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Biden wins VP debate

by Frank Schnittger Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:09:36 AM EST

Joe Biden won the Vice Presidential debate just finished but Sarah Palin did much to repair the damage created by her recent TV appearances.  According to a survey of viewers carried out by CNN, Joe Biden won the debate by a margin of 51% to 36%.  64% of viewers had a better impression of him after the debate, but 84% felt Sarah Palin had exceeded their expectations. A CBS survey scored the debate 46 to 21% in Biden's favour.


The consensus of the CNN pundits appeared to be that whilst Sarah Palin did much to rehabilitate her reputation and help rebuild morale amongst the Republican base, she did little or nothing to sway independent or undecided voters and reverse the momentum of the campaign as a whole which has been moving towards Obama since the economy re-emerged as the dominant issue.

Palin tried to paint Biden as the Washington insider out of touch with main street reality whilst she and McCain were the outsider Mavericks - despite McCain's long service in the senate.  Biden stressed McCain's record of voting with Bush and almost indistinguishable positions on tax cuts, deregulation, health care and Iraq.  Palin chided him for playing blame games with the past rather than building hope for the future.  It was as if all criticism of Republican rule over the past 8 years was supposed to be off-limits.  Certainly Palin/McCain were going to take no responsibility for it.

Both sought to connect emotionally with their audience, but it was Biden who almost choked up when speaking of raising a family as a single father and worrying about a son who was perhaps not going to make it (through an illness or injury?).  Although a bit wordy at times he generally managed to conclude with some kind of punchline whereas Palin sometimes lost her way a bit and turned many questions back to her energy policy.  The fact that she was working from a script also meant that she wasn't able to challenge or respond effectively when Biden challenged McCain on his record.  His charge that McCain had refused to talk to the Prime Minister of Spain - a NATO ally with troops in Afgahistan - went unanswered.  (Who cares about Spain anyway?)

The focus groups polled afterwards seemed to indicate that those undecideds who had made up their mind tended to swing towards Biden/Obama.  Palin did much to retrieve her own reputation, but little to provide the game changer needed save McCain's campaign.  Biden managed to avoid gaffes and too much Washington insider speak and was also careful not to talk down to Palin in any way.  The atmosphere was a good deal warmer and friendlier than it had been for the McCain Obama debate, and both managed to observe the first rule of Vice Presidential debating: Do no harm.

Palin did appear to agree with Biden on same sex couples - something which may cause her some difficulty with her Christian fundamentalist base.  Expect a post debate campaign "clarification" on this point.  That is one group she can't afford to piss off.  

It is unlikely that this debate will have much impact on the campaign one way or another, except perhaps to provide some temporary relief in the daily news cycles from the gathering economic storm.  It is perhaps best that the distractions of Lipstick on pigs and bridges to nowhere are left behind.  This debate could have been an embarrassment for either campaign.  That it has proved a qualified success for both has just removed one further obstacle from the path of a probable Obama victory.

Display:
Palin made a gaffe when she referred to McClellan as the commanding general in Afghanistan instead of McKiernan. McClellan has the dubious honor of having been relieved of command by Lincoln during the U.S. civil war and losing to Lincoln after running against him in 1864.

As you note, Biden connected emotionally when he talked about his own family tragedy. Palin was incredibly insensitive after Biden's emotional moment. She said nothing to acknowledge his obvious, still-felt pain and just re-engaged with her scripted talking points.

Earlier in the "debate", she also came across as insensitive when she talked about education and Biden's wife, Jill. Palin said:

Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? I say, too, with education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more.

I think she was very crass.

However, she had no major "deer in the headlights" moment, so therefore she survived. I'm sure her supporters will think she did wonderfully and really stuck it to Biden.

by Magnifico on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 04:02:44 AM EST
From a brief scan of the more rightward leaning sites, there dosent appear to be any great enthusiasm for te performance, as if sh did ok but deep down tehy know it wasn't good enough.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 04:05:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Izzy: his wife and sons were in a car accident in which his wife was killed
Palin: your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?

WTF!!!

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 04:47:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Joe Biden's one-year-old daughter was killed in the 1972 crash as well. His two sons were critically injured in the accident. His wife, Neilia, was Christmas shopping with the children.

About 3 years later he met his present wife, Jill, on a blind date set-up by Joe's brother. They were married in 1977.

Palin was very insensitive, to put it politely.

