Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

In Re: Senator Clinton as Secretary of State

Jonathan Martin at Politico reminds us of one of the signature lines from the primary contest, where in response to a question (and a guffaw from Senator Clinton) about why there were so many Clinton advisers on Obama’s team, President-elect Obama lets loose with possibly the zinger of the election season:


November 15, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, foreign policy, Obama cabinet | , , , , | 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

Biden Today: Slams McCain Hard on Foreign Policy

Joe Biden sets the stage nicely for the debate Friday night with a blistering talk on foreign policy in Cincinnati, Ohio today. The great thing about our ticket is that our VP candidate can give a speech like this with credibility and gravitas and actually knows whereof he speaks. Contrast that with Sarah Palin being set up in photo ops with foreign leaders (the first time she’s ever met a foreign head-of-state, by the way).

Not Biden, who lets McCain have it on foreign policy and national security:

“… the policies he would pursue as president would be wrong for America – nowhere more so than with our security and standing in the world.”


John is more than wrong — he is dangerously wrong. On a question so basic, so fundamental, so critical to our nation’s security, we can’t afford a Commander-in Chief so divorced from reality and from America’s most basic national interests.”

Ouch. Much more below:

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, foreign policy, Uncategorized, Veepstakes | , , , | Leave a comment

Not Ready for Prime Time

How fitting that Saturday Night Live returns this weekend, with Senator Obama joining the most famous not-ready-for-prime-timers. And we have Sarah Palin, in her most (only) important interview to date doing (to keep the SNL theme going) her best Ashlee Simpson impression. The reviews are in, and they aren’t pretty:

At times visibly nervous, at others appearing to hew so closely to prepared answers that she used the exact same phrases repeatedly, Ms. Palin most visibly stumbled when she was asked by Mr. Gibson if she agreed with the Bush doctrine. Ms. Palin did not seem to know what he was talking about. Mr. Gibson, sounding like an impatient teacher, informed her that it meant the right of “anticipatory self-defense.”


John McCain running mate Sarah Palin sought Thursday to defend her qualifications but struggled with foreign policy, unable to describe President Bush’s doctrine of pre-emptive strikes against threatening nations and acknowledging she’s never met a foreign head of state.

The Republican vice presidential nominee told Charles Gibson of ABC News in her first televised interview since being named to the GOP ticket that “I’m ready” to be president if called upon. However, she sidestepped on whether she had the national security credentials needed to be commander in chief.


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September 12, 2008 Posted by | foreign policy, Media Strategy, talking points | , , , , | Leave a comment

Washington Post Among the “Puzzled and the Skeptical”

The Washington Post takes on the decision to nominate Sarah Palin, and beyond liking her personal story, isn’t too impressed with either Palin or McCain:

But the most important question Mr. McCain should have asked himself about Ms. Palin was not whether she could help him win the presidency. It was whether she is qualified and prepared to serve as president should anything prevent him from doing so. This would have been true for any presidential nominee, and it was especially crucial that Mr. McCain — who turns 72 today — get this choice right. If he is elected, he will be the oldest man ever to serve a first term in the White House.

In this regard, count us among the puzzled and the skeptical. Not long ago, no less a Republican strategist than Karl Rove belittled Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, noting that picking him would appear “intensely political” because Mr. Kaine’s experience consisted of only three years as governor preceded by the mayoralty of Richmond, which Mr. Rove called “not a big town.”

Using Mr. Rove’s criteria, Ms. Palin would not fare well. Her executive experience consists of less than two years as governor of her sparsely populated state, plus six years as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 8,471). Absorbed in Alaska’s unique energy and natural resource issues, she has barely been heard from in the broader national debates over economic policy and health care. Above all, she has no record on foreign policy and national security — including terrorism, which Mr. McCain posits as the top challenge facing America and the world.

As the Post later notes, once the buzz wears off this choice and the scrutiny begins, this decision likely won’t be as good as they thought it would be while they were throwing back shots, trying to figure out how to counter Obama’s new found momentum.

Oh, and for must read, head over to Andrew Sullivan, who is in rare form.

August 30, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, foreign policy, Media Strategy, Veepstakes | , , , | 5 Comments

McCain’s Top Adviser Lobbied AGAINST Terrorist Gun Ban

If this isn’t the type of issue to McCain on, then I don’t know what is. Via TPM, McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann (you know, the one who was on the payroll of Georgia), actually lobbied AGAINST a bill that would close a loophole allowing those on the terrorist watch-list from buying guns.

