could the polls be wrong? It’s happened, but…

A bunch of people, both live and over email, have asked me why I don’t blog more on poll results, especially given that I worked in the business for a number of years.

Admittedly, I’m blogging a lot less on poll-related topics than I did, say, a month or more ago, which is a bit counterintuitive in light of the avalanche of poll results that comes in the last couple of months before an approaching presidential Election Day.  Since mid-September, pollblogging on WitSnapper has been especially rare, and even then I’ve typically done so only to comment on the misuse or shoddy execution of polls.

There’s a pretty simple reason: taken as a whole, the polls for this race have been entirely unreliable, and my estimation is that it’s because of pollster panic.

In addition, if McCain were to overtake Obama in the last couple of weeks in defiance of the polls, it wouldn’t be the first (or even second) time in modern election history.

Details and further links below the break.

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What is CNN’s problem?

All of a sudden, CNN appears to be taking some pretty underhanded steps to make things difficult for John McCain and Sarah Palin.  I say “underhanded” because my capacity for benefit of the doubt, at long last, has been depleted; neither of these screw-ups would ever have befallen a competent reporter or editor.

First, they reported Monday on their “Political Ticker” blog, wrongly, that the McCain campaign was ceding Colorado to Obama, prioritizing scenarios for winning without it.  Not only is this vigorously denied by the campaign, but this report came on the same day that Sarah Palin was drawing record audiences in Grand Junction, with four appearances across the state by Todd Palin scheduled for Tuesday.  How, when the McCain campaign looks to be concentrating especially hard on Colorado, does CNN possibly divine that they are giving it up for lost?

Now, CNN’s Drew Griffin has “dowdified” a passage from a column in National Review by Byron York to make it sound as if York thinks Sarah Palin is the dimmest of dim bulbs, when actually York is commenting on how the media are making every effort to make her look that way.  Here is York’s original passage (note especially the opening clause):

Watching press coverage of the Republican candidate for vice president, it’s sometimes hard to decide whether Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt, backward, or — or, well, all of the above. Palin, the governor of Alaska, has faced more criticism than any vice-presidential candidate since 1988, when Democrats and the press tore into Dan Quayle. In fact, Palin may have it even worse than Quayle, since she’s taking flak not only from Democrats and the press but from some conservative opinion leaders as well….

Yes, there are legitimate concerns about Palin’s lack of experience. Who wouldn’t, at the very least, wish that she had more time in the governor’s office on her résumé? But a look at Palin’s 20 months in power, along with interviews with people who worked with her, shows her to be a serious executive, a governor who picked important things to do and got them done — and who didn’t just stumble into an 80 percent job-approval rating.

And here’s a transcript of Griffin’s question in an interview with Gov. Palin (video clip here):

The press has been pretty hard on you, the Democrats have been pretty hard on you, but also some conservatives have been pretty hard on you as well. The National Review had a story saying that, you know, I can’t tell if Sarah Palin is incompetent, stupid, unqualified, corrupt or all of the above.

Note the conspicuous absence of the previously emphasized opening clause.  York himself takes considerable exception to the distortion of his article in NRO’s The Corner.  National Review had no story saying any such thing; the story said such a conclusion might be drawn from the tenor and content of Palin’s media coverage.  (Kind of ironic that Griffin should make himself an example of just such coverage with this tailored misquote.)

Too bad…with Griffin’s recent more-in-depth-than-usual coverage of Barack Obama’s connections to ACORN and Bill Ayers, I’d begun to consider reassessing my estimation of CNN’s “in the tank for Obama” status.  Griffin, in his infinite consideration, has done his part to spare me a minor cris de coeur.

UPDATE: Griffin has apologized, pseudo-kinda-sorta. He was kind enough to stress that “Sarah Palin was delightful,” and also pointed out that the offending quote aired only once (they were notified of the misquote by National Review, after which the quote was cut from the interview). His explanation:

“I wanted to keep the interview moving, so I got to the heart of the question and really the heart of York’s article, and the National Review‘s article, which is that you are a successful Governor, and why aren’t you getting that message out, which she answered…In no way did I intend to misquote the National Review.

OK. Saying you were rushed is a pretty weak excuse, and an apology would have been fitting (it was done out of his own carelessness, after all), but I give him credit for taking airtime out to explain. I still have trouble seeing how such a mistake can be made accidentally, but since he’s gone on the record admitting, at the very least, a “misquote,” then as far as I’m concerned, the matter’s closed. Too bad Kyra Phillips blew the whole thing when she ended off the segment with the following facetious yet self-pitying twaddle:

We should graduate not only with a diploma but a big target on our forehead, because no matter what we say during a political season, and you’re rushed and it’s tight time, there’s always going to be people out there that are going to criticize it. You did a great job Drew, appreciate it.

