Joe Biden

Polls Showing Renewed Obama Momentum, Palin Dropping

DemFromCT over at DailyKos has an excellent overview of the current polling trends.  

Obama Finds His Voice on the Economy

From a new 2 minute Obama ad: 

In the past few weeks, Wall Street's been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled. But for many of you - the people I've met in town halls, backyards and diners across America - our troubled economy isn't news. 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Paychecks are flat and home values are falling. It's hard to pay for gas and groceries and if you put it on a credit card they've probably raised your rates. You're paying more than ever for health insurance that covers less and less. This isn't just a string of bad luck. The truth is that while you've been living up to your responsibilities Washington has not. That's why we need change. Real change. This is no ordinary time and it shouldn't be an ordinary election. But much of this campaign has been consumed by petty attacks and distractions that have nothing to do with you or how we get America back on track. Here's what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the "anything goes" culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America' that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists - once and for all -- so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as Americans. And yes, bring a responsible end to this war in Iraq so we stop spending billions each month rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding ours. Doing these things won't be easy. But we're Americans. We've met tough challenges before. And we can again. I'm Barack Obama. I hope you'll read my economic plan. I approved this message because bitter, partisan fights and outworn ideas of the left and the right won't solve the problems we face today. But a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility will.

This is a powerful message.  And a 2 minute direct to camera spot is very smart.  Obama is convincing, persuasive in his direct to camera spots - as the campaign learned in Iowa.  As I wrote below, the Republicans do not have an answer to this argument, and is further evidence that the Obama campaign is in the process of seizing control of the race.

I offered these thoughts on the making the struggle of every day people the central focus of our politics a few weeks ago.



Matt Damon on The Palin Ultimatum

And just for fun - I think Matt Damon brings up a good point.

I love the comment a VERY conservative friend of mine made when I sent him this video: "Caring or quoting what celebrities think about anything is usually cause for a punch line, but in this case, he happens to be correct."

His comment reflects how during this election, unlike any other, people are switching parties, switching preferences, and reflecting over a broader array of issues that are less substantive but no less relevant - issues like race and age in a Presidential election, the role of a Vice Presidential nominee - much more than in the past.





Jack and John

That Jack Abramoff was sentenced to prison the same day U.S. Sen. John McCain spoke to the Republican Convention warrants some sustained reflection.  For what it reminds us of is that try as he might, John McCain simply cannot shake and distance himself from the recent disapointing era of Republican rule. 

One of the most important things the Obama camp will have to do in the days ahead is to do a better job at evoking what went wrong when the GOP was in charge, and reminding everyone that for a generation, John McCain has been, yes, a Republican leader. "Voted with Bush 90 percent of the time."  Does that do it?  Is it potent enough?  Why not indict the whole Republican era, not just Bush? For while Bush is going away, those Republicans and their politics remain - unprecedented corruption (images of Abramoff, Don Young, Cunningham, etc), an economics for the wealthy by the wealthy and not for us, a foreign policy that has left our enemies emboldened, Bin Laden on the loose, and our military less capable of defending America?  That by electing McCain and Palin, we will be electing a political party and a governing strategy that has done so much to weaken America and its people? That this is the very opposite of patriotism? 

As John McCain himself admitted in his speech to the Republican Convention, his Party left America worse than he found it......

We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption....We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.

And that in order to win the nomination, and seize power, John McCain had to embrace the failed politics and strategies of this era?  Its economics? Its foreign policy? Its slash and burn and lying politics? Its approach to torture? Toward immigrants and immigration?  That in the process of winning the nomination that he became one of those Republicans?

In April I wrote

Not a big fan of McSame - Some of the early arguments coming from the Democratic/progressive side attempt to make McCain into Bush. But I think this approach is bound to fail. McCain is his own man. He isn't George Bush. They may have worked together to bring about this disasterous conservative era. They have similar beliefs. But McCain isn't Bush. He has a powerful and compelling personal narrative. His take on Iraq is different. His economic plan is different. His position on immigration is different. It is time for those who have opposed Bush to let go of him as a man, and begin making the indictment against his beliefs, his government and the mess he and his team - with McCain's help - have left us. The country has written Bush off, and is turning the page. It is time for the progressive movement to do the same.

