Chuck Todd was just on NBC News explaining how Barack Obama has increased the playing field to the degree that he could still pick up 270 electoral votes even if he were to lose Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Of course many polls show Obama leading in all three, including by double digits in Pennsylvania. Obama even has a chance in states where he would previously have been considered a long shot such as Montana, Indiana, and Georgia.
Barack Obama 44.4%
John McCain 40.2%
Ron Paul 4.2%
Ralph Nader .7%
Bob Barr 1%
Obama leads by exactly the same margin of vote as is received by Ron Paul. Of course if the vote were to turn out this way we could not necessarily say that it was votes for Ron Paul which gave the state to Obama over McCain. Some people voting for Paul are motivated by opposition to the war and might vote for Obama or stay home if Paul was not on the ballot, and some might vote for Barr.
I recently noted that if black turn out is high enough Obama can win in Georgia. While most polls still show McCain winning in George, an Insider Advantage poll today shows Obama leading by one point.
After hearing the news about the $150,000 spent by Sarah Palin on clothes and make up I wrote a parody about this as if she had appeared on the TLC show What Not to Wear. Considering how McCain had earlier attacked Obama as a celebrity, I thought using such a comparison to a make over on a television show was a good way to satirize them. it turns out I didn’t go far enough. The McCain/Palin is so far of the wall that any attempts at parody are likely to fall short of reality. This turned out to be the case with regards for mocking Palin regarding her makeup. A cable television show doesn’t go far enough to parody the extents they are really go to. The Caucus reports that the highest paid staffer for the campaign over the last couple of weeks was a Hollywood makeup artist:
Who was the highest paid individual in Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign during the first half of October as it headed down the homestretch?
Not Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser; not Nicolle Wallace, his senior communications staffer. It was Amy Strozzi, who was identified by the Washington Post this week as Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.
Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “Personnel Svc/Equipment.”
In addition, Angela Lew, who is Ms. Palin’s traveling hair stylist, got $10,000 for “Communications Consulting” in the first half of October.
It’s a good thing that Palin wasn’t having the makeup applied to attend a Georgetown cocktail party. If she had, John McCain might have called her an elitist.
I don’t doubt that it is of value to the campaign to have Sarah Palin look good. I guess they didn’t want to risk having her go around in the same pants suits all the time like Hillary Clinton and risk get mocked by David Letterman. The McCain campaign already has enough problems with Letterman and the other late night comics. There is certainly interest in what Palin wears as Sarah Palin’s wardrobe was the top search term at Yahoo this morning.
Spending some money on Palin might be justified, but they seem to be taking this to an outrageous level. Did they think that by making her look pretty enough men would really vote for her? Well, maybe some would, but if this was the strategy McCain might as well have picked Elisabeth Hasselbeck as his running mate. Actually they have now resorted to having her out campaigning.
Maybe the problem isn’t only that they thought a pretty girl could cloud men’s minds sufficiently to vote contrary to the country’s best interests. Perhaps McCain himself was influenced into making a bad choice by the prospect of “having an attractive woman all but singing arias to his greatness.” Kathleen Parker argues that McCain has joined Marc Antony and Bill Clinton in the “pantheon of men who, intoxicated by a woman’s power, made the wrong call.”
At least two more former Republican governors have endorsed Barack Obama. I’ve previously noted that former Michigan Governor William Milliken has withdrawn his support for John McCain. Milliken had endorsed John Kerry in 2004, so this decision came as no surprise. This morning former Massachusetts Governor William Weld endorsed Obama. Weld is a liberal Republican who has also received considerable support from libertarians but had supported Bush in 2004.
“Senator Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate who will transform our politics and restore America’s standing in the world,” Weld said in a statement released Friday. “We need a president who will lead based on our common values and Senator Obama demonstrates an ability to unite and inspire.
“Throughout this campaign I’ve watched his steady leadership through trying times and I’m confident he is the best candidate to move our country forward,” Weld said.
The support of Weld, who has sometimes been called a Libertarian-Republican, follows both the trends for many libertarians to become disenchanted with the Republican Party and for many libertarians to support Obama. The combination of a hyper-nationalist like McCain and a book-banning authoritarian right wing extremist such as Sarah Palin should end any claims that there is anything remotely libertarian about the Republican Party.
