October 2008 Archives

October 28, 2008

Will There Be a 'Political Earthquake' in the U.S. on November 4?

Stanley Bernard "Stan" Greenberg, described by the London Daily Telegraph's Andrew Porter as "the pollster who has worked for [former U.S. President Bill] Clinton, [former British Prime Minister Tony] Blair and British Prime Minister[Gordon] Brown says, "There is going to be a political earthquake [in the United States]. I cannot imagine a scenario that changes that over the next week."

According to Mr. Porter, Mr. Greenberg was "in London for one day and at breakfast this morning [October 28, 2008]" and "gave his views on how America got to the position where it looks like an Obama romp next week."

If you want to read more, please see "Barack Obama earthquake coming, says veteran pollster."

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The Poll That Really Counts Takes Place November 4

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported October 28, 2008, that American Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama leads Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain "by a 52% to 36% margin in Pew’s latest nationwide survey of 1,325 registered voters." See "McCain Support Continues Downward Spiral." According to Pew:

This is the fourth consecutive survey that has found support for the Republican candidate edging down. In contrast, since early October weekly Pew surveys have shown about the same number of respondents saying they back Obama. When the sample is narrowed to those most likely to vote, Obama leads by 53% to 38%.
The numbers look good and are encouraging for Mr Obama's supporters and probably discouraging for Mr. McCain's supporters. However, the polls that really count will take place election day, November 4, 2008, and on December 15, 2008, when the Electoral College vote is announced.

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October 26, 2008

Dennis Ross: Obama is a Needed 'Transformational Figure'

Dennis B. Ross, a veteran U.S. diplomat "who served as the director for policy planning in the U.S. Department of State under President George H. W. Bush and special Middle East coordinator under President Bill Clinton," recently granted an interview with Haaretz.com correspondent Natasha Mozgovaya and discussed why he's campaigning in Florida and elsewhere for American Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama and why he agreed to serve as his senior Middle East policy adviser, among other things. Consider this:

Why and when did you decide to take on an active role in this campaign?

"I decided to take an active part in the campaign because I feel the stakes are so high. I looked at us, especially in the Middle East, and I think we've been on the sidelines everywhere except [in] Iraq. And when the U.S. is on the sidelines, U.S. interests suffer and I think Israel's interests suffer, too. I felt that I just didn't have the luxury of remaining on the sidelines and sitting this one out."

Some of America's image problems didn't start with the Bush administration. Is it possible to repair the damage?

"One of the problems of the last eight years is that too often we've staked out objectives that we could not achieve. The rest of the world watches and looks for several things. The first is whether we are effective in terms of what we do. Secondly they have to see that we don't just lecture, we also listen."

Ross also discussed his views in a September 11, 2008, appearance in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. He explains in this 27- minute video why he supports Mr. Obama and agreed to serve as his senior adviser on Middle East affairs.

Can you define what constitutes an American interest right now?

"I think our interest at this point around the world is [that] we do have to contend with the radicalists, they do constitute a serious threat to us. But I think we have to realize who our natural partners are and how we can work with both them and our allies so we, in a sense, build our collective leverage against those who constitute threats to us. It's very clear that we have to restore our economic well-being, because you can't be strong internationally if you're not strong at home, and if you're not strong financially."

Is it about the stakes, or Obama's personality and policies?

"It's a combination. First, the stakes were so high, and I think he's also a unique talent. I've sat in on probably 100 meetings with our presidents - those I've worked for and their counterparts. I know what it takes to be an effective, good leader. I saw Senator Obama at work in meetings with leaders. His manner of operation shows me unquestionably that he's someone who grasps issues in their detail, but also strategically, and he understands how to deal with leaders in an effective way, from the standpoint of promoting America's interests and needs. It's a combination of the stakes but also of seeing in Senator Obama a transformational figure at a time when I think the United States needs a transformational figure."

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell also views Mr. Obama as a transformational figure. In fact, that's one of the reasons he gave for not endorsing Republican Presidential Candidate John S. McCain.

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October 22, 2008

Al Jazeera: 'Is Arab Support for Obama Fading?'

Alaa Bayoumi, Al Jazeera's Middle East analyst, observes in an October 22, 2008, report:

It is no secret that many people in the Arab world looked at Barack Obama, the Democratic U.S. presidential candidate, as someone who, if elected president, could bring positive change to US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Such an attitude seemed strong during the presidential primaries, but since Obama's victory in the primaries last June over Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and Obama's rival for the Democratic nomination, Arab support for the Illinois senator appears to have faded away.

