Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 15, 2008
POLITICS: Left Unsaid

Quick impressions of tonight's debate:

1. Well, basically we got through 3 debates without a really dramatic, game-changing gaffe or jaw-dropping moment. Ironically, it's precisely because these were unusually good debates that they will probably not be remembered as well as some past ones (although the 2004 presidential debates didn't produce many memorable moments). Obviously, on the whole that's good news for Obama regardless of who performed better in any individual debate.

2. McCain's a good debater. We saw that again tonight - never at a loss for words, witty, likes to press the attack on the issues. If he has a flaw as a debater in general, it's a tendency to talk too fast and try to squeeze too much into a single answer. Those are the skills he developed from many years on Meet the Press and the Senate floor.

The problem is that McCain's used to debating Senators about the issues. He's not used to street fights where you have to call BS on the other guy to his face. While I accept that for various reasons McCain was the stronger general election candidate, we needed somebody like Rudy Giuliani in these debates, someone who was willing to call out not just Obama's policy platform but the entire concept of Obama as president - the relentlessly outside-the-mainstream left-wing record, the lack of experience, the machine politics, the intimate ties to extremists. We seem to have found ourselves in a situation where the truth about Obama is itself so outrageous that it's beyond the pale of political discourse to mention it. He did effectively support infanticide by voting against a bill to reverse existing practice in Illinois that left it to abortionists to decide what to do with babies born after a botched abortion, leading to their deaths. He did give tens of millions of dollars to a terrorist to educate kids. Etc. And Obama gets to shake his head in dismay that anyone would be so rude as to point these things out.

3. As to Obama, I do give him credit that he's become much smoother than he was even as recently as the Saddleback Forum in August. Probably his best line tonight was about how health care "will break your heart again and again." And I think he did outfox McCain on some of the health care debate sections. That said, he also told some seriously outrageous whoppers (like repeating false media claims about crowds at McCain events), he changed back and forth between $200,000 and $250,000 as the floor for his tax hike plan (I guarantee you it will go far, far lower if he's elected)...it was noticeable that Obama would not say Palin was qualified to be president, but of course he couldn't say flatly she's not, since she's more qualified than he is by any reasonable measure.

4. I agree with Ace that there's just a world of difference between what was said at the debate and what was unsaid. McCain did, by and large, do an excellent job (other than the health care discussion and his typically McCain-ish obsession with negative ads and campaign finance, although I was glad that he called out Obama on his baldly dishonest radio ads on immigration and stem cells, neither of which Obama could hope to defend) on the things actually said. I think he has to come out the winner on the spending debate, where I believe most voters would like his embrace of the label as the guy who'll finally go after the federal budget with a hatchet. And on taxes (hooray for Joe the Plumber!). And on trade and energy, too. And he did finally tell Obama flat out that he's not running against Bush.

But he let Obama off the hook on way too much. The killer line on the abortion debate was that Obama may say he's not pro-abortion, but he supports ending the 28-year-old ban on subsidizing it with taxpayer money - if you actually oppose something, you don't subsidize it. The killer line on Ayers is that what matters is the money Obama gave him to educate kids. The killer line on Obama's tax cut plan (other than the general unlikelihood of the whole thing) is that it's basically a welfare plan - when you are cutting checks to people who don't pay taxes, that's called spending. The killer line on Obama generally is that he's too liberal, too extreme where McCain is mainstream - on issue after issue, there's a conservative position, a moderate position, a liberal position...and an Obama position. And that you need to judge him on his record. The killer line of the entire campaign, really, is that on the two largest issues of Obama's short career in the Senate (winning the Iraq War and preventing the financial crisis), McCain was proven right, and indisputably so, and Obama was proven wrong, and indisputably so. And McCain didn't drop those hammers on Obama - he hit those points, but he didn't tie them up in a bow.

I suppose it's true that voters want to hear issues at debates, not about records. But Obama really is all talk - it's wholly speculative to say what he will actually do.

McCain's now going to go back to the slog in the trenches. I still don't wholly trust the polls (I don't write them off, but there's a definite grain-of-salt factor), and history tells us that the debates are sometimes not what moves the needle in the closing weeks. Republicans should not lose hope, because this race can still get tighter and that creates opportunities on Election Day. But the chapter in which the debates might have changed the game is over.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 11:18 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (53) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

McCain did better tonight but missed many opportunities and spread himself too thin. Obama played the prevent defense, giving up a lot of yardage but no TDs. One thing I would have done is accuse Obama of planning to make Ayers his Education Secretary, and demanded he state that someone like Ayers would never be a part of his administration.

Most voters choose on emotional factors, playing lip service to "the issues." Obama has gained credibility by simply staying in the fight during the debates, and not losing big. in fact, I might give him one tie and a slight win in the first two, based more on his apparent poise and glibness than on substance. The Saddleback debate was another matter, and McCain cleaned his clock in that one. Too bad it didn't come last.

The question now comes down to the economy and whether McCain can sharpen his presentation. If he continues to go after Ayers he must connect the early bombings (including the failed Fort Dix attempt) with Ayers' present goal to radicalize society by burrowing from within the education establishment. He must stress that the Annenberg millions never went to the improvement of even one academic field.

