NDN Blog

11/10 Roundup: In the Oval Office, Re-Bailouts, Arnold's Love Life

Oval OfficeLeader: In the Oval Office

- At the top of President-elect Obama's agenda on day one might be undoing some of the more pernicious policies of the Bush administration. Edward Luce of the FT writes on the "Big Bang" reform package that could be coming soon.

- Barack Obama will set foot in the Oval Office for the first time today, in a meeting with President Bush.  Historically, Time writes, these meetings aren't always friendly and cheery. Indeed, says the NY Times, it could be downright awkward.

- Paul Krugman writes that President-elect Obama should take FDR as his model, and be bold. E.J Dionne writes that President-elect Obama should take Reagan as his model, and be bold.


- AIG is getting re-bailed out: The Treasury and Fed announced that the intitial $123 billion bailout has been scrapped in favor of a $150 billion bailout.

- Rob Shapiro is quoted in the Chicago Tribune on the coming stimulus package. Obama should use it "to make down payments on the long-term investments he's committed to already for the health of the economy."


- I've been walking around at cocktail parties this week insisting I had a lot to do with Obama's victory.  Evidently, I'm not the only one, as "Unions, Hispanic groups, the Netroots, progressive organizing coalitions, single women, working women, youth, the religious left" and others are doing the same thing.

- Obama has thrown his support behind friend and ally Valerie Jarrett to replace him in the Senate.

- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a story on how Obama's online campaign will carry over into his presidency. Simon is quoted: "There's going to be a radical reinvention of the presidency under Barack Obama... to create a whole different relationship between the American people and the president." AFP has a similar story.

- In the LA Times, Simon is quoted on a long-term strategy for the Democrats. Particularly by keeping the Hispanic vote, Democrats could ride their current coalition for 20 or 30 years. And Texas is next.


- China has unveiled a stimulus package of its own, this one for $586 billion. Comparisons have been drawn to the New Deal, as the package will ease credit restrictions, expand social welfare services and initiate new infrastructure spending. 

- The NY Times reports on military raids the US armed forces have been carrying out over international borders to go after elements of the al Qaeda network. 

One More Thing

- Upshot of the election for California's governor: Schwartzenegger can sleep with his wife again.

11/7 Roundup: 2.0 Presidency, Hispanic Voters, Hungry Dogs

InernetsLeader: 2.0 Presidency

- CNN had a headline today that ran: "Podcast: Obama readies for the White House." It occurred to me that, of the three nouns in that sentence, two would have been gibberish to me just a few years ago.  It reinforced the idea that Obama's rise and the widespread availability of high-speed internet are two inextricable phenomena. Simon is quoted on the Tech Daily Dose talking about Obama's 2.0 Presidency speculating that Obama might move weekly presidential addresses over to YouTube.

- Simon also spoke with Wired about Obama's new model: "He's run a campaign where he's used very modern tools, spoke to a new coalition, talked about new issues, and along the way, he's reinvented the way campaigns are run. Compared to our 1992 campaign, this is like a multi-national corporation versus a non-profit."

- Looking forward, Simon told the Washington Times: "President Obama will be reinventing the relationship between the president and the American people using these new tools."


- Congressional Democrats are pushing for a two-part stimulus. The first round would come during the lame duck session this month, and the second in early 2009.  The second part may focus primarily on establishing a permanent middle-class tax cut.

- New economic indicators came out yesterday, and retailers had a worse October than any since 1971.

- President-elect Obama will be turning his attention to the economy, meeting with a formidable economic team this week, and speaking with President Bush next week.


- USA Today covers the dramatic importance of Hispanics to the Democratic victory this year.  Simon is quoted: "If the Republicans don't make their peace with Hispanic voters,
they're not going to win presidential elections anymore. The math just
isn't there,"

- Rahm Emanuel accepted Obama's offer, and will serve as his Chief of Staff.  Noam Scheiber approves: Rahm was the only choice.

- David Axelrod, Obama's campaign strategist, will serve in the White House as a senior adviser.


- The NY Times leads today with new evidence surrounding the Russian-Georgian war.  Evidently, Georgia may not have been so innocent in the beginning of this war, after all.

One More Thing

- Biting the hand that reports on you?  Barney the First Dog attempted to devour Retuers White House correspondent Jon Decker.

- Republicans have finally come around and see what fun it is to attack, criticize and belittle Sarah Palin.  Perhaps shooting down inchoate 2012 aspirations?

11/6 Roundup: Transition, Explanation, First Puppy

ObamaLeader: Just Getting Warmed Up

- President-elect Obama has announced the full list of advisors who will help him staff his administration. Step one is choosing a Chief-of-Staff; the job has been offered to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who has not yet accepted.  The NY Times reports that Rahm is weighing the job against giving up his power on the Hill and the effects it will have on his family. Many Democrats expect him to take the job.

