Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obama Takes Clear Lead After Debate

Barack Obama has jumped several points in both the latest national and state polls. He now leads by over 4% in the RealClearPolitics average of the latest national polls. Obama also has pulled ahead in Colorado, Michigan, and Virginia, and pulled even in Florida, North Carolina, and Ohio. He is projected by RCP to win 301 electoral votes, to McCain's 237, and the projecting site Five Thirty-Eight to win 331 EV to McCain's 207, and take a 51.1% to 47.1% victory.

Of course this doesn't mean that McCain has no hope, he stills has over a month to recover the lead, and could be aided if he or Sarah Palin can gain a big victory in one of their debates, or if Obama or Biden makes a significant gaffe (Biden constantly makes gaffes, but they never seem to stick). Now that both of the conventions are passed, and voters are really making up their minds, polls really start to matter. McCain will probably have to have a strong performance the rest of the campaign to have any hope.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Last Night's Debate

The pundits seemed fairly evenly divided over who they felt was the winner last night, with a little bit more saying McCain. The one thing that they all seemed to agree on was that it was not a slam dunk for either one, no K.O. blow, probably no big surge in momentum.

McCain's early theme's were cutting waste and keeping the goverment and others accountable, while Obama kept trying to tie McCain and Pres. Bush together.

Obama seemed a little frustrated much of the time from his facial expressions and his interuptions of McCain to say things like: "That's not true".

As was pointed out several time, Obama said at least eight times something to the effect of "I agree with John", while McCain many times pointed out that Obama just didn't understand issues.

I was frustrated because neither one of the candidates were very good about answering the question or giving specifics, instead trying to turn almost every question into something else that is one of their strengths, or thei opponents weaknesses.

There was a lack of memorable lines, but one of my favorites was when Obama was waffling about meeting hostile dictators such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran:

Obama: " ...And the notion that we would sit with Ahmadinejad and not say anything while he's spewing his nonsense and his vile comments is ridiculous. Nobody is even talking about that."

McCain: "So let me get this right. We sit down with Ahmadinejad, and he says, "We're going to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth," and we say, "No, you're not"? Oh, please."

I thought that McCain won the debate overall, though some polls say Obama did, and McCain did not get the big victory he probably needed, as he is behind in the polls, and foreign policy is one of his strong suits. All things considered, I would have to say the Obama camp is probably fine with the outcome, since he did not get crushed or make a major gaffe.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tonight's Debate Previews

Here are a couple of good previews from The Fix and Realclearpolitics.

Some Thoughts on the Presidential Candidates

This election is certainly one of the most exciting and historical Presidential races, with the open primaries on both sides, resulting in interesting contests between Obama and Clinton, as well as between half-a-dozen Republicans. Obama's being the first African-American Presidential nominee, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's VP nomination contribute to the historic side of this election.

Although I am not a big fan of President Bush, I am somewhat enthusiastically supporting the McCain-Palin ticket. I believe that in many areas where President Bush is weak or has made mistakes, McCain will be different, including:

1. Spending bills: Bush has signed Congress' bills (both Democrat and Republican) that have spent way too much money, and are full of pork-barrel earmark spending. I strongly believe McCain will actually pull the veto stamp out and use, having a long record of one of Congress' leaders fighting against wasteful earmark spending.

2. Iraq: The administration made many strategic errors (such as not sending enough troops) in Iraq, due too, in my opinion, the arrogance of folks such as fmr. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who seemed to do what they wanted, rather than take the advice from military commanders (I must note Bush has improved in this area). McCain would do a much better job, he advocated the successful troop surge even when it was very unpopular politically.

3. Competence: Bush was elected after serving one and a half terms as Governor of Texas. While that did give him some Executive experience, the role that a Governor normally plays is divided up between several different offices (of which the Governor isn't even necessarily the most influential), limiting his experience. Also, Bush had very little knowledge on foreign affairs, which led Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc. to make a lot of decisions. The President also had little economic knowledge. I don't think there are any questions about McCain's competence.

McCain has been a "change agent" and reformer in Washington. Palin has been a strong reformer in Alaska. I think they will bring the change we need to Washington. I also believe McCain represents the moderate-conservative views consistent with the mainstream (including myself), being in between the centrist purple, and the conservative red (which equals burgundy!).

While I like Obama's message of change, and I agree with his assessment that judgement matters more than experience, I don;t like his far-left liberal views and voting record in the Senate, the fact that he has not had any major legislative accomplishments, and his lack of specifics in terms of change.

Sadly, I don't think either candidate has been specific enough about what they will do. For example, neither really touches the politically risky issues of healthcare and social security, I also think that McCain needs to offer a plan to get the troops out of Iraq as soon as possible, and Obama needs to offer a plan that ensures they can get out safely without leaving Iraq in a mess.