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Saturday, March 15, 2008
 
Zogby: McCain Beats Clinton or Obama

Not exactly the most trusted name in polling these days, but it's a significant result:

In the McCain-Clinton-Nader match-up, McCain leads mainly because of a significant advantage among independents. Among those voters, he wins support from 45%, compared to 28% for Clinton and 15% for Nader. McCain wins 79% support from Republicans, while Clinton wins 75% support from Democrats.
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Hostile Obama Supporters?

I feel a little schadenfreude when reading this diary about the strong-arm tactics of the Obama people.

Sadly, the majority of the administrators have allowed this hostile environment to develop in our online community for anyone who isn’t planted firmly in the Obama camp. They've routinely ignored personal attacks and allowed disruptive, spam-like posts to go unchecked whenever anyone expresses support for Hillary or challenges something their candidate has said or done. There are however several front-pagers who have managed to avoid taking part in the attacks on Hillary and for that I’m grateful. But the site has grown to the point where they simply can’t – or won’t monitor it.


Let me say here that I have been surprised by the vitriol on the portside directed against the Clintons. Now if it had been coming from the conservative blogs, I wouldn't have been surprised.

And I suppose I shouldn't. Having tacked rightward to gather support for a general election matchup, Hillary suddenly finds herself up against a candidate of the angry left, in a year where the liberals are supposedly bound to win and are not inclined to support a centrist. Yes, Obama was not the original candidate for these people, but the latest converts to the cult are always the most fervent.

At any rate, the people who've fought in this tough race with the Obamaniacs have found them to be rather nasty; expect ugliness to flourish when they're not going up against their nominal allies.
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Friday, March 14, 2008
 
Obama's Spiritual Mentor?

This looks pretty bad.

Sen. Barack Obama's pastor says blacks should not sing "God Bless America" but "God damn America."

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama's pastor for the last 20 years at the Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's south side, has a long history of what even Obama's campaign aides concede is "inflammatory rhetoric," including the assertion that the United States brought on the 9/11 attacks with its own "terrorism."

In a campaign appearance earlier this month, Sen. Obama said, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial." He said Rev. Wright "is like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with," telling a Jewish group that everyone has someone like that in their family.

Rev. Wright married Obama and his wife Michelle, baptized their two daughters and is credited by Obama for the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope."


Yes, everybody has somebody like that in their family. But the difference is that we can't choose our uncles; we certainly can (and do) choose our churches and pastors. What does it say about Obama that he chose to associate himself with this one? Mona Charen:

Obama's book is strewn with hints of his far left sympathies, as when he tells an African cousin who complains about the hardships of life in Kenya that things are no better in America. Or when he suggests that the lives of poor black young men in the inner city are blighted by white racism. He never says it explicitly, but it's there.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008
 
Are the Stars Aligning for McCain?

After what seemed like a miracle comeback in the Republican primaries, John McCain may be getting the wind at his back as the general election season approaches. Public support for the war in Iraq is rising.

According to late February polling conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 53 percent of Americans — a slim majority — now believe “the U.S. will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals” in Iraq. That figure is up from 42 percent in September 2007.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008
 
I Just Want to Celebrate...

A close friend of mine went into a coma for 11 days. And came out of it. He's got quite a bit of rehabilitation to do, but we were prepared for the worst and got about the best we could ask for.

:)
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Talking Points Meme

Geraldine Ferraro apparently has caused a bit of a fuss by stating the obvious: That Barack Obama is where he is precisely because he is black. Well, Josh Marshall thinks that's self-evidently stupid:

Can anyone seriously claim that it's an asset to be an African-American in a US presidential race? Happily what we're now seeing is that it does not in itself seem to be an eliminating factor in a presidential race. But an advantage? There's no doubt that Obama's race is the central factor in allowing him to consolidate almost unanimous support from African-American voters, especially in the South. But African-Americans make up only about 13% of the population. And does anyone doubt that that advantage he gains there is not balanced at least to a substantial degree by resistance to voting for him among white voters?


Yes, I can seriously claim that it's an asset to be an African-American in this race. Why did Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice get so much attention as potential candidates? Because many, perhaps most, white Americans are yearning for a solid black candidate to arise who will give them the opportunity to show that no, they are not racists.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008
 
Obama and the Daley Machine

Rick Moran does some great blogging.

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John McCain and the Boeing Deal

It's hilarious how hard the libs are stretching to smear John McCain, because every time they try, then end up helping him. Case in point: Sam Stein's column at the HuffnPuff today:

McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, played a crucial role in blocking the deal to build air tankers from going to U.S.-based Boeing, instead paving the path for EADS to score the loot. He framed his decision as an example of political integrity; Boeing has previously been exposed of contract abuse. But a review of campaign finance donations and lobbying records suggests that money and personal lobbying may have also been in play.


