Biden’s a walking “Daisy” ad


Back in 1964 in the presidential race of Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and Republican Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, there was a television advertisement put out by the Johnson campaign called the “Daisy” ad. It signaled the beginning of what today we call negative advertising, and still remains one of the most controversial political advertisements ever made. It proved negative ad campaigns worked, and this one was only aired once. Pandora’s Box was forever opened that day on this subject, and like today, I guess the ends justified the means.

The point of the ad was to scare voters about Senator Goldwater, and his comments about using nuclear weapons in Vietnam, a war the Kennedy/Johnson administrations started. So on top of Vietnam, we can also thank these people and their party for the negative ads everyone seems to complain about these days.

Well, someone in this race has made a case that electing Democratic Illinois Senator Barack Obama for President could have similar consequences. Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy…Remember I said it standing here. If you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. And he’s gonna have to make some really tough — I don’t know what the decision’s gonna be, but I promise you it will occur. As a student of history and having served with seven presidents, I guarantee you it’s gonna happen.

What’s “gonna happen”?

Oh, by the way, this is not a negative ad from the Republican Party, this is Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, all but assuring us we’re going to face near imminent attack, or something, if his running mate wins! He didn’t stop there: I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate…And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you – not financially to help him – we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re rightgird your loins.”

I have problems with those that vote strictly for reasons of personal gain, and I know some that are doing that very thing, which is their right. And while I can make the best out of just about any situation, it’s not inconceivable that I’d personally benefit from higher pay (but hopefully not high enough to hit Obama’s idea of “rich”), an improved collective bargaining contract, and possibly a bloated and very nice retirement deal with an Obama presidency. How’s that? Politicians always look out for their own pay, health benefits, and retirement plans, and when they do, some of us reap those rewards. That doesn’t make it right though.

But it’s hard to find a silver lining on a promised and guaranteed attack or crisis. At first I thought he meant a financial crisis requiring tough and uncomfortable decisions affecting us all, like a full fledge Depression. But he didn’t mean that at all, he meant something big, 9/11 big. Otherwise, why would he throw in the line about girding our loins, and how it’s not going to be apparent that the decisions President Obama will make are “right” initially? Is that admitting error before the fact? Some kind of pre-emptive lowering of the bar?

Talk about instilling confidence. And people make fun of Sarah Palin? This Biden is a walking, talking gaffe-o-matic. Let’s just hope this prediction of his, no matter who wins, is just another one of his many insertions of foot in mouth.

Election Prediction Update

Every six weeks or so I like to go back to Intrade (www.intrade.com) and see how people are placing bets on which way the election is heading. The last time I checked it was back in the first week of August, with the Democratic nominee (Intrade just lists DEM and REP in the state-by-state picks) was up 311-227 (Electoral College Votes – need 270 to win). I personally put it closer than that, putting the Democratic candidate up 279-259. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

According to the latest numbers, things have tightened up considerably in the race. They have the Democratic nominee winning 273-265, I have the Republican nominee winning 274-264 (for the sake of simplicity, we’ll just say Obama(Dem) and McCain(Rep) from this point on). The difference? One state. Colorado.

Last time around, “Unaffiliated” had the highest amount of registrations in the state. According to a recent AP article, Republicans now hold that edge, which means the majority of those registered in Colorado are either Republicans or Unaffiliated, which could be important swing voters. But on the Democratic side, it shows their Senate candidate (Mark Udall) with a 73-26 advantage over Republican Bob Schaffer. I think it will boil down to how much early voting there is, and the many ballot initiatives and who they bring out to vote. With a glance at some of these (TABOR-killing initiative, definition of a “person”, and ending race preferences) I give the edge to Republicans showing up more, which should amount to more McCain votes. The polls, which had Obama up by as many as 9 points, have gone back and forth on who is leading, amounting an average of an ever shrinking Obama lead that’s less than most margins of error.

Besides Colorado, which is the closest on Intrade (54-45 Obama), there are a couple other states that are close, a couple are surprises and weren’t in this category 6 weeks ago. New Hampshire is the next closest with it now 56-45 Obama. I left this in the Obama category, but there is something for Democrats to be worried about here: the last time I checked registrations, “Unaffiliated” held the lead at 44%, second place was Republicans with 30% and then Democrats with 26%. This was a surprise, and may have changed some since, but these numbers don’t usually jump up or down more than a few percentage points over the span of a few months.

Next is Nevada at 58-45 McCain, where registrations are nearly identical between the two parties, I expect McCain to carry this state. Then New Mexico at 60-45 Obama, which is a 13 point drop in the last 6 weeks, but many more Democratic registrations, so even though this is right in McCain’s backyard, I still give it to Obama. Then Virginia, which shows 61-42 McCain (registration numbers weren’t available), and while this may get close, I still think McCain will carry it. Lastly, Michigan, which I never guessed would make this list, is showing 62-40 Obama. While it may get some attention, the only way I see McCain winning this state is if there’s some unforeseen landslide. The rest of the states have larger spreads than this, including Ohio and Florida (McCain), and Pennsylvania (Obama).

Lastly, Intrade has a Presidential Election Winner betting option. The last contracts were 52.4 McCain to 47.1 Obama. If there truly is a greater than 5% gap in the popular vote like this, there should be an even greater gap in the Electoral College totals. But it’s not all gloom and doom for Democrats: Intrade shows them keeping control of both houses of Congress, and it’s not even all that close.

