Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

AP: McCain Bets (one of his) Houses, Craps Out


The AP comes through with what I think is a comprehensive article on the bailout fiasco.


The house always wins, gamblers are warned, and the U.S. House made John McCain pay Monday for his politically risky, high-profile involvement in a financial rescue plan that came crashing down, mainly at the hands of his fellow Republicans.

The bill’s defeat can hardly be blamed on the GOP presidential nominee, and it’s possible that a revised measure might succeed. But by his own actions last week, McCain tied himself far more tightly to the failed bill than did his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.

Setting aside the economic consequences for now (and frankly, such analysis is beyond my pay grade), and looking at the political consequences, it’s hard to see how McCain could have played this worse.

Continue reading


September 30, 2008 Posted by | Economy, Media Strategy | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Chris Matthews Breaks Down GOP/McCain Failure on Bailout Bill

The GOP spin that Nancy Pelosi’s speech tanked this Bill is just that: Spin. They couldn’t deliver enough votes to follow through on their part of the deal.

Update: Here is Speaker Pelosi’s speech. The GOP spin is pure nonsense.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Economy | , , , , | 1 Comment

A Summary Of The Bailout Plan

The CQ Report on H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.

I was able to gain access to the CQ report, which is a website that writes up nonpartisan summaries of major legislation for those on the Hill and lobbyists as well. This CQ report lays out why this bailout plan is so important, and how inaction on this issue could bring on another Great Depression. After you’ve read the CQ report, please feel free to share your thoughts with me here.

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Revisiting the Tyson Zone

For the record, I share Josh Marshall’s skepticism of the British press in general and this story in particular. (My guess is that Bristol Palin will get married the same day as Charlie Crist, which is to say a week after never.)

Still, ask yourself the question I posed last week: If you did hear that the wedding had been moved up to before Election Day, would you have any problem believing it was true?

September 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Support The Bailout Bill

I was just at DailyKos and read Kos’ latest rant against the bailout package. The problem with this rant, like many others, is that he’s viewing it through a purely partisan, political lens. Markos is not a financial expert and never claims to be one, instead he just raves at it like a pure political beast the way we hate it when Rethugs ignore reality and do everything for the politics of it.

Well, everyone should reach his or her own conclusion. But do so by reading, researching, and speaking with people you trust with extensive knowledge of the financial industry. Do NOT be influenced by political bloggers.

From everyone I’ve spoken with whose judgment I trust who have years of experience in securities and finance, this bailout along the basic lines of the Paulson plan, is absolutely essential to preventing a much longer, more severe global economic recession. Most of these people I’ve spoken with are liberal Democrats. And they couldn’t be more convinced about the need of the bill. Based on that and my own research, I support the bill.

Speak with people you trust and do your own reading. But remember, when you go to political site like DailyKos you’re going to get a political opinion, not a financial one.

September 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 9 Comments

Just to Get it Out of the Way

Palin Wins

September 28, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy | , , | Leave a comment

My Quick Take on the Debate

All in all a decent night and I agree with most pundits that there were no game-changing moments. I also agree that in general style and the ability to speak articulately on the issues helped Obama. I really believe even more so than most pundits realize, there are a vast number of people tuning into the campaign who assumed Obama was a neophyte and couldn’t hold his own on foreign policy. I think the net effect of the night was to chip away at perceptions that McCain has a dominant advantage on foreign policy and that Obama can’t be Commander-in-Chief, so ultimately that’s a good thing.

By the way, I’d add that I think the divide between pundits and viewers was pretty vast: the pundits all lauded McCain’s personal anecdotes, which he can be good at, but really – does bringing up Reagan, George Schultz, and Henry Kissinger as heavily as he did resonate with many people today? My guess is no.

Weakest part for Obama by far was the beginning, which was weak for both men I think (although certainly did nothing to help McCain’s standing on the economy either). But when McCain was asked about how to help improve the economy, his answer was cut spending, which is a patently ridiculous answer. And that frame trapped Obama, and he shouldn’t have been sucked into it. The question was “How would you help the economy,” and Obama responded to McCain’s answer instead of giving his own. His answer should have been to ignore McCain’s framing and reply, “Jobs.” Jobs was the biggest missing component from the night, and Obama should have known better.

The good news: the next debates will be watched heavily and I think Obama will do well in them (although the town-hall format is supposedly McCain’s strong suit). I also think he seemed prepared and he delivered must crisper answers than he did in the primary debates. I feel comfortable knowing he’ll examine his performance and see where he has to strengthen for next time. McCain was clearly told not to be as angry as he comes off sometimes, but couldn’t contain it entirely.

All in all, no game-changers. Still – I do think the stylistic points are important and there is a chance that “McCain didn’t look Obama in the eye” becomes 2008’s “Al Gore’s sigh.” The McCain campaign knows it and is worried about it.

Amazingly, a great deal of how much that perception hardens depends on…SNL tonight.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 1 Comment

The Cynicism of ‘VP Replacement’ Rumors

It seems like every four years we get rumors that a VP candidate will be replaced on the ticket: Quayle, Cheney, and now, simultaneously, Biden and Palin. Obviously, the first two never happened, and it’s extremely unlikely that the latter two will. But I have a pet peeve about these rumors, and it goes precisely to the reason they will never come true.

In her column urging Palin’s replacement, Kathleen Parker says:

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Meanwhile, here’s a summary of Biden’s rumored exit:

So in the days after the vice presidential candidates debate in Missouri, Biden will bow out, citing “health problems” (Biden underwent surgery in 1988 to repair two brain aneurysms).

The problem with these rumors is that they assume the candidate will cite some transparently ridiculous fig leaf, which those “in the know” will recognize as BS, but which those gullible, uninformed rubes out there will accept without question.

But that’s not how it would happen at all. If a VP candidate dropped out, everyone would know exactly why it happened. Parker’s hairsplitting between McCain kicking Palin off the ticket and Palin volunteering to do it herself is meaningless. Nor would anyone buy that Biden’s health problems from 20 years ago, which were well known before he was picked, would suddenly become relevant.

The fact that these rumors miss this key detail demonstrates that they’re really nothing more than a Beltway parlor game. And it also explains why they won’t happen. If a VP candidate were dropped, and everyone recognized it as an admission of failure, it would be politically disastrous. And the assumption would be that the only reason the nominee was willing to make such a disastrous move was because sticking with their original choice would be even more disastrous.

McCain may be a crazy drama queen, but he’s not suicidal.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Veepstakes | , , | 3 Comments

Quick Debate Thoughts


I thought Obama had a very solid night. He was absolutely on his game on Foreign Policy, especially when it came to Iraq. This was clearly the exchange of the night:

As for McCain, he was able to control the narrative on the Economy somewhat, drawing the discussion to Earmarks, as if that is our huge problem right now. However, Obama isn’t really known as some sort of “Earmark King,” so I don’t know how much that will resonate.

Finally, where is Sarah Palin? Biden was all over the networks doing a good job supporting Obama, but she was nowhere to be found. Apparently, her disastrous interviews have gotten her a timeout from the McCain Camp. The fact that she isn’t out there supporting McCain is very telling.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Economy, foreign policy, Media Strategy | , , | 2 Comments

Agreeing with Dan

As Dan points out in his post below, Obama did win this standoff pretty handily, but it could all be forgotten by the end of tonight if McCain has a good night. And unfortunately for Obama, McCain has already won.

McCain Wins

I guess I can hit the happy hour early tonight.

September 26, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy | , , , | 1 Comment