The main reason is Obama himself.

To learn why Mr. Bayoumi thinks this is so, please see "Is Arab support for Obama fading? "

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October 19, 2008

Obama Deeply Honored and Humbled By Powell Endorsement

On October 19, 2008, American Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama told a rally of about 10,000 people at the Fayetteville Coliseum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA:

Today, I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell. General Powell has defended this nation bravely, and he has embodied our highest ideals through his long and distinguished public service.

Mr. Powell, who served President George W. Bush as Secretary of State until he was replaced by former national security adviser Condoleeza Rice,  endorsed Mr. Obama on October 19, 2008, but does not plan to campaign for him. He made the endorsement on the NBC Sunday interview program "Meet the Press," moderated by veteran journalist Thomas John "Tom" Browkaw. See Meet the Press transcript.

According the Obama campaign road blog, Mr. Obama "called the General to thank him and said that he looked forward to taking advantage of his advice in the next two weeks and hopefully over the next four years."

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How Does John McCain view Colin Powell's Endorsement of Obama?

Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate in the American elections scheduled for November 4, 2008, said former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's October 19, 2008, endorsement of Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama "doesn't come as a surprise." He made the statement during an October 19, 2008, appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. Below is an excerpt about the endorsement. It's from a Fox News transcript.

Senator, on another Sunday talk show, General Colin Powell has just said that he's going to vote for Barack Obama. He says he meets the standard of being a successful president.

He says that Senator McCain is unsure about how to deal with the economy, and he does not feel that Sarah Palin is ready to be commander in chief. Your reaction?

MCCAIN: Well, I've always admired and respected General Powell. We're longtime friends. This doesn't come as a surprise.

But I'm also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state, Secretaries [Henry] Kissinger, [James] Baker, [Lawrence] Eagleburger and [Alexander] Haig. And I'm proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired Army generals and admirals.

But I respect and continue to respect and admire Secretary Powell.

WALLACE: Just briefly, though, one of the key lines of your campaign has been that Obama's not ready to lead. Here is Colin Powell saying he is.

MCCAIN: Well, again, we have a very — we have a respectful disagreement, and I think the American people will pay close attention to our message for the future and keeping America secure.

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Why Colin Powell Endorsed Barack Obama

As expected, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a retired general, endorsed American Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama on October 19, 2008, but does not plan to campaign for him. He made the endorsement on the NBC Sunday interview program "Meet the Press," moderated by veteran journalist Thomas John "Tom" Browkaw. Here is the heart of the endorsement, taken from a Meet the Press transcript.

MR. BROKAW:  General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain.  You have met twice at least with Barack Obama.  Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you're prepared to support?

GEN. POWELL:  Yes, but let me lead into it this way.  I know both of these individuals very well now.  I've known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I've gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years.  Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country.  Either one of them, I think, would be a good president.  I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done.  I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that's a choice the party makes.  And I've said to Mr. Obama, "You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president."

And I've watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I've had this conversation with him.  I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions.  And I must say that I've  gotten a good measure of both.  In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem.  And that concerned me, sensing that he didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.  And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin.  She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.  And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period.  And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor.  I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.  I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower.  Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines--ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines.  He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.

And I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign.  But Mr. McCain says that he's a washed-out terrorist.  Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?  And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted.  What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings.  And I think that's inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about.  I know how you can go after one another, and that's good.  But I think this goes too far.  And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow.  It's not what the American people are looking for.  And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me.  And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift.  I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration.  I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian.  He's always been a Christian.  But the really right answer is, what if he is?  Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America.  Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?  Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone.  And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey.  He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.  Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.  And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know.  But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president.  But which is the president that we need now?  Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time?  And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.  I think he is a transformational figure.  He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

With that out of the way, Mr. Brokaw asked Mr. Powell:  "Will you be campaigning for him as well?

GEN. POWELL:  I don't plan to.  Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition.  But I will be voting for him."

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October 17, 2008

The Chicago Tribune Makes History By Endorsing Obama

It is historic for the Chicago Tribune, one of my hometown newspapers, to endorse a Democratic candidate for  President of the United States. Before endorsing Barack Obama, today, October 17, 2008, the paper had never done so in its 161-year history.

image"This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune," the publication said in an editorial headlined "Tribune endorsement: Barack Obama for president. ". This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president."

The paper chose the right moment to do so.

Meanwhile, the Tribune Company-owned Los Angeles Times has also endorsed Mr. Obama. See "Barack Obama for president."

