NDN Blog

Ad Wars: Special

Most of this new ad from the McCain camp feeds viewers the usual tropes: Obama's just a celebrity, he's inexperienced, he's not ready to lead.  The really curious thing about the ad comes at the very end.  Take a look, then let's talk about it:



You notice what I notice? Just at the very end: "Barack Obama's not ready... yet."  Isn't that weird? The implication that comes with the "... yet," is that he will be ready, which seems like a strange qualifier to grant your opponent-- especially when your central argument against him is that he's not ready. Even if the line had just been "not ready yet," the impact would have been less, but that ellipsis really drives it home.

What do you think? Maverick tactic or nothing notable? Share your thoughts in a comment below...

10/29 Roundup: Video Wars, Rainy Philly, Charles Barkley for Governor

Wet ObamaLeader: Video Wars

- Tonight is the night of Obama's half-hour long advertisement, which will air on NBC, CBS, Fox, Univision, and a few cable networks. The ad will air just before the continuation of game five of the World Series, which was suspended on Monday due to rain. Fox insists that the start time was not delayed for Obama, he just replaced the (usually boring) pre-game show.  The jury is still out on whether it's a good political move or a little over the top. Tonight we'll see.

- McCain supporters are fighting fire with fire. Newspaper subscribers in key swing states will find anti-Obama DVDs delivered with their papers this week. Over a million copies of a 95-minute video produced by Citizens United, a conservative advocacy group, will be packaged in with the Cincinnati Enquirer, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The Palm Beach Post and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.


- In the second biggest single-day point gain ever, the Dow went up 11% yesterday.  Not surprisingly, nobody's fears are assuaged. The NYT's David Leonhardt investigates whether we've hit bottom and are on our way up again, as Warren Buffett, among others, suggests.

Election '08

- The national race appears to be tightening a little, as Simon anticipated. In key battleground states, however, Obama is maintaining a commanding lead.

- John McCain is calling for Senator and convicted felon Ted Stevens to step down. Sarah Palin, notably, has not asked her countryman to do so.

- Julia Ioffe, writing for TNR, writes about the trauma endured by journalists who've been on the campaign trail for nearly two whole years. Expect something like PESD: Post-Electoral Stress Disorder.

- Rain in Pennsylvania has been surprisingly troublesome this week. It delayed the Phillies and Rays, and it caused McCain to cancel a rally. Obama, however, along with 9,000 of his supporters, stood up to mother nature and had their rally anyway. Take that, rain.

- A fake flier distributed in mostly-black communities in Virginia tells voters that Democrats cast their ballots on November 5th.  The perpetrators of this pernicious untruth have not yet been found.


- Tom Friedman writes in the Times that dropping oil prices gives us new leverage with Tehran, but this leverage must be used intelligently.

- Russia and China have agreed to build an oil pipeline that will run off an existing trans-Siberian pipeline and feed growing Chinese demand for oil.

One More Thing

- Rob Shapiro was on NPR's Marketplace last night, talking about sharks and porpoises in the presidential transition process. Are you a shark or a porpoise?

- Sign of the apocalypse: Charles Barkley  is planning to run for governor of Alabama in 2014.

- Last, have you heard about the new Disney movie about Sarah Palin?

Ad Wars: Compare

In a new ad, John McCain invites you to do a little forced word association. The weakness of this spot, much like some of his others, is that it's just colossally vague, at a time when Americans want more than random words and phrases thrown at them.

Pain! Risky! Proven! Rutabaga!

10/28 Roundup: One Week, Tennessee Nazis, Obama beats Truman!

Obama & McCainLeader: One Week and Counting

- Alaska Senator Ted Stevens took a bit of a hit yesterday when he was convicted on seven felony counts. He maintains his innocence, and will remain in the race, but it seems likely that Alaska could elect its first Democrat to the senate since Mike Gravel(!) was elected in 1978. 

- Obama made his "closing argument," returning to his theme of national unity. The McCain campaign made it clear that the candidate has been making his closing argument consistently for the past week, obviously. As John Dickerson suggests, that argument must be: "Fear Obama!"

- Sign of hard times: McCain is increasing spending in West Virginia and Montana.  Yowza.


- The $1 trillion we've spent on Iraq could've bought us some pretty nice stuff, writes Duncan Mansfield for HuffPo.

- Jeff Sachs offers up the "best recipe to avoid global recession." 

Election '08

- In tune with NDN's message over the past few years, Chuck Todd of NBC writes that Hispanics could just put Obama over the top in this election. 

