August 2008 Archive

Ohioans go to Gustav

The Ohio National Guard is sending a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and five crew members to Louisiana from Company B, 238th General Support Aviation Battalion in Akron.

The unit is expected to help move supplies into staging areas, search for and rescue people and transport evacuees.

That’s good. There’s more, too.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden will be in Dublin at Dublin Coffman High School tomorrow, starting at 4:30.

The return of Skybus?

Maybe to Springfield? I’m dubious.

VP: It’s Sarah Palin

CNN has it. No link yet. In your face, Keeler! :)

She’s been my McCain VP prediction, and my preferred choice, for months now. I think it’s a good move. If you’re keeping score, I predicted John Edwards for Obama- man, was I way off! After that little fiasco, I moved on to Clinton. That didn’t work out either. I like Joe Biden, so I’ll be fine, thanks.

For those that never heard of her, she’s the governor of Alaska, relatively new to the political scene. Her bio will soon be all over the place, but for now, here’s her wiki page.

This is supposed to be officially announced later in Dayton, Ohio.

Here’s that CNN link.

Here’s an interesting pro and con from Jonah Goldberg at The Corner.

LisaRenee at Glass City Jungle:

In talking to quite a few people recently, especially moderate to conservative women who had voted for Clinton, the idea of a Palin pick was appealing to them for a variety of reasons. One of which of course is that she is a woman, another was even while dubbed conservative she has demonstrated the ability to stand up to political corruption.

Yes.

Here’s the official announcement site, via The Corner.

Clips & Comment has NBC video, along with some hope that a connection to Ted Stevens, the indicted Alaska Republican senator, can be found.

One thing about this pick, it puts the maximum breaks possible on the Obama convention bounce. If McCain had picked Romney or Pawlenty, it would’ve generated news of course, but the Palin pick generates something more than that. Pro or con, I think people will be having a more passionate response to this choice- and that’s something the McCain campaign was missing. It may or may not pay off in November, but the effect is certainly helpful now, the day after the Dem convention ended. Obama’s speech will barely have 24 hours in the news cycle.

Jill Miller Zimon at Writes Like She Talks:

…this is a HUGE miscalculation based on thinking that women chose Clinton because she’s a woman. That voter did it because she’s a pro-choice woman, not because she’s female. The campaigns have a lot to learn and accept about how women choose. Sexism is really going to sting them - because we just do not vote that way. As proven by Obama’s win.

Some women will vote for a woman because she’s a woman. (Nothing wrong with that when it’s for a first.) And why were so many Democratic women so strongly for Clinton? It’s not because she’s stronger than Obama on abortion rights. But there is a point there. Pro-life women were probably already on board with McCain. On the other hand, a lot of people, even many women, are not single-issue voters on abortion.

Buckblog: “It smacks of pandering.”

Plunderbund:

With his VP pick of Sarah Palin, John McCain has just thrown away one of the only reasonable attacks he had against Barack Obama: lack of experience.

Yeah, it was reasonable now that he can’t use it anymore. Heh. But that is a valid point. As I wrote in comments at Ben Keeler’s Ohio Politics blog:

Interesting that Obama’s pick tends to undermine one of his arguments against McCain, Washington business as usual, while McCain’s pick would tend undermine McCain’s argument against Obama, inexperience. Though out of all four people on both tickets, she’s got the most executive experience, i.e., some.

Americans have preferred former governors as their presidents since Jimmy Carter.

More round-up by Eric at Plunderbund. Some lefty lowlights include Tim Russo at Blogger Interrupted:

McCain thinks that because Sarach Quayle Palin has vaginal tubes, women who supported Hillary will suddenly flock to him.

Vaginal tubes. Classy as ever, Tim. Also Chuck at the Chief Source:

Now John has a new trophy around. As we should all be aware, John left his swimsuit model first wife when she started gaining weight and shrinking as a result of a car accident. He left her for Cindy, who was much younger and prettier….and had a lot of money to help him run for office.

But Cindy is now old and frail, so she must be concerned that very attractive Palin is going to steal her man.

I’m not overly familiar with that blog, but that strikes me as beneath that writer. It’s just sexist stereotyping, isn’t it? (It’s ok when liberals do it.)

Less disagreeably, here’s De Magno Opere: “Brilliant choice - if you want to stamp out the Obama flame for a day or two - and want to lose.” I had a similar thought. The greatest payoff for the Palin pick might just be today and maybe tomorrow, for squelching the Democrat convention bounce, which is already at 8 points according to Gallup- more than my humble prediction- and that mostly doesn’t include Obama’s speech last night. Michael also links to this story on the investigation into Palin’s “controversial firing of former state Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan.”

Obama’s day

The big speech had me a little underwhelmed. It was kind of a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation for Barack Obama: if he kept the speech all airy and dreamy and inspirational like many of his previous speeches, he’d be criticized for repeating the same empty platitudes that enrapture Democratic audiences, but- you know- where’s the beef? And when he does what he does last night, which is to offer a SOTU-like laundry list speech, the rap is- hey, where’s the inspirational Obama of the new politics? One thing that’s clear- to me, at least- is that that promise of a different kind of politics that won Obama the Dem primary is gone. That speech was virtually a straight up old-line liberal series of promises and program proposals. Much more Ted Kennedy than Bill Clinton- which I consider a step backwards. Obama was pitching them as new ideas, but there was very little new in there.