According to Kevin Roderick at LA Observed, "For the first time since backing Richard Nixon in 1972, the Los Angeles Times editorial board has publicly endorsed a candidate for president. It's also the first time ever that the paper endorsed a Democrat for the White House."

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October 16, 2008

McCain Didn't Whip Obama's "You-Know-What' in Final Debate

On October 13, 2008, during a visit to a campaign phone bank in the American State of Virginia, Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain tried to fire up campaign volunteers by telling them he was going to whip Democratic Presidential Contender Barack Obama's "you-know-what” during the October 15, 2008, debate at Hofstra University in New York, USA.

image Well, Mr. McCain didn't keep his promise. He didn't whip Mr. Obama's ass in during theimage  debate. In fact, he blew his last chance to turn the race around. Some polls say Mr. Obama won the debate. The election is on November 4, 2008.

Sure, Mr. McCain was more aggressive than in previous debates. But what is telling is that he waited until 20 days before the election to make what was perhaps his most memorable line in response to Mr. Obama comparing his policies to those of U.S. President George W. Bush. In fact, Mr. Obama has repeatedly told voters that electing Mr. McCain would give them four more years of Mr. Bush's failed policies.

"...Senator Obama, I am not President Bush," he said at one point tonight. "If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago. I'm going to give a new direction to this economy in this country."

I don't think he'll get the change.  Here is a transcript of the debate. Video of the debate.

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October 14, 2008

Asian Journalist: McCain and Obama Are Popular in Southeast Asia

Mong Palatino, "news editor of Yehey!, a Philippine-based web portal," reported in an October 13, 2008, post at Global Voices Online that, "U.S. elections matter to many people in Southeast Asia. Both U.S. presidential candidates – John McCain and Barack Obama – are popular in the region," he noted.

If you want to read why, please see "Southeast Asia: Views on U.S. elections and politics."

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Is a Geopolitical Power Shift Taking Place?

Lauren Drablier, "a graduate student in International Affairs at Sciences Po Paris" who "currently works for the World Association of Newspapers," notes in an October 14, 2008, post at Nieman Watchdog that:

News concerning the financial crisis has taken over newspapers and Internet pages around the world and the international media have been quick to say a geopolitical power shift is taking place.
It's a worth reading observation. To read more, see "The U.S. is widely criticized in the financial crisis."

Note: This post can also be found at The Curious Spectator and The Blogging Journalist.

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October 13, 2008

Will McCain Take Kristol's Advice and Fire His Campaign?

Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain announced a new "if I'm elected president" message on October 13, 2008, outlining his campaign's goals for the final stretch of his down and dirty contest with Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama for the presidency of the United States. But The New York Times' influential Neo-con columnist, William Kristol, thinks "It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign."

"He has nothing to lose," the The Weekly Standard founder declared in an October 12, 2008, online column and October 13, 2008, print column that is being widely quoted in the blogosphere and mainstream media.

"His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s," Mr. Kristol writes, adding:

The Obama team is well organized, flush with resources, and the candidate and the campaign are in sync. The McCain campaign, once merely problematic, is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional. Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic. If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed.

He may be anyway. Bush is unpopular. The media is hostile. The financial meltdown has made things tougher. Maybe the situation is hopeless — and if it is, then nothing McCain or his campaign does matters.

"But I’m not convinced by such claims of inevitability," Mr. Kristol says. "McCain isn’t Bush. The media isn’t all-powerful. And the economic crisis still presents an opportunity to show leadership."

But will Mr. McCain show it? Does he understand the U.S. and global economic crisis well enough to provide leadership?

Can Americans afford to give their trust to a 72-year old man who could die in office and leave the nation in the hands of a good old girl and intellectual lightweight such as Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

What do you think?

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign is defending itself. See "MCCAIN CAMPAIGN VS. KRISTOL" and "McCain campaign attacks Bill Kristol: ‘He’s bought into the Obama campaign’s party line.’"

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Paul Krugman, A Public Intellectual, Wins Novel Prize in Economics

Justin Wolfers at Freakonomics adequately sums up why I admire Princeton University scholar, columnist and author  Paul Robin Krugman, winner of the 2008  Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, despite his ill-advised stint at Enron. Opines Mr. Wolfers:

Whether you like his Times columns or not, you have to admire Krugman’s tenacity. He personifies the true public intellectual, and even when he writes a column that irritates you, at least you know it involves careful thought and a true dedication to the public debate.
I like him because he is a public intellectual and not writing solely to impress his colleagues. Congratulations, Mr. Krugman. You deserve the honor for your "analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity"

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October 12, 2008

Obama Picks Up 12 More Endorsements

Twelve major newspapers in the United States backed endorsed Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama on October 11 and 12, 2008, according to Editor & Publisher, which is tracking endorsements and notes that Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain didn't pick up any endorsements today, a far as it could tell. 