- The McCain argument that the American people should elect him to prevent both Congress and the Presidency from being controlled by one party is patently ridiculous, writes John Judis for TNR.

- ATF has broken up a plot by two Tennessee neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Obama and kill over 100 black schoolchildren.  Their plan to kill the candidate was, at best, inchoate.

- Has Obama gotten expectations up a little too high among lefties? You betcha, writes Howard Fineman.


- In a major shift, the US is considering cutting a deal with the Taliban, to help isolate al Qaeda.

- Foreign Policy ranks the top cities in the world.  It's not abundantly clear what the ranking is supposed to mean, but it's good fodder for debate, anyway. For me, ranking Los Angeles 5th for "Cultural Experience" seems like a generous definition of the word "culture." I think it would also be useful to have a look at the worst cities in the world.  You know, to help plan vacations.

- Six billion people are obsessed with the presidential election, and about half of them are blogging about it.

One More Thing

- Obama beats Truman! A bimonthly New Mexico paper has declared Obama the victor. 

- An NY Times op-ed opines on the neuropsychology of undecided voters. These people, whoever they are, aren't as clueless as I thought.

- Simon is quoted in Newsday, talking about John McCain's potential to close the gap.

- Last, Damon Weaver, 5th grader from Palm Beach County, gets an exclusive with Joe Biden.

10/27 Roundup: Closing Arguments, Obama's Challenges, Nailing Marmalade

Fist BumpLeader: Closing Arguments

- Barack Obama has shifted the battle almost entirely to states that went for Bush in '04.  Today, in Canton, Ohio, Obama will make his closing argument. Expect him to ask Americans to "help him change the country."

- With eight days left in this election, John McCain is looking uphill, and the road is steep. Simon hammers the point home in the Arizona Republic: "The American people are disappointed with John McCain and the campaign that he's run. They were open to electing him president, but he just didn't perform in the general election, and that's why he's going to lose."

- But McCain is still confident that he can make a comeback. His final strategies have been unveiled, and he has gone so far as to guarantee victory next Tuesday.


- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg lays out the challenges that will face the U.S. economy under the next president.

- The economy is in the can, and nobody's buying anything anymore.  Except guns.  Everyone is buying a lot of guns.

Election '08

- John Heilemann has a great piece on the great opportunities and difficulties facing an Obama administration. The challenges will begin with the transition, which has already seen controversy and confusion.

- Jesse Jackson Jr. may be the frontrunner to take over Obama's senate seat. But don't count out Rep. Jan Schakowsky or Iraq War vet Tammy Duckworth. And how about Rahm Emmanuel?

- Race is a complicated subject in Western Pennsylvania, but many are willing to see beyond color, reports the New York Times.

- As he does so well, Joe Biden takes us back to reality when the name of Karl Marx begins to enter the picture.

- The Anchorage Daily News says: "We love ya, Sarah, but we're voting for the other guy."


- Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, lays out the challenges that will face U.S. foreign policy under the next president.

- Israeli PM Tzipi Livni has called for snap elections, and after gaining ground over the past month, her Kadima party may maintain its advantage over Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party.

One More Thing

- Are you the type of person who likes to do what everyone else is doing?  Then dress up as Sarah Palin for Halloween. But you'd better have $150,000 to spare if you want to do it right.

- Biographer Edmund Morris gets an exclusive interview with Teddy Roosevelt on the current election.  On Joe Biden: "You can’t nail marmalade against a wall!"

- Last, John McCain would like to remind you that he's not actually that far behind:

Ad Wars: Ladies and Gentlemen

Joe "The Vice Presidential Candidate" Biden is known for his big mouth, and when Barack Obama chose him as his running mate, the campaign was surely including in their calculations the good odds that Biden would say something silly before election day.  He did, and, all things considered, I don't think it was that bad. 

Still, the McCain campaign pounced on it, and cooked up this ad, which manages to make the prospect of an "international crisis" sound pretty scary. This, I would say, is a quintessential example of the use of fear as a political weapon.  A voter who's scared into voting for you is just the same as a voter who picks you for other reasons.



Ad Wars: Try this

Barack Obama invites you to try out his tax calculator and see how much you'll save under his plan.  I recommend it highly, especially if you make less than $250,000 a year.



10/24 Roundup: Keeping People in their Homes, Repentant Bushies, The Electric Slide

foreclosureLeader: Keeping People in Their Homes

- The push to keep people in their homes continues to gain momentum. The White House offered a proposal to the Senate Banking Committee yesterday, and many senators were favorable to the idea. Specifics of the plan have not  yet been released, but we know it ensures that the Treasury will stand firmly behind homeowners.

