Please note that we've moved to a new blog at www.LibraryGrape.com.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

We've Moved to LibraryGrape.com

After writing thousands of posts and spending countless hours here at Why We Need Obama, I have set up shop at a new home.

Please check out my new blog at LibraryGrape.com (for background on the name, check out the About page here).

The new blog will focus on a wider range of topics, including including politics, atheism, religion, technology, physics, literature and other assorted themes that cross my mind.

I hope you'll join me over at my new digs.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why Exposing Sarah Palin Still Matters

The Daily Dish has a must-read new article on why exposing the Sarah Palin insanity still matters:

Let's be real in a way the national media seems incapable of: this person should never have been placed on a national ticket in a mature democracy. She was incapable of running a town in Alaska competently. The impulsive, unvetted selection of a total unknown, with no knowledge of or interest in the wider world, as a replacement president remains one of the most disturbing events in modern American history. That the press felt required to maintain a facade of normalcy for two months - and not to declare the whole thing a farce from start to finish - is a sign of their total loss of nerve. That the Palin absurdity should follow the two-term presidency of another individual utterly out of his depth in national government is particularly troubling. 46 percent of Americans voted for the possibility of this blank slate as president because she somehow echoed their own sense of religious or cultural "identity". Until we figure out how this happened, we will not be able to prevent it from happening again. And we have to find a way to prevent this from recurring. She is a dangerous, unqualified know-nothing who very nearly became the replacement for the most powerful person on earth.

Why Obama Won

Marc Ambiner has a great list up of reasons why Obama won:

1. Practice what you preach. The preach: the neighborhood precinct captains are the linchpins of the ground effort. The practice: let them do the job. Staff didn't talk to voters. They were, in fact, two steps removed from voters. Responsibility was vested in tens of thousands of precinct captains and volunteer leaders; they identified volunteers, supervised canvasses, and reported back to field offices. The Obama campaign had ways of verifying the data that was come in, but in most cases it was accurate; the supervolunteers and precinct captains were empowered and incentivized to do their jobs, and they did them. (Note: the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign used this same model, as did the McCain-Palin '08 model, but the big difference was...)

2. Scale / Force Of Numbers: No matter how you measure this election, the Obama campaign was able to do so much because it had so much. What ifs abound. What if they were limited to the federal match? What if they weren't able to raise as much money? What if they didn't spend more than $150 million on field? Can this possibly be replicated? Can the Democrats ever again have hundreds of paid staff in states like Ohio weeks before election day? Can they ever find two million active volunteers?

3. Win Bigger / Lose Smaller. That was an Obama field mantra. The campaign opened up a field office in Warren Co., Ohio, where George W. Bush won by nearly 50 points in 2004. Well, Obama lost Warren County... but by 37 points. That's a big improvement. Losing by smaller margins in those smaller counties is how Barack Obama won Ohio. (His margin in Cuyahoga County: 243,000; Kerry's was 221,000...not a big enough difference.)

4. African Americans and the early vote. Problem: black voters habitually, historically distrusted in-person early voting. The solution: fix the problem. Contact black voters early and often about early voting. Spend money to habituate this demographic to early voting.

5. Finding new voters; this one's obvious, but the campaign spent its entire summer finding out who wasn't registered and registering them, and then compiling reams of data about these voters in order to figure out how to target them.

6. Technology (and Google): beyond the obvious, beyond MyBarackObama.com, it was the advances in technology that increased the efficiency of Democratic turnout efforts. For example: the campaign's VoteBuilder software had a turf-cutting tool. Look at a map. Draw a polygon around a neighborhood. And, boom: you could instantly print a "walk list" of voters. This year's version was based on Google Maps which made it infinitely easier to use than the previous versions...

7. Catalist. More on that in my next post, but this Democratic data consortium was a major behind-the-scenes force... UPDATE: Upon further review, I think the DNC's VoteBuilder program also deserves lots of credit, too. More later.

Sarah Palin is Sanjayah

I couldn't have said it better myself:

Sarah Palin is like that crazy relative who comes over and doesn't want to leave. She just seemingly does not want to leave the limelight. You know, maybe a better way to put it, one of my friends said, 'You know, she's like Sanjayah from American Idol. When is the fifteen minutes gonna be up?'

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Going Forward

Now that Obama will be our 44th President, I am going to take a little time off. I'll be back soon to help track the transition and will be blogging about Obama during his historic Presidency.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama Victory/Acceptance Speech - Nov 4 - Video

Here is the video of Obama's acceptance/victory speech last night in Grant Park in Chicago:

Fear and Loathing in California

I am still elated about the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency and will be heading off to bed soon.

However, before we all recline to our laurels and congratulate ourselves too much, bear in mind that the Mormon Church-funded constitutional amendment in California to strip loving gay couples of their right to marry currently looks close to passing.

We still have a long way to go in this country to eliminating irrational bigotry from our lives.