Stein establishes that McCain received about $15,000 in campaign contributions from EADS. That's right, fifteen thousand. Apparently Sam thinks this some kind of princely sum. And he glides over why Boeing didn't get the deal:

Finnegan was referring to McCain's 2003 investigation into Boeing's billing practices and lock on the tanker business. That investigation resulted in the company losing out on a $23 billion deal to lease tankers to the Air Force.


And why did Boeing lose out? You won't find it in Stein's column; for that you have to look over at the National Review:

When McCain finally received the e-mails, the Boeing tanker deal exploded. The investigation revealed malfeasance, resulting in a $615 million fine for the company. Boeing’s CEO, Phil Condit, was forced to resign. The company’s CFO was sent to prison. Darleen Druyun, who had served as the second-ranking civilian official for Air Force procurement, also went to prison. She pled guilty in 2004 to steering the tanker contract and other deals toward Boeing in the hopes of later securing lucrative jobs with the company for herself and her family members.


Gee, what's a little thing like that, compared to FIFTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!

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Justice for Elton John Richard

Our longtime blogger buddy Chris pointed this sad story out to us.

Elton John Richard, a US Marine who served two tours in Iraq, found a smalltime hood named Daniel Romero in his Albuquerque garage apparently trying to steal his Bronco. A fight ensued; Romero fled with Richard in pursuit, yelling to his neighbors to call 911. Richard eventually shot Romero to death; it is disputed as to whether this was in self-defense or as the crook tried to escape over a fence. Here's Richard's version of events:

The motion states that Romero threatened that he and his "homies" would harm Richard and that Romero continued to attack Richard as he followed him, waiting for law enforcement to arrive.

"The fact that Romero was the constant aggressor in the situation was expressed by every single neighborhood witness that night," the motion states.

Prosecutors have said they believed Richard shot Romero as he scaled a fence about a quarter-mile from Richard's home.

Blackburn argues in the motion that after following Romero over the fence, Richard found himself cornered and that Romero suddenly swung around and raised his arm as if he was raising a firearm.

"Faced with such an immediate and impending threat from the man that Richard reasonably believed had attempted to invade his home, that was visibly under the influence of intoxicants, and had threatened Richard repeatedly, Romero was shot through the chest in self-defense," the motion states.


Prosecutors put the Marine on trial, originally for murder, although he eventually pled no contest to voluntary manslaughter. Judge Pat Murdoch sentenced Richard to two years in prison. In a measure of how worthless Romero's life was, he also required the Marine to pay restitution of $500 per month for the next four years.

Now, you know how it is. We should not have people chasing down smalltime hoodlums and shooting them. But two years in prison seems a pretty stiff sentence for doing society a favor, and even Bill Richardson, governor of New Mexico, has called on the judge to reconsider his sentence. Richardson has also signaled his willingness to issue an order of clemency if Richard's family requests it. This would leave the conviction on his record. Assuming that what they claim is true, that Richard was simply following the man so that he would not get away, and that Romero was indeed attacking him while being pursued, he should receive a full and complete pardon.

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Monday, March 10, 2008
 
Spitzer: I Am A John American

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it:

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national prominence relentlessly pursuing Wall Street wrongdoing, has been caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a high-priced prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, according to a law enforcement official and a person briefed on the investigation.

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The VP Choice Effect

I've already looked in the past at the presidential nominee's home field advantage and concluded it was worth somewhere between five and seven percentage points. That is, presidential nominees tend to do about five to seven points better in their home state than they do nationally.

It seems logical to assume that the VP nomination has a similar effect; all other things being equal (which of course they aren't), a state that has a VP nominee should tend to vote a little more for that ticket than they might otherwise. We would assume that the effect would be smaller than for the presidential nominees.

So I put together a little spreadsheet that analyzes the past impacts of VP nominees. I'll illustrate with John Edwards, John Kerry's running mate in 2004. Edwards was from North Carolina, which Bush took by 12.44 percentage points in 2004. By contrast, Bush won North Carolina by 12.83 percentage points in 2000, so Edwards improved things by about 0.39 percentage points.

But that's not the whole story. Remember, Bush actually lost the popular vote nationally by 0.51 percentage points in 2000, and won by 2.46 percentage points in 2004, so there was a national trend for Bush to pick up 2.97 percentage points. Thus, the indicated improvement for the Democrats from having Edwards on the ticket appears to be about 3.36 percentage points.

Of course, there are lots of other things going on in the race, so it's impossible to say that was definitely the Silky Pony effect, but it appears to fit in well with prior years. I went back for the last 16 veep nominees. I excluded sitting vice presidents for two reasons. First, they only run with sitting presidents, and it seems far more likely that voters vote on the performance of that president rather than for their local boy as VP. And second, we don't face that situation this year.