One new thing that I liked- new for Dems- was his support for nukes and “tapping” natural gas. I’m not getting his claim- more like a smear, I think- that Republicans think drilling for oil alone is a fix to the energy issue. Is that the position of any Republican? I think the “all of the above” pov is what they’re calling for. It took some time and pressure (which also makes oil) to get Obama and Pelosi to finally come around to the Paris Hilton position, which is where many Republicans, including John McCain, already are.

And Obama’s call that we’ll be free from dependence on Middle East oil in ten years seems a bit gimmicky to me. As the Dems frequently point out themselves, there’s just one global oil market. If the US stops buying oil from there, the Euros, Chinese, and Japanese will be buying more. That won’t help us because the people in the ME that we hate will still be getting all those petrodollars (or petroeuros), and any stresses on that supply will just cause those buyers to buy more from our suppliers- there’s no protection from price shocks there. You only reduce our dependence on ME oil by reducing our dependence on oil full-stop. That ain’t going to happen in ten years. But as I said, I liked the support for nukes and gas.

One other thing I liked was his promise to cut federal programs that don’t work- the 20th century bureaucracy killing- but I don’t have much expectation that that would ever come to anything. And what the average Dem thinks doesn’t work and what I think doesn’t work are going to be very different. Obama also promised more early childhood education, for instance, which I think is just a cover for government day care. I’d get rid of kindergarten if I were the king.

The other main thing Obama (and the Dems in general) have going for them is health care. While the current system isn’t acceptable, I’m not sure the command and control euro-style solution is the answer. Prices get higher when the customer isn’t the one who’s paying- and this applies whether it’s the government paying or an insurance company. But I don’t have an easy answer.

I had thought that the big stadium venue was going to work against Obama, like in Berlin, but I think it ended up undermining slightly the pedestrian nature of the speech. I suspect that the decision to ratchet down the rhetoric came after the decision to go to Mile High. So it’ll be a wash. But what was the deal with that music that opened and closed the speech? Terrible choice. I would have preferred Fleetwood Mac.

Finally, it is historic that a black man is now the presidential nominee of a major US party. Obama barely referenced that. Compare to Hillary Clinton who never stops talking about being a woman. Interesting difference there. But Obama’s already got nearly all of the black vote, and just about all of the white voters who’ll vote for him on the basis of him being black- there are no more votes to be mined there. This speech was aimed at Reagan Democrats- a big chunk of the Hillaryites- as was the selection of Joe Biden for VP. I think the speech will be somewhat effective on that score. Say, a 5 or 6 point bounce.

OH-15 ads

Steve Stivers is running an ad now. His Democratic opponent Mary Jo Kilroy has already had several. Though I notice her negative ad isn’t posted to her site. Strange, that. More at The Daily Briefing.

UPDATE: Oops. That negative ad wasn’t put out by the Kilroy camp- it’s a Democratic committee ad. So that explains that.

Ohio: Obama up by 1

New poll from Quinnipiac. It’s 44-43, Obama, a statistical tie, as they say.

Likely voters in three critical swing states want to see a Democrat elected President this year, but Illinois Sen. Barack Obama begins the Democratic Convention trailing Arizona Sen. John McCain in Florida; tying him in Ohio and leading by seven percentage points in Pennsylvania, according to simultaneous Quinnipiac University Swing State polls released today.

Waitin for that bounce. (Via PolitickerOH.)

Dem convention, night 1

So I watched the big political show last night. Some thoughts:

It was good to see Ted Kennedy again, and looking surprisingly healthy. I was half afraid he’d come out on stage looking all skinny. That would have been bad. Nothing fantastic about his speech but it was perfectly serviceable. But doesn’t making that huge Kennedy sailboat the centerpiece of that video undermine a bit the whole John McCain seven houses thing? And then the first person interviewed in the clip was John Kerry. Hah.

Michelle Obama’s speech left me a bit cold. Most of the TV pundits seemed to rave about it, I thought it was just meh. The introductory video narrated by her mother was far more effective. The video had her deliver the line, roughly, “My children are the first thing I think about when I get up in the morning, and the last thing I think about before I go to bed.” Then she repeated the line word-for-word in the speech. That jarred. And it’s too long to be a catch phrase.

But will her speech accomplish that big job that everyone claims was its purpose: to make her seem a bit less Angela Davis-y (per the New Yorker). Probably, some. Not a home run though. One thing that intrigued me was her use of the conceit regarding “The world as it should be.” Here’s a graf from her speech:

Barack stood up that day, and spoke words that have stayed with me ever since. He talked about “The world as it is” and “The world as it should be.” And he said that all too often, we accept the distance between the two, and settle for the world as it is - even when it doesn’t reflect our values and aspirations. But he reminded us that we know what our world should look like. We know what fairness and justice and opportunity look like. And he urged us to believe in ourselves - to find the strength within ourselves to strive for the world as it should be. And isn’t that the great American story?

