Presidential Post Mortem

Are you over your hangover yet?  The entire country seemed to be in the streets celebrating Obama’s historic victory.  Somehow it didn’t hit suburban Oley and I got to bed around 1 am Wednesday morning after pouring over returns on the state and Congressional races.  I noticed an interesting phenomena Tuesday and Wednesday which, I think, said a lot.  Many drivers Tuesday seemed to be anxious and erratic.  I even sat in traffic at a fatal accident while the coroner removed the body.  It was as if the entire state was on pins and needles.  Yesterday everywhere I went everyone I encountered was happy.  I don’t recall encountering so many happy people in one day.

The real work now commences but it is also time to look back and examine what went right and what went wrong.  The Obama campaign rewrote the book on running national campaigns.  The amount of money they raised and their methods of doing so using the internet and technology enabled them to run a truly national campaign.  Other presidential campaigns have wanted 80 field offices and 500 paid staffers in Pennsylvania and similar operations across the country but limits of financial resources always played against that reality.  The Republicans simply could not match the resources and assets Obama had at his disposal.

My one criticism of the Obama campaign was their arrogance.  When they did screw up no apologies were ever offered, no amends made.  Theirs was an attitude of take no prisoners and I hope they abandon this arrogance now that they’ve won.  Of course my distance from them and the fact I am no longer a Democrat enable me to hold them accountable and that I will do.

The John McCain campaign was an unmitigated disaster.  I feel like I witnessed two fatal accidents Tuesday, the Republican Party’s disintegration the other.  McCain did everything wrong.  In a media age when every utterance was fact checked he insisted on repeating the same lies.  Everyone knew they were lies.  

His biggest problems were the timing of the economic meltdown and his choice for VP.  The Wall Street collapse in mid September doomed any Republican’s chance of winning.  He compounded that by choosing someone as a running mate who did become an albatross around his neck.  

National elections are won by winning the middle, the large number of independent swing voters.  Instead of choosing a moderate Vice Presidential candidate who would appeal to these voters McCain swung right and picked someone on the political fringe.  With the GOP already being a far right wing party this decision doomed him.

The fact Sarah Palin was incompetent and only reminded voters of the detested George W. Bush compounded the damage.  John McCain never rid himself of the connections to what may well be the worst administration in American history.  His ties to Bush ran deep and Democrats reminded the voters of that constantly.

McCain really had no message.  Messages win and lose campaigns.  He was always on the attack and never gave voters reasons to vote FOR him.  He began by attacking Obama’s experience.  Choosing Palin meant he had to abandon that line.  It also called into question his overall theme of Country First.  No one with a brain believed he was putting Country First after the convention.  At the end he even adopted John Kerry’s failed 2004 message of A Stronger America.  That’s when I knew it was all over.

The constant negativity of the McCain effort strained patience.  The stream of fears and smears that worked well for Republicans since World War II finally ran out of steam.  Countered by a positive message of HOPE for a nation starved for hope showed one campaign which understood the mood of the country and another desperately out of touch.

The GOP has gradually marginalized itself by forcing their moderates out of the party.  It is now nothing more than a fringe party of white supremacists, economic ideologues, religious nuts and the NRA.  It will not win another national election in this form.  There are now no Members of Congress in the GOP from New England.  They have eaten their own and continue to do so in other regions of the country.

We saw this in Pennsylvania when they ran Pat Toomey against Arlen Specter.  Until the Republican Party adapts they will keep shrinking.  Young people today are intolerant of intolerance.  The future will make the GOP a minor fringe Party incapable of fielding a competitive campaign in such an environment.  We can all be thankful for that this Thanksgiving.

John McCain Concedes

Republican John McCain is conceding the election to Barack Obama.  This is truly a historic night, America finally setting aside its original sin of slavery to elect a Black man to the highest office in the land.

McCain ran a gutter campaign filled with fears and smears and deserved to lose.  He lost badly.

I did not support Sen. Obama for reasons set out here the past six months.  I congratulate him and am proud, as an American, to see this country mature.  I am also proud that Pennsylvania went strongly for Obama.  Now the country knows those ignorant bigots I and others caught on video are NOT representative of our Commonwealth.

Obama Wins

Barack Obama is the next President.  Networks have him already projected to win 200 electoral votes.  Add the expected victories from the west coast (California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii) and he gets 289 electoral votes, more than the 270 to win.  

