Yes We Can: Lessons from Obama

November 8, 2008

More thoughts on the Glenrothes by-election.

It was strange. The SNP ahead in the polls, a short Labour surge to level, before the SNP went once again ahead.

The SNP confident, Labour overly pessimistic.

Pundits predicting a narrow SNP win.

Since I wrote yesterday about the Obama effect on the by-election, the parallels between the Glenrothes by-election and the New Hampshire Democratic Primary came to my thoughts.

An election which Obama was widely predicted to win.

The polls were good; pundits were agreed. Hillary Clinton seemed resigned to the loss.

But Hillary Clinton took the state’s nomination.

Of course, later Barack Obama went on to defeat Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic Presidential nominee.

And went on to win the U.S. Presidential election in an historic victory.

Obama used the lessons in the New Hampshire election to spur on his support, warning them of the dangers of complacency:

“For those of you who are feeling giddy or cocky or think this is all set, I just have two words for you: New Hampshire”

In the middle of October when things were looking rosy he reminded his campaign staff:

From Ben Smith’s blog:

‘On a conference call with his campaign staff just now, Barack Obama delivered the same message he’s been telling donors: Don’t get cocky.

‘Obama got on the staff call with campaign manager David Plouffe to praise his staff, but also to tell them not to become overconfident, because — in my source’s paraphrase — “too many people are counting on us not to screw this up.’

‘Eighteen days, he reminded them, is a long time, and he told them to “run scared,” run as though they were 10 points down, and “remember New Hampshire.”

Glenrothes is the SNP’s New Hampshire.

And like Barack Obama’s ‘two words: New Hampshire’, Glenrothes should sound as a future warning to complacency.

As people depended on Barack Obama; Scotland’s future depends on the SNP.

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Barack Obama: President of the United States

November 5, 2008

Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.

Obama - Hope

The first black man to have that honour.

In 1964 the U.S. passed the Civil Rights Act giving blacks the same rights as whites. In 1965 the U.S. passed the Voting Rights Act. It finally gave Black Americans the right to vote – in every state, without obstacle – and America finally became a true democracy.

The passage for Black Civil Rights campaigners has not been an easy one. At one time or other, blacks had to contend with race riots, lynchings, and the assassination of their charismatic leader Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968.

2008. Just over 40 years later from that Voting Rights Act and America elects a black President.

An incredible achievement and one which Americans should be rightly proud.

Its a glowing example of the American dream finally working.

In 2004 Barack Obama delivered his keynote address to the Democratic National Convention. It was just before the Bush – Kerry presidential election of that year. He talked about his hopes and dreams for America, and then added another:

“The hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.”

He had hope in America.

Now America has their hopes in him.

Obama continued that speech:

“Hope — Hope in the face of difficulty. Hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope!

“In the end, that is God’s greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation. A belief in things not seen. A belief that there are better days ahead.”

Here’s to those better days ahead for all of us!

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Obama’s Negative Flakeage Rate

November 4, 2008

I thought I’d heard a lot of political doublespeak in my time.

But this ‘Negative Flakeage Rate’ is a new one on me.

What that means is instead of people promising to volunteer (and then not bothering), instead people are volunteering and persuading friends to volunteer too.

This guy is Obama’s National Field Director, Jon Carson, and he’s pretty happy with the Obama campaign especially in the marginal ‘toss-up’ states.

It just makes me wonder about the Glenrothes by-election.

Will Labour or the SNP be wondering about their flakeage rates among their voters?

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U.S. election 2008 prediction

November 3, 2008

OK here’s my U.S. election prediction for tomorrow’s poll.

U.S. election 2008 prediction

Obama to win by 200 electoral college votes; 369 to McCain’s 169.

Though I’d dearly love Obama to take Arizona too – McCain’s home state – I just can’t see him manage it.

I’ve went with North Carolina for Obama, even with the ballot snafu that will probably hinder the Democrats vote.

I’ve went with McCain for Missouri. Apparently Missouri has a reputation for picking the winner, or going with the favourite, but I can’t see McCain winning it this time.

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McCain – Palin split losing election

October 27, 2008

The reported feud between McCain and Palin advisers seem to be having an affect on Republican support.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said one McCain adviser, “she does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”

For her part, it seems Sarah Palin has decided not to trust her Republican aides:

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

It does seem the feeling is mutual:

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.

The article continues:

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn’t ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn’t forcefully object. Moments that Palin’s allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity — the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign’s pulling out of Michigan — they dismiss as Palin’s “slips and miscommunications,” that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.

Watching that video convinces me that the McCain aides are right. If ever there was a need for tight scripting then I think that video proves it. Whether Sarah Palin has the competence to deliver a tighter speech is another question.

It comes as no surprise then, that the home states of Palin and McCain seem to be having doubts over their nomination.

The Anchorage Daily News has come out in favour of Barack Obama.

And latest polls from Arizona show increasing support for Barack Obama, in one poll McCain is only ahead by two points!