Abortion extremism must be brought out, along with taxes and government expansion. Let the terms "right to life," "socialism," "free enterprise" and "redistribution of wealth" be used. Contrast Obama's weaknesses on the War on Terror with his intent to draft women and send them into combat. Point out the extreme unlikeliness that Obama will be able to afford his fabled middle-class tax cut.

And turn Sarah loose in the northern tier of battleground states. Besides speeches, let her go out in public whenever possible, and carry the local media along with her. This is retail vote accumulation, but we're at the point when it can be effective.

Posted by: Dai Alanye at October 16, 2008 12:44 AM

I thought this was McCain's finest performance of the three debates and that overall the debate was a draw, with McCain winning early on then foundering badly on Ayres, ACORN, and abortion (the women's health exception mockery is tailor made for a tv ad). Still, he did better than the first two. But once again all -- not one poll, ALL -- of the instapolls went heavily in Obama's direction, ranging from 5:3 to 5:2 ratios among independent voters, with Dems giving Obama higher marks than Repubs gave to McCain. Those results suprise me, and I wonder if they dont reflect the higher bar placed in front of McCain a bit. But there really is no way to spin it, the undecideds/independents thought Obama won.

Posted by: seth soothsayer at October 16, 2008 2:49 AM

"it was noticeable that Obama would not say Palin was qualified to be president, but of course he couldn't say flatly she's not, since she's more qualified than he is by any reasonable measure."

Umm, no. Sorry. Not buying it

Posted by: Troy at October 16, 2008 3:27 AM

Obama is definately the anti christ.

Posted by: Charles Wicklow at October 16, 2008 6:01 AM

Let's face it: these debates are not for political junkies like you and me. They are for the undecideds, whoever the hell they are. The candidates have to speak to their diminished intellect, frankly. The "winner" of the debate is not the one with the best ideas. It's who presents hiself well. Qualities which have very little to do with being a good president. For us, the debates are good theater, though.

Posted by: steve at October 16, 2008 7:24 AM

Vote Obama/ Vote $5 gas

Do not be lulled by recent drop in gas prices…the Middle East plans to jack prices as quickly as possible…the Middle East is using classic monopolistic tactics…drop prices in the short run to drive out competition. In this election, McCain/Palin represent competition. Remember oil doubled in the last 12 months…there was no reason for it to go up…there had been no great increase in demand…but oil jumped anyway…why?...because the U.S. will pay for it and not develop alternative sources. Prices shot up until August when Republicans were gaining momentum.

Republicans and McCain are bad for Arab oil business interests.

A unified Democrat government…Obama, Pelosi, and Reid…will BLOCK any and all domestic production of oil and coal. Pelosi is on record that she plans to “Save the world” from carbon…Will Obama take on Speaker Pelosi? He voted “Present” 140 times when he was in the Illinois senate. He also said, “Call me if you need me” when Congress debated the bailout. Sometimes, leaders have to do more than “phone it in”…sometimes, leaders actually have to lead.

Arab sheiks have a lot riding on this election…the U.S. ships $5-700 billion per year to the Middle East for oil. The last thing the sheiks want is competition. Does anyone remember 20 years ago the Middle East flooded the market…and killed Texas and U.S. shale oil production, which led to the Savings & Loan crisis? A few weeks ago, short selling was stopped to prevent the market from dropping 2500 points overnight…and where was this short selling coming from?…the news reports stated Dubai and London.

So vote Obama and the price of oil will skyrocket and the American consumer can plan on spending $5 per gallon for gas by next Memorial Day.

Posted by: scipio at October 16, 2008 8:01 AM

Crank, what is your source for this statement:

"It was noticeable that Obama would not say Palin was qualified to be president, but of course he couldn't say flatly she's not, since she's more qualified than he is by any reasonable measure."

No, he could not say the truth (that she is NOT qualified) because if he says, "This idiot is probably the least qualified VP in a lifetime..." he runs the risk of "offending" some women. Thankfully, most women know that Palin does not represent them or their issues. But, why should Obama run that risk?

OK, Crank, time for your monthly Haldol shot -- your grasp of reality is slipping again. Your man lost all three debates. Even Fox News (is this what you mean when you say the Liberal mass media?) called it for Obama...

Posted by: Dorce at October 16, 2008 8:10 AM

From a campaign strategy standpoint, McCain blundered by revisiting the Ayers issue when the rest of America was worried about the economy. The economy should have been his focus, and it wouldn't have helped him in the debate to address the "entire concept" of Obama being a president. It's yesterday's issue.

That being said, I agree that the debate wasn't much of a game changer. I'm going to be looking closer at their economic proposals.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 8:59 AM

"...McCain was proven right, and indisputably so."

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

As for the debate, McCain won over the 30% of the country who are already supporting him while pissing off the 40% of Democrats and losing the Independents by a 2:1 margin. I'm quite sure the Obama camp is pleased with those results.

The only question now is how big of a win it'll be for Obama. 350 Electoral Votes and a 10% margin of victory seem to be well within reach.

Posted by: Ryan at October 16, 2008 9:02 AM

seth - In the primaries, all the instant polls gave all the debates to Ron Paul.