Newsweek reports that, according to registration documents filed by Scheuenemann’s lobbying firm, Orion Strategies, Scheunemann lobbied on behalf of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) against a bill that aims to close a gun-control loophole that inhibits the government from stopping people on terrorist watch-lists from buying guns. According to Newsweek, “the bill was inspired by an official audit covering a five-month period in 2004 which found that, because of the loophole, the Feds had to greenlight 35 out of 44 cases where a gun buyer was on a terrorist watch list.”

Again, to make this crystal clear: John McCain’s top foreign policy adviser lobbied against a bill that would prevent terrorists from buying guns.

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August 26, 2008 Posted by | foreign policy, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Of the choices left, I hope it’s Biden

I’ll just say this and say it quickly: of Obama’s reputed short-list (and that follows the assumption that the short list that is being reported is actually his short list), I hope he chooses Biden. I’m not going to attack any other possibility, and would add that Tim Kaine did a phenomenal job on Meet The Press today, better than I’ve ever seen him. I will support, donate, and campaign enthusiastically for Barack Obama no matter whom he chooses to be his VP.

But if it comes to the choices we’re told it does, I hope it’s Biden.

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August 17, 2008 Posted by | foreign policy, Uncategorized, Veepstakes | , , | 13 Comments

I Wonder If McCain Will Keep His Sense of Humor About This


John McCain may think that Jerome Corsi’s trashy book is hilarious, but I have a feeling his tune will change if the media picks up on this:

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has enjoyed strong support from a lobbyist group that backs the Kosovo Liberation Army despite allegations the KLA is a Muslim terrorist group with ties to criminal drug networks and al-Qaida.

The link will take you to the story of course, but I’ve helpfully provided a nice screencap of the story just in case it “disappears” for some reason. So how about it, Senator McCain: Still think Mr. Corsi is hilarious?

With a hat tip to madasheck over at DailyKos, who uncovered this.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | foreign policy, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

What if he was serious?

A lot has been said about McCain’s recent declaration about the Russian invasion of Georgia:

My friends, we have reached a crisis, the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War. This is an act of aggression. And historians in time will tell how provoked it was, what actions the Georgian government took, etc., but the fact is that this aggression is is far exceeded any any provocation that might have been inflicted on South Ossetia or Abkhazia

Much has been said about this being either a moment of forgetfulness or, as Yglesias says, a “confusion in terms of high-level concepts.”

But there is one possibility that nobody has really addressed. What if McCain was being neither forgetful nor confused (let alone the fact that we’d have to ask that question raises serious questions about his suitability as CInC)? What if McCain was serious?
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August 16, 2008 Posted by | foreign policy | , | Leave a comment

Obama outraises McCain 6:1 among active overseas military

The Center for Responsive politics has come out with a new study on donations from military personnel to presidential candidates, and the results are actively embarrassing for Senator John McCain.  Despite McCain’s own veteran status and a media narrative that paints him as a foreign policy expert (despite all evidence to the contrary), the troops which have the most on the line have The Center for Responsive politics has come out with a new study on donations from military personnel to presidential candidates, and the results are actively embarrassing for Senator John McCain.  Despite McCain’s own veteran status and a media narrative that paints him as a foreign policy expert (despite all evidence to the contrary), the troops which have the most on the line have overwhelmingly favored Senator Obama with their donations.

According to an analysis of campaign contributions by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Democrat Barack Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than has Republican John McCain, and the fiercely anti-war Ron Paul, though he suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination months ago, has received more than four times McCain’s haul.

What’s arguably even more embarrassing for Senator McCain than Barack Obama’s fundraising prowess is that Ron Paul out raised him by more than a 4:1 margin from active overseas military.  Ron Paul, despite being borderline certifiable with some of his policy ideas, was the only Republican candidate who was anti-war in the primary.  Between the contributions that Ron Paul and Barack Obama have received, it’s clear that active duty military that are deployed overseas are sending a clear message that they are ready to end America’s military engagement in Iraq.

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August 14, 2008 Posted by | foreign policy, Iraq | , , , , | 3 Comments