Her remark about "her reward is in heaven" was directed toward Jill Biden, a teacher of 30 years, but she showed no compassion or kindness when Joe choked up about being a father and losing his first wife and daughter. From the transcript:

BIDEN: You're very kind suggesting my only Achilles Heel is my lack of discipline.

Others talk about my excessive passion. I'm not going to change. I have 35 years in public office. People can judge who I am. I haven't changed in that time.

And, by the way, a record of change -- I will place my record and Barack's record against John McCain's or anyone else in terms of fundamental accomplishments. Wrote the crime bill, put 100,000 cops on the street, wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which John McCain voted against both of them, was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia, led by President Clinton, obviously.

Look, I understand what it's like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it's like as a parent to wonder what it's like if your kid's going to make it.

I understand what it's like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, "I've got to leave, champ, because there's no jobs here. I got to head down to Wilmington. And when we get enough money, honey, we'll bring you down."

I understand what it's like. I'm much better off than almost all Americans now. I get a good salary with the United States Senate. I live in a beautiful house that's my total investment that I have. So I -- I am much better off now.

But the notion that somehow, because I'm a man, I don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone, I don't know what it's like to have a child you're not sure is going to -- is going to make it -- I understand.

I understand, as well as, with all due respect, the governor or anybody else, what it's like for those people sitting around that kitchen table. And guess what? They're looking for help. They're looking for help. They're not looking for more of the same.

IFILL: Governor?

PALIN: People aren't looking for more of the same. They are looking for change. And John McCain has been the consummate maverick in the Senate over all these years...

How did Palin respond? She said John McCain was a maverick. She came across to me as cold and uncaring.

by Magnifico on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:00:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I say maverick you say unreliable he says loose cannon.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:05:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... you know when a firehose is on full and the firefighters lose hold of the hose?

Excellent image for McCain's flailing around from day to day.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:56:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the background - shows you how much of an outsider I am - that I didn't know any of it.  All her responses seemed robotic and scripted and empathy free and lacking in a specific link to what the moderator or Biden had just said - beyond a broad subject heading.

Obviously those who knew Biden's background would have been taken aback by the crass insensitivity of it.  It would make thewm wonder how much her "hockey mom" persona was scripted as well.  Painting Biden as a member of the Washington elite - when he has only the one home -which is his total investment also won't sit well in that context.  Biden connected with struggling fathers and mothers very well there.

I was trying to put myself in the position of the average low information undecided American (and as you can see I succeeded brilliantly in relation to Biden's circumstances!) and what struck me was how fast both candidates spoke - a blizzard of points which you could structure and retain only with some prior knowledge and a lot of concentration.

In Palin's case it came across as nervousness and a determination not to be bested by her senior.  In Biden's case it came across as energised, articulate and experienced - the guy had a lot of experience and a lot to say.  If you wanted to be sexist about it, she came across as every man's nightmare - a highly opinionated women who thought she knew everything, who bombarded you with her "facts" and who simply wouldn't stop talking.  I would be really interested to find out what the internal male/female breakdown in the approval ratings were.

I think somewhat fewer points put together more slowly, empathetically, and with more inflection would have come across as more assertive and authoritative and served her cause much better.  (In Biden's case it might have emphasised his age and he had less need to show authority.  For him it empathized his passion and engagement - something an older candidate needs to do with a younger electorate

In other words it emphasized her willing "puppy dog" status to work hard but didn't give her the gravitas most expect in a President.  So whilst she shed some of the "deer in the headlights" cluelessness of the Couric interviews, she didn't radiate the authority, gravitas, balance and judgment you would look for in a leader in a tricky and complex situation.

Great to get the PTA moving, perhaps, but to steer the USA out of the greatest financial crises in nearly a century?  I don't think so.  The more I think about it, the longer term (as opposed to immediate) reaction of most viewers will be - "well at least she had some spunk and gave Biden a run for his money, but it she ready to be President?"  Even the GOP partisans, not to mention the low information undecided must have private reservations about that.

I wou

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The CBS poll details as published don't give a mail/female breakdown, but confirm Biden did better with uncommitted voters under almost all headings.  A stunning 97% think Biden is prepared to be VP compared to 55% for Palin.  You can't do much better than that.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:00:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've only just watched the video you inserted.
I don't know about the rest of the debate, but in that excerpt, Biden seems very understandable to me, his sentences may be fast but they make absolute sense.