Dorce - I've been through that a few times here. Obama and Palin have careers of similar length, neither has national security, military or significant business experience - but Palin has executive experience, she has actual accomplishments, she has political leadership experience. Obama's got none of that. All he's running on is talk, not a record. Palin has a record.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 9:57 AM

From a campaign strategy standpoint, McCain blundered by revisiting the Ayers issue when the rest of America was worried about the economy.

I disagree. The country has already proven incapable of filtering fact from fiction and, with the MSM as the gatekeeper of the narrative, it's already a given that the economy is a losing proposition for McCain.

At this point, I think his only shot (and it's an extremely outside shot) is to hammer Obama over and over and over again on his ties. Get the story out there. The story is probably far too complicated and far too nuanced for most people to understand, but it needs to be told. Maybe, just maybe, some people will wake up and do some independent research rather than allowing the MSM to define the story for them.

Honestly, since Obama is allowed to lie with impunity due to the cover provided by the MSM, there really isn't much of a game changer at this point for McCain. The best he can do is out Obama's extremist background and then, after he's [Obama] President and people realize Obama's destroying the country, (and the economy with his ludicrous tax proposal) paraphrase the Mencken line, "you knew what you wanted, and you're getting it good and hard."

Normally I wouldn't give a damn about someone like Obama becoming President, even though I consider him a domestic enemy of the Constitution and against everything I stand for. However, that's because Washington is normally a 'house divided'. That will not be the case, as the Democrats will control congress and the most liberal among them will control the White House.

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 9:58 AM

"The country has already proven incapable of filtering fact from fiction and, with the MSM as the gatekeeper of the narrative, it's already a given that the economy is a losing proposition for McCain."

The Republicans are learning the wrong lesson if they think that stupid voters and a liberal media are responsible for their candidates' troubles. Has it occurred to you that voters are well-aware of Ayers' terrorist past and are simply willing to overlook it? If Republicans keep blaming the media for their troubles, then they deserve the results they get.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 10:31 AM

Meanwhile, back in the real world, . . . .

By 53-22%, 638 uncommitted voters polled by CBS chose Obama as the winner. CNN was a little closer, 58-31%.

Posted by: Magrooder at October 16, 2008 10:49 AM

Has it occurred to you that voters are well-aware of Ayers' terrorist past and are simply willing to overlook it?

It's occurred to me that they're aware of his past, but are not aware of Obama's true relationship with Ayer's, other than what Obama himself has admitted to, which doesn't go very far beyond a weak admission of "yeah, I worked on a board with him." The media has attempted to fully play this as a 'guilt by association' type deal, and the public is eating it up.

My point was not to suggest that the average American voter is stupid -- that's a liberal tenet of campaigning -- but to suggest that the average American voter doesn't have the time to do the leg work necessary to find out the truth. They rely upon the MSM, who they think is supposed to be objective, to tell them all the facts. It's a naive position, but in no way makes them stupid. It simply means they have a busy and hectic life and are unable to filter out the MSM bias.

If Republicans keep blaming the media for their troubles, then they deserve the results they get.

I don't feel particularly bad for the Republicans. They do get what they deserve. In regard to conservative thought, they've long since jumped ship. It's been mentioned that the American people, by giving the Democrats control of Congress, and now a potential Obama Presidency, have rejected conservative principles.

I don't believe that to be true at all. I believe it to be simply a case of rejecting Republicans ability, or willingness, to execute conservative principles. People still have the same ideas, they just don't trust the Republicans to actually follow through on them (and rightfully so).

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 10:56 AM

McCain had the line of the night "I am not President Bush ..." He pretty much shot his wad there. The facial expressions and the snide comments really looked awful. He did not look cool under pressure. He took the Ayers bait and looked like a fool in doing so. It makes you wonder why Crank never ever broke down the complete make up and all the partners of the Annenburg Foundation? McCain has made a point of calling Obama naive so in taking the Ayers bait McCain looked like an amateur.
Who gives a crap about Joe the Plumber, to much time there for McCain.
Crank, do you really think Rudy would have fared any better? But since you are longing for the days of Rudy sounds like you are admitting defeat.
Since McCain decided to run his campaign on pleasing his base (Palin), attack politics(Ayers), and ignoring the concerns of everyday Americans (THE ECONOMY) his run or the White House was doomed from the start.

Posted by: javaman at October 16, 2008 11:07 AM

"I don't believe that to be true at all. I believe it to be simply a case of rejecting Republicans ability, or willingness, to execute conservative principles."

You are right, that is definitely part of the problem. In fact, it is -my- chief problem with the republican party with respect to the budget.

The other problem is that the country, as an aggregate, is neither purely conservative or liberal. So even if the republicans would adopt and religiously practice conservative principles, they would still lose a lot of votes.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 11:07 AM

And now the bad news. After the election the 2012 campaign begins. Immediately.

As enough Conservative thinkers have shown, a President Obama with 60 Dem Senators & >60% of the House made up of Dems will produce a government far to the Left of what they (& I) think most Americans seem to want. A fine point. At this moment, judging from what we see in the media, if this indeed can be relied on, most Americans want somebody to do something, for them especially. So, do enough Americans realize that Obama is a far-out Liberal with no sense of balance who has always associated with further-out unbalanced Liberals, all of which raises serious questions regarding his qualifications to be President of the U.S.? Or do those who realize this care enough to vote against him?

