The Loser Now is Later to Win

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For the first time since he locked up the nomination, Barack Obama has dipped to a tie with John McCain on the electoral map and to a deficit in some of the national polls. Tell us why, John Zogby.

The reversal follows a month of attacks by McCain, who has questioned Obama's experience, criticized his opposition to most new offshore oil drilling and mocked his overseas trip. The poll was taken Thursday through Saturday as Obama wrapped up a weeklong vacation in Hawaii that ceded the political spotlight to McCain, who seized on Russia's invasion of Georgia to emphasize his foreign policy views. "There is no doubt the campaign to discredit Obama is paying off for McCain right now," pollster John Zogby said. "This is a significant ebb for Obama."

The dynamic of the race now is summed up by the usual batch of oddly sexual verbs: McCain is "pounding" or "hammering" or "drilling down" on Obama, while Obama is flustered and defensive. But I try to pay more attention to the ads and messaging in swing states than the groaning of cable news, and there, Obama has been running negative ads on McCain. Here's one. Here's another. Hey, here's another. If you live in, say, Ohio, you're seeing this stuff as often as you see McCain's latest claim that Obama's a celebrity who wants to send tax collectors to put a ball gag in your mouth and lock you in the basement.

But that's just it! Not only are McCain's attacks all about character and weakness; Obama's responses basically validate them. That guy says I've got ladyparts and I hate America and want to raise taxes: In fact, I want to cut some taxes and raise others! Obama, accused of being a wimp, waves his calculator.

What could Obama do, though? There's a character case to make against McCain, whose shifting issue positions and bloated sense of self-importance are almost Obama-like. But every attack on McCain's character comes up against the iron wall of his POW days. This is the irony of that weird meme of a few weeks back that Obama "couldn't take a joke" (after that New Yorker cartoon portraying him as a terrorist): It's McCain who can't be mocked without holy hell unleashing. When the host of one of the Sunday shows accusing a guest of "questioning McCain's integrity" for pointing out that he's changed positions, you've got a problem. The Clintons are/were better aggressive campaigners, but how would the sleaze and naked ambition of that family be matching up against this? The only hope the Democrats ever had of making this easy was a Mitt Romney nomination. That guy made Thomas Beatie look like John Holmes.

Also: Democrats had better hope Zogby's up to his usual accuracy standard. If McCain leads on the economy, as he does here, there's not really any fjord Obama can paddle through to get to the White House.

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  1. Dems nominate another weak candidate.

    Dog bite man.

  2. Don’t worry. Matt Welch will be along any minute to tell us why McCain is too flawed to win.

  3. Well, McCain may very well suicide with a stupid VP pick. There’s much more danger for him there than there is for Obama.

  4. The dynamic of the race now is summed up by the usual batch of oddly sexual verbs: McCain is “pounding” or “hammering” or “drilling down” on Obama, while Obama is flustered and defensive.[emp added]

    You must have a, shall we say, “interesting”, sex life. Freud wouldn’t have a field day.

    But every attack on McCain’s character comes up against the iron wall of his POW days.

    The fundamental problem is that McCain was tested as few people are these days. Given the chance to choose between his own freedom , the good of the country and the honor of brothers in arms, he chose to remain in horrific captivity.

    McCain is an arrogant, self-righteous atavism of a military aristocrat but when it came down to making one of the most difficult decisions imaginable he put the good of others over his own. No opponent can sound bite their way around that stark reality. Any attempt to do so looks petty, viscous and even childishly petulant.

    McCain can switch positions on issues almost without penalty because he can sell the idea that he changes only when his view of a problem changes not just from political expediency.

  5. Poor Andrew Sullivan.

  6. I always said, despite Democratic screeds about how this would be a blowout, that it comes down to 1-2% win. I think thats about the margin Obama will win by–1-2% and 3-12 electoral votes. Blowouts are a thing of the past, the country is so polarized probably ever election for the next 20+ years will be close.

  7. Obama’s a celebrity who wants to send tax collectors to put a ball gag in your mouth and lock you in the basement.

    At least that IRS reform gives a guy a chance for a reach-around.

  8. McCain can switch positions on issues almost without penalty because he can sell the idea that he changes only when his view of a problem changes not just from political expediency.

    Which makes him a douche for trading shamelessly on the image of his heroism to buttress political foibles.

  9. Wasn’t John Kerry, like, ahead by a kabillion points at this time 4 years ago?

    Should I be reading that as “the guy who is behind will win the election!” or as “jeez, the democrats picked an even crappier candidate than usual!”?

  10. Which “bloated sense of self importantance” candidate should I vote for? Both majors certainly fill the “importance” bill. Maybe the ” cerberus wardog” one, maybe the “antichrist” one? Or,just maybe ,my vote is an illusion again.Losing faith in ones country/gov is a gradual process…and then it’s over.

  11. If you look at the RCP head-to-head page and scroll down, you see that Zogby has gone from consistently being the outlier in Obama’s favor to consistently being the outlier in McCain’s favor. It makes me wonder if he changed his assumptions about likely voters at some point, like Newsweek and that odd Gallup poll that came out last month.

    During the period when the one-off national polls have shown the race tightening, the daily tracking polls (Gallup and Rasmussen) haven’t shown that, just the usual day-to-day noise. They have used the same assumptions throughout. They also tended to show smaller Obama leads from May-July than the one-off polls.

  12. Polling now is really kind of irrelevant. The polls will swing wildly during the conventions, and after the confetti’s swept up, they’ll start to paint a clearer picture.

  13. Joe, I agree with you about Zogby. The RCP electoral average is more troubling. Zogby is either horribly wrong or spot on, and usually the former.

  14. BTW has anyone elsed notice McCain does better during the periods of time when no one is paying attention to the race (Fourth of July week, August vacations/Olympics)?

  15. BDB —

    Also don’t forget, periods where they’re “prouder to be an American” than usual; the Olympics and 4th of July both qualify.

    Also, the invasion of Georgia got people’s fear up, and Republican candidates eat that shit like a filling snack.

  16. LMNOP-

    And I don’t think Obama’s convention bounce will be much either because 1)The Republicans are right after, then 2)9/11 9/11 9/11 9/11 a week later. Even in 2006 the Democrats started to plummet in the polls the week after 9/11, though they made it up later.

  17. Yeah, it has nothing to do with the fact he’s so far left he could win a high office Europe. It’s those ATTACK! ads that bring up… um, facts. Yeah.

  18. Elemenope,

    Which makes him a douche for trading shamelessly on the image of his heroism to buttress political foibles.

    Depends. I think McCains switches come relatively slowly, usually over a period of years. He also stakes out unpopular positions and holds them for sometime. Both are unusual for a weathervane politician.

    All politicians change positions based on some calculus integrating real changes of opinion and political expediency. McCain can better make the argument that his changes spring from changes of opinion than can most politicians.

  19. I used to enter dance-offs. You know, I would step up to the STREETS. I always hated when little kids would enter, because their cuteness could drown out any consideration of skill or talent in the judge’s eyes. Military service generally, and POW status particularly, seems to play a similar role in presidential elections.

    Then again, so does minority status.

    So, my immodest proposal: even as cute children should be banned from dance-offs, POW’s and minorities should be banned from national elections. Their elevated hero-via-victimization status poisons the well of discourse.