- WaPo's Dan Balz looks at Obama's campaign to gather clues about how he'll govern.

- Newsweek reminds us all that transitions tend to be a bit bumpy.

- Obama's job starts to get cool already, as today he receives his first daily intelligence briefing.


- This Democratic coalition is a new one indeed. NDN's Andres Ramirez was quoted at length on All Things Considered, talking about the influential role of Hispanics in many key races. "In 2004, Hispanics accounted for about 8 percent of total turnout in Colorado. In 2008, they accounted for 17 percent. In Nevada, we saw turnout increase to 16 percent in 2008. That is up from 10 percent in 2004. And in New Mexico it went from 31 percent to 41 percent."

- Edward Luce wrote in the Financial Times that the geographic shift in this election signals the end of the Southern Strategy, echoing Simon's argument

- Obamaha is still up in the air. Oregon's Senate seat has been called for Merkeley. Missouri is still really close. Indiana goes for Obama. It looks like Stevens will win in Alaska. Franken wants a recount in Minnesota.

- Remember the Bradley effect that was keeping people up at night last week? Turns out that doesn't

- Michael Grunwald of Time puts five things on Obama's agenda to get America back on track.


- People around the world rejoiced at Barack Obama's win, but perhaps nowhere so exultantly as in Kenya, the homeland of Obama's father. His paternal grandmother-- still living in Kenya-- wondered if she might die of happiness.

- John Hughes of the CS Monitor puts together Obama's daunting global to-do list.

One More Thing

- The Onion, no longer in the business of fake news, made two incisive observations: Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job, and Nation Finally Shitty Enough to Make Social Progress.

- Simon dominated the competition in The Hill's election prediction contest.

- The search is on to recruit America's First Puppy.

- Last, the truth about Sarah Palin is spilling out, and it's not pretty:

11/5 Roundup: President Barack Hussein Obama

44- Barack Obama completed an historic run for the presidency last night with a decisive win. Now the commentary swirls: How did he do it? What's next? What about the economy? Whither Sarah Palin? How does Joe Biden get his teeth so white?  For now, a roundup of political analysis answering that first question: How did Barack Obama win the election?

How Did He Do It?

- Joe Klein points to Obama's stellar ground campaign.

- Melissa Dahl of MSNBC says the youth vote played a decisive role. 

- The Economist writes that it was, well, the economy

- Howard Fineman had a chat with David Plouffe, and heard about the "Seven Steps to Success" of the campaign team.

- An NY Times editorial says Obama succeeded by seeing what was wrong with the country: The government's failure to protect its people.

- Politico looks at the exit polls and talks about racial breakdown: Notably, Obama performed well with white men. 

- Tom Edsall of the Huffington Post also looks at exit polls, and finds Obama did very well with women, and reasonably well with men.

- Political Punch explains the Ohio victory: Great organization, economic message, good performance among working class whites. 

- PP also looks at the Latinos, who went for Obama by a greater than 2:1 margin.

- John Dickerson writes that, ultimately, it was about change

- Last, the Pointer Sisters suggest that perhaps it was just that darn good slogan:



11/4 Roundup: Holy Cow We're Finally Here

Obama Voting- Citizen, take note! Today is Election Day, and if you haven't yet, you ought go cast your ballot, post haste.  I was up early this morning talking to friends overseas. One had sent her absentee ballot with stamps bearing the visage of King Muhammad VI, because those are the only stamps available in Morocco. In an act worthy of the most stalwart democrat, another friend shipped his Illinois ballot via DHL, at a cost of $60, from Khartoum, Sudan. This election is shaping up to yield the biggest turnout in history.

- Naturally, this is causing problems already. Voting machines are down in Richmond, VA, Fairfax, VA,  Willingboro, NJ, and probably elsewhere too. Stories abound of 3, 4, even 5 hours waits at the polls-- not all that surprising considering it's been that way for a week in Florida and other early voting states. Ezra Klein points to smart commentary from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Long lines at the polls should not be taken as a sign of healthy democracy, rather, as a sign of people being disenfranchised.  Not everyone can afford to take half a day off work to stand in line at a polling place. It's pretty silly that, more that 200 years later, we still haven't figured out a way to make it easy for everyone to vote.

Voting Line- Karl Rove predicts Obama will take home 338 electoral votes. The Hill publishes the predictions of a number of pundits and celebrities, including Simon, who projects 353 for Obama. Instead of a number, Fran Drescher offers Barack a compliment on his hotness: "If I wasn't married, I'd do him."

- Simon was also quoted on NPR, talking about how the new Democratic strategy: "The map Democrats are using to win is a 21st century map. It looks like no other they've ever used to win before, one that itself is the first great map of the post-Southern strategy era of American politics."