McCain came to fight last night, was confident & strong & hit many of the right points, but Obama, seemed to know what was coming & seemed on the surface to be taking the punches. Even when he was not doing well substantively & was lying through his smarmy smile, Obama remained calm (he was basically on auto-pilot) & McCain seemed unwilling or unable to press these points in a way meaningful to people who are not part of the Republican base, who don’t see articulate, urbane, grand Obama as far out & who seem willing to go for “change” without quite understanding the details. McCain just did not explain in pithy, packed points why all but the Extreme Left will indeed get some change which they may not have expected.

So maybe like in 1960 where those who watched on TV thought Kennedy had won & those who listened on the radio thought Nixon had won, Obama won for those who go for demeanor. (To demeanor born! I’m not a President but I play one well in the debates.)

I think that McCain came out ahead on debate points, though there’s always that espirit de l’escalier. McCain could’ve done better on the abortion & the litmus-test-for-judges issue, & he could’ve explained better how Ayers relates to character & judgment but anybody who doesn’t know where the candidates stand by now isn’t independent, he/she’s just unaware or confused.
But, again, I don’t think the debates mattered that much. McCain seemed to be the more substantive of the two, but the economy, as someone has described it “The Perfect Storm”, has probably killed McCain/Palin. And the Dems don’t seem to be getting any of the blame. And McCain does not seem to have any grand plan to save us all.

So if Obama can continue to not scare the electorate as he hasn’t in the three debates & keep babbling about mindless “change”, he’ll win, especially in Electoral votes.

It ain’t over ‘til it’s over, but….

And Congress has something like a 12% approval rating yet the Dems will probably pick up seats.

Finally, I think that Pastor Warren had the best debate format.

Posted by: From Inwood at October 16, 2008 11:09 AM

javaman, the fact that there were some Republicans on the board - friends of Ayers' wealthy dad, no doubt - doesn't do anything for me, when you consider what the final grant decisions were. If anything it just shows that Obama's still doing the job they hired him for, to make the whole thing sound respectable to the outside world.

(BTW, Obama mentioning who Annenberg was is a dodge - that's not who was reviewing the grant decisions. As Kurtz has noted, it's part of a larger trend of outwardly respectable charitable institutions getting captured from within by left-wing advocacy groups).

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 11:15 AM

I forgot to add that I don't believe that people are too busy not to filter through the media bias. Joe the Plumber is probably a good example. Do you think he reads redstate every day with his busy career? Him, and others like him, probably watch the network news, and yet somehow they are able to view Obama with a critical eye. My sense is that the effect of media bias, whatever its extent, is overstated.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 11:15 AM

Not a dodge, just showing how dumb the attack was. How proud were you that McCain took the bait so easily?
So Crank, what about the other Republicans on the Annenburg board? See this is what happens when you hide facts in an accusation. You and your GOP brethren failed the in a case of simple full disclosure. Here is a list of more radical members of the Annenburg Foundation.
Stanley Ikenberry, former president of the University of Illinois; Arnold Weber, former president of Northwestern University and assistant secretary of labor in the Nixon administration; Scott Smith, then publisher of the Chicago Tribune; venture capitalist Edward Bottum; John McCarter, president of the Field Museum; Patricia Albjerg Graham, former dean of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Also, here is a partial list of Annenburg partners:
the Chicago Symphony, the University of Chicago, Loyola University, Northwestern University, the Chicago Children's Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
Your entire case against Ayers close ties to Obama is a blatant misrepresentation of the facts. That failed the sunlight test. You guys tried guilt by association but that would make all the members on the board guilty. See where your logic fails the common sense test.

Posted by: javaman at October 16, 2008 11:43 AM

Do you think he reads redstate every day with his busy career? Him, and others like him, probably watch the network news, and yet somehow they are able to view Obama with a critical eye.

They view him with a critical eye because they probably weren't going to vote for him in the first place. They also may not agree with his policies in general renders his Ayer's/ACORN/Rezko/Wright connections meaningless to their vote.

Joe the plumber, as you said, only has time for the network news. He doesn't have time to read redstate, or to read Global Labor and Politics (Steve Diamonds blog which, in my estimation, is the best read on Obama's relationships... all coming from an admitted dyed in the wool liberal who will NOT vote for John McCain), or Stanley Kurtz.

Joe the plumber was probably already critical simply because Obama is a Democrat.

However, there are a whole block of undecideds who have no main affiliation, who only have time for network news, and whose views will be shaped by the information they receive from the network news. People tune into the news hoping to receive 'just the facts', so to speak. However, we no longer have a media beholden to journalistic principles, but an advocacy media who not only reports what's happening, but feels it has the duty to 'interpret' what's happening for you.

You may not think it's a big deal, but I have to disagree completely.

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 11:45 AM

Crank, I can't believe you think Palin is as qualified as Obama. It's not just resume. Intelligence is extremely important for the head of the Executive Branch and its dozens of agencies, not to mention foreign policy and judgeships.