  20. Anybody see this Telegraph story?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/2590614/Barack-Obamas-lost-brother-found-in-Kenya.html

    Obama’s brother lives in a shanty town in Kenya. The picture speaks a thousand words. Talk about a PR blunder. Even if you don’t care about your extended family, or are to damn cheap to want to throw your half brother a couple hundred bucks so he doesn’t live in squalor, you’d think a presidential candidate would be smart enough to do the right thing even for the wrong reason. This just reinforces the notion (fact?) that conservatives believe in taking care of family themselves while liberals believe someone else should take care of their family.

    Maybe its a cultural thing I wouldn’t understand. I understand there are some T-shirts to that effect.

  21. Polls are stupid.

  22. Where do people get the fantasy that Europe always elects leftist governments?

    France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Germany, are (and in a very short period of time Britain will be) will all be center-right governments.

    Sarkozy would be at home in the GOP.

  23. Polling now is really kind of irrelevant

    Yes, but it gives pundits and pinheads something to blather on and on and on and on and on about.

  24. Or have I beeen had and the Telegraph is the UK version of The Onion?

  25. And remember: At the Democratic National Convention, we will have Hiliary Clinton speak one night, Bill Clinton speak on another, and then a floor vote to remind the world that nearly one-half of Obama’s own party wanted someone else to be the nominee. What a way to kick off a campaign.

  26. BigBigSlacker-

    Its the British version of The New York Post.

  27. Barring some sort of Colonel Kurtzian-like moment, McCain is going to win this without too much trouble. Obama’s just not doing enough to prove that he’s got what it takes, and the McCain = Bush message is not going to work with anyone but the core base.

    What’s great about this is that we all know McCain will make a poor president (though an upgrade from what we have now, I add with sadness), but I think an increasing number of us think that Obama could be especially bad (still an upgrade, most likely) and would lack the opposition of Congress, something Poor President McCain would have. I’m voting Babar, but that’s how I’m seeing things. The VP selection probably won’t matter at all, barring some insanely stupid moment by either candidate.

  28. McCain can better make the argument that his changes spring from changes of opinion than can most politicians.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t follow. How is he less crass a politician than all the others? He swung to the base of his party pretty predictably, abandoning most of the positions people remember him for from eight years ago.

  29. This is certainly good news for Barr and Nader, whose vote totals mean something now. The closer the two candidates are, the better for third parties.

    Now let’s just pray that McCain picks Lieberman as his running mate, sending the entire right wing over to Barr.

  30. Pro L —

    If McCain picks a pro-choicer, as he intimated/threatened a few days ago, that would kill him dead right there.

  31. What a way to kick off a campaign.

    I just want to see it put out of its (and my) misery.

  32. I thought the McCain celebrity ads were devastating. The crowd chanting “OBAMA!” in the background of the spot was particularly effective. In contrast, Obama’s ads seem to be mush. I can’t be the only person who sees them and wonders what the hell it means to “fast track alternative energy.”

    I also think Obama did himself a lot of harm going to Europe. He reaffirmed every prejudice people have against Democrats, namely that Democrats are closet socialists who care more about the world at large than they do about the country. Obama is especially vulnerable to this charge after his “guns and religion” gaffe and his wife’s “I was never proud of this country before now gaffe” Who in his campaign thought it would be a good idea to put him up in front of 200,000 Germans claiming to be a “citizen of the world”.

    Obama grew up with his middle class grandparents after his dingbat mother and deadbeat father basically abandoned him. He can claim to know what it is like to be an average American a hell of a lot more convincingly than McCain. Do the Democrats remember “The Man from Hope”? That played pretty well for them in 92 didn’t it? Here they have a guy who also has a hardscrabble story and is half black to boot. Instead, they send him over to hob knob with adoring crowds of Europeans. Yeah that makes a lot of sense.

  33. Elemenope,

    He won’t. He’s just acting all mavericky, as he’s wont to do.

  34. Theres a 49% chance the Dems will blow it J Sub.

    You will be able to hear the iBooks in Boston and San Francisco being smahed against TVs all the way to Detroit on election night if this happens.

  35. Anybody who really believes that Americans are going to elect an obviously brilliant, svelt black man with a foreign sounding name to be President has very fanciful notion of the American electorate’s level of sophistication.

  36. BRB,

    They are going to blow it. In a year when all they had to do was pick a candidate who could show up and not drool on himself, they managed to find the one guy who is going to manage to lose. Depend on your outlook it is either tragic, comic or both.

  37. Obama’s only chance is to start painting himself as more conservative or at least start capitalizing on the closet-conservative meme. Liberals aren’t going to vote for McCain, so his far left image becomes his biggest liability. He’s going to far left and losing all those disenfranchised conservatives who don’t want to vote for Mcbush. Seriously, anybody see that disarm America youtube video?

  38. I hope they don’t lose, if nothing more than so I don’t have to hear the whining about racism and satanic Dieblod machines AGAIN.

  39. …have to hear the whining about racism and satanic Dieblod machines AGAIN.

    After judicial appointments that is the best thing about Republican victories.

  40. I can’t be the only person who sees them and wonders what the hell it means to “fast track alternative energy.”

    You weren’t. I was just pissed off that I had to see campaign ads in the first place. I thought being Texan exempted me.

  41. SIV, when the Republicans lose its whining about the media and how the candidate wasn’t a “true” conservative. They always cease to be a “true” conservative the morning after they lose.

  42. My friends, the fact that George W. Bush won two terms is proof positive that Americans want a President who doesn’t make them feel inferior. A brilliant, Harvard-educated black man? I don’t think so.

  43. Lefiti if I were subjected to the torture John McCain went through I’d squeal like a pig most likely, so I feel inferior to both.

  44. Obama is a pretty lefty candidate, compared to Bill Clinton. He clearly is going to raise taxes. Combined with uncertainty about him as a youthful, unknown quantity kind of a guy, and you get people sticking with the “conservative” choice.

  45. “You weren’t. I was just pissed off that I had to see campaign ads in the first place. I thought being Texan exempted me.”

    I am stuck in the northern VA market and they are on all the time. It is pretty much ruining TV. They all are annoying but I at least can get the message from the McCain ones, which is simply that Obama sucks. The Obama ones don’t make any sense at all. It is all just a bunch of meaningless promises to put a chicken in every pot.

  46. BDB,

    Yeah, but do you have a unsettling feeling that McCain is a lot smarter than you?

  47. I don’t think most Republicans would consider McCain a “true conservative” before the election.
    Anyone paying attention wouldn’t have thought W was either.

    They have a point about the MSmedia but their influence is waning so the excuse is less relevant.

  48. “A brilliant, Harvard-educated black man? I don’t think so.”

    Who feels inferior to Obama? The guy is the biggest dork on the planet. I feel inferior to George Clooney or Steven Hawking or Tom Brady. Obama? You have got to be kidding me.

  49. SIV-

    Republicans all said what a great conservative GWB was–before his approval rating went down to 28%.

    They say what a great conservative Reagan was despite the fact he gave us some of the biggest tax increases in history and assured the survival of Socialist Security for at least another few decades. But we never hear about it, cause he won.

  50. The dynamic of the race now is summed up by the usual batch of oddly sexual verbs: McCain is “pounding” or “hammering” or “drilling down” on Obama

    Sounds more like a batch of oddly construction-related verbs.

  51. Most fat people find skinny people an afront to their feeings of self worth, a sort of living rebuke. Even if Obama were white and less brainy, his body type would be a serious deficit. Brainy, black and skinny–he’s dead in the water.

  52. “do you have a unsettling feeling that McCain is a lot smarter than you?”

