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18 August 2008


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Stephen Calhoun

Stevenson had a slogan, "Let's talk sense to the American people."

Yup, Pat, there are parallels.

Will the undecideds break 2-1 for McCain in the battlegrounds?

McCain, he of the massive chip on his shoulder, envious of Obama's potency, and egoistic by way of compensation, spoke before the VFW today. ...was a brutal performance.

What does he want the electorate to think of Obama: ivy liberal elitist socialist unamerican semi-foreigner hollywood celebrity gay loving tree hugger???

I have no prediction about who will win but I hope Obama takes the gloves off in September.



Truly I fear you are right. However, as 44 showed, one can win even with a negative popular vote (-0.5%), and Obama showed in his contest with Clinton a master strategist of extremely arcane primary rules. In the general election, things are less confusing; however, electoral college strategy is quite different from popular vote strategy.

Also, one "win" from the debate is to decrease the "Obama is a muslim" meme - from 13% down to 7% or something like that.


ugh. the entire evening creeped me out. i just wish someone would once say 'my religion is none of your damned business' and risk the repercussions.

having said that, there's another angle worth considering -- it's an effort to strip away the influence of the noxious james dobson, tony perkins, et al crowd -- over the evangelicals.

and, apparently, that guaranteed cone of silence had some shortcomings. st john likely cheated and mislead a pastor. at a christian-sponsored event.

what would the baby jesus think.

Mark Logan


The statistic of 10% of the American people believing he is a Muslim is
(IMO) misleading. 10% do say
that, but I think it's really race related. Few are
going to tell a pollster
they won't vote for him because he is black. If pressed, they will simply find another rationalization.

I believe his "hope" is
in his ability to get large numbers of people, who normally do not vote at all,
to turn out for him. And in
the key states. If left to
the demographic that has voted in the last several elections, I think the Col
is very correct. His odds are not very good.

I would give anything to be able to choose between an Ike or an Adlai this year.

Clifford Kiracofe

<"the close relationship between Europe and the USA, right to the breaking point.">

Sven Ortman,

How do you assess the current European reaction to, and longer range consequences of, the Caucasus situation and the US role and Russian roles?

We have seen a split in approach between the traditional continental powers France and Germany on the one hand and so-called "New Europe" countries like Poland, and the Baltic States.

Also, Finland seems to have inclined toward the more cautious position of France and Germany while Sweden seems to have inclined toward the position of the US and New Europe states.

Should Europeans see McCain elected and then see him continuing Bushism-Neoconism what do you foresee in the US-Europe relationship?



I'm with you!!!!

It goes back to Art VI of the one document that matters, the Constitution of the United States of America. To wit:

no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

The involvement of religion in our politics is as old as the Republic. But, whenever its involvement becomes to great, we suffer.

I wish all politicians would simply pass on the opportunity to demagogue about "their" religion. We citizens must begin to demand nothing less.



Col. Lang, Re-sent, broken email, to hear is to obey..

I'm afraid I'm already contemplating what my response to a McCain Presidency will be.

Prediction number One is that the internet bloggers will be muzzled quickly under the guise of a "net neutrality act" and the removal of whatever shreds of anonymity still exist on it - all for our own good, and to protect little kids of course.

Prediction number Two is that the intrusive intelligence gathering and the blurring of the lines between military intelligence and police work will reach a point where the ability and desire of Americans to join protest groups or organisations will be diminished through constant, planned and deliberate harassment enabled by such intelligence.

As Hitler demonstrated, you only need to make an example of 1% - 2% of the population to cow the other 98%. And despite loud protestations to the contrary, Americans will be no different to Germans in this respect.

To put it another way, join ACLU, PETA or any other group and expect an IRS audit at the least and you should probably expect to lose your job.

Prediction number Three is that violence against perceived "Liberals" will intensify. The mainstream media will be puzzled by this, despite their continuous vilification of Liberals, and loudly say so....to encourage more copycat behaviour.

Prediction number Four is a return of the draft, new military spending initiatives, and the continued looting of the treasury by the military industrial complex.