Let's cut through the crap. Palin is an imbecile. Go back and watch the interviews with Couric and Charles Gibson, not the softball crap with Fox News or her robotic answers at the debate. She was asked very simple questions; she could not answer them. No one but the extreme right is comfortable with Palin as possible President. No one. Moreover, she lied about the bridge to nowhere and she is actually telling audiences that the investigation into her personnel practices cleared her of any wrongdoing. If you are going to call out Obama for his lies and misstatements, please do the same for Palin.

Posted by: steve at October 16, 2008 11:51 AM

"Joe the plumber was probably already critical simply because Obama is a Democrat."

Maybe, maybe not. According to a CNN article today, he is keeping mum about his voting choice. My guess is that he is an undecided. Why else would he attend an Obama rally?

The source of our disagreement seems to be with the undecideds. I don't buy the proposition that because they are undecided and unaffiliated, they are somehow swayed by a media bias. I don't view them as a wishy-washy group, probably because I'm one of the their members (not that I'm claiming to be a representative sample). They may have very well-developed political views that simply don't fit either party platform. But that somehow doesn't make them susceptible to media brainwashing.

That being said, it would be interesting to see the demographic breakdowns of the undecideds in this election. Is there any data out there?

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 12:04 PM

javaman, I would have to look at the list of sources but you appear to be conflating the Annenberg Foundation, which is an enormous national operation, with its grant recipient the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, which is what was run by the finance committee Obama chaired. Now, I do believe there were some other respectable-sounding folks on the CAC board but the fact is, Obama was heading the board that signed off on grants to Ayers' projects. Which makes the parent foundation's affiliations a red herring.

steve, I do not agree that Palin is "an imbecile" - certainly her record is inconsistent with that, as is her performance in scores of interviews and debates. Her interview with Gibson was stiff, but didn't worry me that much; it was really just the Couric interview.

Are there gaps in Palin's knowledge base? Yes. And she's not that good at BS-ing her way through those, as Obama is. But I see no reason to question her intelligence, and her experience as a Governor shows her capabilities in ways we have not tested Obama. The only advantages Obama has are that (1) he's been on the national campaign trail longer and (2) he's acquired the ability to talk around things he doesn't understand. That's not really a useful skill in actually governing.

I covered the bridge story. It was Palin who finally killed the bridge. Go back and re-read Part I of my series.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 12:21 PM

But that somehow doesn't make them susceptible to media brainwashing.

I never said it was brainwashing. However, if you're looking to the network news for fair, objective, and balanced coverage of both candidates, and that's all you have time to look to for a medium for that information, you're going to be swayed towards Obama more than McCain.

Someone who relies solely on the MSM for their news is likely to be more susceptible to a more positive view of one candidate over another based upon the treatment of that candidate by the MSM.

A controlled media message to sway citizens one way or another isn't a new idea. It's been around for quite awhile and has been used with great success. If you don't believe the media has the power to sway an election as close as this one, then you haven't been paying attention to history (in terms of the media, or more generally, a uniform message, often referred to as propaganda).

I'm not saying that this is 100% the case with this election (i.e., that McCain is going to lose solely because of the MSM being in the bag for Obama). McCain has many faults and, quite honestly, my vote for him (if I decide to vote for him) is more a vote AGAINST Barack Obama than an endorsement of John McCain. In fact, I still haven't decided if I can force myself to vote for John McCain.

However, it IS a disturbing trend toward a stronger advocacy media and, with the Democrats in power, could lead to an even greater destruction of the principles of the 4th Estate over the years to come.

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 12:28 PM

WTF, fraud alert. Crank you have how many posts on Ayers and Obama serving on this board? But we are to believe you never bothered to look up other board members and grant recipients?
Another fact you seemed to have left out: Over the last 15 years, the Foundation has awarded some 5,200 grants totaling more than $2.8 billion. How much did Ayers get? See how when you leave out key details what happens when the true facts surface.
But then again Obama has never done anything so I can see how you decided not to post the above facts.

Posted by: javaman at October 16, 2008 12:35 PM

Here we go - Kurtz had, I believe, addressed a number of these points in one of his articles, I think the one responding to Obama's push-back that I had cited in one of the longer posts:

FactCheck.org, which runs an extended and fairly tendentious apologia for Obama on this, notes that the Annenberg Foundation "supports a wide variety of charitable causes – a total of 5,200 grants during its first 15 years of operation." The CAC was just one of those. The Foundation itself stresses that:

All participating sites in the Annenberg Challenge for School Reform were locally controlled and locally governed.

The Annenberg Foundation was not directly involved in the daily operations of any of the 18 challenge sites. This includes, but is not limited to: programming, staffing, or board composition.

Work related to programs, fundraising and development, research, and evaluation at individual Challenge sites during the grant period was undertaken through the local Challenge entities.

That's where we get the list of Obama's partners on the board:

Founding members of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Board were: Susan Crown, vice president, Henry Crown Company; Patricia Graham, president, The Spencer Foundation, and former dean, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Stanley Ikenberry, president-emeritus, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Handy Lindsey, executive director, Field Foundation; Barack Obama; Arnold Weber, former president, Northwestern University, and president, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago; and Wanda White, executive director, Community Workshop on Economic Development.