    He probably is a hell of a lot smarter when it comes to flying naval jets. Also, I think the naval academy is a pretty tough school.

    Please drop the “REPUBLICANS IZ DUMB LOL” schtick. Its really tiring and a turn off.

  53. BRB,

    They said he was a conservative because he came through on judges and social issues for them.

  54. “Which “bloated sense of self importantance” candidate should I vote for?”

    I’d say the one who didn’t yammer a bunch of grandiose nonsense about future generations looking back and saying this was the time when the planet “started to heal” or claim he was going to lower the ocean levels or design his own personalized presidential seal.

  55. “Most fat people find skinny people an afront to their feeings of self worth, a sort of living rebuke.”

    That is great but I am not fat and run anywhere from ten to fifteen miles a week. Not great shape but not bad either. BTW, Georege Bush is very skinny and a mad distance runner. He would run Obama in the ground. Why isn’t he an affront to fat people?

  56. “I hate America and want to raise taxes.”

    Dave, are you trying to say that’s not his message?

    Don’t let the “progressive netroots community” hear you say that, or they’ll switch back to supporting Hillary, the real America-hating tax-raiser.

  57. If Democrats would, you know, nominate a strong candidate instead of projecting dark, twisted motives onto the American voter they might (miracle of miracles!) win once in a while.

    State Democratic parties do it all the time in red states. Mark Warner is a Harvard educated, tall, skinny billionaire and he won the Governor’s race easily and will win the Senate this year in a walk.

  58. Why isn’t he an affront to fat people?

    Ever hear of a guy named Michael Moore? Does the name Rosie O’Donnell ring a bell?

  59. Lefiti, I’m pretty sure I’m smarter than Barack Obama.

  60. David Boren is a Rhoads Scholar and it is widely known in Oklahoma political circles and among the public that he is a closeted homosexual. No kidding. Yet, he managed to win like four terms as Senator from Oklahoma all by huge margins. He is still popular there today and the President of the University of Oklahoma. Amazing what a decent candidate can do.

  61. Nigel,

    That’s why you’re here instead of running to be the leader of the free world.

  62. SugarFree, I’m 19. I can’t run for President.

  63. John the Democrats had tons of good candidates that could have run who would be measuring the drapes now. Gov. Schwitzer (MT), Gov. Breseden (TN), Frmr Gov. Warner (VA), to name just a few.

    All scared away by Hillary. The Democratic Party needs to start listening to its red-state level parties on how to win.

  64. George W.’s physique is mitigated by the blank look on his face and his inability to utter a coherent sentence that isn’t scripted. Nobody feels inferior to a dumb jock.

    Obama has an svelt look that smacks of self-discipline. That combined with his obvious intelligence and silver tongue makes average white guys feel like shit.

  65. Lefiti explain how Brian Schwitzer, who is an expert on agricultural science and fluent in Arabic, got elected as Governor of Montana then.

    Wouldn’t he make all those dumb fat American rednecks feel inferior?

  66. Lefiti | August 20, 2008, 1:30pm | #
    Most fat people find skinny people an afront to their feeings of self worth, a sort of living rebuke. Even if Obama were white and less brainy, his body type would be a serious deficit. Brainy, black and skinny–he’s dead in the water.

    Maybe he should run for office in Europe. The Germans – they elect brainy, black and skinny people to the highest office in the land all the time.

  67. Nigel,

    Don’t let the man keep you down.

    (Sorry about the crack, I’m in a mean mood from an inadequate lunch.)

  68. Hell, I might’ve voted for Brian Schwitzer.

  69. SugarFree: It’s all good. At my age, Obama was doing cocaine.

  70. France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Germany, are (and in a very short period of time Britain will be) will all be center-right governments.

    Sarkozy would be at home in the GOP.

    If only.

    Most of Europe’s “center-right” governments aren’t all that far removed from the Democratic Party in the US… just their left-leaning parties are even further out there. And you can imagine how your average European views a libertarian (my European friends consider my own brand of anarcho-capitalism to be outlandishly extremist right-wing).

  71. BDB

    I’ve never heard of Brian Schwitzer, but I’ll bet he’s white and doesn’t flaunt his brains.

  72. Nigel,

    So was I and look at me now. TOP O’ THE WORLD, MA!

    In all seriousness, though, cocaine is pretty awesome.

  73. SugarFree: It’s all good. At my age, Obama was doing cocaine.

    Well, why aren’t you? It didn’t hurt Obama any.

  74. Mike-

    I submit that the Danish People’s Party is about at the same spot on the political spectrum as Tom Tancredo. They’re also the head of the ruling coalition. They’re speciality is immigrant baiting.

  75. “George W.’s physique is mitigated by the blank look on his face and his inability to utter a coherent sentence that isn’t scripted. Nobody feels inferior to a dumb jock.”

    Did you see him with Bob Costas on the Olympics? It was unscripted and Bush was quite good and Costas, who is a very smart guy, grilled him on China. Bush was about 100 times better than Obama at Saddleback. Read the written transcrips and take a drink everytime Obama says “umm”. Unless you are a first class drunk, you will pass out before you are done reading. Obama has done awfully bad everytime he has tried to go without a script.

  76. BRB,

    Those guys you mention would never have made it past the nutroots. It wasn’t Hillary it was the nut roots that ran them off. How could anyone not named Hillary and not from the far left of the pary won the nomination this year? I don’t see how.

  77. Nigel Watt’s list of reasons for not doing cocaine:

    1. Asthma and insufflation aren’t friends.
    2. Energy isn’t a problem for me.
    3. Side effects are way too scary.

  78. John,

    Yeah, Obama is faking it. He probably got though Harvard Law School because of affirmative action. His inevitable defeat won’t have anything to do with his being a smart black guy. That’s a relief.

  79. Lefiti, do you ever think you lose elections because your candidates are weak, and not because the American people are stupid drooling rednecks?

    Keep it up though. You might get into the White House sometime around 2048 with that “strategy”.

    John-

    M. Warner would have bought off the nutroots. He put on a huge show for them in Las Vegas shortly before deciding not to run, and they ate it up.

  80. “Read the written transcrips and take a drink everytime Obama says “umm”. ”

    Obama is good at reading from a teleprompter but he’s not good at thinking (or speaking) on his own.

    He’s an empty suit.

  81. Lefiti, nobody’s denying that Obama’s smart. That doesn’t make his policies any less malicious/moronic.

  82. “Yeah, Obama is faking it. He probably got though Harvard Law School because of affirmative action. His inevitable defeat won’t have anything to do with his being a smart black guy. That’s a relief.”

    Just because you are smart doesn’t mean you can speak extemporanously. Further, just because you are smart doesn’t mean you are fit to be President. I gaurentee you that Obama doesn’t have half of the brain power Woodrow Wilson had and Wilson was one of the worst Presidents of the 20th Century. Further, Colin Powell is a pretty smart black guy. He is a hell of a lot smarter and more accomplished than Obama and he could have walked in to the Presidency had he chosen to run. I guess he doesn’t count as a smart black man.

  83. He probably got though admitted to Harvard Law School because of affirmative action.

  84. Almost 80% of Americans believe their country is on the wrong track, mired in an unpopular war and burdened with a failing economy. Yet the conventional wisdom of the presidential campaign now is that it will be a referendum on Barack Obama, not a judgement on the past eight years of Republican administration.
    A Gallup poll shows Senator McCain leading Senator Obama 55:35 among white males, and their support tied among white females.