Yesterday Arne Carlson, former Republican Governor of Minnesota, also endorsed Obama:
Carlson said Thursday that the Illinois senator’s stances on the Iraq war, the economy and green energy goals won him over. Carlson, who served from 1991 to 1998, also cited recent comments by GOP Congresswoman Michele Bachmann questioning whether politicians have “pro-America or anti-America views.”
“Regardless of our party, regardless of our partisan inclinations, there is no interest more compelling than the interest in the well-being of the United States,” Carlson said at a gathering of Obama supporters at the state Capitol.
All three of these former Republican governors do come from blue states and are moderates. This trend might very well be a consequence of the realignment of the parties seen over the last several years. This was also seen with the endorsements by two members of the Goldwater family which I mentioned yesterday. Other prominent Republican families of the past are also having members endorse Obama, including Susan Eisenhower and Julie Nixon Eisenhower.
Will Ferrell returned to Saturday Night Live on Weekend Update Thursday last night for a skit in which Ferrell (playing Bush) endorsed Sarah Palin and John McCain. Besides dealing with the discomfort McCain would feel with Bush’s endorsement there is an excellent bit regarding vice presidential power, and even a comment on Palin’s shopping trip. Ferrell will be starring in a solo Broadway show in January entitled You’re Welcome America: A Final Night with George W. Bush. The video of last night’s skit is above and a portion of the transcript follows:
WILL FERRELL AS BUSH: “Hello, my fellow Americans. I have chosen to schedule this impromptu address at night because quite frankly every time I speak during the day, the Stock Market goes in the crapper. So, sorry, Asian markets. You take the hit on this one. I come to you tonight in the midst of a very important election between two very qualified candidates: the hot lady and the Tiger Woods guy. Both candidates are heavily patriotized and display much characterization. And yes, I did have three Xanax and a Silver Bullet about a half-hour ago. I’m out of here in a few months, so screw it. But before I leave I wanted to help Sarah Palin and John McCain by giving them what every candidate wants most: a prime-time heavily publicized network endorsement from George W. Bush. Hey, don’t pinch yourself John, you are awake!”
FERRELL AS BUSH (continues) — “Now I tried to do this several months ago but somehow it kept getting pushed to a written press release or a shouted sentence as I walked to the helicopter. I began to suspect that they didn’t want my endorsement to be too public. But now with the country on a big upswing and my numbers on the rise, I thought it was time to give a proper, large scale ‘much love’ to McCain and Palin…”
(WILL FORTE, playing an AIDE to the president, enters and whispers in BUSH’s ear)
FERRELL AS BUSH (continues) – “What? Really? Why didn’t you tell me Jeff? I’ve just been told by my trusted aide Jeff, that the country is actually in a horrible downward spiral and that my approval numbers are lower than ever. That one’s on me. Four months ago, I declared the Oval Office a bummer-free zone. So… You know what, let’s bring on Senator McCain and Governor Palin.”
(TINA FEY as SARAH PALIN enters smiling and waving and sits next to BUSH on the front the desk)
TINA FEY AS PALIN – “So nice to meet you, Mr. President. I’ve seen you on TV.”
FERRELL AS BUSH – “Where’s McRage?”
FEY AS PALIN – “You know, John McCain and I have been so busy travelin’ around this great country of ours talkin’ about change and energy independence and William Ayers, and doin’ a little shoppin’, but unfortunately Senator McCain, upon hearing you wanted to give him a super public endorsement, cannot be found. He was last seen travelin’ on foot through the Adirondacks. But my husband and two of his drinkin’ buddies are in pursuit on snowmachines.
FERRELL AS BUSH – “Well, We’ll smoke him out. George Bush always finds his man save for one huge exception.”
FEY AS PALIN – “We are gonna get ‘er done.”
FERRELL AS BUSH – “My God you are folksy.”
FEY AS PALIN – “Why thank you Mr. President. I like to think I’m one part practiced folksy , one part sassy and a little dash of high school bitchy.”
FERRELL AS BUSH – “For a little while I was trying to be folksy but after a bit, it just came off douchey. All right, let me get into my endorsement for you as Vice President. As you know America, the office of Vice President is the most important office in the land. The Vice President decides when we go to war, how we tax the citizens and how we interpret the Constitution. The President can do nothing without checking with the Vice President. That is why Sarah Palin…”
FEY AS PALIN – “Actually, Mr. President, I don’t want to go all Katie Couric on you, but I think it’s actually the other way around. I think the Vice President reports to the President.”
FERRELL AS BUSH – “Really? That’s not what Dick Cheney told me when he sat me down on the first day.”