Note the presence, BTW, of the Crown family, recipients of significant earmarks from Obama. But Obama's citing Annenberg and your longer list of Annenberg Foundation affiliates (including FactCheck.org) is irrelevant. The whole point of people like Obama is to make those folks believe they are giving money to something respectable.

I stand by the view that the involvement of other people who should have known better does nothing to absolve Obama of his decision to fund Ayers' projects. Nothing at all. But it's terribly telling of the Obama leadership style of trying to fob off responsibility on everyone else for his decisions.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 12:46 PM

The obviously rehearsed "... not George Bush" line that was supposedly the "one-liner" of the debate is perfect fodder for an Obama commercial.
Voiceover: Trying desparately to distance himself from the failed economic policies of the past eight years, John McCain says:
McCain: "I'm not George Bush"
Voiceover: Unfortunately for Senator McCain, it was him and his fellow Republicans who enabled George Bush to be George Bush, turning a budget surplus into a record deficit and bringing the United States and the world to the brink of economic chaos. In fact, John McCain voted with George Bush over 90% of the time.
Graphic of McCain voting record.
Voiceover (with photo of McCain resting his head on Bush's chest): Is the United States better off than it was eight years ago, and can we afford four more years of the policies that failed us? John McCain may not be George Bush, but when they're this close, who can tell the difference?

Posted by: rs at October 16, 2008 12:51 PM

"Someone who relies solely on the MSM for their news is likely to be more susceptible to a more positive view of one candidate over another based upon the treatment of that candidate by the MSM."

I don't dispute that a biased media can influence voters, my point is that the media bias, whatever its extent, is -overstated- by republicans. If you listen to Hannity, for example, not a show goes by without him making numerous references to it. It's a little ridiculous.

As for your argument that the media -is- biased against Republicans and to what extent, I've never looked at it hard enough to form an opinion. Most of my news information comes from CNN, and I can't say I'm too troubled by the coverage. Today's coverage of the debate didn't seem too bad. The "fact check" section pointed out two false claims by Obama.

I agree that the media places too much emphasis on political analysts rather than the news. It's amusing and sad that they have all these "scorecards" from analysts, but there is no explanation as to what criteria they are using to score. And is anyone really surprised when the analysts' results generally follow the party lines?

I also have a big problem with the media's coverage of foreign affairs, particularly of wars, but that's another story.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 12:56 PM

As for your argument that the media -is- biased against Republicans and to what extent, I've never looked at it hard enough to form an opinion

One note. Just so it doesn't get lost in the fray, I don't believe the 'media' is biased in favor of Democrats. For better or worse, the 'media' includes far more than just the NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox's of the world. I believe a true definition of the media would encompass all means of transmission (print, radio, tv, internet). Which means, if you take into account blogs, radio (where conservatives hold a considerable edge, hence the push by many democrats to limit their advantage on that medium), and TV, of all forms of media, you get a little more balanced picture.

However, I'm speaking strictly about the 'mainstream media' (MSM). By that, I mean the main networks that everyone gets and turns to first (mostly). Sites like redstate are part of the 'media', by my definition, but they're many times removed from the mainstream media.

My only hope in combating the trend towards advocacy journalism by the mainstream media is the continued growth and expansion of the blogosphere and another secondary media outlets. In fact, they've done a much better job covering this war than the mainstream media has.

If you have the change, I suggest you check out Jeff Goldstein's blog, Protein Wisdom, for indepth discussions on hermeneutics and how the media plays into all of it.

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 1:06 PM

The media is so biased, and I can't believe everyone doesn't see that! NBC is still discussing Palin's daughter having a child out of wedlock! Move on to some real topics --The Today Show!! The media and it's lefty illuminati producers and CEO's are doing Obama's dirty work for him!

Posted by: MNotaro at October 16, 2008 1:38 PM

So Crank, what about the other Republicans on the Annenburg board?

What is it about some people that causes them to refuse individualism & independent thought & instead act a little more than proverbial storm troopers & march lockstep for the cause?

Look: there are Republicans who have committed murder. There are Republicans who have committed rape. There are Republican cheats, liars and scoundrels. Now that we've established these foundations, would you like to incorporate some rational thinking into the situation & catch up with the rest of society or would you rather continue to be, for all intents & purposes, a troll/bot?

I mean, really.....the guy was a bleeping bomber. Stop defending the indefensible.

Posted by: RW at October 16, 2008 1:42 PM

I can only hope and pray (and the entire nation should too) that Obama is the most liberal President to lead this country.
Alas, I think it's just wishful thinking.

Crank,
Palin might have killed the bridge to nowhere, but she NEVER told Congress "thanks, but no thanks". That's just a bald-faced lie she's been spouting since late August.
Note: Congress had already taken away that earmark before she was Governor.

Posted by: Berto at October 16, 2008 2:04 PM

Uh, Berto, of course they took the earmark away (despite Obama and Biden voting for it). Otherwise she would not have had a choice in the matter. But they gave her the funds for the project with the discretion to spend it elsewhere, and she killed the project and redirected the money to better uses (no, her statement did not use the words "thanks, but no thanks," but her actions certainly did). As I explained in the earlier essay, that absolutely saved state and federal taxpayer money that would otherwise have been spent on a project Congress made money available for.