Palin is a lot more confusing (and actually speaks faster). Apparently always dancing to fall back on a prepared soundbite, MUCH more nervous, not anywhere near the same level of language. It's a short part of the debate, but on that part, I'd say he thrashed her.

Now, on a side note, I wonder whether we may be "cabled" in a way that makes us get an impression of competence from the pitch of a low manly voice. I find Biden's pitch extremely reassuring and I, as a tenor, can't help noticing that when my voice rises, people seem less convinced (maybe it's because it happens when I no longer control my sentences).
If that is true, it would make it difficult for someone with Palin's pitch to be seen as presidential.

In her case, saying 'betcha' in her second sentence, it would be true regardless of the pitch of course.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Sun Oct 5th, 2008 at 04:37:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unassertive people lacking in confidence start talking faster, with a higher pitch, and ultimately louder in an attempt to get heard.

Leaders are coached to speak slower, deeper and in a lower pitch volume if and when they want to garb attention and make a really serious point.

Check it out at meetings.  The high status individuals tend to speak more slowly and expect everyone to hang onto their every world.  They command attention.

The underlings speak faster, slower, sometimes higher pitched - and are often just ignored.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 5th, 2008 at 10:45:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not being aware of his wife's circumstances, I thought the "reward in heaven" was in lieu of a pay rise or compensation for the budget cuts Palen is always promising.  I didn't think it would go down with well with teachers.  Now I don't think it will go down well with anyone who has experienced loss.  It was delivered in such a perfunctory way, it could have been but another talking point.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:15:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... fund a $5,000 tax credit by taxing employee health care benefits, so that millions projected to lose employer provided health care can pray for the money to cover the gap between the credit and the cost of coverage ...

... as long as they don't have a pre-existing condition locking them out of the market entirely.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:59:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, now.  Heaven is the proper place for the "rewards" of all except Republican elites, who get their rewards here on earth to show signs of their election to heaven.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Her reward is in heaven, right?

Translation: We're not paying teachers anything near what they're worth here on earth.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 03:02:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Her reward is in Heaven"...that one struck me as completely bizarre and incredibly offensive, especially given what happened to Biden's family.  I thought his moment talking about his family was very powerful, and the focus groups apparently agreed strongly in Ohio:

"The notion that somehow because I am a man I don't know how to raise two kids on my own," he says, "I know what its like to raise a child where you are not sure he's going to make it."

At one point he had to hold back tears, take a breath and compose himself.

On the CNN dials of undecided voters in Ohio, both men and women rated the moment as high as possible.



Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:02:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and worrying about a son who was perhaps not going to make it (through an illness or injury?)

When Biden was first elected to the Senate, his wife and sons were in a car accident in which his wife was killed and one of his sons badly injured.  I agree with Magnifico that Palin was really insensitive.

Thanks for the summary, Frank.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 04:35:17 AM EST
Great to see you back in harness after your Parisian travails.  What's the reaction to the debate been like in your reference circles?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:12:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
His daughter was killed too.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More than anything else that moment revealed her as a textbook disconnected sociopath.

She really is quite stunning to watch - all surface charm and superficiality, no genuine empathy or personal engagement.

It's lucky she's an idiot. If she were an experienced operator, she'd be devastatingly dangerous.

Her Achilles heel isn't her robotic personality, but the fact that has no curiosity about the world outside her personal fiefdom. If she was genuinely knowledgable about foreign and domestic policy she'd be devastating. As it is she'll keep giving speeches, she'll write a book or two, and - as someone on dKos said - her most likely final destination is as a pundit for Fox.

If she runs in 2012 she'll be ripped to shreds in the primaries, so the chances of a President Palin aren't looking good at the moment.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:13:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Her comment about the US not killing civilians in Afganistan/Pakistan was so brazen.  The sad thing is Biden couldn't challenge it without appearing unpatriotic in the eyes of some voters.  Men seem to be supporting her disproportionately - though I can't get hard figures.  I must be missing something...

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wiggle, bounce, wink. It's calculated and manipulatively seductive. Most women will see through it, but a lot of men will take it at face value.

More experienced men will feel ill, in that 'Something is very badly wrong here' kind of a way.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:57:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must be in the "more experienced" category!

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:01:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
as someone on dKos said - her most likely final destination is as a pundit for Fox.

The Page - by Mark Halperin - TIME

On "Fox and Friends," Giuliani said "we're going to be seeing a lot more of Sarah Palin."


Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:22:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought she generally turned in a respectable performance last night.  She didn't answer many of the questions, but she was able to bullshit her way around them pretty well when she was stumped.  Had she not been up against Biden, I think she might well have won.

Her problem is that views about her seem to have already solidified.

And you're right about her lack of curiosity being the major problem.  The country doesn't seem too interested in having Average Joe govern them.  (Which is not to say that Palin is Average Joe.  Hardly.  I think most people see her and think, "Damn, even I'm smarter than this fool.")  She's Miss Teen South Carolina.

The fact that she's robotic doesn't help.

And her accent grates on me, but maybe it's just me.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:33:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MediaCurves.com did a focus group, as usual.  As with the other focus groups and polls, Biden won going away, even on issues we have trouble with (same-sex couples, climate change, taxes, etc).

That's pleasing.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:09:07 AM EST
Obama +10 in New Hampshire - even RCP are going to have to move it out of toss-up status soon.

And +7 nationwide on battleground - he was negative with them until they adjusted their polling methodology after their huge over-representation of older voters was pointed out to them a couple of days ago.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:13:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Battleground isn't a nationwide poll, if I remember correctly.  It's a battleground (swing state) poll, but that's actually even nicer.  Obama seems to be building a sizable lead in swing states.

The NH poll surprised me, but it makes some sense.  I expected Obama to pull back into the lead, but a 10-point lead in a Rasmussen poll is huge.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:19:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
RCP lists it as nationwide

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:23:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know, and it's generally included among the national trackers when poll aggregate sites do their averages.

Reading through the website, though, it sounds like RCP may be right about it being a national tracker.  They've switched firms, so maybe they've switched methodologies, but I could swear it was a swing-state poll at least in the past.

(shrugs)

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:28:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ups RCP has just taken the nationwide poll down.  John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics mustn't have liked it.  They but a bad poll for Obama in Minnesota up instead.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what to make of Minnesota.  There are two sets of polls: Those that say it's tight, and those that say it's a blowout.  I tend to think SUSA's got something weird going on, since it doesn't make a whole helluva lot of sense to me that Obama's up by double digits, or close to double digits, in Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan, but not Minnesota.  I think Ras's and CNN's polling, which jibes with Nate's forecast, makes more sense.

Also, I note that neither McCain nor Obama are visiting Minnesota much (if at all), and that they're not exactly spending big bucks there.  Those are probably good tells.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:54:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Something to keep in mind too: The flip side of SUSA having trouble in states with large minority populations is that they also had trouble in states with very small minority populations, like Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, etc.  That might explain things too.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:18:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... McCain to win, exactly in track with WI.

Even MI, which McCain has abandoned, looks better than that at 13%.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:01:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The internals of the SUSA poll are all fucked up.  Obama's +4 with young people but +10 with the elderly?  Winning Boomers by a few points but losing Xers by double digits?

Makes no sense.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 02:54:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well looking at the bookies and at intrade, last nights debate really hasn't slowed the perception of decay of the McCain camps vote.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 03:05:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... losing for McCain, not losing a debate is winning for Obama.

In the end, the campaigns can only shift the result by a percent or so from the underlying fundamentals, and the fundamentals spell an Obama victory.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 03:28:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at the numbers though it  hasn't even slowed the bleeding of support over towards Obama.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 03:34:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... given that Biden won the debate, in terms of perceptions of undecided voters.

The pundits, of course, graded on a curve, on whether Palin outperformed abysmally low expectations. However, undecided voters, who tend to be low information voters in any respect, seem to have graded without a curve, and "falling short but not catastrophic" was not enough for Palin to draw with Biden, who sounded like he was speaking from experience rather than index card talking points.

And the jobs numbers came out today, with headline unemployment only remaining stable in the face of more than 100,000 job losses because of people giving up looking for work.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 05:10:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Biden also addressed the middle class directly.  Palin stuck the words "middle-class" and "Main Street" in here and there, but she didn't come off as genuine, in my opinion.

Same thing happened in the Obama-McCain debate during the economics portion.  You have to address the key constituency directly in a way that tells them you get it.  On that, McCain and Palin have failed miserably so far.  Obama and Biden haven't done it as well as (say) Clinton in the '92 debates, but they've gotten the job done.

Intrade's now got Obama up to almost 70% to win.  IEM's got it at almost 72% to win.  I think it's more like 80% at the bookies in Britain, isn't it?  So the markets clearly believe the movement is big and real.

A few new polls out today.