  85. Promise change, play the race card by implication, then deliver the same old spacy crap which means more of our wealth diverted to people who can’t take care of themselves… well, it’s no wonder he’s not getting to where he hoped to be.

    Race plays a big role in the election too. Everyone wants a president who matches them in heritage, values, etc. so they feel understood.

    If we had an Asian candidate for president, I think you’d see the same response.

  86. Gilbert, my friend. We’re on the same page. You don’t like Obama, and I’m assuring you that he won’t get elected.

  87. Nigel,

    I’m 19. I can’t run for President.

    Im 39, so Im eligible. The fact Im not running for president is a point in favor of the fact that Im smarter than Obama.

    Plus, just the fact that Im smarter than him was a clue.

  88. Lefiti,

    If the race were Powell versus some Democratic White guy, how much of a lead do you think Powell would have among white males? My guess is double digits. Democrats have a white male problem and have had one for years. That is Obama’s problem not vice versa.

  89. I hesitate to use the word brilliant about anyone, unless he or she wows me in some way. I’m particularly dubious when people talk about the brilliance of politicians, which is usually not the case. I’ve noticed that attributing high intelligence to their candidates is a particular problem for the left, which sold Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and now Obama as somewhere near Einstein and Newton in intellect.

    In any case, Obama hasn’t impressed me as brilliant yet, though he is a good speaker when he has a prepared speech. I don’t really care about that, though. If Bush were a great president, I’d be perfectly happy with his inability to speak in public.

  90. Promise change, play the race card by implication, then deliver the same old spacy crap which means more of our wealth diverted to people who can’t take care of themselves… well, it’s no wonder he’s not getting to where he hoped to be.

    Seriously, critics need to settle on a thesis. Either the above is true and *that’s why he’ll win* or the above is true and “that’s why he’s doomed*.

    I imagine it will only matter once he either wins or loses. Either way it’s shallow and stupid.

  91. Cocaine isn’t bad for people with asthma. I always…know a friend that feels great the next day, when he is feeling bad and in a country where it is legal… It used to be used as a medication to clear congestion.

  92. Lefiti –

    Outside of the Democratic base, people don’t identify McCain with Bush. Swing voters certainly don’t. Thats your problem, not some dark inferiority complex.

  93. I’d like to know if Lefiti considers Clarence Thomas a brilliant black guy.

  94. I am stuck in the northern VA market and they are on all the time. It is pretty much ruining TV.

    As a denizen of one of the few purple swings states, I’m preparing for the worst.

    The wine cellar is stocked, and this weekend I’m heading out for plywood to cover all the doors and windows. I don’t intend to come out until late November.

  95. Iowan-

    From what I hear McCain has given up on Iowa. For some reason the farm states love Obama.

    Of course they voted for Dukakis too, so who knows?

  96. I don’t necessarily understand the “Americans will only vote for someone they feel superior to; Obama is doomed because of his poise and massive brain!” argument. I think people will often vote for a candidate they sense is much better than them cf. the respect McCain gets for the way he handled himself as a POW, which suggests a sense of honor and capacity for self-denial beyond that of most voters. Obama’s intellectual qualities just a. seem to be exaggerated (an ability to contextualize an argument into mush isn’t necessarily a sign of genius) and b. don’t seem connected to the average voter’s ideas about country, values, work, etc…

  97. Heh, I remember a few weeks ago this same Weigel was telling us McCain shouldn’t attack Obama, for some convoluted reason that it would somehow make attacks on McCain more credible.

    It looks like the people are revolting aginst the MSM’s open adoration of their Chosen One, but I don’t think it can last. The media are really going to pull out all the stops now.

  98. Oh, and while he was achieving fame and success, Obama’s brother was abandoned to live in a hut in a Third World hellhole. That can’t help.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/barackobama/2590614/Barack-Obamas-lost-brother-found-in-Kenya.html

    “No-one knows who I am,” he told the magazine, before claiming: “I live here on less than a dollar a month.”

    George added he was no longer in contact with his mother and said:”I have had to learn to live and take what I need.

    “Huruma is a tough place, last January during the elections there was rioting and six people were hacked to death. The police don’t even arrest you they just shoot you.

    “I have seen two of my friends killed. I have scars from defending myself with my fists. I am good with my fists.”

  99. Jesus, thats the second time someone brought up the Telegraph article in the same thread.

    How many McCain Action Points is that worth? Must be a lot!

  100. Obama is a good campaigner who speechifies* well. Discernable demonstrations of his intellect have somehow not pierced the noise of the campaigns. If he’s smart and principled (this applies to McCain as well) disagree with the worst couple of platform planks and tell the base to suck it up, get over it.

    Obama – Public education is often a disaster and the work force deserves much of the blame.

    McCain – The War on Drugs Sanity has only degraded the quality of life for Americans. Minorities/the poor have been sinificantly harmed more than whites/middle class.

    Call me when either say anything significant that goes against their party. They both parrot group think evincing neither intelligence nor courage.

    * Speechify should be an accepted English word. I’m doing my part to make it happen.

  101. Obama’s brother lives in a shanty town in Kenya.

    It’s his HALF brother. I have a half-uncle and some half-cousins that I haven’t seen in decades, either. That’s what happens after a divorce.

  102. The article about his brother is really sad. It is always awkward when a philandering parent goes out and gives you step siblings you don’t know about. I certainly understand why Obama hasn’t had a close relationship with the guy. That said, he met him and knows he lives in a slum in Kenya on less than a $1 a day. Obama is a millionaire. How do you not send the guy some money? Do something to get him out of there? How can you not feel sympathy when that kind of poverty is that close to you? I don’t get it.

  103. Obama’s brother ought to hook up with Cindy McCain’s half sister.I think she lives in a shanty town in West Virginia.

  104. Do we know hes is half brother, or is he claiming to be for money?

    Sorry to sound callous, but its a possibility.

  105. Well, I also have a half-brother I barely know. I’ve met him maybe half a dozen times.

    I wouldn’t turn my life upside down to help him, but if I were a multi-millionaire I probably wouldn’t leave him in a shack in a Third World country with his friends dying around him, either.

    Especially if I were running for President. I mean, come on, if nothing else the perception of abandoning a family member would be bad.

  106. TallDave, if you won the mega-millions tomorrow and somebody said “Hai Dave! I’m your long lost half brother!” would you be skeptical?

  107. Obama hasn’t even won a real campaign yet. According to today’s WSJ, he challenged his opponent’s ballot petition signitures to the point that he was the only one on the ballot for the state senate seat. Then, of course, he beat the Maryland stand-in Keyes, after griming Jack Ryan out of the senate race. His message of change rings pretty when seen in the light of the Chicago/Clinton style dirty tricks he’s used to get elected.

  108. I meant to delete the word “pretty” but deleted “hollow” instead. Preview, damnit.

  109. “TallDave, if you won the mega-millions tomorrow and somebody said “Hai Dave! I’m your long lost half brother!” would you be skeptical?”

    True, but Obama knows that this guy is his half brother. He has met him twice. He talks about him in one of his biographies. There seems to be no question that this guy really is Obama’s half brother.

  110. Maybe hes afraid if he sends him money it will open the floodgates to bogus claims?

    I don’t think theres an easy answer.

    A lot of Presidents seem to have had fuck-up brothers huh? Billy Carter, Roger Clinton, Neil Bush.

  111. Hogan,

    White Americans aren’t going to vote for a black who makes them feel inferior. That’s all I’ve said. The polls bear me out.