Your side is just smearing her on this. It's a completely dishonest charge.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 2:13 PM

"I can only hope and pray (and the entire nation should too) that Obama is the most liberal President to lead this country."

I hope not, otherwise we're going need an even bigger debt clock in Times Square.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 2:39 PM

I hope not, otherwise we're going need an even bigger debt clock in Times Square.

Yeah, that's the thing. I feel that Barack Obama is a domestic enemy of the Constitution and stands against everything I hold to be right.

That being said, unlike many on the left side of the political spectrum, I do NOT hope for the destruction of this country, or for bad things to happen to this country, simply to see a certain party regain control.

Personally, I hope Obama tacks more to the center and 'governs' from the White House in the same manner he's lead his entire life... speaks a lot, but does little to nothing. If that's the case, then there's hope that he won't screw the pooch while we're waiting until the next Presidential election.

I saw a T-shirt the other day that said, "Words speak louder than actions." Interestingly, I thought that would make a great anti-Obama shirt: "Vote Obama, because words speak louder than actions."

In this case, I hope his words do speak louder than his actions. Unfortunately, the actions he 'has' taken, and that can be confirmed, all fall among the radical leftist variety (ACORN, CAC, etc...).

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 2:52 PM

You know, there wasn't a lot about Iraq in the debate last night, largely because it's been so quiet. But I noticed today that the Iraqi's just put themselves back in the news:

http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/16/news/international/iraq_oil.ap/index.htm?postversion=2008101610

"An Iraqi official says Iraq believes that the $100 a barrel is a 'fair and acceptable' oil price for both producers and consumers." And the oil minister warns that OPEC production may be cut.

There are several messages here:

1) This should lay to rest any concerns that the US is somehow "controlling" Iraqi oil policy.

2) It underscores the need for energy independence.

3) Iraq really isn't doing our economy any favors. It's basically saying, "Thanks for liberating our country. Now we're going to raise oil prices to make it difficult for your economy to recover." I guess Iraq won't help us much with OPEC.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 2:59 PM

I'll have more on my expectations if Obama goes on to win. The short answer is that as far as domestic legislation is concerned, my one hope is that his general timidity and his "read my lips" promises (like vowing to have a "net spending cut") can be used against him to blunt his leftist "spread the wealth" instincts. But that doesn't solve all the problems. He can still screw up national security, he can still do enormous mischief through his appointees to executive and judicial posts (the latter will be there for decades, as Carter's judges remain with us today), and my other big concern is that he will focus on making structural changes to the electorate and the political process designed to entrench the Left - removing restraints on voter fraud, eliminating secret ballots in union elections, restoring the "Fairness Doctrine," fast-tracking the citizenship of illegal immigrants, felon voting rights, etc. Given his history and M.O., I suspect that will be his actual #1 priority moreso than governance.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 3:02 PM

And of course, I reiterate that anybody saying how Obama will govern is just guessing. We can't know what's inside the box until we buy it.

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 3:07 PM

"My other big concern is that he will focus on making structural changes to the electorate and the political process designed to entrench the Left."

I'll be disappointed if he uses his political capital for that. We've got enough problems as it is. And those are hardly the kind of issues that you can "reach across the aisle" and hope for bipartisan support.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 3:10 PM

Crank, your worry list about Obama reads like the reality of the last 8 years under Bush. Screwing up national security? Check. Mischief in the form of bad appointments? Check. Bad judges? Check. Style over governance? Check. Bush was a disaster. Didn't you notice?

Posted by: steve at October 16, 2008 3:13 PM

I think Crank accurately depicts my greatest fears. Normally, I never really worry too much about domestic policy when voting for a President (controlled by Congress). What I worry about is Foreign Policy along with Judicial and Executive appointments as mentioned by Crank.

And those are hardly the kind of issues that you can "reach across the aisle" and hope for bipartisan support.

Except, with the way things look to be going, it doesn't appear as though there will be any need for bi-partisan support. If things continue on their projected path, the Democrats could very well pile drive everything through with minimal to no bi-partisan support.

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 3:17 PM

Screwing up national security? Check.

Over 2,000 days since 9/11 and no domestic attack. NO ONE thought that would be the case on 9/12/01. Sorry, you'll lose that one.

Mischief in the form of bad appointments? Check.
No argument. I can say the same for every administration in history (and the future) as well, but that was an easy one so I'll let it go.

Bad judges? Check.
Alito & Roberts are bad judges? Hmmm, that must be why Obama voted against them since he says he doesn't have a litmus (cough) test. They're baaaaaaad.

Baaaaaaaaaaaa-baaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Style over governance? Check.

As everyone knows, Bush will go down in history as the most stylish and eloquent president ever, right?

C'mon, you can do better than that. Try again.

You know, there wasn't a lot about Iraq in the debate last night, largely because it's been so quiet.

As has been the case for close to 18 months, hasn' tit?

Posted by: RW at October 16, 2008 3:30 PM

MVH - I bet you dollars to donuts that card check comes up in the first 30 days. We'll see some of the others in its wake.

steve - Except for the Miers fiasco, I've been ecstatic with Bush's judges, that and the tax cuts (and the prevention of any further terror attacks since 9/11) are the highlights of his record. The executive appointments have been a mixed bag, some very good, some quite bad, but obviously very few who have pursued a left-wing agenda, and you have to go pretty far down the food chain to find people who've gotten into old-fashioned machine-politics pocket-lining of the type I expect to see lots of in an Obama Administration.

