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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.

'I Love My Country and I'm Taking it Back!'

A reader at the Daily Dish sums up some of the myriad emotions swirling around in me right now:

Nothing in my life has actually changed in the 30 minutes since it was announced Obama will be our next president. I have the same bills, the same amount of money in the bank, my dishwasher is still broken, and my 5 month old beagle won't stop peeing on my carpet. Everything in my life is exactly the same as it was 30 minutes ago; and yet I feel as though everything is different.

I feel so much hope. I feel so much pride. I feel like my one vote was a single drop of water in a great Tsunami of change. I feel like I was one of a million voices screaming in the night, " I love my country and I'm taking it back!" I'm so proud of the country that I love and have so much hope in my heart that we can together heal the wounds that have been such a source of pain and anger to us all.

I know Obama isn't going to fix the economy overnight, I know he won't be able to provide healthcare to all Americans by February '09. I know Obama isn't a Messiah who four years from now will have turned this country into a fabled utopia. But I also know Obama will make moral decisions. I know Obama will try to unite where others try to divide. I know Obama will help to make America the beacon of hope it once was to others. I know that at 27 years of age, I witnessed one of the most important and hopefully glorious chapters in American history.

I know hope.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack Obama Wins the Presidency

I am really beside myself right now. I can hardly put it into words. Our country has just elected an amazing man named Barack Hussein Obama to the office of President of the United States to clean up the last eight years of fear, division and bitterness. Thank you, America. I can't wait for the next eight years.

So, Obama Is Going to Win

MSNBC has now called 200 electoral votes for Obama.

Let's ponder.

California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii have a total of 72 electoral votes among them.

Each of these will go for Obama without question.

So, Obama has won.

Breaking news! :)

Imagine the Races Were Reversed

Ponder how different this race would be if the races of the candidates were reversed:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama's Grandmother Passes Away on Election Eve

I am very sad to hear the news that Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, passed away today -- on the eve of Election Day:

The day before the presidential election, Sen. Barack Obama's grandmother, a woman he called "Toot" and someone who helped raised him, has died...

Obama's grandmother, who had been gravely ill, was a rock of stability, giving him the American roots that would ground his teenage years as well as his career in politics...

The candidate and his campaign had hoped that she would live long enough to see the outcome of the election, a race she had closely followed by television.

The Illinois senator's campaign issued a statement under his name and that of his sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng:

"It is with great sadness that we announce that our grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died peacefully after a battle with cancer. She was the cornerstone of our family, and a woman of extraordinary accomplishment, strength, and humility. She was the person who encouraged and allowed us to take chances. She was proud of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and left this world with the knowledge that her impact on all of us was meaningful and enduring. Our debt to her is beyond measure.

"Our family wants to thank all of those who sent flowers, cards, well-wishes, and prayers during this difficult time. It brought our grandmother and us great comfort. Our grandmother was a private woman, and we will respect her wish for a small private ceremony to be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation to any worthy organization in search of a cure for cancer."

Karl Rove: Obama to Win With 338 Electoral Votes

For some perspective, look at what Karl Rove's own polling data predicts for the election tomorrow:

Barack Obama for President

My favorite blogger, Andrew Sullivan, just wrote a new, epic must-read article explaining why we need Obama at this time in our country's history:

As someone once said, in the unlikely story of America, there is never anything false about hope. Obama, moreover, seems to bring out the best in people, and the calmest, and the sanest. He seems to me to have a blend of Midwestern good sense, an intuitive understanding of the developing world that is as much our future now as theirs', an analyst's mind and a poet's tongue. He is human. He is flawed. He will make mistakes. His passivity and ambiguity are sometimes weaknesses as well as strengths.

But there is something about his rise that is also supremely American, a reminder of why so many of us love this country so passionately and are filled with such grief at what has been done to it and in its name. I endorse Barack Obama because I will not give up on America, because I believe in America, and in her constitution and decency and character and strength.

And the world needs that America now as much as it ever has. Can we start that healing, that rebirth, tomorrow?

Yes. We. Can.

Read The Whole Thing

Quote of the Day: Explaining Obamacons

A reader at the Daily Dish has a perfect encapsulation of why I consider myself an Obamacon (well, maybe an Obamatarian):

I was with a woman this week who is in her sixties. She told me that she has voted Republican her entire life and this year she is voting for Obama. Her reason; John McCain is too erratic and too much of a hot head and Sarah Palin is completely unqualified. I think many "Obamacons" simply love this country more than they do their ideology.

McCain/Palin 24x7 Smear Machine Didn't Work

Numbers like this bolster my sometimes-flagging faith in the American people's resistance to lies and distortions:

Obama's favorable rating is 62% -- the highest that any presidential candidate has registered in Gallup's final pre-election polls going back to 1992.

Yep, after two solid months of nothing but lies, slime, derision and smears being volleyed from McCain's Fortress of Doom, Obama's favorables have climbed to the highest of any Presidential candidate in 15 years. Stay classy America -- you impress me with your ability to tune out the B.S.

Reality Check Before Election Day - Poll Wrap-Up

Here's a wrap-up of where things stand -- with the proviso that you should not grow complacent by how good things look right now:

FiveThirtyEight.com's projections:

Pollster.com's Poll of Polls/Trendlines:

Final CBS News Poll:

With just three days left until Election Day, a new CBS News poll finds that the Democratic presidential ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden leads its Republican counterpart by 13 points among likely voters, 54 percent to 41 percent. That margin reflects an increase of two points in the Obama-Biden ticket's lead from a CBS News/New York Times poll released Thursday.

About one in five voters say they have already cast their vote, either in person or through the mail, and these early voters prefer the Democratic ticket by an even greater margin. Obama leads among early voters 57 percent to 38 percent, a nineteen point advantage.

Final Gallup Poll/Estimate:
The final Gallup 2008 pre-election poll -- based on Oct. 31-Nov. 2 Gallup Poll Daily tracking -- shows Barack Obama with a 53% to 42% advantage over John McCain among likely voters. When undecided voters are allocated proportionately to the two candidates to better approximate the actual vote, the estimate becomes 55% for Obama to 44% for McCain.

Polling Quote of the Day

The newest Reuters/Zogby/C-SPAN poll shows Obama with a solid, unflapped lead:

Obama 49.5%, McCain 43.8%. Democrat Barack Obama experienced a strong single day of polling on Saturday, retaining a 5.7 point advantage that is right at the edge of the margin of error of the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby daily tracking poll. The race has remained remarkably stable down the stretch, this three-day rolling average poll shows.

Here's a gem of a note added by esteemed pollster Zogby:
Obama has consolidated his lead over McCain. His single day lead today was back to 52%-42%. He leads by 10 among independents and has solidified his base. He leads among Hispanics by 38 points, African Americans by 88, 18-24 year olds by 36, 18-29 year olds by 25, 25-34 year olds by 16, women by 8, and men by 3. He has a 17 point lead among those who have already voted, 22 by those who have registered to vote in the past 6 months, Moderates by 34, Catholics by 10. He even receives 21% support among Conservatives...

Remember, as I said yesterday, one day does not make a trend. This is a three-day rolling average and no changes have been tectonic. A special note to blogger friends: calm it down. Lay off the cable television noise and look at your baseball cards in your spare time. It is better for your (and everyone else's) health.