Shifting Electorate in North Carolina

September 30, 2008

The change in voter registration, which has primed the pump for a tight race in a state Bush won by twelve points:

2004: Republican – 40%, Democrat – 39%, Independent – 21%

2008: Democrat – 45%, Republican – 33%, Independent – 22%

Pollster has McCain +1.5, while RCP shows Obama +0.7.

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Bailout or Rescue?

September 29, 2008

The outpouring of constituent fury concerning the rescue package evokes this summer’s immigration bill, which stalled over one buzzword: amnesty.  Reducing the proposal to that hot-button issue incited the grassroots organizations, who effectively killed any chance of progress.  Now, the wedge word is “bailout,” a term that distorts the plan.  The government is not giving away the money; in fact, it expects to recover a significant portion and potentially make a profit.

When voters form an accurate perception of the rescue bill, they support it:

Those who understand that taxpayers will eventually get much of the money back support the bailout by a 2-to-1 margin. Those who incorrectly believe the government will not be getting money back oppose the bailout by a 62% to 18% margin.

Obviously, the challenge lies in cutting through the interest group filters and ideological blinders.  Yet if the immigration divide acts as any indicator, presenting unadulterated fact during such a contentious debate is, well, near impossible.


The Rescue Package

September 29, 2008

Republicans complain about possibly squandering $700 billion of taxpayer money; the market lost $1.2 trillion in value today, prompted by the failed bill.

Fiddle while we burn.


The Lies of Sarah Palin

September 7, 2008

Fact-checking Palin’s Wednesday night acceptance speech:

This was the spirit that brought me to the governor’s office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau … when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol’ boys network.

While mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired Steven Silver, former chief of staff for the indicted Senator Ted Stevens, to lobby Congress for earmarks.  Silver, who has ties to imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff, helped the town secure $1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the national per capita average.

That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.

Yeah, but it didn’t sell — even though she tried three times.  Eventually, Alaska sold the jet through a private broker for a $500,000 loss.

I told the Congress “thanks, but no thanks,” for that Bridge to Nowhere.

Palin originally supported the Bridge to Nowhere before flip-flopping on the matter.

I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Palin “was far from shy about pursuing tens of millions in earmarks for her town, her region and her state,” with many of her earmarks turning up in McCain’s lists of “objectionable” spending.  A sampling of her earmarks: $500,000 for a youth shelter, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a rail project, connecting Wasilla to a local ski resort.  Bridge to Nowhere Take II, anyone?

More from the Tribune: “This year she submitted to Congress a list of Alaska projects worth $197.8 million, including $2 million to research crab productivity in the Bering Sea and $7.4 million to improve runway lighting at eight Alaska airports.”

But listening to [Obama] speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state Senate.

The most blatant lie in the entire speech.  In the Senate, Obama authored a comprehensive ethics reform bill, touted across the aisle as the most sweeping change since Watergate, with Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn.  He worked with Indiana Republican Dick Lugar to pass a bill that increased efforts to secure loose nuclear weapons and other conventional arms.  And in the State Senate, the Washington Post writes:

Along the way, he played an important role in drafting bipartisan ethics legislation and health-care reform. He overcame law enforcement objections to codify changes designed to curb racial profiling and to make capital punishment, which he favors, more equitable.

Obama favored more ambitious changes in campaign law, including limits on contributions, but nipped and tucked in search of consensus.The result, according to good-government groups, was the most ambitious campaign reform in nearly 25 years, making Illinois one of the best in the nation on campaign finance disclosure.

Obama’s signature effort was a push for mandatory taping of interrogations and confessions. It was opposed by prosecutors, police organizations and Ryan’s successor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, who said it would impede investigators.

Working under the belief that no innocent defendant should end up on death row and no guilty one should go free, Obama helped get the bill approved by the Senate on a 58 to 0 vote. When Blagojevich reversed his position and signed it, Illinois became the first state to require taping by statute.

Back to Palin:

Taxes are too high … he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific.

We will be specific.  Under Obama’s plan, 95% of the country would receive a tax cut; only the top 1% would see a tax increase.  Also note that over 80% of taxpayers are better off monetarily under Obama.


A Lack of Coordination

September 6, 2008

A reader writes:

In her Wednesday night speech, Palin mocked Obama, saying, “What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?”

The next day, McCain said, “We must use all resources and develop all technologies necessary to rescue our economy from the damage caused by rising oil prices and to restore the health of our planet.”

A little boo-boo.