- Echoing some of NDN's analysis, Adam Nagourney writes that this election represents a sea change in American politics. The demographics of the electorate have changed, the way campaigns are orchestrated has changed, and these changes are here to stay.  NPI founder Joe Trippi is quoted: "It has all come together for one guy, Barack Obama. But now that it’s happened, it’s a permanent change."

- John Dickerson offers prognostications of what to look for throughout the day, and at your returns-watching party tonight.

- The Editorial Board of the NY Times speculates that the immigrant (Hispanic) vote could be huge today. Also adopting NDN's ideas is Jose Antonio Vargas who wrote in the Washington Post about the influence of social networks in this election. 

- Millenials, too, are a new, powerful force in this election, as the Carolina Reporter wrote yesterday, quoting NDN Fellows Michael Hais and Morley Winograd: "Active participation and involvement is ingrained in Millennials. It is what they do. It is who they are."

- Today, of course, marks the end of early voting, which was radically more popular this year than in the past.  In Florida, more than a third of voters cast their ballots early, and in Colorado, it was more than half.

- Sadly, Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died early yesterday morning in Hawaii after a battle with cancer and a broken hip.  Obama eulogized her in a speech yesterday, which you can watch here.

- This might sway your vote: Sarah Palin has been cleared of wrongdoing by an Alaska ethics board.

- Last, not sure how to vote? Chris Rock fills you in:

Poll Closing Times

To help you plan an evening of clutching the edge of your seat and watching with rapt attention as Wolf Blitzer drones on your screen, here are the times that the last polls close in each state. All times Eastern.

If you are a voter, don't use this as a guide!  In many states, some polls close earlier than others.  Instead, go here to find out where and when you can cast your ballot.

7pm: GA, IN, KY, SC, VA, VT
: OH, WV
: AL, CT, DC, DE, FL, IL, MA, MD, ME, MO, MS, NH, NJ, OK, PA, TN

>>(Earliest time at which the race could be called)

8:30pm: AR, NC
: AZ, CO, KS, LA, MI, MN, NE, NM, NY, RI, SD, TX, WI, WY
: IA, MT, NV, UT
: CA, HI, ID, ND, OR, WA
: AK

My guess? The networks call the election at around 9:30 or 10:00pm.  But if you're a true political junkie, you'll be up late to see who wins the close Senate race in Alaska...

Check here for the details and fine print of our arcane democratic process. Below is a map-- worthy of USA Today-- that gives you the above information in a colorful, fun-to-digest form.

Poll Closings


11/3 Roundup: Home Stretch Special

Obama McCain
- Here on the home stretch, horserace analogies have never seemed so apt. With barely a day before the polls close, Barack Obama appears to have an insurmountable lead over John McCain. To be sure, this lead has prevented no hand-wringing, and forestalled no manic mood swings among angsty Democrats.

- As much as anybody else, Barack Obama is ready for this election to be over, though you wouldn't know it from his notoriously inscrutable manner.

- The Wall Street Journal has Obama with an eight point, but narrowing lead over John McCain.  USA Today has Obama with an eleven point, and widening lead. John Halperin at Time says the numbers aren't adding up for McCain, and likely voters (according to Gallup) prefer a generic Democratic candidate 53% to 41%.

- Nerve-wrackingly enough, Ohio could be a crucial swing state again this year. The LA Times reports that Obama's formidable ground game there could tip the balance in his favor, as it did for Bush in 2004.

- Jose Antonio Vargas writes in the WaPo about the power of social networking as a political tool. This is a subject on which NDN affiliate the New Politics Institute has opined previously.

- On Capitol Hill, Republicans are scrambling to avoid a total wipeout tomorrow.

- In TNR, E.J. Dionne describes Obama as the first 21st century figure in politics, and that his run for president has changed the very nature of campaigns.

- Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and his wife are expecting a child any moment now.  Between his candidate and his child, Plouffe says he'll pick his child.

- After you hit the polls tomorrow, be sure to don your "I Voted!" sticker and collect all the freebies you can at: Ben & Jerry's, Krispy Kreme, Starbucks and.... Babeland?

- For at least a day, I hope you'll join me and Obama's Ohio campaign manager in sporting a "Beard for Obama."

- NDN's election analysis has been gobbled up by both mainstream and new media sources. Dan rounded up our buzz yesterday, and since then, we've gotten another shout out from Daily Kos, 

- Last, a moment of insanity: Listen to Sarah Palin get prank-called by a Canadienne Comedienne pretending to be Nicolas Sarkozy. It's wonderfully cringe-inducing.

Roy the Forklift Driver

With eerie foresight, fifteen years ago, the Onion published an article about "Roy the Forklift Driver," who had a few things to say about President Clinton. The echoes of this in the Joe the Plumber story are almost too much to bear.