Excuse me? “No matter what we say??” What is Phillips trying to say, that an accurate quote would have generated the same backlash? Sorry, Kyra, but you’re not the victim here. Your testiness is undeserved and unprofessional, and however one might describe Griffin’s handling of that part of the interview, it was definitely not a “great job.”

Theft for food? Sounds like a U.N. program.

A pizzeria in Michigan is offering free pizza for McCain-Palin lawn signs, leading to a rash of thefts from front lawns by kids jonesing for a slice. (Link to video via Miz Michelle.)

The owner of Salvatore’s Pizzeria, a button-wearing Obama voluptuary who says “health care is killing us,” is slamming John McCain for pulling advertising and rally assets out of Michigan.  In that spirit, she’s cooked up a promo stunt in which people can bring in their McCain-Palin lawn signs to exchange for free pizza, since obviously they won’t need the signs now that McCain has “given up on” them.

Of course, the inevitable has followed close on.  Lawn signs are disappearing fast from lawns whose owners, wonder of wonders, would rather keep them there than trade them for greasy pizza from some self-important, spiteful shrew with a political axe to grind.  At least one teenager has been caught in the act of making off with the things, and he has cited the free-pizza promo to police as his motive.  Meanwhile, the folks at Salvatore’s says they’ve been collecting as many as 30 signs a day since McCain pulled advertising from Michigan (about two weeks ago), which amounts to hundreds of freebies in the last couple of weeks.  (Hell, if she thinks health care is killing her, I imagine she’ll love seeing what this promo is doing for her business costs.)

Does the owner of Salvatore’s really think she bears no responsibility for the string of thefts?  Did she honestly believe that it wouldn’t be an inevitable side-effect of the promo?  More interestingly, how many people does she think she’s fooling with her contention that she bears no blame, given that she certainly never explicitly instructed anyone to steal signs?

Transparency: Sure beats McCain-Feingold!

The McCain-Feingold “Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act” is one of the things for which I will never forgive John McCain.  Nor, for that matter, will I forgive President Bush for signing it into law, as anyone will know who watched/heard me growling obscenities at the TV while the President commented, during the freakin’ signing ceremony, on how he was pretty sure it was unconstitutional, but was going to sign it anyway because he was sure the Supreme Court would get his back (anyone remember how that turned out?).

I believed then, and still believe now, that total transparency would be far more effective in weeding out corrupt influences arising from questionable campaign contributions, combined with far more effective screening techniques for weeding out fake IDs used for multiple submissions and other contribution fraud.

Which brings me to my point.  I saw something from Captain Ed today, the looks of which I liked a whole lot.  The RNC is planning to use the filthy lucre in Barack Obama’s campaign vault as a hit point in an ad campaign calling on him to be far more transparent about his own campaign donors.

Obama first distinguished himself as a target of suspicion on this front when he went back on his word to subject himself to public campaign financing, allowing him to collect unlimited amounts of money and at the same time be really cagey about where the money was coming from.  Last month alone, the Obama campaign raised a stench-ridden $150 million.

The RNC has responded by launching a new website allowing access to a database containing the first names, last names, and amount donated of all people donating $200 or less since John McCain officially became the Republican nominee (i.e. since the convention, after which his campaign switched to public money and the RNC began running issue ads to supplement his campaign effort).  They are calling upon Obama to do the same with his donors up to $200.

Thing is, Obama is balking.  The law does not require that he do so, of course, but given his pledge to be a different kind of politician, on top of the brazen breach of his public-financing promise, people are going to wonder what he’s hiding.

For their part, journalists are having trouble thinking of a good reason why Obama would be reluctant to release the names and donation amounts of his donors.  It’s not enough information on them for other Democrats to use the database for their own fundraising purposes (which would rob Obama of a terrific power-brokering tool).  Might it be that the database might include too many donors named “Doodad Pro” or “Jgtj Jfggjjfggj”…?

Captain Ed sums up their quandary:

There really is no good reason not to reveal their donors.  If the RNC can do it with a website in the middle of a presidential campaign, then the Obama campaign certainly can as well.  Do they want to admit to a certain amount of incompetence at basic data management that will undermine their tech-savvy patina, especially after shooting themselves in the foot for making fun of John McCain’s inability to use e-mail?  I think not.

Hey, when all anti-First Amendment regulation regimes fail, transparency moves in to pick up the slack.  At least it might turn lack of transparency in fundraising, at long last, into a campaign liability, which is as it should be.