Florida, Missouri, Virginia and North Carolina still have to be called and Obama could win those and be on his way to a solid victory.  Kay Hagan has beaten Liddy Dole for the NC Senate seat and Mark Warner won the Virginia Senate seat held by retiring John Warner.  Those bode well for Obama wins.  Even Mississippi is in play with its large African American population.

Campaigns, Surrogates Rally the Troops

Candidates and their surrogates are all over Pennsylvania today.  John McCain will do a rally in Pittsburgh while Sarah Palin continues to polish her resume for 2012.  Joe Biden will be in Philadelphia with Jimmy Rollins and other members of the World Champion Phillies.  Mary J. Blige and Jay-Z will also host a rally in Philadelphia.  

Rudy Giuliani, who think sit is still Halloween and will appear in drag, will be in Philadelphia and Scranton.  Bill Clinton is stumping for Congressmen Paul Kanjorski and John Murtha.  Caroline Kennedy i salso headling for Kanjorski.

All Eyes On Pennsylvania

The nation’s eyes will be on Pennsylvania through Tuesday as John McCain makes our state his final stand.  As I wrote a couple weeks ago Pennsylvania is McCain’s firewall:  the state he must win if he is to have any chance of garnering the 270 electoral votes needed to win Tuesday.  Barack Obama seems confident he has the state sewn up.  Busloads of volunteers have been pouring into Pennsylvania, as in past elections, filled with volunteers knocking on doors.

McCain has closed many campaign offices around the country and has few volunteers in others as he concentrates on television advertising and Pennsylvania.  Joe Biden was here several times last week and Gov. Rendell is on a bus tour revving up supporters for the final few days.

The team with the best ground game will win the state Tuesday.  At this point it is all about GOTV:  getting out the vote.  Pennsylvania is used to being a key battleground state but many felt that polls showing Obama with a lead of up to 13 points would negate that.  John McCain, looking at too many losses in traditionally red states, looked at our 21 electoral votes and did the math:  he cannot win without PA.  

The makeup of the state’s voters is also a factor.  Millions of Pennsylvanians are conservative Catholic Democrats.  Northeast and southwest Pennsylvania are heavily populated with such voters.  Unfortunately these areas don’t decide the state.  Republicans must get a 100,000 vote majority from Lancaster and win heavily throughout the “T” to win statewide.  Democrats carry the state with heavy pluralities in southeastern PA, Pittsburgh and the Lehigh Valley.

Things aren’t looking good for the GOP in their strongholds.  The suburban Philadelphia ring counties have gone Democratic, mostly on the issue of choice, Lancaster County has seen a strong resurgence by Democrats and many in the “T” are supporting Obama this year.  The economy is swinging this election and voters are holding Republicans responsible.  I don’t see John McCain winning Pennsylvania Tuesday.

McCain is closing field offices throughout the country.  Many of the people he had manning phone banks and canvassing were paid and now he is shutting these down to concentrate on mass media advertising hoping to sway undecided and soft voters.  His focus is almost completely on two areas:  TV and Pennsylvania.  The nation’s eyes will be on our Keystone State Tuesday evening as polls close at 8 pm and returns come in.  If Obama wins here he wins the White House.

Colin Powell’s Endorsement

There were a slew of endorsements this week for Barack Obama but none may have the impact of this morning’s statement by Colin Powell.  A Republican who served his country courageously AND well, Powell was George W. Bush’s Secretary of State.  He served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under his father and has a sterling reputation, excepting that one horrendous day at the UN schlepping for W’s war lies.

Powell’s endorsement today is a landmark.  Coming after endorsements by major newspapers it shows exactly where the sentiment of the nation is at this point in our time.  The biggest obstacle for the Obama campaign now is complacency.  That’s killed many a successful effort in the past and is to be avoided.  

The news that OFA raised $150 million in September alone is staggering.  McCain has $84 million for the entire fall campaign.  This means Obama is outspending him everywhere.  Soon McCain is going to have to adopt a firewall strategy (if they haven’t already done so here in Pennsylvania) to try and stop the momentum from simply steamrolling them.  Of course it might help if they stopped inciting their crowds to violence and threats of violence.  The more the country sees these videos the worse it is for John McCain.  This is why they’re moving their events onto private property as much as possible.   The want to separate their lines from the Obama supporters and citizens with camcorders.  They don’t want you to see what they’ve wrought.