I think she means the country when she says “the world,” but that doesn’t fit with her purpose of playing down the “I’ve never been really proud of my country” bit. I mean, people don’t generally talk about “fairness and justice and opportunity” in terms of the world- they say it about America. It’s almost as if someone did a search and replace on the text to avoid those Michelle problem areas. Note, there’s nothing wrong of course with saying that America can and should be better- it’s just a problem for her.

Naturally, the kids were great, though the Barack video feed seemed tacked on and pointless. It was like he was holding that family hostage in order to take over their house.

Apparently it was attack Pat Buchanan night on MSNBC. He noted that Michelle didn’t mention religion in her talk about her family life and he wondered why. I think he thought that she was being a secular Democrat, but of course the Obamas will have a difficult time now discussing how big a part their church played in their lives. Anyway, Chris Matthews’s shoot-down was hilarious: We don’t have a religious test in this country, Pat, thanks to Thomas Jefferson. Cut down on the coffee, Chris. And I thought Rachel Maddow (now with her own show!) was going to hit him when she was discussing Pat’s somewhat infamous 1992 RNC speech in Houston.

Juan Williams’s reaction to the Michelle speech was very moving, but unfortunately, I agreed with Bill Kristol, who poured cold water over everything.

Ohio: McCain up by 1

The Dispatch released its first presidential poll results yesterday:

Republican John McCain holds a 1-point edge, 42 to 41 percent, in the first Dispatch Poll of the general election campaign. The Arizona senator’s lead is well within the poll’s margin of sampling error, plus or minus 2.2 percentage points. That means McCain could be ahead by as much as 5 points or Obama could be up by 3.

The poll was conducted before Joe Biden was named the VP nominee, so if there’s a bounce, it’s not reflected here. I’m doubtful there is one though.

Previous Ohio poll post here.

“Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland was greeted like a rock star in Denver at 5:30 p.m. eastern time Sunday when he arrived….” Hah. Politics is weird. (Link.)

Strickland comes out against sick-day initiative

“While we would hope that all Ohio businesses would make paid sick days available to their employees whenever possible, we believe that this initiative is unworkable, unwieldy and would be detrimental to Ohio’s economy, and we will be opposing it and asking Ohioans to oppose it as a result,” said Strickland and Fisher in a statement.

Against labor? Interesting. Here’s the rest at Openers.

Fascist bicyclists.

Tax credit shenanigans

A press release from State Rep. Mandel (R, Lyndhurst) and Jay Goyal (D, Mansfield):

COLUMBUS – State Representatives Josh Mandel (R- Lyndhurst) and Jay Goyal (D- Mansfield) announced today they will soon introduce legislation to offer state income tax credits to Ohio-educated graduates in return for their commitment to stay and work in Ohio.

Oh, my favorite: tax credits. One of the things that stands out for me about the 2004 presidential election was Al Gore’s mantra “targeted tax cuts.” (Second only to “lockbox.”) This season, tax credits are the fashion, and it seems everybody’s doing it.

McCain’s got his health care tax credit, and he’s got a proposed $5000 tax credit for people who buy new electric or hybrid cars.

Obama, clearly the winner in the tax credit contest, is proposing tax credits for having children ($7000), working ($500), child care (50%), tuition, building hybrid vehicles, and more.

There are two things wrong with targeted tax credits. One, the tax system is already ridiculously complicated, and clearly all these new rules will make it even worse, and will open the door to fraud. But more importantly, this is our money. A government which takes too much money from you, and then deigns to give some of it back- if you jump through some of these hoops they’ve set up- is too involved in our decisions.

Frequently the tax credit is sold as making citizens’ financial burdens lighter. This is a cynical ploy in which politicians pretend to care while they’re really trying to get people to toe the line on this or that government policy. How about this policy- let us keep more of our money in the first place, and then you won’t have to bother yourselves coming up with reasons to give some of it back.

Back to the Ohio residency plan, look at what they’re proposing for tax credits over 10 years:

* Associate’s degree: $5,000
* Bachelor’s degree: $20,000
* Master’s degree or higher: $30,000

I don’t have to point out studies which show that college graduates earn more than non-graduates. So this tax credit plan is also likely to be rather regressive- not good.

Here’s a different idea: reduce everyone’s taxes in Ohio. Then more of everyone will want to stay- including businesses. A plan like that might also help out a little problem like 7.2% unemployment.

UPDATE: Practically on cue, Mary Jo “Kilroy calls for targeted tax relief for middle class:”

Kilroy wants a college tuition tax credit worth up to $5,000 annually; increasing the child tax credit to 35 percent to a maximum of $2,100 for families earning up to $200,000; a $1,200 credit for the first $6,000 in elderly care expenses; $1,000 per person credit ($2,000 per family) for health insurance coverage otherwise lost between job, and finally a 401(k) match from the federal government of 25 percent up to $1,000 per year….

Kilroy said her plan could be paid for by repealing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts.

Charming. Raise taxes on everyone, only give it back to those whose votes she wants to buy- I mean target.

More “It’s Gotta Be Hillary“. (Previous.)

Strickland’s brand of Stone Age union economics“. That’s a good one.

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