10/31 Roundup: Spooky Politics, Scary Economy, Akaname the Filth Licker

CostumesLeader: Witch Candidate do you Support?

- Boo! I've dressed McCain and Obama up in possible Halloween costumes.  Will this change the way you vote? Apparently one in seven voters are still persuadable-- a hair-raisingly, spine-chillingly high number, if you ask me. Two years into this race, how can anyone not have made up their mind yet?

- Kevin Drum catalogues the names Barack Obama's been called: A socialist! A terrorist! A goblin!  Ok, not a goblin. Obama's hoping Arizona voters don't find him too scary.

- John McCain says Joe the Plumber is his role model.  Better him than Joe the Werewolf, I suppose. This weekend he'll be getting into the game, appearing on SNL, presumably in costume!

- A growing number of voters are spooked by the idea of Sarah Palin as VP.


- Steve Perlstein is haunted by his prescient predictions: Turns out the $125 billion Hank Paulson forced on the nation's biggest banks isn't being used for loans after all.

- Evidently determined to leave the country in monstrously worse condition than ever before, President Bush is seeking to weaken government rules protecting consumers and the environment before he exits the scene.

Election '08

- Did Obama ask Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff? Or was it just a trick?

- In much the same way that mysterious groups are telling black Virginians to go vote next Wednesday,  unknown demons in Nevada are calling up Hispanic voters and inviting them to vote by the phone. NDN's Andres Ramirez is quoted on the subject by Fox News.

- By enfranchising so many new voters, early voting is proving to be a nightmare for Florida Republicans.

- John Dickerson writes for Slate that the McCain campaign has been unusually cheery lately.  But do they have reason to be, with still ghoulish poll numbers?


- The NY Times and LA Times both run pieces on Somali Pirates, and their reign of terror over the high seas in the Indian Ocean

- Tonight's festivities not real enough for you? Try Estonia, which has real ghosts, or Japan, where Akaname the Filth Licker lurks in dirty bathrooms.

- Fearing a curse, Nicolas Sarkozy tried to ban a voodoo doll made in his effigy. The courts wouldn't have it.

One More Thing

- The NY Times has an article on the best methods to rid your house of poltergeists.

- Last, watch as Rick Sanchez skewers Mike Goldfarb in horrifying fashion:

10/30 Roundup: Bailouts Abound, Virtuosobama, Nieman-Marxists

Confederate Flag, Obama SignLeader: Bailouts, Bailouts Everywhere

- A just-in report from the Commerce Department tells us what we pretty much already knew: Consumers have been cutting spending, the economy shrank last quarter, and we are officially in a recession. Congratulations, everyone.

- The bigger news is the rumor that the Treasury and the FDIC are in negotiations to guarantee distressed mortgages, in an effort to help keep people in their homes.

- Governors David Paterson of New York and John Corzine of New Jersey, among others, made the case on Capitol Hill yesterday that states may need bailouts of their own.

- And George Soros, writing in the Financial Times, argued that the U.S. needs to bail out developing countries.

Election '08

- Over-the-top it may have been, but well-produced and effective it also was:  Obama's half-hour long ad ran on the networks last night, and has been well received. George Stephanopoulos calls it a "virtuoso performance." John McCain, for one, didn't think it was all that good. 

- Early voting is big out west.

- The sacrifice of voting early, of course, is that you lose the opportunity to let eleventh-hour scandals change your mind. The latest: Obama's been palling around with Columbia professors! Sarah Palin went to town on Obama for his relationship with Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian academic and activist for Palestinian causes. John McCain joined in, as well. Obama called it a "problematic stand," particularly because the two men don't know each other very well, and completely disagree on the topic at hand: Israel and Palestine.

- Obama's campaign could make a run on... Arizona?  Well, heck, the race in McCain's home state is closer than in Pennsylvania, where McCain is dumping his resources.

- Joe Klein at Time looks at the major burdens that will weigh on the next president.


- The Fed has cut its benchmark interest rate yet again.  Standing now at 1%, this is the lowest it's been since 2003.  If current trends continue, they'll be paying you to take their money soon.

- All over the world, in fact, central banks are cutting interest rates.


- A series of bombs went off in four towns in Assam, a state in northeastern India. At least 67 people were killed, and no group has yet claimed responsibility.

- Russia has raised the idea of an OPEC for natural gas.

One More Thing

- If Obama is a socialist, then Sarah Palin is a Neiman-Marxist.

- Did you miss NDN's event earlier this week with Joe Trippi and Simon? Not to worry, you can see it on C-SPAN, or on their website.

- In Florida, as Obama appears on stage with West Wing actor Jimmy Smits, it will be a case of art meeting life imitating art imitating life. And it's not an accident.

- Last, oops:

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