The Pennsylvania tracking poll has expanded out to a 10-point lead for Obama (O50-40M), roughly in line with Quinnipiac and others taking the MoE into account.

McCain may need to pull out of Pennsylvania.  I'm wondering if he's going to start running into money problems.  The head of the (admittedly pro-Obama) Steelworkers union thinks things have already broken for Obama there.

Ras has Nevada swinging seven points in Obama's favor -- now O51-47M, the same as the CNN polls (last Ras poll there had it M49-46O).

Ras also has Obama up to a ten-point lead (O53-43M) in New Hampshire.

And the daily trackers show Obama still building his lead in the national numbers (now up to just shy of an eight-point lead).  So the boom may well still be growing.

I, honestly, don't think the SUSA poll in Minnesota is for real, and I suspect more polling of Minnesota and Wisconsin will show Obama with at least decent leads.  The last polls out of WI had Obama up 9.

Note, too, that McCain is sending his Michigan people to Indiana now, not Minnesota or Wisconsin.  They're finally admitting they're in trouble there.

With those out of the way (assuming for simplicity's sake they are), McCain basically has to run the table on Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado.

He's currently trailing in all but Indiana and Missouri (both of which are turning up about even).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Holy shit.  Now Obama's up to 72% to win on Intrade suddenly.  Did something happen that I wasn't aware of?  He's gained 7 points on Intrade for the day.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:38:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has there ever been an election where a 5-10% lead a month ahead of voting was turned into a loss on the day?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:44:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, and actually Chuck Todd brought that up.  Whomever leads a month out has always won, I believe.

Which isn't to say Obama can't lose, of course.  It's kind of like Boston and Chicago with their stupid "curses" in baseball.  Candidates always win in that scenario until somebody finally doesn't (although I think elections are easier to predict than long-term performance of baseball teams).

The logic behind it is obvious: Once you get into the final month, attitudes begin to harden.  Voters start digging their heels in.  And attitudes towards McCain are not improving, as the polls demonstrate, while people actually seem to like Obama more now than they did (say) six months ago.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:59:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...adding...

And there's, of course, always that little bit of me that's reluctant to take the numbers at face value because of the fact that our nominee is a black guy named Barack Obama in an overwhelmingly white country that, prior to him, has always elected WASPs, and because of the history of race in this country.

That, even though I think -- I'm nearly certain, in fact -- that I'm right to not worry too much about it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:03:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey Drew, you still tuned in?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:10:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am, indeed.  What's up?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:12:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just sedating myself with some Seagram's VO.  Long week ... productive but long.  Where in the US are you?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:14:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yuck, Seagram's VO?  Don't drink that pansy Canadian moose piss. ;)

I live in the People's Republic of Northern Virginia.  Or Virginia, as they insist on including us with the yahoos down South.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:16:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahhh, a real charmer.

Once had a brother that lived in Vienna, Virginia; don't know if he's still alive.  Had to get a colostomy (sp?) bag attached to his abdomen after he lost his ENTIRE colon to the possibility of cancer when he was in his 20s back in the '70s.

So east of the Mississippi still exists.  How novel.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:21:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep, Vienna's about twenty miles away from me -- so, in DC traffic, that's about a two-month drive, I suppose.

Whereabouts are you?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:23:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sacramento, CA ... fifteen minute WALK from Sac State campus.  LOVE this place!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:26:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, college-y area.  I envy you.  I really miss living in Tallahassee.  Great people, lots to do, and it was cheap.  Half the rent, no state income taxes (but still reasonably up-to-date roads!) -- everything dirt-cheap.  Sigh.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:36:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, you are still here.

Let me guess, married dude with how many kids?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:39:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No kids.  God, no.  I'm only 24.  I love kids, and I'm good with them, but I have no interest in having any.  Scares the hell out of me.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:43:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
24 ?!!!  Have kids?  YOU ARE A KID!!!  

I feel soooooo fucking old!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:46:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe it's my turn.  I'm still new at this.

You still there (although it's 7-8 P.M. your time.  Hit the bars.  Try to get layed.  Ah, to be young again!)

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:37:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh, I'm boring.  Bars don't really do it for me.  I loved the pubs over in Britain, but I can't deal with bars in the states.

Plus, I'm still working on all the different kinds of beer Helen has written up for me, and they don't serve them at the bars.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:41:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, Helen and her beers.  Good news for Helen.  Her bud poemless is back.  

