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Questions for Obama in the Townhall Debate

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I got/stole/copied these from Peter Kirsanow at National Review.  But they are worth reposting on the hopes more people will read and ask them.  If you are an Obama supporter and believe you can answer any of the questions, then please do in our comments section. 

1. Why shouldn’t voters view your association with the radical William Ayers as evidence that you are sympathetic to the similarly radical views of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, your pastor of 20 years?

2. You characterized Ayers as ” respected.” What do you respect about him? Do you respect any other unrepentant terrorists?

3. Do you agree with the National Journal’s assessment that you’re the nation’s most liberal senator? If not, whom do you maintain is more liberal?

4. Could you please cite three things you’ve done as senator to win the war in Iraq?

5. You would meet with Ahmadinejad without preconditions, you worked with unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, and you remained in Rev Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years – yet you refused to debate on Fox News. Do you consider Brit Hume and Chris Wallace to be more objectionable than Ahmadinejad, Ayers and Wright?

6. You dismissed your association with William Ayers by stating that his actions, while “despicable,” occurred when you were just eight years old. Ayers was still a fugitive when another terrorist bomber, Ted Kaczynski ( the ” Unabomber”) began his bombing campaign (btw senator, you were 20 at the time). Would you have had any reservations working with Kaczynski? Would you have had any reservations launching your political career from Kaczynski’s home? What about abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolf? If so, please explain your reasons for working with some terrorists but not others.

7. Your running mate thinks that Hillary Clinton would have been a better VP pick than he. Why do you disagree?

8. Excluding political campaigns, what’s the largest enterprise you’ve ever managed? How successful was it?

9. You’ve stated that given the state of the economy, as president you might have to delay your tax plan. Why isn’t this an admission that your tax plan would hurt the economy?

10. You’ve stated that determining when a baby gets human rights is “above [your] pay grade.” Let’s make it simple. Do you believe a baby is a human being? If not, why not? If you do, why wouldn’t a baby be entitled to human rights? Is your uncertainty regarding this issue the reason you voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act?

11. While in the Illinois state legislature you voted “present” more than 130 times. Given your uncertainty as to when a baby is entitled to human rights, why didn’t you simply vote “present” on the Born-Alive Act?

12. Did you and Ayers ever discuss his participation in the bombing of the Pentagon? If so, when? How did you respond? Did you continue working with him afterward? Why? Did this discussion occur before or after he hosted your political coming-out party?

13. As president, would you appoint any member to your cabinet who had worked with terrorists? Would you appoint any individual whose political career had been launched at the home of a terrorist? If not, why not? If you consider an association with terrorists to be a disqualifier for, say, the position of attorney general or national security advisor, why shouldn’t it be a disqualifier for president?

14. Did you ever tell Ayers that his actions were “despicable”? If so, did you do so at the time you interviewed to chair the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, or later?

15. Your campaigned is premised, in part, on a theme of racial transcendence yet you support racial preferences in employment, contracting and school admissions. Is there any existing racial preference that you don’t support?

16. Why do you support the Employee Free Choice Act that would effectively eliminate secret ballot union representation elections? Do you support eliminating secret ballots in presidential, congressional, gubernatorial or mayoral elections?

17. You support giving drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants and letting them participate in the Social Security system. Why wouldn’t this encourage more illegal immigrants to come to this country?

18. You had a relationship with an unrepentant terrorist and you’ve stated that you’d meet without precondition with the leaders of terrorist-sponsoring countries. Could you please explain why voters should believe you’re serious about the threat of terrorism?

19. What, if any, policy differences do you have with Ayers?

20. In which of the following states have you met bitter people who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them”: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Virginia?

 

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Democrats Got Us Here… Freddie/Fannie Meltdown

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More later…

Written by thismodernage

September 30, 2008 at 10:15 am

Thoughts on Obama-BOOM in Current Polling

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In my humble opinion, the current economic conditions could nearly reset a lot of independent and undecided voters.  So past polls are interesting, but I think they can be heavily discounted at this point.  Which is why I haven’t updated my Electoral College Polling posts recently. 

For the Record: I’m standing firm at Obama 273 and McCain 265, just because there is no reason to change anything yet.  And if I had to change something today, I would put New Hampshire barely in McCain’s column and that would cause a 269/269 split.  That result would make Bush v. Gore look like a tea party.  I digress…

“Ah ha!”, you say.  “But the reset is occuring!  Look at the polls coming out now – the Washington Post/ABC News poll has Obama up 9(!) points!  And, and, and…. the Gallup Poll too! Obama is up 3 points there.  That’s a combined 12(!) point lead! It’s a trend! It’s a boom! It’s a Democratic President! It’s HISTORY!” 

Yes.  Thank you for noticing the obvious (besides the 12 point thing).  But look at the internal numbers on the poll.  (Don’t you come here for the nerdy stuff?)