It's the appointments where the Ayers story, ACORN and other connections to extremists and machine pols is so problematic. Where, if not his record, should we look for evidence of how Obama would staff those jobs?

Posted by: Crank at October 16, 2008 3:34 PM

Found this link: http://www.zombietime.com/lefts_big_blunder/

I don't know how much validity there is to the argument being made. However, I can at least 'hope' there is a good deal of validity.

Posted by: Agent W at October 16, 2008 3:44 PM

All the wailing and moaning here is palpable. Face it, y'all had 6 years of Republican Party control and you guys COMPLETELY gaffed it. The big reason McCain is going down and going down hard is that he's with the party that f-ing blew it on pretty much every issue of the day. If you can't figure that out and continue to spend the ungodly amount of time you all seem to want to on the Ayres thing then you are going to be relegated to second tier status until you realize that people care about their immediate surroundings than they do political (or whatever) connections.

Posted by: jim at October 16, 2008 3:52 PM

"It's the appointments where the Ayers story, ACORN and other connections to extremists and machine pols is so problematic. Where, if not his record, should we look for evidence of how Obama would staff those jobs?"

I'm not too worried about appointments. He's not going to make Ayers his education czar. Also, he's not going to surround himself with lightweights, either. Granted, we have know way of knowing exactly what he is going to do, but his choice of Biden gives me that impression.

Posted by: MVH at October 16, 2008 3:57 PM

Obama did everything right,
The Dodgers everything wrong.
The Sox right behind them.

Posted by: ticnatz at October 16, 2008 4:39 PM

Thank goodness for a little baseball talk. I would point out that in their last 7 ALCS games facing elimination the Red Sox are 7-0. That being said I would have a VERY tough time imagining that happening this year where in 2004 and 2007 I was relatively optimistic.

Posted by: jim at October 16, 2008 5:13 PM

I'm a little worn out on debating the issues here, but I must tell you, Crank, that the issue of judges is my number one issue. Alito and Roberts are moving forward with the Rehnquist agenda, which I despised. They are also playing fast and loose with precedents, as many scholars are pointing out. All signs point to a solid right wing bloc on the Supreme Court if McCain is elected. Nothing horrifies me more. If Obama wins, that will be the first thing on my mind on the morning after Election Day.

Posted by: Steve at October 16, 2008 6:43 PM

...he changed back and forth between $200,000 and $250,000 as the floor for his tax hike plan (I guarantee you it will go far, far lower if he's elected)...

I'm actually with Obama mit Biden on this. Specifically, all the way down to below $169,300. Plus, a windfall tax on book deals and royalties. They're 'unearned', after all.


All the wailing and moaning here is palpable. Face it, y'all had 6 years of Republican Party control and you guys COMPLETELY gaffed it. The big reason McCain is going down and going down hard is that he's with the party that f-ing blew it on pretty much every issue of the day. If you can't figure that out and continue to spend the ungodly amount of time you all seem to want to on the Ayres thing then you are going to be relegated to second tier status until you realize that people care about their immediate surroundings than they do political (or whatever) connections.
-jim at October 16, 2008 3:52 PM

Control of what?
Who's 'controlled' Congress since 2006?
Economic growth didn't start to slow down and energy prices rise until well after then.
I suppose people caring about their immediate surroundings explains why the bluest states, specifically NY, MA, and RI are hemhorraging population and businesses, or have stagnant birth and economic rates, like VT.


Unfortunately for Senator McCain, it was him and his fellow Republicans who enabled George Bush to be George Bush, turning a budget surplus into a record deficit and bringing the United States and the world to the brink of economic chaos. In fact, John McCain voted with George Bush over 90% of the time.
Graphic of McCain voting record.
Voiceover (with photo of McCain resting his head on Bush's chest): Is the United States better off than it was eight years ago, and can we afford four more years of the policies that failed us? John McCain may not be George Bush, but when they're this close, who can tell the difference?
-rs at October 16, 2008 12:51 PM

Federal revenues were greater in 2005, 2006, and 2007 than in the previous historic high of 2000, even when adjusted down into constant 2000 dollars.

What correlation does a federal budget surplus/deficit have with economic growth?
Why, with a federal budget surplus of $236 B in 2000, following a $77 B surplus in 1999, was there actual economic recession (contraction) for 2-3 quarters in 2000 into 2001, instead of mere 'negative growth' this year?
How have eight years of slight (less than 3% GNP) federal budget deficits caused us to suddenly now be on the brink of economic chaos?

Posted by: Buddy at October 16, 2008 8:48 PM

Buddy,
Great comment about MA, RI, and NY losing population.
That reminds me, do more citizens live in rural areas like Palin because of "values" or are they in big city urban areas?

Seems to me those living outside the big city areas must be the ones who are "less American" and don't share "American values".

Posted by: Berto at October 17, 2008 1:28 PM

I don't trust the poll either, not any before the actual election. The people know how bad it would be for this country under the lead of the left-wing illuminati.

Posted by: Expressions at October 29, 2008 7:00 PM
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