Question: So how do you feel about the US right now?  Hopeful?  Doomful?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:44:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cautiously hopeful, as far as politics goes.  I kinda think Obama's going to win, and by a decent margin (6-8 points), and get a pretty solid number of Democratic senators (say, 58) coming in, which will allow him the leverage to get the big stuff done.  And I'm a little more hopeful, because, having read a few interviews he's done recently, I think he's starting to grasp how deep the shit truly goes on the economy.

It's frustrating though, simply because I think he's ridiculously talented and very sharp, but much too cautious.  Every now and then, he'll show shades of an LBJ or an FDR on the stump, but he'll fall back to a milquetoast, Clintonian state afterward.  I'm never sure which Obama is going to show up, and the answer to that will determine if his presidency -- if he wins -- is an okay one or a great one.

Beyond politics, meh.  The US has found itself in deep shit before.  It'll find its way back out eventually.  The only question, for me, is: How much pain will it involve?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:52:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scarfing down popcorn, wonderfully hammered, Olbermann on in about 5 minutes.  Don't wish to be rude but must tune out for 30 or so minutes for Keithy.  Will come back.  If you're gone, it's been a pleasure.  Will talk again.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 07:59:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
so how old are you?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:05:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Keith commercial break.  56.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:20:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought you were going to turn out to be ancient ;-)


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:22:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi ceebs.  Welcome!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:30:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to worry.  Keith (and pizza and beer) time for me too.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:06:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and the odds offered by the UK bookies have lept from 75% up to 80%. from watching that during the day, it looked like McCains odds sliding throughout the day, and the bookmakers suddenly  decided it was time to even the  Obama odds out relative to them.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 06:45:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
538 says McCain hugely outspent Obama in advertising in Minnesota - the only state in which he did so.  Might just need some money to make it safe again - or else rely on a much better ground game

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:28:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I just saw that earlier this morning.

Let him keep doing it, then flood the state in the final two weeks with Health Care and Privatize Social Security ads.

Meanwhile focus on locking down the current lead in Ohio, Virginia and Florida with the ground game getting people out to early voting.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Oct 4th, 2008 at 01:28:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not clear how the sample was structured, but Biden won on Every issue.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:29:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 09:33:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Flailin' Palin caught in first flub:

ABC News: Palin flub on bankruptcy

"The McCain campaign confirms to ABC News that Palin misstated McCain's position."


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:36:12 AM EST
Sounds like the basis of a great ad campaign featuring all of McCain's houses....

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 10:41:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The debate may be 'in the can' and frozen.  The Debate on the Debate has only begun.  

This is the first US Presidential Election where the citizens have the power to go over the footage of the debate and shape a film/media response.  The GOP still doesn't get that - even after the Katie/Barbie interview.

Palin has already been caught in one flub.

She's going to be caught in more.  I caught some last night, off the top of my head:


  1.  More power to the VP - only requires a constitutional amendment.

  2.  Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem - WTF-excuse-me?  She just said the McCain administration would make a MAJOR change in US Foreign Policy and Doctrine for the Middle East -- one that BUSH, doofus that he is, hasn't even tried to do.  And one a plurality of Israeli's don't want to see.  AND one that caused the Jewish contingent to gasp.  

  3.  She said she wouldn't answer the questions.  She didn't answer the questions.  She didn't rebut Senator Biden's specifics.  This is really going to matter as the debate moves to YouTube & people get a chance to deconstruct what she said.  We're going to see Question:Non-Response for the next 33 days.

  4.  Again and again she came out with out and out lies or factual errors.

  5.  General McClellan?  We're still fighting the Civil War?  (News to me.)  Oh fergit it.  The trained musketry of the Army of the Potomac WILL WIN in Iraq and we won't surrender until the Rebs Succesionists Iraqi's are brought back into the Union do ... something.  WHAT they are supposed do remains unknown but - by God - we'll stay there until they do it.  

The Obama campaign are already circulating an ad made from the Debate.

Then there is this:

Lots more is starting to be released.

And it has only been 12 hours since the debate ended.

Expect more.  Much more.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:16:47 AM EST
What I find really fascinating is the weight attached to being a good speachmaker/debater when all it requires is a good back-up team and a teleprompter or cue cards to do what she did.  The rest is down to looks, mannerisms, aw shucks and play acting.  Only someone who believes the Eart is 7000 years old can have such a complete disregard for actual performance in similar jobs/situations.  In the US you seem to be at a serious disadvantage if you have actually done a remotely similar job before, even if you have done it well.