  112. I guess Alan Keyes makes white Americans feel horribly inferior and Colin Powell doesn’t, then.

  113. “White Americans aren’t going to vote for a black who makes them feel inferior.” – that means no white American will vote for Obama? Or only the ones that feel superior to him? I guess you’re saying that only white racists (since they, by their very nature, feel superior to all blacks) will be voting for Obama.

  114. He probably is a hell of a lot smarter when it comes to flying naval jets. Also, I think the naval academy is a pretty tough school.

    Please drop the “REPUBLICANS IZ DUMB LOL” schtick. Its really tiring and a turn off.

    McCain graduated 894th out of a class of 899. He crashed 4 jets before getting shot down. Republicans aren’t dumb, but you can sure make an incredibly strong case that McCain sure is.

  115. bendover,

    Racism has nothing to do with it. Americans are egalitarians when it comes to brains. That’s why policians play dumb and try to sound like the common man. Bush is so good at it because he is dumb. Obama sounds too smart. On top of that he’s a skinny black guy with a funny name in a country of patriotic fatsos. He doesn’t stand a fucking chance.

  116. I wouldn’t turn my life upside down to help him, but if I were a multi-millionaire I probably wouldn’t leave him in a shack in a Third World country with his friends dying around him, either.

    I too have a half-brother I barely know, but in all my dealings with my brother he’s demonstrated himself to be a waste of carbon, completely incapable of supporting himself without sponging off others. I would feel no deep and burning need to help support him, even if he was living in squalor and violence, because I would know it to be squalor and violence that he brought himself to by taking advantage of anyone who was the least bit willing to help him. Users don’t deserve pity.

    Maybe Obama’s brother isn’t a user, but casting aspersions on the guy without knowing any of the facts of the case beyond one article from one biased paper isn’t very wise or fair.

  117. When I ponder Clarence Thomas’s prowess with white women my dick falls off. And I’d never want to try to argue him out of a point. Yet I’m still glad as hell he’s on the supreme court.

  118. A smart black guy does throw racists into a tailspin because a smart black guy challenges their assumptions, but they weren’t going to vote for him anyway.

  119. Lefiti, what are you going to say if Obama does win?

  120. I would love to have a super-brilliant president. Especially one who was super-competent and super-libertarian. But none of those three will happen with this election. Or probably in any election in the near future. I’d say that Obama is likely brighter than McCain, but, in the general sense of the term, I rather doubt that Obama is anything close to a true intellect.

    I think America’s rap for hating intellectuals is overblown, anyway. We loved Einstein, for instance, and there are a number of more recent examples.

  121. bDB

    I will say I was wrong, of course.

  122. Prolib

    Yeah, we love eccentric Jewish scientists as comic figures, but we would never vote for one. We don’t even love brainy black law professors, and we sure as hell aren’t going to elect one President. If we valued intellect in a President, how can you explain two-term Bush?

  123. Pro,

    Einstein is well liked. Richard Feynman was beloved by a cult following. Hell even Edward Teller, Dr. Strangelove himself, had his share of admirers. We tend to like physicists for some reason. I think what the popular intellectuals have had in common is a common touch and a sense of humility. People love things like George Plimpton being willing to make a fool of himself at the Detroit Lions training camp or Einstein sticking his tongue out at a photographer or Feinman writing his physics lectures at a Pasadena topless bar. They hate being lectured to in some “eat your vegitables” tone. When intellectuals come off as distant and arrogant, they get into trouble with the public.

  124. “If we valued intellect in a President, how can you explain two-term Bush?”

    People value beliefs over intellect. Lenin was a really smart guy, but I doubt he would have won many American elections either. You just think anyone who disagrees with you is dumb. As someone pointed out above, it is a tired schtick.

  125. http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=NjEzOTM1YmM4ZmYxOTExMTg1MTZmODlhZGM0N2RkY2I=

    We Americans are easygoing about inequalities of wealth, much more so than Old World countries. There is something about inequality of smarts that just sets our teeth on edge, though.
    Columnist Chris Satullo in the Philadelphia Inquirer back in May pointed out that the charges of “elitism” then being hurled at Barack Obama were really about smarts.
    The charge of elitism isn’t about people flaunting income; it’s about people flaunting IQ. Americans, as a rule, don’t resent people who have more money than them – particularly if the wealth is seen as earned. Envy, maybe, but not resent. You don’t resent people whom you hope to emulate. And most Americans dream easily about having much more dough than they do. What Americans more readily resent is someone who is smarter than them, who knows it, who shows it, and who seems to think being smart makes you better than everyone else. A gap in income, you can always dream of closing. A gap in IQ, not so much. It’s more personal, thus easier to resent.


  126. White Americans aren’t going to vote for a black who makes them feel inferior.

    Well then maybe the Democrat Party should have run Zip Coon, Bones or Tambo instead of Barack Obama.

  127. “I would love to have a super-brilliant president.”

    I wouldn’t want a super brilliant President. I think super brilliant people have their place, but not as President. Being President requires wisdom more than intellect. Wisdom means understanding the world as it is not as it should be. To understand the world as it is, you have to be able to understand people. This is where super-brilliant people fail. The further you are from the norm, up or down, the less you are able to relate to and understand the majority of people. I think super-brilliant people have very little understanding of average people because they are so different from average people. For this reason, super intelligence rarely coincides with wisdom. This is the reason I think intellectuals tend to be attracted to utopian ideals and have bought into so many horrible things over history. I want a smart and wise President not a super-brilliant one. Let the smart and wise President put the super brilliant people to work on selected problems.

  128. With an extremely unpopular Republican president, an economy that’s going south, and a seemingly endless war in Iraq, the Democratic nominee should be trouncing the Republican in the polls, but he isn’t. Why do you geniuses think that is? Take your time.

  129. No Lefifit. Americans hate smart people who think they have the answers and claim to have knowledge beyond what they have. Unlike Europeans, Americans have never bought into intellectuals selling snake oil and we have been spared the evils of communism and fascism as a result of it. To intellecuals, the dark night of fascism is always falling on American. In reality, it is always landing on Europe and all of their brilliant leaders.

  130. “Why do you geniuses think that is? Take your time”

    Could it have something to do with the fact the Democrats nominated a one term Senator, who has the most leftwing voting record in the Senate, a resume thinner than a pancake, and thinks telling 200,000 Germans he is a citizen of the world will get him elected have something to do with it? Nah, never. Every Democrat is brilliant. If only the idiot American people would realize it.

  131. Q: When is the President of the Harvard Law Review not universally acknowledged to be smart?

    A: I don’t really have to write the answer, do I?

  132. John,

    Actually, super smart people tend to have better relationships, make more money, and live longer. Bumber, huh?

  133. Also, watch Obama refer to 57 or so states and continue a conversation about his brilliance. I realize every politician makes a stupid gaffe but I’m not sure I’m aware of a stupider one. That’s worse than Dan Quayle and how could anyone so intimidatingly bright put that forward?

  134. Then joe you can rationalize it away if Obama loses like Lefiti here that Amreicans are just too stupid, dumb, fat, and racist, and that it had NOTHING to do with Obama’s campaign.

  135. “John,

    Actually, super smart people tend to have better relationships, make more money, and live longer. Bumber, huh?”

    Maybe we do. I don’t know. I will compare SAT scores anytime. And I took the SAT back when the scores actually meant something. Not now when they bumped up the scores up 200 points in the name of self esteem.