My response will be to start working politically to cut U.S. / Australian ties as fast as possible to avoid going down with the ship. We will probably have to forge ties with China, much to Japan's dislike.

Even if he is elected, and assumes the Presidency, I'm not sure Obama can stop the juggernaut that has been gathering speed the last Seven years.


With Pat's astuteness and his penchant for being right we better contemplate what 4 years under McCain will bring and prepare for it.

After watching both Obama and McCain at Saddleback I felt McCain reinforced his base and those that want life as black & white. In troubled times easy answers that don't require thinking probably fits those Americans in the states that will decide the election.


When I hear "Elitism" I think of something different than an Ivy league education and a family of wealth.

American political thought has moved away from democracy. The logical underpinnings of democracy assume that the consensus decision of the public is likely to be better than an elite group of the "best and the brightest." The latter, while much smarter than Joe Shmo, will be beholden to interests other than the public.

Today, the public seems to have lost confidence in its ability to govern itself. It has, wittingly or otherwise, surrendered the most serious decisions of the nation to a Council on Foreign Relations elite. Sorry if I sound conspiratorial but it is true.

And so the public goes on talking about elitism as if gaining admission to Annapolis, or being the child and grandchild of Admirals is somehow less elite that Harvard Law. Or that being a Son of a President (Bush) is less elite than the son of a Senator (Gore) or that either would ever be caught dead in Jersey with the Bruce Springsteen crowd outside of a photo op.

Elitism surrounds us in our political choices.

What is sad is that the public actually thinks that it has a non elite choice in the matter.


The election will be about "the economy". The two candidates are both "right of center", right of Eisenhower, as is the country. They both are committed to defending Israel as if it was the 51st state, using force pre-emptively, and they agree that Afghanistan is a "central front of the war on terror". A year ago, Obama spoke of adding 92,000 ground troops. US GINI is 45, vs. 28 in France. Obama defines "rich" as $250k annual income, in a country where the Fed reports that the bottom 50 percent of the population own just 2-1/2 percent of the wealth, while the top ten percent own 70 percent. Compared to the average Frenchman, an American has nothing to show for past votes. France enjoys a sustainable economic/political distributive model, while America drifts towards rioting by the increasing numbers of disaffected and/or decent into an even more extreme right power consolidation. The two US candidates are too similar for it to matter much, which one wins the coming election.


Just some minor points - PL is correct about the similarities in terms of image. But this commenter knew someone who knew Stevenson a bit and she thinks he was overrated in his rep for being well read - Indeed, he gave that impression. But it was mostly mannerism -Ironically (image wise) Someone like Nixon was actually far more intellectual than Stevenson - in reality , Even JFK joked that he read more books than Stevenson. But Obama is actually well read and clever. Alas, he is black and that hurts bet 10-20 percent. His wife is interesting, but the demos will prefer Cindy (can you imagine if Michelle had a drug rap like Cindy? Ha!).
It will be a super close election - toss-up. McCain has that great character, right? Too bad it seems he might be he steals scenes from Solzhenitsyn to tell audiences about his prison days.


Hmm, to provide something positive: Lets not all contribute to the "MC Cain is coming, get ready for Hagees Armageddon!" hysteria quite yet (though I can feel it creeping up my spine as well). From a strategic pov, Obamas appearance on the show can be seen as a defensive blocking move, a anti-swiftboat move if you please. The current memetic assaults on the nets are running the far-left/muslim meme for all it is worth, and the appearance with the reverend should surely contribute to lay that to rest. Also, the republicans may have crescendoed early with their "Celebrity" attack. It all depends on wether Obama has a comeback strategy.

