2008

Daily Tracks Now Average 7 Points

Catch the latest poll analysis from DemFromCT this morning, showing among many other things the poll average now at 7 points. 

The Post has a story this morning detailing the McCain's camp decision to go scorched earth all the way to the end now. 

1045am Update - Rasmussen's daily starts this way: 

With one month to go until Election Day, the Rasmussen Reports daily
Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Barack Obama attracting
51% of the vote while John McCain earns 45%. For each of the past nine
days, Obama has been at 50% or 51% and McCain has been at 44% or 45% (see trends). The stability of these results suggests that the McCain campaign faces a very steep challenge in the remaining few weeks of Election 2008.

Have Some Borscht with Your Apple Pie

In the presidential debate last Friday, Jim Lehrer asked the candidates about their position on Russia. Characteristic of the dreadfully dull debate, they managed to give precisely the same response. Senators Barack Obama and John McCain both called Russia’s aggression into Georgia “unacceptable,” recognized the need to reassure our European allies, and stressed the importance of working with Moscow, rather than against it

Peering into the recent past, Obama has been consistently firm on Russia, but has stuck to his broader theme of making diplomacy and negotiation a first-string response. McCain takes a harsher tone, and has been accused of trying to take the U.S. back into a Cold War with Russia. He has talked up the threat Russia poses, proposed ejecting Russia from the G-8, and advocated the creation of a League of Democracies—an organization from which Russia would be excluded.

It is true that Russia has been flexing its military muscles recently—most obviously with the incursion in Georgia. In the conflict, however, the Russian military did little to show it deserves to be feared. The army’s most senior commander in the field was wounded when poor intelligence led them into a Georgian ambush. The military’s limited technology was nearly useless—even their radios didn’t work, forcing officers to communicate via cell phone. And most of the bombs dropped were not modern smart bombs, but older, dumber bombs.

Still, by most measures, Russia’s performance in the field was better than in either of the Chechen wars in the ‘90s, and Moscow is getting serious about upgrading everything from equipment to tactics. The Kremlin will increase defense spending by 26% next year, much of which will go toward improving and updating the country’s nuclear program.

Beyond bombs and submarines, Russia has been looking for friends among America’s antagonizers. Moscow just offered a $1 billion military loan to Hugo Chavez’s government in Caracas. In November, Russian warships will enter the Caribbean for the first time since the Cold War, on their way to joint exercises with the Venezuelan Navy. Russia has 10 warships docked in Syria, and is helping to renovate Tartus port; in Iran, Russian technology and fissile material is helping to build a nuclear reactor, and Russian surface-to-air missiles may protect it.

Higher oil prices have gotten Russia back on her feet, and the Kremlin’s activities of late indicate that the government seeks to be taken seriously. Increasingly isolated on the world stage, Russia is responding by building its own coalition and trying to establish power within its historical sphere of influence. Moscow is asserting itself particularly in the Middle East, establishing its own version of the Monroe Doctrine: This is our backyard, so keep your meddling fingers out.

Though Russia’s military is a shadow of its former self, and from a security perspective, Moscow does not presently pose a credible threat, Russia is capable of making life difficult for the U.S., whether by turning off the gas, by giving cover (both literal and political) to Iran, or by bolstering Chavez in Venezuela.

But Russia and the U.S. share a number of interests, many of which were laid out last week by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: Fighting terrorism, stopping nuclear proliferation, denuclearizing North Korea and finding a secure, stable resolution between Israel and the Palestinians, among others. John McCain’s aggressive, antagonistic ideas about Russia have the potential to become self-fulfilling prophecy. What we need now is not to escalate tension with a powerful state that has the capability of causing us great trouble, but to work together where we have common ground. The U.S. would be best served by keeping Russia engaged, rather than forcing it out into the cold.

McCain's Mixed Messages on Immigration?

NDN has followed U.S. Sen. John McCain's track record on Immigration. The latest is John McCain's second ad on immigration in Spanish. Andres commented on the ad during an interview with NPR:

"It's disturbing to me, as a Hispanic, to have someone who feels he can blatantly deceive and think people won't pay attention," says Andres Ramirez, vice president for Hispanic programs at NDN..."

Marisa wrote about the ad, and NDN has long advocated on: 1) the importance of the Hispanic vote (this demographic could very well swing several southern and western states in this election), and 2) the issue of immigration as a motivating factor in the way many Hispanics vote regardless of whether they are native or foreign born - this is thanks to the GOP strategy of turning the debate on immigration into a debate on whether Hispanics should be in this country.

Actually, McCain's message on immigration is not mixed at all - since 2006 he's been consistently against immigration reform. The first and second ads focus on misrepresenting Obama's position on immigration, but at no time do they state McCain's position - much less go as far as saying that McCain supports immigration reform. Instead, since the GOP now recognizes that Hispanics respond negatively to these anti-Hispanic attacks, they created the same kind of degrading ad except this time they (inaccurately)attribute the comments about Mexico and immigrants to Barack Obama.