Even the ACORN voter suppression tactic has run out of steam as responsible news media are setting the record straight on what vote fraud is, how rare it actually is and the facts of the case.  I even heard someone on CNN this weekend mention that ACORN has been victimized by greedy canvassers ripping them off.  Finally some real facts are getting out there.

Not that it matters much to the morons who insist of believing anything Faux News and Rush put into their heads.  They adopt and repeat these smears without a second thought.

We had an interesting weekend here at the blog.  While I was out covering events yesterday and kayaking today BarbinMD put a link on the front page of DailyKos to our videos from Downingtown.  Needless to say we’ve had a few new visitors to The Pennsylvania Progressive.  Six thousand or so yesterday and today…  Welcome to everyone new here and come on back sometime.  The Stat Counter down on the bottom on the right sidebar has been spinning away.

Obama Campaign Requests Investigation of GOP Vote Suppression Efforts

The Obama campaign’s general counsel Bob Bauer has written a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey requesting the investigation by independent counsel Nora Dannehy be expanded.  They want the DOJ, the Bush Administration, the McCain-Palin campaign and the RNC investigated for a coordinated attack on people’s right to vote.  The Obama lawyers are alleging a planned, coordinated effort by Republicans both inside the DOJ and across the country to discredit ACORN, accuse them of massive voter fraud and demand legal action in an effort to suppress the vote.

They have documented these activities and allege Mukasey’s Department of Justice is as politicized as it was under Alberto Gonzales.  The DOJ fired eight U.S. Attorneys because they didn’t think they were prosecuting voter fraud.  Since voter fraud is rare these professional prosecutors felt their time and resources were better allocated to fighting real crime.

The Bush Administration, in an effort coordinated inside the White House, fired them for not being political.  The politicization of law enforcement and the justice process has damaged the fabric of democracy in a way even John McCain can envision…if he tried.

What destroys the fabric of democracy, which McCain mentioned Wednesday night, is the establishment of a prosecutorial system which is completely politicized.  That was done by the current Administration and overlooked by Sen. McCain while he has served in the Senate.  Now he’s suddenly concerned.  Where was his concern about the fabric of democracy when thousands of voters in Florida were disenfranchised or voters in Ohio in 2004?

Suddenly John McCain is railing on about issues which don’t exist.  Registration fraud is NOT voter fraud and those who seek to register falsely are very rarely successful.  What we’ve witnessed is a concerted effort by Republicans across the country to scare minorities into staying away from the polls.  This is called voter suppression and is illegal.

The Obama campaign is asking that the independent counsel also investigate these allegations and activities.

The cloud over the Justice Department has become darker under Michael Mukasey with this case.  No one will ever believe he is an improvement over the disgraced Alberto Gonzales unless he steps up and does the right thing.

The Final Debate

Tonight’s final presidential debate leaves one lingering question…watch it or the Phillies-Dodgers?  Decisions, decisions, decisions…  Which one does one tape?

This presidential campaign is over.  John McCain is fortunate Barack Obama never accepted his challenge to do ten town halls.  He’s done worse with every appearance alongside his calm, serene, unpanicked, unangry opponent.  John McCain has gotten his head handed to him partly by his surrogates and supporters who have provided racist fodder for us bloggers.

McCain’s insistence on continuing to tell lies he knows are untrue well past they’ve been exposed, his “Me First” decision to put a bimbo on his ticket to attract the radical right wing of his Party, and his angry, erratic demeanor have sunk his campaign.

John McCain has run a despicable campaign and America is fed up with him.  Sarah Palin is a female version of both Bush and Cheney and that scares the bejesus out of voters.

Maybe it is time to watch the ballgame.

The VP Debate

The night we’ve been waiting for has arrived.  Joe Biden versus Miss South Carolina.  Oops, I mean Miss Alaska…  No, I mean Sarah Palin.  Following a disastrously embarrassing performance against lightweight Katie Couric, the interview which keeps on giving, Palin faces a real opponent.

Biden needs to be careful not to appear sexist and he needs to shorten his responses.  He has a tendency to say too much and tonight he should cite Court cases, laws and bills and other such in passing.  He doesn’t want to tell her too much about things to which he is referring and hang her out to dry when she doesn’t know and cannot respond intelligently.

This is a woman, after all, who never seems to have read newspapers and magazines.  She isn’t familiar with any Supreme Court cases other than Roe and thinks being able to see Russia makes her qualified to be vice president.

This is going to be a piece of cake if he holds his tongue.  This isn’t a gubernatorial debate but one on national issues.  He can make this a moose hunt and she’s the prey.