Mackinac Island for Obama

I was quite surprised upon looking at a copy of the Mackinac Island Town Crier which arrived today. There is a half page ad for a fund raiser for Barack Obama which includes the names of some people who I would not expect to be supporting a Democrat for president. The Mussers, owners of Grand Hotel, have even contributed the use of The Gate House restaurant for the event. (For the benefit of those who have been to the island in the past but not recently, this was the French Outpost until purchased by Grand Hotel in 2005).

The event is to be held on Monday, August 25 from 4-6 pm (which unfortunately is a couple of days before I will be arriving for the Labor Day Jazz Weekend at Grand Hotel). Further contact information is available in the ad.

Maybe I overestimated how Republican some of the people on the island are. Perhaps the backers of the event include former Republicans who, like much of the country, are now disenchanted with GOP rule. I also wonder if some are opposing McCain due to his role in blocking the renewal of the H2B visa exemptions which resulted in preventing many people who have worked on the island for years from returning to work this summer. If this is the case and Michigan business owners are considering this issue, perhaps Michigan is not in play to the extent that many Republicans believe this year.

Edwards Used Elizabeth’s Illness To Attempt to Cover Up Affair

The more that comes out about John Edwards, the worse he looks. The editor of The Raleigh News and Observer writes that Edwards pleaded with him not to run a story about his affair when the initial accusations came out last October. He cited his wife’s health as a reason for the newspaper not to publish this in the local paper. The paper had actually already decided against going ahead with the story, but Edwards did not know this.

Edwards was sure playing on the sympathies of the newspaper when he begged them not to print the story due to Elizabeth’s health considering that during his confession he stated that she already knew about the affair.

While the media was initially reluctant to cover the story, the dishonest manner in which Edwards responded seems to have many journalists determined to investigate this further. At the paper’s Editors’ Blog the coverage of the story is discussed further, concluding:

Questions remain about who is the father of Hunter’s baby and whether Edwards knew about payments to Hunter and Young. We’ll continue reporting.

The Lady Calls Obama An Elitist

In a failed campaign characterized by far more nonsense than substance, perhaps the most ridiculous attack from the Clintonistas was that Obama is elitist. Anybody who has a shot at the presidency is a member of an elite in this country, making the charge rather meaningless. It was even more ridiculous coming from supporters of Hillary Clinton, who by any meaningful measure is far more of an elitist than Obama.

That is not to say that Hillary Clinton is the most elitist person in the country. Clinton’s elitism is surpassed by many, such as Lynn Forester, Lady de Rothschild. Just the name places her well ahead of Clinton-level elitism, and light years ahead of Obama on the elitism scale. Despite this, the Lady de Rothschild once again accuses Obama of elitism as she continues to push for the Clinton elite to return to power:

“We’re not going to win by pretending problems with Barack Obama don’t exist. He has a huge problem connecting with ordinary Americans, who think, ‘He doesn’t understand me.’ He is not modest; he is arrogant. He radiates elitism.”

At least Obama’s type of elitism, based upon his own abilities and success is preferable to elitism based upon who Forester and Hillary Clinton happened to marry. Incidentally, the article also reports that “The Rothschilds spent the night of their wedding dinner in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House when Bill Clinton was president.” Yes, they are such common folk.

The Lady de Rothschild also complains that, “He started running for president before he even set foot in the US Senate.”  Obama’s hardly the first politician to dream of running for president. Anyone doubt that this was also Hillary’s goal before running for her Senate seat?

Leon Panetta explains the problem:

Leon Panetta, Bill Clinton’s former White House chief of staff, was tasked by the Obama campaign this summer with soothing ruffled feelings and helping Hillary loyalists to get over their sense of loss. It has been a demanding assignment.

“There is a sense of entitlement that almost seems to be inbred,” Panetta said. “They are convinced Hillary is the one who should be assuming the mantle and it’s tough to crack that.”

Here are two clear measures that one is an elitist: having the title of Lady and having a belief that one is entitled to be president, even after losing a primary battle (which so many of her supporters are in denial about).

Anyone Want To Vote for Bloomberg/Paul?

Voters in Virginia just might get a chance to vote for a Michael Bloomberg/Ron Paul ticket. Sam Stein reports that the Independent Green Party of Virginia collected enough signatures to get this ticket on the ballot  without the knowledge of the potential candidates. A representative of the state board of elections did state that they would not be placed on the ballot if they request to have their names taken off.

Ron Paul is quirky enough that I wouldn’t attempt to guess what he will do, but I doubt he would have any interest in this. I certainly don’t see Michael Bloomberg keeping his name on the ballot. If he was really interested in an independent run he would have no chance of winning this year but he could do respectable by third party standards. I can’t see any reason why he’d allow his name to be on a ballot without actively trying and wind up with a negligible number of votes.

If they should remain on the ballot it is difficult to be certain how it would impact the election this year when Virginia is actually in play. Ron Paul has more fanatic supporters who might vote even if neither is campaigning. The conventional wisdom is that Ron Paul would take more votes from a Republican, but it is also possible that a Bloomberg/Paul ticket could take anti-war votes away from Obama and help McCain.

