Archive for October 22nd, 2008


For McCain …. Three Ways to Heaven

October 22, 2008

The Economist suggests three ways for McCain to turn the ship around in the final days of the campaign.

– AP

Three ways to heaven

Mr McCain needs to go in the opposite direction—and make serious arguments for serious times. Instead of Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright and the rest of the gang, Mr McCain should focus relentlessly on three plausible criticisms of Mr Obama.

First, Mr McCain should point out that his opponent is one of the least business-friendly Democratic candidates in a generation. The great Calvin Coolidge once said that “the business of America is business.” For Mr Obama the business of America seems to be anything but. His experience of it is limited to spending a year working for Business International, a consultancy firm subsequently bought by The Economist Group. But he quickly abandoned the commercial world because he wanted to do something nobler. Since then his experience has been limited to the world of non-profits, law firms, universities and politics.

More significant, though, is that Mr Obama has always been particularly close to two groups that are the bane of most businesspeople’s lives—lawyers and trade unionists. Both Mr and Mrs Obama are lawyers. In a speech to a group of trial lawyers on September 23rd Joe Biden, Mr Obama’s running-mate (and yet another lawyer) thanked God that lawyers are “corporate America’s problem” and declared that there are only two groups of people that stand between “us and the barbarians at the gate—you and organised labour”.

America’s trade unions clearly regard an Obama administration as a golden opportunity to reverse their long-term decline: hence their willingness to spend more than $200m getting him elected. They want to get rid of secret ballots in decisions about unionisation. They also hope to get rid of right-to-work laws (22 states currently have such laws, which prohibit the “closed shop” practice of requiring workers at a particular business to belong to a union).

Second, Mr McCain should hammer away at the dangers of single-party rule in Washington, DC. The Democrats are likely to add at least another ten seats, and perhaps as many as 20, to their majority in the House. There is a real possibility that they may attain a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (Democrats are leading in eight Senate seats currently held by Republicans and are close in a couple of others; they control 51 of the 100 seats already). This will allow them to push through a wish-list of Democratic proposals on everything from “fair trade” to spending. The Republicans have only just started to point this out.

But Americans have a strong preference for divided government. America has only had one-party rule (with the same party controlling the White House and both chambers) for six years out of the 28 since Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980—two years under Bill Clinton and four and a bit under George Bush. Mr McCain should argue forcefully that, as an experienced legislator who has worked with left-wing Democrats as well as right-wing Republicans, he will be the perfect man to check Congress where necessary and work with it where desirable.

Third, Mr McCain should point out that his opponent has never once in his career said boo to a Democratic goose. In Chicago he got on well with everybody, from the local teachers’ unions to the Daley political machine. In the Senate he has voted with his party 97% of the time. He toes the most liberal line on late-term and partial-birth abortion. Even a highly experienced Democratic president with a record of bucking his party would find it hard to tame a large Democratic majority in Congress. A neophyte with a record of going along to get along could find it impossible.

These are far from watertight arguments. Mr McCain is a military man who married his money rather than made it. Mr Obama bravely took on the Clinton establishment (though he largely did it by pandering to more Democratic interest groups). But this plan of attack does at least have the virtue of appealing to widespread worries about an Obama victory rather than pandering to the foam-flecked fringe. “Vote for me to avoid the Democratic deluge” is not the most inspiring political platform in the world. But it is the only plausible one Mr McCain has left.


The Pennsylvania Gambit

October 22, 2008

Since the convention, I have been arguing that Pennsylvania is the key to this election. In recent weeks, my argument has looked a bit ugly if we are to follow RCP. However, it should be noted that each of the RCP polls listed has a sample size of 500-700 and I don’t even know what methodology Morning Call and Susquehanna use.  SurveyUSA has been all over the place this year.  Recently, the McCain/Palin camp has been spending an inordinate amount of time in Pennsylvania. Cynics may see this as the Hail Mary, but I think there is something more to this. The rallies in Pennsylvania have been having marvelous turnout all extremely jazzed for Palin.  In addition, we have good old Jack Murtha calling his constituency racists and rednecks.He does this even though western Pennsylvania voted in favour of a black man, Lynn Swann, in the last gubernatorial race while urban Pennsylvania did not:

However, what Rendell fails to do is actually look at the county-by-county results of the 2006 gubernatorial election where he soundly dispatched of Lynn Swann by a 20-point margin. If Rendell had bothered to actually look at the election results, he would find that the reason Swann lost was because Lynn Swann got absolutely crushed in the Philadelphia region by 80% to 20% ratio, losing the City of Philadelphia by a 90% – 10% margin. That accounts for about 45% of the total statewide vote.