Jim Geraghty over at National Review breaks it all down pretty efficiently:

Two recent polls that show Obama doing fabulously have some pretty wide margins in terms of party ID in their voter pool. Gallup’s got a sample that is 49 percent Democrat, 39 percent Republican, and the ABC/Washington Post poll that is generating buzz has a sample that, with leaners, is 54 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican.

Look, if the electorate in November is going to be 16 percent more Democrat than Republican, and 54 percent of the voting public identifies themselves as Democrats, then it’s a foregone conclusion that Obama’s going to win in a landslide, and we can all go home now.

He goes on to reference Kirsten Soltis’ work at Pollster.com.  She walks through the historical prededent for polling spreads:

In 1988, Democrats had a three-point party ID advantage over Republicans (38-35). In 1992, Democrats still had a three-point party ID advantage over Republicans (38-35). In 1996, that advantage increased to four – a shift of one point (39-35). In 2000, Democrats were steady, up by four (39-35), and in 2004 they dropped to even (37-37).

During presidential years, over the last five presidential elections, the biggest party ID gap was four points, and the greatest swing was four points as well.

Arguments can certainly be made that in this environment, Democrats should be expected to have a huge partisan shift in their favor. But note that in 2006, when Democrats clearly found enormous success at the ballot box, that the advantage in party ID was only three points (38-35). Polls leading up to the election showed party ID gaps as big as eleven points (Newsweek’s poll on Oct 5-6, 2006), rarely showing party ID gaps of less than +5 for the Democrats.

So, let the dust begin to settle on the last week of economic news (ignoring, of course, how entertaining Joe Biden is) and watch the debate on Friday night and then let new polling numbers start coming in. 

But one caveat, it’s going to be VERY difficult to get solid state-by-state polling data for the rest of the election period, if there is going to be as much of a shake up as I believe there could be.  

More later… enjoy the ride.

Electoral College Outlook: What Does Lehman Mean?

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For the foreseeable future, the news cycle is going to be all about the economy – Lehman’s $613 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the top bullet of every newscast this morning. 

On the political side of things, John McCain has been surging but the current economic news could lead many swing voters to take another look at the candidates in light of their proposed economic plans. 

Our hypothesis is that voters tend to more comfortable with Democrats on economic issues these days.  But this is largely driven by job concerns and middle class tax cuts.  Once the economic issues begin to focus more on fiscal and monetary policy, voters confidence in Republicans will increase. 

A recent Fox News poll from 9/8 to 9/9 asked, “Which candidate do you trust more to handle the economy?”  Independents favored John McCain over Barack Obama by 45% to 40%. 

Other telling questions in the Fox News poll that may become more relevant; Which presidential ticket do you think:

  • Has more experience combined?  Independents favored McCain-Palin 57%/25%.
  • Has better judgement combined? Independents favored McCain-Palin 51%/32%.
  • Will bring the right change to Washington? Independents barely favored McCain-Palin 36%/38%.

Of course this poll was conducted before the markets tanked on the open this morning, so the numbers could be very volatile over the upcoming week.  But current conditions may favor the McCain-Palin campain.

Written by thismodernage

September 15, 2008 at 8:53 am

Electoral College Outlook: Evidence of Obama Slipping

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A quick update on the Electoral College Outlook. 

In my last post on the Electoral College Outlook (Electoral College Outlook: Obama 273 – McCain 265, but quickly shifting), we conceded that, as things are today, Barack Obama would likely be the next President of the United States.

However, even since Friday, the shift is occurring more quickly than we anticipated. 

The most troubling news to the Obama campaign this weekend has to be the polls coming out of Minnesota.  Albeit close, Democrats won Minnesota’s 10 Electoral College votes in 2000 and 2004.  But a state poll conducted by the Star Tribune of 1,106 Likely Voters from 9/10 – 9/12 has the race a tie 45%.  At the same time, a SurveyUSA poll of 734 Likely Voters has cut Barack Obama’s lead to 49% to 47%.  Prior to these polls, the most recent poll of Minnesota was executed by CNN/Time and gave Obama a 12 point advantage.  With two new polls in, that 12 point lead seems to have evaporated. 

One point is that the McCain campaign could be experiencing a strength in Minnesota similar to Obama’s in Colorado.  The converage of the Republicans being in Minnesota for their convention could actually help swing the state for them. 

If Minnesota shifted to McCain, that would make him the next President of the United States.

Next ‘If’ – If Minnesota is not a state specific issue, but is instead more a part of a larger trend, then Obama is in a lot of trouble.  There are several reasons this could be a part of a larger trend: 1) We are seeing similar shifts in Washington and New Mexico; 2) The latest Rasumussen poll showed McCain breaking through the 50% barrier for the first time. 

Switching each of those states from Obama to McCain would shift the Electoral College Outlook: McCain 291, Obama 247.

Written by thismodernage

September 15, 2008 at 12:00 am

Electoral College Outlook: Obama 273 – McCain 265, but quickly shifting

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2008 Electoral College Map for September 12, 2008

2008 Electoral College Map for September 12, 2008

If everything shakes out in the polls, as they stand at this moment, Barack Obama is most likely the next President of the United States.  But, the election is on November 4 not September 12 and the trends and momentum are clearly on John McCain’s side.