It is unlikely a third party candidate would win under any situation, but it is even less likely Bloomberg could win against Obama and McCain due to their support form independents. Earlier in the year when a Bloomberg candidacy was being discussed I suggested that his best chance would be if John Edwards won the Democratic nomination and Mike Huckabee won the Republican nomination. With a candidate as weak as Edwards there would be an outside chance of Bloomberg moving ahead of Edwards and then create a coalition including Democrats and country club Republicans who would find Bloomberg preferable to Huckabee. Considering how things turned out, this scenario of Bloomberg becoming the de facto Democratic candidate looks even more plausible today if Edwards had somehow won the nomination. (Of course this was never really plausible as the same weaknesses which would prevent Edwards from being competitive in a general election campaign would also prevent him from becoming the nominee.)

Saddleback: The Cone of Silence, POW Honesty, and Pandering

Who would have guessed that the “cone of silence” would become a subject of conversation in political coverage? The New York Times reports that John McCain was not in a “cone of silence” while Barack Obama was answering questions prior to him at the Saddleback Church as Rick Warren had earlier stated. This has raised speculation as to whether McCain cheated and listening in, allowing him more time to prepare answers to the questions. The McCain campaign denied that he cheated:

Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, said on Sunday night that Mr. McCain had not heard the broadcast of the event while in his motorcade and heard none of the questions.

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.

I have no idea whether John McCain cheated and am making no accusations, but I do find something unseemly in this response. We are to take for granted that McCain could not have possibly cheated because he was a prisoner of war. Will that excuse be used to cover up any misdeed McCain might commit? It has already been established this year that John McCain is an unethical liar by the manner in which he has run a Rove/Clinton style dirty campaign in which he has repeatedly lied about Obama’s positions and record. He may or may not have cheated in this case, but having already demonstrated that he is a dishonest person he cannot expect to use having been a prisoner of war as evidence of honesty in other situations.

Mike Allen reports that both candidates actually knew some of the questions in advance:

A source close to Warren tells Playbook that the candidates knew in advance they would be asked their own greatest moral failure, America’s greatest moral failure, and the three wisest people in their lives.

The source said Obama also knew he would be asked if he’d be willing to commit to an emergency plan for orphans, like President Bush has for AIDS. GIVE OBAMA CREDIT FOR ANSWERING CANDIDLY: “I cheated a little bit. I actually looked at this idea ahead of time, and I think it is a great idea.”

I think it was a good idea to allow the candidates a chance to consider some of these questions ahead of time. There are some questions where we would expect a candidate to be prepared  to answer any time. Other questions, such as these, do require some thought and we could learn more about the candidate based upon an answer they have had time to consider rather than hearing the first thing that comes to mind.

Naturally much of the media has been looking at this from the perspective of who won. Such horse race coverage means little here. John McCain should have won as this forum was held before people who agreed with him on most of the issues and have voted heavily Republican in the past. McCain’s goal was simply to reduce reservations about him so that people who already agree with him will vote for him. Obama had to convince people who disagree with him to vote for him. Obama might convince a handful to look beyond issues such as abortion and vote for him, but this event was McCain’s to win or lose. That is partially why Chuck Todd’s evaluation of the event was so wrong.

The problem is not that Chuck Todd declared McCain the winner but the manner in which he did so:

Obama spent more time trying to impress Warren (or to put another away) not offend Warren while McCain seemingly ignored Warren and decided he was talking to folks watching on TV. The McCain way of handling this forum is usually the winning way. Obama may have had more authentic moments but McCain was impressively on message…

Take the VERY first question Warren posed to both candidates: who are three people you’ll depend on for wisdom in the presidency. Obama seemed to answer this in a very personal way, talking about his wife and grandmother. McCain went right to this message, checking boxes on Iraq (Patraeus) and the economy (Whitman) for instance. Now, I’m betting Obama’s answer came across as more authentic but McCain’s was probably more effective with undecided swing voters.

The two answered the Supreme Court justice question VERY differently, with Obama seemingly trying to say a nice thing or two about justices he disagreed with, while McCain went right to pander mode in his answer. And yet, McCain’s straightforward answer easily penetrated while Obama’s did not.

Every Obama answer was certainly thoughtful enough but he seemed to want to explain himself too much and went out of his way not to offend folks who disagree with him.

For those who support the views held by most of the evangelical voters, McCain did win, with this being the only possible outcome. For others looking at the overall character of the candidates, we have Obama who was “authentic” and who tried to consider the views of those who disagree with him versus McCain who “went right to pander mode.” Which man has the character to be president based upon these descriptions? Certainly not the guy who panders. Andrew Sullivan agrees:

Chuck basically says that unless you pander in soundbites, you lose. If you show respect for your opponent’s views, you lose. However defensible this is as analysis, it isn’t part of the solution, is it?

Obama loses based upon not being a traditional candidate in the Bush/Clinton mode. That is the whole point of much of Obama’s support. We don’t want another Bush or Clinton.