Of course, it would be a huge ask for the Democrats to actually win either state for Obama. The mere fact that they are gaining support in Arizona and Alaska does show how much trouble the Republican campaign is in.

The McCain – Palin split is just a symptom of this trouble.

But its a clear indication to the voters that the Republican campaign is in disarray. Its a clear indication that McCain will lose the election.

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McCain – Obama debate

October 9, 2008

Just watched the edited highlights of the John McCain – Barack Obama debate on Newsnight.

I couldn’t believe that the Republician representatives on the programme declared that it was a good night for John McCain.

My word! That’s utterly inexplicable.

If that was John McCain on a good night then I’m glad I missed the bad nights!

He really showed his age and his war wounds:- hobbling about the floor and latterly hanging onto his chair towards the end of the debate. I don’t mind his age but it brought home to me how his physical condition may affect his ability to be President. And brings me back to the scary thought of Sarah Palin becoming President, should McCain’s health deteoriate still further.

In fact, McCain’s televisual performance reminded me of the oft-quoted Nixon – Kennedy debate; the perception that Nixon lost against Kennedy due to a bad shave. Neither Nixon or McCain came across as television-friendly.

Its often said that listeners of the Nixon – Kennedy debate on radio scored Nixon higher.

Alas, I doubt even that is true of John McCain.

To me, Obama was more insightful and had more answers than McCain. Even on McCain’s supposed strong suit of foreign policy he failed to hit a blow.

In fact, for someone with a supposed grasp of foreign policy how could he let this statement out of the bag:

“We will be talking about countries sometime in the future that we hardly know where they are on the map”

And by the future, he obviously meant his political future if he was President, so its basically today’s countries with maybe a couple of changes, perhaps.

And if he doesn’t know where they are on a map, how the hell can he have a good grasp of foreign policy?

And if he does have a ‘good grasp’ on foreign policy by American standards, does that mean Obama’s is worse?

Could either McCain or Obama pick out Scotland on a map? Would they be shocked if Scotland was to become independent as the Unionist partisan newpaper The Scotsman recently suggested?

I’m firing that question especially to John McCain who is supposedly a descendant of King William I of Scotland.

The same link gives Barack Obama as a descendant of King Edward I of England, the Hammer of the Scots. The same king that battled against William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. The same king that on leaving Scotland said:

‘Bon besoiogne fait gy du merde se delivrer’
(‘It was well to be rid of shit’)

I wonder at the end of the debate just who was thinking that?

Barack Obama?

John McCain?

Or the American public?

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McCain gives up on Michigan

October 3, 2008

John McCain has given up on campaigning in Michigan to concentrate on more hopeful states. Campaign officals confirmed the move is to concentrate on other swing states:- Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.

Its a clear indication that Michigan will be Democrat blue in the coming election.

Michigan is one of several key swing states in the U.S. election.

In fact, Obama is currently ahead in most of these key swing states. This makes it a tough ask for John McCain to make a comeback and win the presidency.

Over at RealClearPolitics.com they have

Obama 260
McCain 163

Still to play for 115

And of those ‘toss up’ states the latest polling is:-

State Electoral votes Obama % McCain % Prediction 2004 result 2000 result
Ohio 20 48.0 46.0 Obama +2.0 Bush +2.1 Bush +3.5
Florida 27 48.6 45.6 Obama +3.0 Bush +5.0 Bush +0.1
Nevada 5 47.8 47.3 Obama +0.5 Bush +2.6 Bush +3.5
New Hampshire 4 46.7 45.4 Obama +1.3 Kerry +1.3 Bush +1.3
Virginia 13 49.0 46.6 Obama +2.4 Bush +8.2 Bush +8.1
North Carolina 15 47.0 46.5 Obama +0.5 Bush +12.4 Bush +12.8
Missouri 11 46.8 48.5 McCain +1.7 Bush +7.2 Bush +3.3
Indiana 11 45.3 47.5 McCain +2.2 Bush +20.7 Bush +15.7
Colorado 9 49.0 44.6 Obama +4.4 Bush +4.7 Bush +8.4

According to RealClearPolitics Wisconsin is already Obama’s to lose.

These results suggests that McCain should concentrate on the bigger college votes of Ohio, Florida, Virginia and North Carolina; where Obama’s poll lead is tightest.

Lets go with these RealClearPolitics predictions to see what might happen:-

If these bigger key swing states moved to McCain, along with Missouri and Indiana where McCain is marginally in front it would give McCain 260 electoral college votes.

Tied with Obama’s 260 [predicted by RealClearPolitics].

Given that Obama should pick up Colorado’s 9 votes, that could leave the fate of the election in the hands of Nevada (5 votes) and New Hampshire (4 votes).

Should they both go McCain’s way; it’ll be a tie! Something that pundits have already been postulating; here and here. An Obama – Palin presidential ticket?

269 tie Obama - McCain

That is a lot of ifs for McCain, and its doubtful if he’ll manage to take all of the bigger key swing states to make it interesting. We’ll see if McCain’s Michigan gamble pays off.

Right now the election is Obama’s to lose.

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