UPDATE: As of the morning of September 15, 2008, we have posted our thoughts on how the current economic troubles, including the Lehman bankruptcy may effect the Presidential campaign, click here

Key Battleground States

In the current condition, Obama wins 273 Electoral College votes.  But a closer look at swing states makes those 273 votes look very shaky.

  • The Big Four: Ohio: 20 votes; Florida: 27 votes; Michigan: 17 votes and Pennsylvania: 21 votes – Recent tradition is for Republicans to win Ohio and Florida while Democrats win Michigan and Pennsylvania.  These states need to stay in their respective parties for either candidate to have a real chance.  McCain looks very good in Florida and Ohio.  However, Obama does not enjoy the same strength in Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Recent polls in Michigan are tight but Obama’s lead on Intrade has widened over recent days there.  Of these four states, Pennsylvania may be the weakest link in the chain.  An early McCain win in Pennsylvania would create an extremely difficult deficit for Obama to overcome. 
  • Colorado: currently 9 votes for Obama – The Democrats hosted their convention in Denver and Obama may have gotten a real bounce from that.  Bush won Colorado in 2000 and 2004.  The polls here are within margin of error and Palin may play well in here over the next couple weeks.  The Democrats are poised to win a down ticket Senate race here as well.
  • Virginia: currently 13 votes for McCain – In the early summer Obama was doing very well in the traditional Republican state of Virginia, but recent polls suggests that this is McCain’s state to lose at this point.  Some point to Jim Webb defeating Mark Warner as a sign of Virginia starting to lean more Democratic but in voters eyes there is likely a large difference between Sen. Webb and Sen. Obama.  Bush handily won Virginia in 2000 and 2004. 

The other swing states are small but with an election this close any one of them may become the deciding factor. 

  • Nevada: currently 5 votes for McCain – A late August CNN/Time poll showed Obama with a lead in Nevada, which should have mortified Republicans.  However, the tide in Nevada has switched back to McCain which is evidenced in the Intrade spread of 58.5-43.5.  Bush won Nevada in 2000 and 2004.
  • New Hampshire: currently 4 votes for Obama – The recent CNN/Time poll done from 9/7 to 9/9 shows Obama over 50% and ahead by 6 points.  New Hampshire is a state that voted for Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004 with razor thin margins.  Obama’s Intrade spread has grown recently to 58.0 – 39. 
  • New Mexico: currently 5 votes for Obama – New Mexico should not be a battleground state for Obama.  The recent Rasmussen poll of 700 likely voters done on 9/8 shows McCain with a 2 point lead when the same poll showed Obama up by 9 in May, 8 in June, 6 in July and 4 in August.  New Mexico is in an interesting position with Democratic Gov. Richardson, but also Arizona’s neighbor. 

If the recent Rasmussen polls of Washington are accurate, then Obama could have 11 more Electoral votes at risk.  Rasmussen showed leads of 11 pts, 18 pts, 8 pts and 12 pts in May, June, July and August.  Their most recent Washington poll of 500 likely voters shows Obama up only 2 pts, 49% to 47%.  But we could be looking at an outlier there.

For a quick update, focusing on recent polls out of Minnesota, click here.

Dr. Wendy Doniger on Gov. Sarah Palin

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I couldn’t help but call Dr. Doniger, of the University of Chicago, when I read her quote on Sarah Palin, “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”  Amazingly, she took my call while she was on vacation at Cape Cod. 

QUICK UPDATE: Suprisingly, Dr. Doniger gave $1,000 to John Kerry back in 2004.  I was expecting to see a connection to Obama.  Alas….  And nevermind that Unversity of Chicago students pay over $35,000 per year to be taught by people like this.  Does anyone have a guess how much tax payer money is sent to the University of Chicago?

Dr. Wendy Doniger

Dr. Wendy Doniger

Her basic complaint is that Sarah Palin wants to impose her theology on women and that, “[Palin] does not speak for women; she has no sympathy for the problems of other women, particularly working class women.” 

Working class women…?  While Wendy Doniger spends her time in the Ivory Tower at the University of Chicago and vacations at Cape Cod while school is in session.  By contrast, Palin is actually a working class woman.  Remember she went back to work three days after following through on her ‘choice’ to have Trig. 

My ultimate question for Dr. Doniger was, whether a woman should be defined by her behavior and political beliefs?  Cleverly, she answered that she wasn’t expert on Palin’s horomones and she doesn’t doubt that Palin does have a womb.  But she was clear that Palin wasn’t “acting like a woman.” 

Ultimately, Dr. Doniger and her ilk, do want to define womanhood by how someone votes and their political beliefs.  This is the height of sexism.

UPDATE: A clever NationalReview.com reader wrote on Dr. Doniger, “The left’s new position:  Being homosexual is genetic.  Being a woman is a choice.”  Ah, the brilliance of leftist nuance.

Written by thismodernage

September 11, 2008 at 3:29 pm