It was with the mostly white, moderate-to-liberal Philadelphia suburban voters (those supposedly enlightened enough to vote for a black candidate) that Rendell racked up the big margin over Mr. Swann that propelled him to victory. Furthermore, in the most liberal part of the state, the “City of Brotherly Love,” black voters voted 95% against the first black gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania of a major party.

When we turn our attention to the more rural, conservative areas of the state; we see that in 2006 not only did those areas vote for a black candidate, but that Rendell’s conservative-whites-that-won’t-vote-for-blacks voted for Lynn Swan in a greater numbers than Rick Santorum. In conservative bastions such as Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry and Adams counties Swann ran well ahead of Republican Rick Santorum. This despite the fact Santorum was better funded, better known and, by the way, white. Overall Lynn Swann ran ahead of Rick Santorum in rural central and Western Pennsylvania, where the state’s most conservative voters live.

It seems that there is some validity to my theory here. Ed Rendell has called upon Obama to come back to Pennsylvania for another rally before the election:

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has sent two separate memos to the Obama campaign in the past five days requesting that the Democratic Presidential candidate—as well as Hillary and Bill Clinton—return to campaign in Pennsylvania, Rendell told CNN’s Gloria Borger.

Rendell said the McCain campaign is clearly making a push to win Pennsylvania, given the recent visits by the Arizona senator, his wife and his running mate. As a result, he wants Obama to appear in western Pennsylvania, Harrisburg and one more “large rally” in Philadelphia. Democrats generally worry that the race is significantly closer than what recent polls have suggested. According to Rendell, there is also worry among Democrats the McCain campaign has successfully raised the enthusiasm level among Republicans in the state.

Realistically, I don’t know if Pennsylvania is winnable at this point, but I have no idea what McCain’s internal polling is showing.  Conventional wisdom would advise a deployment of Palin to Colorado to court the libertarian west, but hopefully they know something that I don’t.

UPDATE: Fantastic, I finish this post, switch over to Spectator and what do I see, the Other McCain has found that the One has a two point lead in Pennsylvania. R.S. McCain notes that the leak is attributed to an Obama organizer.


Ready For Your Taxes to Go Up? Barney Frank Sure Is

October 22, 2008

They aren’t even trying to cover it up anymore.


I Sure Hope He Does It This Way…

October 22, 2008

Mark Steyn at the Corner on the Hopes and Dreams of Obamatons

Diana West looks at the hopes and prayers of the Obamacons:

Here, taken from a couple of such endorsements, is what I mean:

President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves.

—Christopher Buckley

I sure hope Obama is more open, centrist, sensible—dare I say, Clintonesque—than his liberal record indicates, than his cooperation with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid portends.

—Ken Adelman

In other words, they hope Obama will not revert to Leftist type.


Or, if you like, they’re “hoping” he’ll “change”, and break with what passes for his record – the most liberal in the Senate. Across the pond, my old pal Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, is also full of “hope“:

He needs to stick up more vigorously for free trade, and we must hope that any ill-considered new taxes will be thwarted by Congress.

Ah, right. I think Barney Frank answered that one:

I think at this point, there needs to be a focus on an immediate increase in spending and I think this is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat. I do think this is a time for a kind of very important dose of Keynesianism. I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally, I think there are a lot of very rich people out there whom we can tax at a point down the road and recover some of this money.

Look, it’s not difficult. Barack the Spreader wants to spread Joe the Plumber’s wealth around. In fact, every American does that for himself every day of the week, every time he swings by Joe the Butcher, Joe the Baker, Joe the Candlestick Maker, Jolene the Waitress, Jolene the New York Gubernatorial Prostitute, whatever. The question is whether 300 million Americans spreading their wealth around can do it more effectively than Barack and Barney taking it unto themselves to spread it around.

I don’t find that hard to answer. If you disagree – if you believe in socialist redistribution from the dynamic sector of the economy to the sclerotic, incompetent and corrupt – then fine: lots of folks in European welfare states and African basket-case dictatorships do as well. But it’s hard to have much respect for a pro-Obama “conservative argument” dependent on “hopes” and “prayers” that an Obama-Pelosi-Frank liberal supermajority won’t do what they’re explicitly saying they will do.

If Ken Adelman thinks the Russians, Chinese and Iranians will be more responsive when Washington embraces an EU foreign policy, fine. If Christopher Buckley is happy with leaving it to Barack’n’Barney to spread his wealth around, great. But to “hope” and “pray” that a President Obama would defy his slim record, his long consistent past and his own Congressional majority is to put your faith in “change” no one can believe in.