Predicting Elections

As I stated in an earlier post, I like to handicap and predict Presidential elections. Until the field is narrowed, it’s still too early to do much more than guess. Also, state referendums have a tendency to bring out a certain electorate, and make some others sit it out. There’s one in particular that isn’t actually during the general election that could have huge implications on who is the next president, regardless of who the candidates are.

First off, there are plenty of other websites that do this, with maps and trends, but also some wishful thinking. Last time around they did a pretty good job and I expect them to repeat that, I called 49 out of 50 states. There’s also at least one website that allows you to gamble on the election, Intrade, and currently they have the Democrat winning 288-243 in Electoral votes, some votes were too close to call. By my own numbers, I currently have the Democrat winning 284-254, but with several too close to call, or “in play”. Those would be Iowa, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, and Ohio. Intrade has the percentages very close on these states as well.

Here’s where my numbers and Intrade’s differ: Iowa, Colorado, and New Mexico I put in the Dem column (21 votes). Nevada and Ohio I put in the Rep column (25 votes). Intrade goes the other way on those, except for Iowa, which is currently a statistical dead heat. Once again, the state that could decide it all, and has been trending Democrat in the last few months is…….drum roll….. Ohio. Adding or subtracting those 20 Electoral votes makes all the difference in hitting the magic number needed to win.

Now here’s the kicker: There is a possibility of a ballot measure in California to split up the Electoral votes by congressional district. This would go to the voters in June ’08 during a probable very low turnout primary election, since the Presidential primary for California has been moved up to February ’08. How it would work is that 2 Electoral Votes would go to the statewide winner, and the rest ( 53) would be given to whoever won each congressional district. For example, in a 60% to 40% election, it would be a 32-21 split, currently it’s a winner-take-all whopping 55 Electoral votes. The most in the country, and usually a guaranteed 55 votes for the Democrats.

So with my numbers, the final tally would be Rep= 275 Dem= 263, Intrade’s would be Dem= 267 Rep= 264 with Iowa providing the missing 7 votes and the tiebreaker. I’ll dig deeper into this possible ballot issue in a future story, including Colorado’s attempts to change how we hand out our Electoral votes and where our local representatives weigh in on this. In review,they wanted to split up our Electoral votes in a somewhat similar way, or base it on the national popular vote, but I’ll bet money they sure don’t want this California idea to come anywhere close to reality. More political double standards.

Backstabbing or Bandwagoning, Pt 1

I like making predictions. I don’t much care if I’m wrong, it’s not as if my life or livelihood (in this context) depends on it. I look at past words and actions, current trends, and make opinions and predictions on possible future strategies and outcomes. Unless I predict candy-filled skies and rivers of chocolate, half of you are not going to like these opinions. As always, I don’t care about, or need, anyone’s approval or high rating. If you have a constructive disagreement, great, have at it. But if you’re just another hater and this doesn’t fit your worldview, pound sand and go scream in your own blog.

I don’t pay or subscribe to any commentator or personality. I didn’t go to one of those websites that bends news or transcripts to fit their (or their readers) political leanings. Much of what I comment on is bumped into accidentally, something that catches my attention. I don’t need someone else’s talking points, I have enough of my own. Today it’s the political fallout of the Iraq War.

For months now we’ve been hearing about the September Iraq report from General Petraeus. It appears that the report will be positive on the situation over there. By many accounts, including anti-war correspondents, things, while not perfect, are trending in the right direction. The reaction from our leaders sure could be interesting.

On the one side you have the “stay the course” people, and while some have been swaying, they should be content with the report. I expect some “We told you so’s” and the historical context of the number of casualties. On the other side, it’s all over the map and it could go a couple of different ways.

Let’s start with the negative approach: Total character assassination of Petraeus including lack of credibility, he’s a liar, he’s a Bush hack, not telling the whole story, etc. This should come from the same quarter that calls our soldiers criminals, thugs, mercenaries, baby killers, runners of gulags, and the comparisons to Nazi Germany. You know, the same ones who are against the war yet support the troops? (No one’s buying that line anymore, by the way)

Speaking of which brings up a local angle on this, State Senator Brandon Shaffers votes on the war. He not only voted twice for SJM07-002 “Memorializing Congress and the president to stop the escalation of the war in Iraq”, he was also a co-sponsor. He then voted for, and co-sponsored SJR07-022 Concerning an expression of support for the United States military personnel in Iraq.” Guess the winds (from Ken Gordon’s office) were blowing differently that day. Re-election time is November ’08 for him, watch carefully how this “tow the party line” type of representative zigzags.

The group that is anti any war should be consistent: no matter how things are going, we shouldn’t have gone there in the first place and need to get out. A stand on principal, I can accept that, but they usually can’t help themselves and delve into the same shrill nuttiness. I have noticed our local 3 marchers have taken down from their website the slanderous remarks toward some alleged troop misdeeds. I’m not sure if these are the same troops that were recently cleared of these charges, but it is telling how quickly this group will attack the military. Then again, not all military members are of one party affiliation, now are they?

In Part 2, we’ll look at the implications of this on “Election ’08”. Speaking of predictions, in addition to calling every state but one (damn you Wisconsin!) in the ’04 election, prior to the ’06 midterm elections I predicted if one party controls both houses of Congress between ’06 and ’08, whichever party it is, that party will lose the presidential election of ’08. Did I expect Congress’s poll numbers below the President’s this soon, or ever? No. Did I expect a possible positive Iraq report? No. Could I still be wrong? Sure, but these things don’t point that way.