  136. “Race plays a big role in the election too. Everyone wants a president who matches them in heritage, values, etc. so they feel understood.”

    What an incredibly stupid thing to assert.

  137. For being brilliant, he still can’t spell “Bummer” right.

    I find the smartest people I know are those that don’t constantly tell other people how smart they are.

  138. Seriously, race, heritage, and values are only tangentely related. And “feeling understood”?

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Unbelievably stupid.

  139. How about that Michelle Obama? Out of a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side into Harvard and a successful career as a lawyer.
    Then there’s Cindy McCain. Wealthy enough to have the best facelifts money can buy, something every woman can aspire to.

    Who do you want to be First lady?

  140. Their typical supporters are like “Lefiti”, insufferable.

  141. The smartest people I have known were a long way from Harvard Law Review, or any law review for that matter. Maybe it is because I am a lawyer, but I don’t find lawyers in general that impressive. It is really not that hard of a dicipline. Further, it attracts some of the most dogmatic, loathsome, least intellecutally curious people imaginable. Obama may be a brilliant guy, but the fact that he was editor of the Harvard Law Review doesn’t show it.

  142. Lefiti,

    Because people fear what a leftist will do in power, especially without an opposition Congress? I hate to burst your bubble, but this country leans a little to the right in many ways. Clinton was an excellent Republican president in a number of respects, which he became after the 1994 elections.

    I’d say that the biggest reluctance to embrace Obama comes from his total lack of measurable experience and from a suspicion that any scion of the Chicago political machine shouldn’t be entirely trusted. I know that the Democrats have to insist that their candidate is a super-genius each time around, but saying it doesn’t make Obama one. I simply don’t see it. Besides, Bill Clinton was much brighter than Obama, and he did win two terms. In America, I might add. Bush’s obvious lack of brilliance and inadequacies for the job should, especially in the latter respect, have kept Obama and Sen. Clinton out of contention. So both parties don’t seem to want qualified candidates to run much of the time.

    joe,

    Law review board member is a political position, not an intellectual one. Being on law review alone can indicate intelligence, but it doesn’t mean that you are or were brilliant. If he’s truly brilliant, then he’d have a bunch of brilliant article published. He doesn’t. QED. Besides, as the number two guy on my law review and as an attorney, I hesitate to call many attorneys intellectuals, regardless of where they went to law school. If I were emperor, smart people wouldn’t be allowed to go to law school, anyway. What a waste.

  143. BDB

    I never said I was brilliant. I said Obama is. I’m a terrible speller, have no head for math, and would never be admitted to Harvard Law School.

  144. I wouldn’t care if the First Lady was a drooling one eyed mongoloid with palsy. It’s a position of no significance.

  145. Why do you geniuses think that is?

    Most people don’t want the US to “lose” in Iraq.
    Democrats are perceived to offer handouts and higher taxes as the solution to all economic problems.
    McCain isn’t a conservative and is well positioned as “not really a Republican”.
    Barack Obama is young and has little in the way of a national resume prior to this campaign.

  146. “Nonetheless, political experts said Cooter’s increased visibility in recent weeks has hurt Obama’s polling among urban, upper-middle-class, non-straw-hat-wearing voters. The Obama camp has scrambled to control the damage caused by Cooter’s penchants for loudly practicing his banjo during Obama’s speeches, repeatedly referring to Barack by his childhood nickname, “Ol’ Jelly Legs,” and chasing his troublemaking pig, Mbogo, in the nude in the background of Obama’s CNN interview on the importance of education.”

    Sounds like my kind of guy.

  147. Exhibit A On Why Democrats Lose

    Why do you assume I’m a Democrat? I’m assuring you that Obama won’t win.

  148. “If I were emperor, smart people wouldn’t be allowed to go to law school, anyway. What a waste.”

    I agree. I wish I had done something else.

  149. C’mon, Hogan, a really bright black woman as First Lady? Isn’t Oprah enough?

  150. This whole thread is like bizarro world.

    There are twelve August polls on pollster.com. Obama leads in 9 of them.

    There are 7 August polls on realclearpolitics.com. Obama leads in 5 of them.

    In both cases, the Zogby poll is hugely out of whack with every other poll.

    One electoralvote.com, there are exactly 2 states won by EITHER Gore or Kerry that are “barely Dem.” There are 8 states that Bush won both times that are “barely Republican,” and one that is “exactly tied.”

    On realclearpolitics.com’s electoral college map, Obama has a 55 EV lead, and needs to win 28.5% of the remaining electoral votes. McCain has a lead in the “no tossup states” map because he is awarded 75.5% of the electoral votes in the states currently listed as tossups.

  151. Joe, its pretty clear Obama is trending in a downward direction.

  152. Joe,

    I don’t buy any individual poll, but it is August 20th. You say “August polls”, August is a long month. If you look at all of the polls, it is pretty clear McCain has made up ground on Obama and it has not been a good month for Obama.

  153. In how many of the nine polls is obama leading by more than single digits? How many are within the margin of error? It would really be a bizarro wolrd if suddenly race didn’t matter. Alas, it does.

  154. To address something about law school upthread, getting into top law schools is the hard part. The godawful students make Cs, though, they don’t fail out. Harvard and a few other top-level schools are also notorious for grade inflation, which is annoying when you’re trying to figure out which of two Ivy-League candidates you want to hire.

    I seem to recall hearing that Obama graduated in the top 10% or so of his class (this could be totally wrong). If true, that shows that he was a good law student at one of the top law schools in the country. That’s significant, and it beats what the challenger has to offer in scholastic performance. Whether Obama is brilliant or even a true intellectual is not the same question, however. Nor does the whole issue address his qualifications, aptitude, or disposition to be president.

    John,

    I came within a hair of not going to law school and going back to do post-bac work in physics or engineering (and going on to get the PhD). I don’t know about Obama, but I’m an idiot.

    joe,

    You and your poll trends. Your mom and I want to tell you that we love you, but you’re a poll junkie. You’ve got to kick the poll-watching habit, or we’re going to kick you out of the house. For your own good.

  155. Less than three weeks is not a long time, John.

    BDB,

    The polls that have used consistent methods don’t show it.

    Take a look at the Gallup daily tracker. Obama still bottoms out at 45 and tops out just below 50. McCain still tops out at 44 and bottoms out at 40. It’s exactly the same thing as it was 10, 20 and 50 days ago.

  156. Again, I wouldn’t care if one of the Lainz Angels of Death were First Lady, a position without any meaningful responsibilities.

    And I’m not aware of much evidence in the way of Mrs. Obama being “really bright” other than her attendance at elite private universities. As a fellow graduate of such schools, I can tell you that’s no sign of impressive intellectual depth.

  157. Joe I’m looking at the state polls, too. McCain has gained ground in Ohio and Colorado, hes now ahead in both. Indiana, for all the time and money Obama spent there, is +6 for McCain in the latest Survey USA poll (down from +1 Obama waaaay back in late June).

    The only good news I can see for Obama is Virginia is exactly tied, but without Colorado (esp. if NH goes for McCain) it doesn’t do him much good.

    This really is turning out not to be too terribly different from 2000 and 2004. Its going to be very, very close.

  158. BTW why the hell isn’t Obama announcing his VP pick today to distract people from polls hes been doing badly in?

  159. In how many of the nine polls is obama leading by more than single digits? None.

    How many are within the margin of error? Almost all of them.

