Thursday, October 30, 2008
Politico reports this morning that Al and Tipper Gore will campaign for Obama tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach – the first time the former vice president has stumped for a presidential candidate in the Sunshine State since his narrow loss there cost him the presidency in 2000.
The Goracle's trip comes after Obama held a midnight rally with Bill Clinton last night and broadcast live before 20,000 Sunrise, Floridians and millions of Americans for his 30-minute commercial. This morning we've just landed in Sarasota where Obama is scheduled to hold an early voting rally.
All of this points to an Obama bet that Florida could be an early clincher for him. Polls here close 7pm EST and if he takes Florida and simply holds the rest of Kerry's 2004 states it's game over for McCain. A DCCC source says to keep an eye on the vulnerable GOP Miami House races for an early indicator on how Dems are playing there on Election Night.
Early voting looks promising for Obama where registered Dems are outpacing GOP voters 45.4% to 39.0%, though there's no way of telling which way those ballots were cast. Obama holds a 3.5% lead in the RCP average and a 4% lead in our latest poll. And, taking no chances, Obama deployed his ground game guru Steve Hildebrand to Miami three weeks ago. Also lurkingaround the Sunshine State: Paul Tewes, the guy who won Iowa for him and had been Obama's liaison to the DNC, who's been hanging out at Obama's Tampa HQ. (Both men are mailing in their day jobs from Florida).
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Excuse me while I say a few words on behalf of us Fake Americans. Not that I really think of myself as such. I mean, here in Fake America, life proceeds much as it does in Real America. We are raising our kids and paying our taxes, trying to keep up with the dishes in the sink, going to the movies now and then. In fact, if you didn’t know better, you’d never realize our America was Fake. But envoys of Real America keep insisting that it is. As in Sarah Palin, who declared at a recent rally in North Carolina what a joy it was to be in one of the “pro-American” parts of America.
And Nancy Pfotenhauer, a top aide to Sen. John McCain, who recently proclaimed his popularity in the “real Virginia,” i. e., everything south of the state’s Democratic-leaning Washington, D. C. suburbs, the area McCain’s brother, Joe, calls “communist country.” This line of attack is hardly new. Several years ago I met a woman who insisted Hollywood is not the Real America — as if nobody in the Real America ever bought a ticket to “Spider-Man 3” or watched an episode of “American Idol.” But though the tack is an old one, it is being used with renewed ferocity by the GOP here in the closing days of Decision ’08.
Having failed to sway a sufficient portion of the electorate with other arguments, the Republicans now seek to stir Real Americans to anger against fake ones.
As near as I can tell, you are a Fake American if you live in a big city. Or on the coasts (Gulf Coast excepted). Or shop at any store ritzier than Wal-Mart. Or worship at a mosque. Or hold a college degree (Bible colleges excepted). Or — most important of all — espouse any ideology that is not hardcore social conservatism. It’s ridiculous that this needs saying, but: Fake Americans are Americans. And if we disagree with so-called Real Americans politically, our passion is nevertheless rooted in the same place theirs is. Love of country.
Many Real Americans won’t believe that. For them, love of country and social conservatism are inextricably linked, one and the same. Me, I don’t care for the straitjacket of ideology, preferring the freedom to accept or reject ideas on their merits. So when social conservatives championed, say, individual accountability and responsible fatherhood, I was happy to join them. But that was back when I knew what conservative meant. Years later, I find that no I longer do, if I ever did. Nor am I alone. Consider all the prominent conservatives breaking with the GOP lately. Consider in particular Colin Powell, staunch Republican and American icon, decrying a party he says has become “narrower and narrower” in its approach.
The narrowness Powell condemns has seldom been plainer or meaner. To a degree, I understand the anger of Real Americans; they are often treated with condescending dismissiveness by the rest of us. After all, “flyover country” is only a funny term if you don’t live in flyover country. But cultural chauvinism on the one hand doesn’t excuse hatemongering on the other. In their headlong, ends-justifies-the-means pursuit of victory, some conservatives have forgotten, betrayed and sacrificed the very ideals that supposedly defined them, one of the most important of which was simply this: decency. As I said, I don’t know who they are anymore. But you know what’s worse? Apparently, they don’t either.
Copyright 2008 The Miami Herald
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Well, we've seen this sort of thing the entire campaign,occasionally from the Obama camp, relentlessly from McCain. Today's edition of scrofulous mudslinging--aided and abetted by a banner headline from the Drudge Scourge--involves a wildly inaccurate reading of remarks that Barack Obama made in a 2001 radio interview. It turns out that he wasn't criticizing the Supreme Court for its failure to "redistribute" wealth. He was saying the exact opposite: that the Supreme Court wasn't the way to go. He was saying that political power was the only real way to make decisions about the distribution of taxation. Obama's sentiment is, of course, a wildly radical notion--or, at least it was, before the American Revolution.
To state the obvious, once again: We have had a redistribution of wealth, upward, during the Reagan era. Taxes on work, a.k.a. payroll taxes, have increased. Taxes on wealth, the upper margins of the income tax plus capital gains plus estate taxes, have decreased. To call Obama a socialist because he wants to redress this imbalance is as accurate as calling McCain an oligarch because he doesn't.
Now that McCain's been called out on this, you figure he'll stop using it, right? Yeah, sure. After all, this is mild compared to the trash going out in those robo-calls. You wonder how McCain returns to the land of the living after this campaign is over--after all, his voice and vote, and his pre-campaign moderation, would be valuable on issues like immigration and global warming. There must be some sort of political detox, right?
Copyright 2008 Time Inc.