So will McCain's attempt at making Obama seem anti-Hispanic work? Andres is right - it's not working. NDN and analysts across the board believe the large numbers of Hispanic voters in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada and Florida could be decisive in those swing states. Our latest polling in these states showed that Barack Obama is ahead of John McCain by at least 30 points among Hispanics in the Southwest, and specifically on the issue of immigration, Hispanics believe Barack Obama would do a better job than John McCain. Even in Florida, where the candidates were even among Hispanics (42%-42%), when asked about immigration, 42% of voters trusted Barack Obama to better handle the issue over 37% preferring John McCain. The largest difference was in Nevada, where 60% of Hispanics trusted Barack Obama more on the issue of immigration, while only 18% preferred John McCain.

And the latest ad makes no sense when put in context - on the one hand, the McCain campaign launches this ad to attempt to portray Obama as anti-immigrant, while on the other hand, they create another ad in English and Spanish that attacks Obama for allegedly voting against allowing people to own guns in order to defend themselves from these "criminal aliens" who are "crossing illegally into our country." So which is it?

In a year when the Hispanic electorate has nearly doubled from what it was in 2000 (from 7.5 million to approximately 14 million this year), given that Hispanics make up a large part of the electorate in key Southern and Western states, and given that Hispanics are mobilizing to get out the vote, to vote early and vote absentee in those states, it does not bode well for John McCain.

 

 

Palin Disagrees With Decision to Pull Out of Michigan

I'm sure the McCain camp is loving this one.   That Governor sure is feisty, isnt she?

Krugman Reflects on the Bush Bailout Bill

From his column today:

The House will probably vote on Friday on the latest version of the $700 billion bailout plan - originally the Paulson plan, then the Paulson-Dodd-Frank plan, and now, I guess, the Paulson-Dodd-Frank-Pork plan (it's been larded up since the House rejected it on Monday). I hope that it passes, simply because we're in the middle of a financial panic, and another no vote would make the panic even worse. But that's just another way of saying that the economy is now hostage to the Treasury Department's blunders.

For the fact is that the plan on offer is a stinker - and inexcusably so. The financial system has been under severe stress for more than a year, and there should have been carefully thought-out contingency plans ready to roll out in case the markets melted down. Obviously, there weren't: the Paulson plan was clearly drawn up in haste and confusion. And Treasury officials have yet to offer any clear explanation of how the plan is supposed to work, probably because they themselves have no idea what they're doing.

As readers of this blog are aware NDN has been raising similar concerns about the plan - that it is not clear that it will work.  One thing that will have to be done, perhaps during the lameduck session in November, is the passage of a plan to keep people in their homes.  For as the new housing data shows housing prices continue to plummet, causing more foreclosures, which is then in turn bringing down home prices even more which is then doing to bring down the core assets whose drop is bringing down the financial house of cards on top of it all. 

Nothing in this now enormous bill will address this fundamental problem. which of course has been driving this entire crisis.  Our fear is that without it we are not doing all that we can to stabilize our wobbly financial markets, and do the right thing by the taxpayers who are footing the bill for this incredible bailout. 

Obama-McCain Spanish Language Immigration Fight Part Two

Yesterday the McCain campaign revived the presidential immigration battle with another Spanish-language television commercial blaming Barack Obama for killing immigration reform.

According to the Washington Post the ad, called "Fraudulent," will air in Colorado and New Mexico:


Here's the script:

"So what's worse? That Barack Obama and his allies in Congress killed immigration reform? Or that their immigration attacks were called 'unfair,' 'absolutely and directly wrong' and even 'fraudulent' by the press. Or that Obama and his liberal allies think the U.S. has an immigration problem because Mexico is a quote, 'dysfunctional society'? They've said no to us long enough. This election, let's tell them no."

McCain's continued attacks on Obama over the immigration issue is evidence that at the national level the GOP is well aware they need Hispanic voters this November. Recent polling from NDN suggests that McCain could be in serious trouble in the Mountain West, particularly in states like Nevada and Colorado.

Makes one wonder, though, if he's bothered to pass that sentiment on to his friends and colleagues in down-ballot races this year. They certainly don't appear to be on message:

Senator Dole (R-NC) has spent most of the cycle touting her deportation-only strategy. You can see the ads here and here.

Congressman Virgil Goode (VA-05) is up with a negative ad on immigration and has been more than eager to blame immigrants and their "anchor babies" essentially calling for a repeal of birthright citizenship. You can watch it here.

Congressional Candidate Jay Love is up with an ad in Alabama claiming immigrants come to America to take our jobs.

And those are just a few examples. Overall, the Republican platform is decidedly deportation-only and largely anti-immigrant. Does Senator McCain really believe the Hispanic electorate won't notice?

Note to the McCain campaign: Latino voters speak English and can hear those anti-immigrant ads loud and clear, amigos. Running ads in Spanish won't erase the damage being done by your own party. The evidence is pretty clear, the GOP has Dos Caras where immigration is concerned.

UPDATE: What happens when the NRA tries to play to the nativist base and pander to the Latino vote at the same time? Hilarity ensues: How do you say backfire en Español?

A Great Kos Post

This is one of Markos's more inspired posts of late....

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