To that end, I think the new DNC Ad is a good one. It takes McCain's own words and ties them to the performance of the conservative economic strategy now embraced by the Arizona Senator. An editorial in the Washington Post today further disembles the inanity of McCain's emerging economic arguments, providing much more new material for those of us who have opposed the bankrupt and failed economic approach of the modern conservatives.

With McCain-Palin surging, the Obama campaign now has two jobs. To make its case for why an Obama Presidency will make America great, good and prosperous again, and why McCain-Palin won't, the Obama camp needs to take a page from the GOP Convention and offer a sustained narrative, over time, that makes their case.  This is not about rapid response now.  It is about recasting the race, taking it up a level, telling a compelling and powerful story, and coming to terms with that a sustained fight betwen Country First and Change We Can Believe In will put Old Man McCain in the White House next year.

More Evidence of a McCain-Palin surge

USA-Gallup has the GOP ticket up 50-46 among registered voters, and found movement consistent with the Gallup and Rasmussen tracks from over the weekend.

The Sarah Effect - Sunday's Rasmussen Track Has the Race Tied

Showing continued momentum for the GOP, the Sunday am Rasmussen track has the race now tied.  This post from yesterday has a more detailed look at how the race is changing - among the most interesting findings is the GOP surge with women post-Palin. 

The SF Chronicle has an interesting piece today on the resurgent GOP.  It includes this passage: 

"Sarah Palin is driving the presidential election right now," said Simon Rosenberg, who heads NDN, a Washington-based moderate Democratic advocacy group. "The McCain campaign is no longer in charge of their own campaign. They've hitched their ticket to a media superstar, and she could be the key to their victory - or the thing that takes them down. She could be a rocket ship or a train wreck."

Earlier this week I offered up this initial take on the arrival of Sarah Palin on the national stage, and these thoughts on what her inadequate vetting says about John McCain.

There can be no doubt now that the Republicans had a very good week, and emerged from Minnesota a very different Party than they went in.  How Palin fares will be critical to the fall election, and given how litttle we know about her expect the media to spend the month before the VP debate trying to help fill in the blanks.  It is something the Democrats will need to do as well. 

Update, 1pm - Gallup now has McCain ahead, 48-45.  I think this is the strongest showing for McCain in this poll all year.

Rasmussen's Daily Track Sees a Very Close Race

Data is beginning to come in from this interesting week.  Here is Rasmussen's summary of their daily track, and it is worth reading in its entirety: 

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Barack Obama attracting 46% of the vote while McCain earns 45%. When "leaners" are included, it's Obama 49%, McCain 46% (see recent daily results). Tracking Poll results are released at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time each day and a FREE daily e-mail update is available.

Each Saturday morning, Rasmussen Reports reviews the key polls of the past week to learn What They Told Us.

Tracking Poll results are based upon nightly telephone interviews and reported on a three-day rolling average basis. As a result, roughly two-thirds of the interviews were completed before McCain's speech on Wednesday night. One third were completed before Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's speech on Wednesday. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be the first update based entirely upon interviews conducted after Palin's speech and Monday will be the first based entirely upon interviews conducted after McCain's speech. By Tuesday or Wednesday, the overall impact of both political conventions should be fairly clear.

As McCain has begun to chip away as Obama's convention bounce, most of his gains have come among women voters. Obama still leads 51% to 44% among women, but that seven-point edge is just half the fourteen point lead he enjoyed last Tuesday. McCain leads by three among men, little changed in recent days.

Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Obama voters now say they are voting with enthusiasm for their candidate while 17% are primarily voting against the other candidate. For McCain, those numbers are 65% and 28% respectively. Before the Republican convention, just 54% of McCain voters were voting enthusiastically for him rather than simply voting against Obama.