If I was his handler, I would have done some things in the runup differently, especially when it came to A) Wiretapping and B) Oildrilling. I would have opposed the wiretapping on principles because that cause reaches deep into the republican libertarian heartlands, and I would have gone on record as trying for the "great communicator role" by showing how drilling is not going to solve the current crisis, using a slogan along the lines of "Wake up and smell the cofee, America!." But, thats too late. What he needs to do now is to come up with six clear points and two big promises to run the rest of his campaign on, a core of ideas wich he can hammer again and again and again. In addition, he needs to build his own swiftboats, maybe not so brutal but underscoring the many mistakes and idiocies of McCain. Chalabi leaps to mind, as does the warmongering with russia. The image of a schaefer vs. a pitbull (one guards your house, the other attacks on sight) may be used. "Mc Cain was conned by a two-bit hustler then. How can we know he will not be again?"

The most important point of the six I think must be to steal back the War on Terror: Propose a police-led manhunt for Osama bin Laden, signing in the elite of both muslim and western policeforces, a real hunting posse. The second must be about the economy, and here he could promise taxbreaks to the poorest and taxes for the hyper-rich. Third could be to go after the big corporations, and bite the hand that feeds him. Fourth should be a promise of a full economical audit of the whole last eight years adventure, and a promise to hunt down anyone who has unduly profited out of the brave boys in uniform. Hammer Bremer. Hammer Hagee. Hammer the neo-cons. The rest I leave open for ideas, but hammering the economy and the gasprices seems like a good idea, laying the blame squarely on the shoulders of the republicans.

A serious offensive hardball game will save it. Looking all dignified and scared and disgusted at the bullying and hustling of the common people will send him the way of Stevenson. Hes gotta learn to project a love for the fight, Irish pride and a boxers stance. If not, he will loose and the world may end as we know it on the fields of Harmageddon.

Yellow Dog

Perhaps McCain will win, but I doubt it. Not because I have any great faith in Obama, but because I have an unreasoning (and perhaps unreasonable)faith in the American people. Historically, America has often lost her way (as she has for the last 8 years), but ultimately realizes her error and corrects her course. I can't help but believe that enough people now recognize how deeply the Republicans have driven us into the ditch. Maybe that's not a realistic outlook, but that's faith for you.


McCain will likely eke out a "win" (even losing the popular vote ala Bush/Cheney) with his vicious all-negative Rovian campaign and daily lies, all happily "covered" by the MSM, so get ready. That will likely destroy the Dem party, as it should.

Europe actually registering real disgust with electoral failure in the US (with actual policy consequences) would be interesting.

It needed to happen after the failed election of 2004, and didn't. I'll guess it won't after the upcoming failed election of 2008, either---because the US is not the only democracy experiencing electoral failure by its citizenry and empty "leaders".


This is the exact same problem that every Democratic campaign since Carter has had except for Bill Clinton. As Obama continues to studiously avoid the Clinton model, he continues to keep it all too close in a year when the Dem candidate should have been a shoo-in.

The thing to remember with this campaign however, is that Bush had big $$$ and a very strong ground operation in 2000 and and even stronger one in 2004. McCain has almost no ground game at all, but thanks to a brutal primary fight, Obama has a strong, well-organized ground game in practically every state, and this year Dems are more or less on par with the GOP, $$$-wise. (I think Obama's team are counting very heavily on their ability to GOTV, and that just ain't gonna show up in any polling...)

So McCain's campaign will be limited to television and radio ads and to the pundit chatter that they generate. They're spending an awfully lot of $$ upfront, trying to "brand" Obama while the Obama campaign has been much more restrained with the $$$ and the ads. (Regarding GOP surrogate attacks: It looks like both the Obama campaign and the media are on high alert for Swift Boat-style smears from the GOP, and Corsi and his new book are getting hammered in places like Larry King Live this time around.)

I don't think we've seen anything yet. I suspect the battle will not begin in ernest until after the conventions.


i think your analysis of the election is correct.


Don't worry, we will get the President we deserve (may not be the President our young ones deserve, though).

Fabius Maximus

There are other reasons Stevenson lost, as this annecdote (probably apocryphal) illustrates.

Stevenson is about to give a speech in 5 minutes. He asks an aide "Do I have time to go to the bathroom?" Being assured he did, he asks "Do I want to go to the bathroom?"

From Halberstam's The Best and the Brightest (p23).

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