Papers that endorsed Mr. Obama on October 12, 2008, are, according to Editor & Publisher:

In Ohio, The Blade in Toledo and the Dayton Daily News; the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Tennessean of Nashville, the Wisconsin State Journal. the Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, and in California the Fresno Bee, Sacramento Bee, Contra Costa Times, The Herald of Monterrey, and The Sun of San Bernardino (which had picked Bush over Kerry).Editor & Publisher said "So far Obama leads [in endorsements] by a 21-9 margin with at least 300 to go.

The Diplomatic Times Review Provides Links to the Editorials:

(1) Editorial: Obama has potential to be a great president -- Monterrey County Herald, Monterrey, California

(2) Our nation needs Barack Obama -- The Sun, San Bernardino, California

(3) Times recommends voters select Barack Obama -- Contra Costa Times, Walnut Creek, California


(5) Obama for president: Democrat offers best vision for these troubled times -- Fresno Bee, Fresno, California

(6) Nation clearly needs change; Obama is better-suited -- Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times, Asheville, North Carolina

(7) OUR ENDORSEMENT: Now is the time for Obama -- Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wisconsin

(8) 'Tennessean' Endorsement: Obama the best candidate for president -- Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee

(9) The Post-Dispatch Endorses Barack Obama for President -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis, Missouri

(10) It's Obama: We need a president who will break with the past -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

(11) 2 good men; Obama right leader for today -- Dayton Daily News, Dayton, Ohio

(12) Forward with Obama -- The Toledo Blade, Toledo, Ohio

Note: This post can also be found at The Blogging Journalist and The Curious Spectator, my other blogs.

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October 11, 2008

McCain Trapped By His Campaign Strategy and Tactics

"At this late stage in the election, Republican nominee for President John McCain would undoubtedly prefer not to promote rival Barack Obama at one of his own campaign rallies," writes Jimmy Orr in an October 11, 2008, post at The Vote Blog, a Christian Science Monitor blog.

"That’s what he had to do yesterday [October 10, 2008]. More than once," Mr. Orr notes. See "McCain campaigns for Obama at McCain event?"

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama thanked Mr. McCain for telling his supporters to cool it with the hostile rhetoric, which the McCain Campaign instigated. Speaking in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, on October 11, 2008, Mr. Obama said:

I want to acknowledge that Senator McCain tried to tone down the rhetoric in his town hall meeting yesterday. I appreciated his reminder that we can disagree while still being respectful of each other. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Senator McCain has served this country with honor, and he deserves our thanks for that. (See "Obama Thanks McCain for Admonishing Supporters.")

This, however, didn't stop Mr. Obama from criticizing his rival on the economy:

When it comes to the economy, and what families here in Pennsylvania are going through, Senator McCain still doesn’t get it. Yesterday, Senator McCain’s campaign manager said that Senator McCain wasn’t talking about the market because there’s not much a candidate for president can say –they aren’t sure what he’d say each day even if he did talk about it.
Hopefully, Mr. McCain will concentrate on the economy from now to election day. But I suspect he will spend much of his remaining time trying to dampen his angriest supporters' rhetoric. Their passions were inflamed when his campaign made the decision to assassinate Mr. Obama's character and question his commitment to the United States. The rhetoric intensified when the polls began to show that Mr. Obama was looking at Mr. McCain in the rear view mirror.  The Republican candidate's negative ads coupled with incendiary comments from some of his supporters have caused some independents and undecided voters into the Obama Camp.

The question of the day is: Will he put a muzzle on Sarah Palin, his vice-Presidential running mate? She is in the forefront the character assassination campaign, which was the only tactic the McCain camp had left when it realized that poll numbers were not in its favor.

Note: This post can also be found at The Curious Spectator, one of my other blogs.

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October 8, 2008

The Edge Goes to Obama in Second U.S. Presidential Debate

Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain tonight didn't live up to his billing  as master of the town hall meeting debate format. In fact, the second of three presidential debates wasn't really a town hall meeting. It was too controlled for that.image

image To me, most of Mr. McCain's idea's came across as so 20th Century and out of touch. He looked   old and ready for retirement in contrast to Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, whose youthful look, approach to leadership and ideas on the economy led some independent voters to suggests that Mr. Obama won the debate.