Unfortunately that trend is emerging in the UK as well.  I lost a contract for a leading edge intranet system to a guy doing a power-point presentation saying he was going to do what we had already done and had in active production use (and where he had gotten his ideas in the first place).

Of course the fact his office was next to the main board's relevant director was a factor, but I was still flabbergasted.  Some £Millions later his "system" had still not been delivered.  I left.

Vote McCain for war without gain

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:34:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Unfortunately that trend is emerging in the UK as well.  I lost a contract for a leading edge intranet system to a guy doing a power-point presentation saying he was going to do what we had already done and had in active production use (and where he had gotten his ideas in the first place).

Dont even get me started. I've had my own notes, presented as a report by consultants to an ex-employer, which they'd already recieved from me six months earlier. the employer then happily paid over ten thousand pounds for that report, The only reason we found this out was we asked the management to show us the report so we could tell them wether the consultants were fulfilling their contract. Management then showed us the report in a shut room, without us being allowed to take notes as the report was confidential.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:42:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I must not have got the hang of consultancy then: when I use some work by an internal staff in a project, I always mention that it was his work (even if it was not finished and I had to complete it).

I must get better. Back to training I guess.

"It failed because Nacy Pelosi said some unkind things about George Bush in her speech"

by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:03:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
at some point you'll get the eyepatch and the wooden leg soon.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That means you are a manager, not a consultant or strategist, and as such, in the British scheme of things, you aren't really suitable for promotion  to Director level.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 01:25:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem - WTF-excuse-me?

Maybe not in the debate, but I thought that saying this was a ritual that all candidates had to go through. Everybody knows they don't mean it. The only thing that may be new is that nobody is sure whether Palin knows that it's not meant seriously.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 11:41:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it was a canned answer from her.  ("Say something about the US Embassy moving to Jerusalem!")  I highly doubt she understood what the hell she was saying, but then I don't think she understands much of anything.

Somehow debating McCain's health care plan led Palin to go back to babbling about energy independence.

And everything relates to her being a hockey mom somehow.  I don't quite get why she brags about that, since kids don't generally play hockey much in the Lower 48.  And most mothers her age, in my experience, find hockey to be an incredibly violent sport (sharp objects and fistfights -- basically football for insane white people).

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 12:17:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hockey mom relates mostly to parents in the Upper Midwest and New England states of MN, WI, MI, ND, MA, and ME that cart their kids around to hockey practices. States mostly in the Obama column.
by Magnifico on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 04:28:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can blacks be hockey moms?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 3rd, 2008 at 08:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... sometimes soccer moms, but far less commonly hockey moms. Partly for the lack of high profile black hockey stars ... basketball and American rules football have massive numbers of black stars, baseball has black stars, though is fretting over a declining number, and soccer has black stars ... not just internationally but also in the domestic game.

Hockey, not so much.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Oct 4th, 2008 at 01:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some the hockey mom sobriquet is a pitch for middle white America?

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Oct 5th, 2008 at 10:46:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, however with a pronounced regional focus ... even though there are pro hockey teams in southern states now, the entrenched system of kids playing hockey in the winter is more Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota ... all states considered to be in play, of course, earlier in the campaign.

Even one tier of states down, in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, that is almost entirely basketball season for youth sports.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 10:07:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. Do you think Palin is smart enough to have considered those regional demographics before she made that self-defining remark?

  2. Does hockey here mean ice or field hockey - I presume the former?


Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 12:15:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... coming from Alaska it would have been just a generic "upper middle class suburban" reference ... I expect that McCain's got people smart enough to understand those regional demographics when "hockey mom" got picked up by the media and they decided to keep it in her speeches.

Indeed, they are making a big push for Minnesota, so I don't expect it to go away.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 12:56:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... I had a whole, "hockey means ice hockey, you have to say field hockey to be understood as field hockey, and sometimes even then people might not know" in my head, and it seems my fingers took a random sample.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 03:21:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have to say I was surprised at your answer.  Always understood field hockey to be a small minority sport.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Oct 6th, 2008 at 04:41:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... but of course, field hockey is a sport in the real Olympics, and ice hockey only in the winter olympics, so there is, of course, government investment in field hockey facilities, and ice hockey relies on the existence of private skating rinks.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Tue Oct 7th, 2008 at 02:00:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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