- In an ambitious move to prevent foreclosures, Countrywide-- a private bank-- may temporarily slash interest rates for homeowners in trouble. Homeowner advocates are hailing the idea as a model for other banks. 


- Alan "The Oracle" Greenspan testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday, and was eaten alive. Most shocking: he admitted the error of his ideas.

- To keep falling prices from falling further, OPEC agreed to cut oil production by 1.5 million barrels per day.  Investors were totally unimpressed, and prices continued to fall.

- Global markets continue to dive. Is this even news anymore?

Election '08

- The McCain campaign has turned the Republican party into a "circular firing squad," writes Politico.

- McCain says you shouldn't vote for Barack Obama because we can't afford four more years of Bush's failed policies.  Weird.

- Barack Obama is beginning to shift some of his excess resources toward helping down-ticket Democrats in competitive races. 

- Obama is gaining ground among people who supported Bush four years ago. The biggest name among the repentant Bushies: Former White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan.

- Panic and confusion have beset the McCain campaign now that the New York Times is endorsing Barack Obama.


- Western governments are talking with the IMF about establishing a massive line of credit that would grant loans to poorer countries facing trouble as a result of fallout from the financial crisis.

- Rotterdam's Club Watt is the first sustainable nightclub in the world: Dancing generates electricity!

One More Thing

- Goodness knows I hate sitting in traffic, but this is beyond the pale: Joe McCain (John's brother) called 911  to complain about it.  You can read and listen to the call, recorded by Alexandria Police, here

- Hawaii is stepping into the future by swearing off coal and aiming to be 70% renewable by 2030.

- Last, SNL cashes in on their success with a mid-week special:

10/23 Roundup: 12 Days, McCain Deserters, Divided Ballers

Obama RallyLeader: 12 Days and Counting

- DemFromCT has Obama staying strong (except among  the 30-44 age demographic, oddly enough). One potentially sobering poll: The Mason-Dixon polling group-- an historically reliable source on the South-- has Obama down one in Florida and up only two in Virginia. 

- How are so many voters are still undecided, wonders CNN's Jack Cafferty.

- Religious voters appear to be moving over to Obama, as are John Mellencamp voters.


- You could be forgiven for not noticing: The Dow dropped 514 points yesterday-- the seventh largest one-day drop in history.

- The lot of every day people continues to spiral downward, as job losses continue.

- One piece of good news: The White House is considering spending $40 billion to keep people in their homes.

Election '08

- The McCain campaign seems to be

hemorrhaging volunteers. Yesterday, the Charleston Gazette wrote about a woman who had walked out because of the script she was handed.  Today, Gail Collins of the NY Times wrote about Ted Zoromski, who quit for the same reason.  Apparently people aren't buying the whole "he's a terrorist" thing anymore, and are reluctant to be a part of it.

- Meanwhile, McCain accuses Obama of being "willing to say anything to get elected." Hypocrisy, anyone?

- Sarah Palin continues to publicly disagree with John McCain on a number of major points.  Could this indicate plans for a 2012 presidential run?

- Joe Klein of Time has a good piece on why Barack is winning.


- The NY Times' David Sanger does an article on the competing world views of the two candidates.

- China's dynamic growth is slowing just a little.  Could this mean catastrophe?

One More Thing

- NBA players are divided in their preferences for president.

- Last, I'd like to apologize for being the reason Barack Obama lost the election:


Rooting for the Winner

Obama WinningThe press is pulling for a close election, and doing their best to report it as one, but all the indicators point to Obama continuing to widen his lead. With everyone expecting McCain to make a run, why isn't it happening?

My feeling is that it has to do with one of America's most cherished traditions: Love for winning.  Though most Americans might have favored John Kerry's policies in 2004, or Al Gore's experience in 2000, George Bush knew how to talk like a winner.  He looked like a winner.  He was confident and sure of himself. The same was true of Bill Clinton, and people gravitated toward him.

Since the conventions, McCain has looked increasingly like a guy who's about to lose an election.  He's nervous, he stumbles in his speeches, he looks awkward on stage, and his campaign is all over the place.  Obama, by contrast, looks ever more presidential. In the debates he was calm, cool, well-spoken and connectable.  He's acting like a winner, and everybody wants to be on the winning team.

This has created a positive feedback loop for Obama: The further ahead he gets, the more he looks like a president, and the more confident people become in his abilities.  I still think it's reasonable to expect McCain to pick up a few points in the polls, but most of America is now expecting-- and looking forward to-- a President Obama.

Syndicate content