    Taking these two facts together, we can say with a high degree of certainty that Obama has a single-digit lead right about at 2-4 points, which is exactly where the race was 5, 10, 20, and 40 days ago.

    prolefeed has been making a point for a while that the EV maps contained a lot of old polling data, some from April. A more likely explanation for why the maps show a tigher EV race now than a month ago is the drop in Obama’s support that took place between April and June, which is just being captured now, than a change over the past month.

  160. “John,

    I came within a hair of not going to law school and going back to do post-bac work in physics or engineering (and going on to get the PhD). I don’t know about Obama, but I’m an idiot.”

    I am very lucky in that I was in the military and now have what I consider to be a very interesting government job. But most of what I have liked about my jobs, outside of trying criminal cases which was more fun than any man should be allowed to have, have been that I am not a traditional lawyer writing briefs and legal opinions. I get to actually plan and do stuff. If I were stuck in a law firm, I would have shot myself long ago even if I was making a quarter of a million a year. Fortuneately, I didn’t go to an Ivy League school so none of the big firms would hire me anyway.

  161. BDB,

    Today vs. tomorrow isn’t much of a difference in terms of countering this news item, but announcing on Thursday means his VP selection is the story all weekend.

  162. Pro,

    Thoreau might correct me on this, but life as a post doc in physics really sucks. The jobs are hard to come by. You really have to be a super star or of the right sex or ethnicity to get a tenured track position. There are a lot of people with PHDs in physics not doing physics. So, you might not be as big of an idiot as you think you are.

  163. In the CNN Poll of Polls Obama is +1.

    McCain’s attacks are effective.

  164. joe,

    Who is it going to be? I’m on record for a neo-traditional Sam Nunn surprise, but I’m crazy. Though if Kerry had opted for Nunn, that might’ve made the difference. Who knows?

    What about Warner? Frankly, I still think he gave up the presidency for some mystery reason.

  165. M. Warner said “no, I’m running for the Senate”.

    He doesn’t want to be on a ticket that might lose.

  166. BDB,

    I don’t see why he’d do it, either. Senator and governor are excellent resume lines, especially with his general electability and moderateliness.

  167. Pro L, if McCain wins Warner is inaugurated January 20th, 2013. That much is for sure.

  168. NH is now a toss up. Obama down from +11 to +1.

    Doesn’t sound like bizzaro world to me.

  169. I don’t think Warner could ever win the nomination. To win the nomination you have to have support of the left. I can’t see the Kos crowd ever supporting Warner. Warner is the kind of guy that the Democrats used to nominate but don’t nominate anymore. Maybe if Obama loses there will be a real come to Jesus we have got to realize the country is right of center not left of center realization in the Democratic party. But I doubt that will happen. Instead, the post mortum will be that Obama didn’t run far enough left and wasn’t anti-war enough and flipflopped on FISA and oh yeah, everyone who didn’t vote for him is a mouth breathing racist.

  170. On RCP, if you add the “tossup” states where McCain hasn’t lead in a single poll in three months (Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico) to Obama’s total, he’s up to 264 votes. McCain would need to run the table on Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Indiana, and North Carolina to win. If Obama takes one of those (except Nevada, he’d also need that Omaha district in Nebraska), he wins.

    I think what we’re seeing here is a lot of media people who have four months worth of stuff they’ve been wanting to say when McCain shows strength in the polls, who’ve decided to get it all out in one day.

  171. I have no idea who is going to be Obama’s running mate. None. It this was The Price Is Right, I’d bid $1.

  172. John maybe you’re right. Could they nominate someone who supports offshore drilling, has an A+ rating from the NRA, isn’t a big spender, and spent most of his life in the private sector? Depends on how much they like winning.

  173. Obama down from +11 to +1.

    So, you’re taking the highest individual poll you can find, and comparing it to an aggregate that consists of one pro-McCain poll taken in April and two of the four pro-Obama polls (which happen to be the two that have the smallest lead for Obama) taken since them.

    What you, kidding me?

  174. Joe maybe its not a big deal, won’t know if this is an outlier until there are more recent ones.

    Anyway hes only behind 2 in North Carolina. His first good news in a while.

  175. I’ll take “Hillary” as his Veep for $500, Alex.

    That would give him an enormous bounce.

  176. BDB,

    On the RCP page, there are four national polls that came out after that Zogby poll.

    LA Times/Bloomberg 08/15 – 08/18 Obama +2
    Gallup Tracking 08/17 – 08/19 Obama +2
    Rasmussen Tracking 08/17 – 08/19 Obama +1
    Quinnipiac 08/12 – 08/17 Obama +5

    Like the Newsweek and Gallup polls, the Zogby poll is getting press precisely because it is atypical.

  177. I’ll take “Hillary” as his Veep for $500, Alex.

    The “don’t pick Hillary” argument was always based on her electability. Ohnoes, they’ll attack her!

    Well, McCain’s chosen the gutter anyway, so why not?

  178. Exactly joe. And Hillary is the perfect attack dog.

    You know what would be downright devastating to Republicans(but probably won’t happen)? General Patraeus. Rumor is hes a centrist Democrat. Obama should have at least TRIED to vet him!

  179. joe,

    Wimp.

  180. He got cocky.

    He thought it was all wrapped up, so he started floating that “national service” trial ballon. Seems like Americans aren’t too enthusiastic about being drafted, even if it’s not for military service.

    -jcr

  181. “How about that Michelle Obama? Out of a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side into Harvard and a successful career as a lawyer.”

    Yeah how about that Michelle Obama – griping and complaining that she has to pay her own education loans. How unfair that the taxpayers haven’t stepped up to pay them for her.

  182. I never said I was brilliant. I said Obama is.

    I wouldn’t go that far. He’s above average for a politician, but he’s still dumb enough to believe that he can run the economy.

    -jcr

  183. Barring some sort of Colonel Kurtzian-like moment, McCain is going to win this without too much trouble.

    He already did that with his “100 years in iraq” remark.

    McCain might actually win if he just shuts up and lets Obama destroy himself in a socialist hubris flare-out. Obama just might be arrogant enough to pull a Mondale at the convention.

    Obama did great when he was doing the Deepak Chopra thing, but if he lets his pinko agenda show much more, he could just blow it.

    -jcr

  184. Nah, I don’t think the 100-years statement is going to hurt him that much. Though it probably should.

  185. Pro Lib,

    Fine. Barney Frank. Happy?

    As an added bonus, you’ll finally get to see what I do when I’m wrong about something! 😉

  186. Now you’re lying to me.

    If Obama were truly cool, he’d offer the job to McCain. That’s the totally old school approach, anyway.

  187. BDB,

    First, did you name yourself after what the little robot guy used to say on Buck Rogers?

    Two, let me quote a wise man:

    joe | February 26, 2008, 1:17pm | #

    NoStar,

    That’s also why Obama should pick Hillary.

    1. She’d make a great attack dog, the traditional role for a running mate.

    2. Heaven forbid there is some sort of disaster, she would know her way around the White House the hour she’s sworn in. No learning curve is especially important in such a situation.

    3. It would unite the party after a tough primary, and

    4. The Klan wouldn’t shoot him.

  188. I’m not lying, I’m PLAYING DUMB.

    Seriously, no clue. I could start a list, but I doubt I could get it below 10.

  189. You know what I always thought was sketchy about the polling aggregates? They pick one day of the Rasmussen and Gallup daily trackers to include.

    Why one day, when the rest of the polls that are used are come out anywhere from 3 days to a week apart? How do they pick which day’s tracker to use? If they’re going to use daily trackers, they should include the results throughout the sampling period, even if they only count each tracker’s average as one poll.

