Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Solution For the Palin $150k Spending Spree

-Now, I’m not in the habit of giving McCain advice, but I’m starting to feel a little sorry for them. So here’s a little advice.

So the McCain camp is getting a lot of grief over spending $150k for Gov. Palin’s wardrobe, and even republicans aren’t happy:

“Republicans, RNC donors and at least one RNC staff member have e-mailed me tonight to share their utter (and not-for-attribution) disgust at the expenditures. … The heat for this story will come from Republicans who cannot understand how their party would do something this stupid … particularly (and, it must be said, viewed retroactively) during the collapse of the financial system and the probable beginning of a recession.”

Now the press is having a field day, even speculating there may be tax implications:

I just got off the phone with a well-respected and well-known tax attorney who doesn’t want to be identified.

I asked him earlier in the day whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin can avoid paying taxes on the $150,000 worth of clothes the RNC bought her, as she and the RNC maintain. (They said the RNC now owns the clothes; she’s just borrowing them.)

He said that, after consulting with a number of experts at his prominent firm, he thinks the RNC and Gov. Palin are wrong.

“It’s probably not a ‘gift,'” he said. “The issue is whether it counts as ‘income.'”

Now, I have a simple solution to this problem. Sell the clothes to Rich “Starbursts” Lowery. You remember Rich. He revealed after the Vice Presidential debate that Gov. Palin’s performance was so awesome, that he saw “starbursts”:

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October 22, 2008 Posted by | Economy | , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Obama Propose a New Deal for America?

My gut tells me yes, but only after he wins the election.

The question was raised by Ambassador Marc Ginsberg over at the HuffPost:

I believe now is the time for Obama to consider a bolder and more historic approach to the financial crisis by presenting to middle income Americans a step-by-step “big think” FDR-style New Deal program to add greatness and urgency to his economic recovery plan. Tough times call for urgent and big-think measures. Surely, we are in this era, once again.

But, unless I’m mistaken (although I’m an FDR groupie who has read numerous books about the man), the real details of the New Deal didn’t emerge until after he was inaugurated. I’m not sure he campaigned in 1932 on the WPA and TVA (if I am mistaken, please correct me).

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October 9, 2008 Posted by | Economy | , , | 1 Comment

And the winner is

that one

This one wasn’t even close. Obama was fluid, specific and forceful on nearly every issues. McCain was irritable, sarcastic and dismissive of Obama. The best turn was on Pakistan, when McCain talked about “talking softly and carrying a big stick.” Obama, showing how much he has grown as a debater, immediately pounced, riffing on McCain’s “bomb bomb bomb Iran” comments. Devastating. The snap polls are universally in Obama’s favor:

The CBS News poll of undecided voters went for Obama 39%-27%. The Fox News focus group went for Obama. The CNN focus group went for Obama, but barely.

CNN national poll numbers coming soon…

And here they are: Among national voters, Obama wins 54%-30%. Yikes.

And of course, what everybody is buzzing about, McCain’s dismissive reference of Obama as “that one”:

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October 8, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Economy, Iraq, Media Strategy | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obama Launches Keating Economics

Oh my:

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain’s attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Gloves. Off.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Economy, Media Strategy | , , , | 5 Comments

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.

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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

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

Deal or No Deal

Who the hell knows:

Congressional negotiators said they reached a bipartisan agreement on a “set of principles” for a $700 billion financial-rescue package to inject fresh capital into the paralyzed credit markets.

Lawmakers agreed that legislation should include provisions on oversight of the Treasury-run program, limits on executive pay and a section on homeownership preservation, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd said.

Still unresolved is whether the bill will include a provision allowing bankruptcy judges to change mortgage terms. The Treasury would have $250 billion available immediately, said a Senate aide, who requested anonymity.

If there is still a key point of dispute (to wit: a bankruptcy provision), then it hard to see how there is a deal yet. As to the Bush/McCain/Obama photo-op, it seems clear to me this is all about saving McCain’s hide. Ambinder:

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September 25, 2008 Posted by | Economy, Media Strategy | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Obama Going to the White House Tomorrow

Is your head spinning yet?

“A few moments ago, President Bush called Senator Obama and asked him to attend a meeting in Washington tomorrow, which he agreed to do. Senator Obama has been working all week with leaders in Congress, Secretary Paulsen, and Chairman Bernanke to improve this proposal, and he has said that he will continue to work in a bipartisan spirit and do whatever is necessary to come up with a final solution. He strongly believes the debate should go forward on Friday so that the American people can hear from their next President about how he will lead America forward at this defining moment for our country,” said Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton.

Sounds like McCain will be there as well. Obviously he has to go; you can’t say no to the President, even one as pathetic as this one. But tread lightly, because I can’t help feeling…

September 25, 2008 Posted by | Economy | , , | 4 Comments


McCain is suspending his campaign, and calls for the debate to be rescheduled.

There are two things behind this, one of which Ben Smith points out:

Both candidates have been marginal players; McCain, though, seems to have the potential to make himself a major one, and his move is a mark, most of all, that he doesn’t like the way this campaign is going.

The other thing this does is allow McCain to stretch out his campaign spending. Obama should say no deal, but I don’t really see how the campaign can continue if McCain doesn’t want to play. He should, however, be made to pay a price for this.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, Economy, Media Strategy | , | 1 Comment