Mr. Obama came across to some observers as more compassionate than Mr. McCain. To borrow a line from Karl Rove, "the former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff" to U.S. President George W. Bush," post-debate polls indicate that "The election still favors Obama."

While post-debate polls suggest as much, it could be a different story in November. However, I doubt we will see this change unless many white Americans get in the voting booth and decide that they just can't vote for a biracial American. If they do, the results will be more of the same on the economy, and the continuation of a war in Iraq that drains billions of dollars out of the U.S. economy monthly.

In conclusion: Linking Mr. McCain to President Bush's discredited foreign and economic policies and exuding a command of issues paid off handsomely in the polls immediately after the October 7, 2008, debate. Of course the poll that really counts is the one that takes place in November 2008. Here is a debate transcript.

Note: This post can also be found at The Curious Spectator, one of my other blogs.

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October 6, 2008

Americans Have a Lot of Questions for Presidential Candidates

"At least six million questions have been submitted via the Internet to be asked at the town-hall-style presidential debate Tuesday [October 7, 2008] in Nashville [Tennessee, USA] between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain," notes The New York Times' Katharine Q. Seelye. "That’s a lot of queries for 90 minutes, and obviously they won’t all get asked — there will be time for only 15 to 20," she adds.

That's astounding. It's obvious that there is a lot of interest and a lot of unanswered questions in this campaign.

If you want to read Seelye's post, see "Asked, Millions Reply." May require registration.

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October 5, 2008

Francis Fukuyama Analyzes 'The Fall of America, Inc.'

Political economist and author Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama, described by Wikipedia as "a key Reagan Administration contributor to the formulation of the Reagan Doctrine," has a thought-provoking article in the October 13, 2008, issue of Newsweek headlined "The Fall of America, Inc." Asserts Mr. Fukuyama:

The implosion of America's most storied investment banks. The vanishing of more than a trillion dollars in stock-market wealth in a day. A $700 billion tab for U.S. taxpayers. The scale of the Wall Street crackup could scarcely be more gargantuan. Yet even as Americans ask why they're having to pay such mind-bending sums to prevent the economy from imploding, few are discussing a more intangible, yet potentially much greater cost to the United States—the damage that the financial meltdown is doing to America's "brand.
No matter what you might think about the author of "The End of History and the Last Man, this article is worth reading, if for no other reason than his willingness to admit amid the current economic crisis that, "Like all transformative movements, the Reagan revolution lost its way because for many followers it became an unimpeachable ideology, not a pragmatic response to the excesses of the welfare state. Two concepts were sacrosanct: first, that tax cuts would be self-financing, and second, that financial markets could be self-regulating."

Note: This post can also be found at The Curious Spectator, one of my other blogs.

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October 2, 2008

Britain's U.S. Ambassador's Assessment of Barack Obama

"Sir Nigel Sheinwald, [the British] ambassador in Washington since last year, delivered his unvarnished assessment of the White House front runner in a seven-page letter to the Prime Minister, obtained by The Daily Telegraph  [of London], just before the Democratic nominee's visit to Downing Street just over two months ago," writes Toby Harnden, The Daily Telegraph's Washington correspondent in an October 3, 2008 post at telegraph.co.uk. See "Exclusive: Barack Obama is 'aloof' says British ambassador to US."

Mr. Harnden said, "The candid letter, marked as containing "sensitive judgements" and requesting officials to "protect the contents carefully" gives a remarkable insight into how the Foreign Office views the political phenomenon who stunned Mr Brown's inner circle by defeating their favourite, Hillary Clinton, in the Democratic primaries."

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Palin's Talks With a British Ambassador that Never Took Place

"Sarah Palin [Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain's running mate in the American presidential campaign] has committed yet another political blunder after claiming she had held talks with a British ambassador - talks that never actually took place," Paul Thompson of the Daily Mail of London and the Mail's foreign service reported in the October 3, 2008 edition of Mail Online.

The ambassador she reportedly talked with was "Britain's ambassador to Washington, Sir Nigel Sheinwald."

"However," according to Mr. Thompson, "the meeting never occurred. Officials at the embassy swiftly contacted the  McCain-Palin campaign to inform them of the discrepancy," he reported.

For details, see "Sarah Palin blunders over talks with British ambassador that never took place as her first TV debate looms."

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