McCain is now viewed favorably by 58% of the nation's voters while Obama earns positive reviews from 57% (see trends). McCain earns favorable reviews from 91% of Republicans while Obama is viewed favorably by 87% of Democrats. Among unaffiliated voters, McCain's favorable ratings are at 64%, Obama's at 54%. Premium Members can review demographic crosstabs and all the data we collect--not just the portion we make public. Premium Members can also get an advance look at tracking poll results via the Daily Snapshot each morning.

Palin is viewed favorably by 58% of voters including 40% with a Very Favorable opinion of her.

The Rasmussen Reports Balance of Power Calculator currently shows Obama leading in states with 193 Electoral College votes while McCain leads in states with 183 votes . When leaners are included, it's Obama 264, McCain 247.

This is a description of a very close race.

Update 130pm - Gallup now has the race 47-45 Obama, similar to what Rasmussen has found.  A very close race now indeed. 

McCain, The Fallen Hero

As I wrote earlier this week, the central drama of the Republican Convention was not the emergence of Governor Sarah Palin, but could Senator John McCain adequately distance himself from this terribly disapointing era of GOP governance to give himself a shot at winning this thing?

As of this morning while I think McCain and his team tried very hard and had a strong last 2 days of the Convention I'm not sure they pulled it off. Hurricane Gustav did its part, knocking Bush and Cheney off the stage without disrupting the rest of the Convention. And Sarah Palin did her part, and has now arrived on the national stage as a powerful new part of the GOP's future. We also saw all sorts of GOP moderates, not normally associated with hard right conservative politics. We were bombarded with iconic American images, mostly from a time gone by. We heard about the virtues of small town life and the dangers of cosmopolitianism. We saw large and attractive families, strong and articulate women, and a never ending stream of American flags. What we almost never heard about was George Bush.

While Palin was a glimpse of the GOP's future, most of what we saw was an evocation of the GOP's and America's past. After all John McCain was born a long time ago. He is the oldest man to be the nominee of either Party. He is very much a man of the 20th century, of its battles, struggles and culture. The problem for him is that past includes the GOP's recent Washington ascendency a period which has without doubt been among the worst periods of goverance America has ever seen.

In his speech last night John McCain acknowledges his disapointment with his Party in recent years, and while he does his best to spread the blame the thrust of his remarks are clear:

I fight to restore the pride and principles of our party. We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us. We lost the trust of the American people when some Republicans gave in to the temptations of corruption. We lost their trust when rather than reform government, both parties made it bigger. We lost their trust when instead of freeing ourselves from a dangerous dependence on foreign oil, both parties and Senator Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies. We lost their trust, when we valued our power over our principles.

And in watching him last night, this aging warrior, I got the sense that he knew that it was unlikely that he was going to win this election and lead this fight in restoring his Party. That he could craft a road map, and promote the leaders - like Palin and Ridge and Whitman - whom he hoped would carry on this important fight. But that the damage done by the recent conservative rise was too great, too fresh and that too many of its leaders were still in positions of power; that he, by adopting so many of the core arguments of this era to win the nomination was no longer the man of virtue he once was; and that he at the end of the day simply does not have a big enough vision, enough energy, enough understanding of the moment to be the one who can lead this post Bush-DeLay-Abramoff Party forward.

Which is perhaps why this Convention spent so much time talking about him and his past - it was in essence a validictory event rather than the beginning of a winning campaign. And that it did achieve something very important to McCain - the beginning of the liberation of the Party he loves from the grips of corrupt, weak and ineffective leaders. That my friends is no small accomplishment, and one that McCain seems to be in the process of pulling off. Whether however he can do the next thing - make a more compelling argument about the future than his opponents - remains to be seen. The task of doing so became almost impossible when McCain sacrified his own beliefs and principles to win the GOP primary, and in my gut I think he knows this.

More than anyone else John McCain knows that the mythical character he has become is not the successful aging warrior, but the fallen hero, overwhelmed by events much greater than him. And that his year he will do his part and fight the good fight all the while knowing that it will be others who end up carrying on and winning the battle that he began waging in St. Paul.

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