  190. “First, did you name yourself after what the little robot guy used to say on Buck Rogers?”

    No, its just my initials. I’m uncreative like that.

    Joe, I think Hillary would be picked right now were it not for Bill. Can she send him to Africa or something for the rest of the campaign? Then shes good to go.

  191. I’ll tell you what though, Obama has built up so much anticipation it better well damn be a blockbuster that moves him up in the polls.

    If its Biden, Bayh, Kaine, or Sebelius, it will be incredibly anti-climactic.

  192. Maybe it is because I am a lawyer, but I don’t find lawyers in general that impressive. It is really not that hard of a dicipline. Further, it attracts some of the most dogmatic, loathsome, least intellecutally curious people imaginable.

    lulz

  193. Maybe he can visit Barack Obama’s half-brother.

    Hey, maybe Barack Obama’s half brother can beat the shit out him! I hear he’s good with his fists.

    “I’m Barack Obama, and I approve this message.” 68% on election day, easy. I’m just sayin’.

  194. He’d have my vote. Bill is going senile.

  195. Didn’t he have a heart procedure, like Cheney?

  196. Yup. I still think Bill Clinton was always slimy and nasty, though. He just doesn’t have the sheen of the Presidency anymore to put lipstick on a pig.

  197. Oh, joe, your theory about the media is confirmed I think.

    WSJ/NBC Poll

    Obama 45
    McCain 42

    Obama slight lead.

    Can you guess what the headline was?

    MCCAIN HALVES OBAMA’s LEAD, OBAMA FAILS TO CLOSE THE DEAL!

  198. The headline should be “Holy Shit! An unknown black man neck and neck with a white war hero!”

  199. Heh. Right up to and including “Obama bottoms out at 45%, McCain never gets above 44%.”

    OK, here’s what we’re in for: over the next 2-3 weeks, lots of other polls are going to come out, clustered around a 3-4 point lead for Obama, with some outliers. Then a big outfit is going to release one that is as big an outlier in Obama’s favor as today’s Zogby poll is in McCain’s favor. Maybe an 11 point Obama lead, mabye 14.

    The media will then report on what a huge turnaround there has been in the election, and tell us all what a brilliant strategy Obama has embraced, and how McCain has lost his momentum.

    And in reality, absolutely nothing will have changed from 50 days ago, 20 days ago, 7 days ago, and today.

  200. Ah, crap. I forgot about the conventions. Nevermind.

  201. I say Obama will get a slight convention bounce (whatever it is “won’t be enough” and “won’t close to deal” or whatever the media says.

    McCain choses his VP and has his convention.Barring doing something suicidal like choosing a pro choice VP, McCain gets a moderate bounce, extended by 9/11. Bush’s job approval will probably even go up near 9/11 for about a week after.

    By late September, its tied again and wait for the debates.

  202. Yay, Obama is blowing it. Who’d have thunk it?

    When we are at war in Iraq and Iran, and when we have two more Alito’s on the SCOTUS, I hope the Obama supporters sit up and say “but we voted to heal the nation’s racial wounds, what could be more noble than that?”

  203. “The headline should be “Holy Shit! An unknown black man neck and neck with a white war hero!”

    If followed by a commentary: “Who the fuck would pick an unknown black man to run against a white war hero?”

  204. At least you won’t blame Diebold machines, MNG.

  205. If McCain leads on the economy, as he does here, there’s not really any fjord Obama can paddle through to get to the White House.

    ??

    Obama’s economic plans make me want to vote against him.

  206. Yeah the “vote for us you inbred morons” campaign strategy really hurts the Democrats and yet they persist election after election even when they get lots of big clues as to how much it hurts them.

    It’s like believing the worst about people who vote against them is better than actually getting those people to stop doing it.

  207. Ohnoes, MNG, we’re doomed! Doomed by a hyped poll during a static race!

    Run away!

  208. Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in ’84, and in ’88.

  209. “Anybody who really believes that Americans are going to elect an obviously brilliant, svelt black man with a foreign sounding name to be President has very fanciful notion of the American electorate’s level of sophistication.”

    Must be nice that you can blame your candidate’s potential failure on the voters rather than on his glaring deficiencies as a candidate. Yes, he is good speaker when he is scripted, but the flip side are his poor skills at speaking off the cuff. His specific announced policies suck out loud: higher taxes, protectionism, increased corporate welfare (just saw an Obama commercial advocating tax breaks for companies who create jobs in the US). You expect the American people to fail Obama, I suppose then it’s time for the Democrat Party to elect a new people.

    As for Obama’s allegedly being “obviously brilliant”: When a politician wants to raise capital gains taxes as matter of “fairness”, especially when the economy’s in an inflationary mode, I have to question his intelligence. That’s a destructive tax for investment in America. If Obama is brilliant, it’s obvious he is not using those smarts with regards to his economic policy.

  210. mj

    You wouldn’t know brilliant from a dog turd, you sniveling little fuck. You’ve swallowed the party line and cough it up on cue.

  211. Wow. Pots and kettles, Lefiti, pots and kettles.

  212. The Georgia incident was quite timely to strike fear into the sheep!The cold war was a joke but the people still dont get it. Soon we will have another cold war.The war mongers (including Mc Cain)The war mongers are still not rich enough. This is exactly why we are viewed as a terrorist country all over the world. People need to read between the lines before this Country is so broken the debtors come in and sweep up and take over. Does China ring a bell!!! Out the window goes human rights. We are in bed with China. What about human rights???

  213. On the RCP national poll page, Obama’s lead is 2x as large when Barr and Nader are included as in a head-to-head with McCain.

    However, while everyone else’s margin changes a couple of points in Obama’s favor, Zogby’s margin remains exactly the same. Odd, that.

  214. “What could Obama do, though? There’s a character case to make against McCain, whose shifting issue positions and bloated sense of self-importance are almost Obama-like. But every attack on McCain’s character comes up against the iron wall of his POW days.”

    Take the POW thing, head on. McCain, who everybody knows is Mr. honesty and honor endorsed torture in the past year to win a freakin’ primary. Put that in the papers.

    Was McCain tortured by our new ‘definition’? (credit to Andrew Sullivan for asking that question.)

    Well, let’s talk about it. McCain seems to buy into the new definition, so maybe he wasn’t tortured, afterall? He’s willing to throw everybody under the bus for his ambition, let’s talk it.

    No more dodging topics.

  215. What would be wrong with having “lady parts?” If the author was LUCKY, he’d have “lady parts.” I’ve known some women who would have wiped the floor with him then flushed him like the TP he is.

  216. VOTE FOR MY PART AND ITS BRILLIANT LEADER YOU DUMB, STUPID, FAT IGNORANT REDNECKED FUCKS!

  217. Lefiti proves a point.

    The Republican party has a smug, religious, moral arrogance to it.

    The Democratic party has a smug, intellectual arrogance to it.

  218. The last thing anyone should be doing is using Zogby as a reliable source. His polls mean nothing, one way or the other.

  219. When we look back in February, this will have been Sen. Dorf McCain’s high water moment.

    Right before he couldn’t remember how many houses he owns, while explaining he is just like us.

  220. Nigel Watt, at your age, I had delusions about my own intelligence, too. You’ll grow out of it.

  221. Lefiti, which of your parts would I be voting for?

  222. The only hope the Democrats ever had of making this easy was a Mitt Romney nomination.

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