Year VP Nom State Result Prior Trend Effect
2004 Edwards NC -12.44% -12.83% -3.0% 3.36%
2000 Cheney WY 39.79% 12.97% 8.0% 18.82%
2000 Lbrman CT 17.57% 18.14% -8.0% 7.43%
1996 Kemp NY -28.86% -15.85% -3.0% -10.06%
1992 Gore TN 4.65% -16.34% 13.3% 7.71%
1988 Quayle IN 20.15% 23.99% -10.5% 6.65%
1988 Bentsen TX -12.60% -27.50% 10.5% 4.40%
1984 Ferraro NY -8.01% -2.67% -8.5% 3.13%
1980 Bush TX 13.86% -3.17% 11.8% 5.23%
1976 Mondale MN 12.88% -5.51% 25.2% -6.82%
1976 Dole KS 7.50% 38.16% -25.2% -5.45%
1972 Shriver MA 8.97% 30.12% -22.5% 1.30%
1968 Muskie ME 22.23% 37.68% -23.3% 7.83%
1968 Agnew MD -1.55% -30.96% 23.3% 6.13%
1964 Hmphrey MN 27.76% 1.38% 22.3% 4.07%
1964 Miller NY -37.25% -5.26% -22.3% -9.68%

Average 2.75%

As you can see, 12 of the 16 nominees did improve their ticket's anticipated performance; the only ones who failed to do so were Kemp in 1996, both Dole and Mondale in 1976, and Bill Miller in 1964. Cheney in 2000 appears to have improved his ticket the most in his home state, but it should be noted that only Al Gore in 1992 appears to have swung his home state over into the winning column. And even there caution is in order; Bill Clinton was also a southerner and that may have had more to do with winning Tennessee than the presence of Gore. Overall the average VP appears to have resulted in a 2.75 percentage point improvement in his home state over what the ticket would have done without him (or her, in Ferraro's case). This seems a reasonable estimate. It's about half the presidential home field advantage.

Implications for 2008? Here's where things get really complicated. We cannot assume that McCain will carry the country by the same 2.46 percentage points that Bush did in 2004. And we cannot assume that the Democrats will win big as some of the polls are indicating. It seems safest to start both parties at even, by deducting 2.46 percentage points from the Republican net percentage in each state. This tips three states that Bush carried in 2004 into the Democrats' column: Iowa, New Mexico, and Ohio. Obviously Ohio is the most important of those three; if McCain carries all the states Bush did except New Mexico and Iowa he still wins (barely) with 274 electoral college votes of the 270 needed. Thus it would seem that an Ohio politician like former Senator Rob Portman would be a logical choice.

Of course, there are lots of other variables in the race. It is well-reported that if Obama wins the Democratic nomination that the state of New Jersey may come into play, which might indicate a prominent NJ politician like Christie Todd Whitman could swing the Garden State to the GOP. That would have the added effect of capitalizing on the resentment some women may feel with Hillary not getting the nod in the Democratic Convention, although it would not help McCain with the conservatives. But McCain could lose Ohio, New Mexico and Iowa and still win by picking up New Jersey.

For the Democrats, a lot depends on whom the nominee is, but Florida and Colorado would both seem to be within reach. Colorado's governor is Bill Ritter; the only problem is that he has even less experience in elective office than Barack Obama, having been elected in 2006. Bill Nelson would be the obvious choice for Florida.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008
 
Nice Profile of Michelle Malkin

Not surprisingly, though, it reveals much more about her critics:

Two years ago, in the midst of an Internet contretemps over military recruiting on college campuses, left-leaning activists posted her home address and phone number -- and photos of her house and neighborhood -- online. They apparently were trying to exact revenge because she had published information they felt she shouldn't have.

The Malkins found a new home. For now, only a few friends know exactly where to find them.


The vitriol with which the Left greets conservatives is noted. Has anybody noticed that virtually nobody vilifies liberal columnists? We may joke about "Slow-Mo" Dowd, but nobody on the conservative side is publicizing the location of her abode.

Update: Mrs M talks about the piece here and notes that she didn't agree to an interview with the New Yorker. Could it possibly have been this part of the introductory email that turned her off?

I’ve been reading and watching with interest your commentary on the election, and — particularly with McCain rising — I think this could be a great time to look at your work and career and influence.


As most of you probably know, Mrs M was not supporting Senator McCain in the primaries, and so the bit about looking at her influence is pretty clearly intended as a slap. But even if she did not get her wish in this instance, she's still a hugely influential person in the blogosphere. On most issues where I have disagreed with her in the past, I have generally come to the conclusion that she was right and I was wrong--Brownie and Harriet Miers come to mind right off the top of my head.

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