Archive for the ‘People’ Category

1. Obama has excelled at everything he’s done – from modest beginnings to Harvard to the brink of the US Presidency.

2. He’s already shown himself to be calm in the face of a crisis already.

3. From the three million donors, to the tens of thousands of volunteers, this has truly been a people’s campaign.

4. With a couple of minor exceptions, Obama has been unflappable throughout the campaign in the face of numerous smears and has not responded in kind (even though some of us really wanted to see him do so at times). He has shown that it is possible to run a classy campaign and still be in a position to win.

5. As regards his lack of experience, this is only because he has learned faster than anybody could imagine and has moved up really quickly – he is ready for the White House

6. Obama is a true winner, starting out his campaign as an underdog with little money and backing and taking on two formidable political machines by inspiring people and running an amazing campaign.

7. In Joe Biden, Obama has an able deputy who will help him govern successfully, as he showed in the Vice-Presidential debate, when he skilfully defeated Sarah Palin, removing the possibility of a significant “Palin Did Better Than Expected” bounce.

8. The American people have, to a great extent, moved ahead of their politicians in their views of the issues of the 21st century – global warming, defeating terrorism, race, economic stability. In Barack Obama, they have a politician who has caught up with them.

9. His economic plan shows that he understands that the middle class is the engine of the economy and is the best chance we have of avoiding a deep and sustained recession.

10. And of course, his presidency would be historic on so many levels…a big step towards the ideals of the founding fathers who held it “to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”

PS Given the sad news of today regarding the loss of Obama’s grandmother, I would like to add my voice to the chorus of condolences being expressed all over the net – my thoughts are with him at this tragic and difficult time

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If you’re still undecided, firstly make up your freakin’ mind!!! There’s less than forty-eight hours left!!! After 20 months, countless debates, numerous interviews and millions of ads, what more needs to be said?? Anyway, hopefully this list, compiled with my wife Meri (http://merihayden.wordpress.com) will swing it for you – if it doesn’t nothing will.  

1. Obama’s awesome jumpshot

2. Joe Biden has the whitest teeth on the planet

3. Neither one is Sarah Palin

4. Obama would never mix up a French-Canadian radio host with Nicolas Sarkozy

5. Obama looks like a GQ model (settle down Meri! – Sam)

6. Wardrobe budget will be considerably less

7. Between Obama’s booming voice and Biden’s intense eyes, they’ll scare the crap out of Bin Laden

8. Frees up Palin and McCain to pursue their own successful careers in TV and radio sketch shows

9. Keynesian plans to grow the economy from the bottom up (lighten up Sam!-Meri)

10. It’ll be a complete lurvefest

So the Fed, in its eternal wisdom, is dutifully following Monetarist orthodoxy by cutting interest rates by half a percentage point. So what is the rate at now? 1%!!!!! Has nobody in the government realised that this is not working???!!!! Do they seriously believe that they are not, as Keynes put it, pushing on a piece of string???!!! Confidence is in the toilet, there’s nowhere else to go with interest rate cuts, it’s becoming an exercise in futile grandstanding for the business media. Nobody is spending. And John McCain wants to freeze government spending, the only way the government can guarantee that money gets spent to stimulate the economy!!!

Now the stock market went up yesterday in anticipation of this cut, but then the stock market went up in anticipation of the bailout that was demanded from the banks and when it was confirmed, the market proceeded to plummet. So how long will this bounce last, before stocks drop again? Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder whether all the decisions on Wall Street, the City of London and other financial centres are being fuelled by traders’ well-documented consumption of cocaine! Because there seems to be absolutely no reason at all involved. Should we start testing all market traders for drugs on a weekly basis and banning those who fail it?

In the light of all this, it is economically irresponsible for John McCain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Republican Party to equate the modest taxation and spending plans of Barack Obama with socialism in an effort to scare people into giving them four more years of cronyism. In fact, it’s so irresponsible it’s practically Anti-American.

Who won? Who lost? Was a knockout blow landed? How should the debates be analysed? Is there an objective measure to determine who succeeded? Sporting metaphors abound (well actually boxing metaphors, mainly). But me, I’m going to use another sport for my analysis metaphor, one which unites me with suburban American Heartland homemakers: soccer.

Firstly, the clubs: It’s Obama-Biden FC v McCain-Palin United

Secondly: Tournament format: Four games with the first, third and fourth being contested by the clubs’ first teams, the second set aside for each club’s reserves. Winner determined by aggregate scores over the four matches.

Game 1: Team Obama v Team McCain. Played on what was supposed to be Team McCain’s hope patch, a late change in weather conditions combined with knocks picked up by Team McCain through over-exertion in an external mini-tournament plays into Team Obama’s hands somewhat and the tie becomes the proverbial “game of two halves”. In the first half Team Obama go on the attack forcing Team McCain onto the backfoot. Pressure pays off as Team Obama score a tidy goal by taking advantage of weaknesses shown by Team McCain that are similar to those displayed often by the unpopular, dirty and ultimately inept Team Bush. In the second half conditions improve for Team McCain and they score an early equaliser. However Team Obama show themselves more adept at the conditions than anticipated and soon retake the lead. Team McCain continue to attack, only to find that Team Obama are happy to soak up the pressure and create chances on the counter-attack and the game finishes with no additions to the scoreline. Final Score: Team Obama 2, Team McCain 1.

Game 2: Team Biden v Team Palin. In spite of being a reserve team game, this matchup is eagerly anticipated as the experienced but unpredictable Team Biden take on the inexperienced and unfancied Team Palin. There are concerns about whether Team Palin has any ability whatsoever and whether Team Biden will be too aggressive, losing support among neutral spectators or underestimating Team Palin and lose the match. The game starts at a high tempo, with Team Palin playing at a frantic pace and managing to string some passes together, leading to a scrambled goal for them. However, Team Biden soon take control of the game, smartly absorbing pressure from Team Palin and putting together a number of fluid passing movements, creating numerous chances and scoring two goals before half-time. In the second half the pattern continues and Team Biden score two more as Team Palin seem to run out of ideas and are reduced to chasing the game frantically and putting in a couple of wild tackles. Team Palin score before the end but it’s only a consolation. The most entertaining tie of the tournament ends: Team Biden 4, Team Palin 2.

Game 3: Team Obama v Team McCain: Played at a smaller, older, small-town venue, ostensibly to test the teams ability to play at grassroots level. This turns out to be a bad decision as the pitch turns out to be small and waterlogged and not conducive to expansive soccer and leads to a dull encounter. Team McCain doesn’t seem to want to attack to strongly, possibly due to fear of Team Obama’s counterattacking ability. Team Obama, meanwhile, seem happy to absorb whatever attacks are made by Team McCain comfortably, and this makes them appear like the superior team. However the only vaguely exciting moment of the evening occurs when Team McCain pick up a yellow card for a petulant kick out at “That One”. Final Score: 0-0

Game 4: Team Obama v Team McCain: Team McCain come out fighting aggressively, knowing that they need a big performance to have a chance of catching Team Obama. However, due to inferior ability, they resort to tough and sometimes dirty challenges on Team Obama. Team Obama manage to ride most challenges but Team McCain receive a yellow card for persistent fouling. Team McCain’s tactics lead to a scrappy goal, however Team Obama’s calm passing ability lead to two goals. Final score: Team Obama 2, Team McCain 1.

So final aggregate score in the tournament: Obama-Biden FC 8 McCain-Palin Utd 4. So I hope that clears it all up.

Do you agree with this analysis? If the debates are viewed as a soccer tournament, what was the aggregate result? Vote below.

In recent days Barack Obama’s lead in polls has tightened somewhat-for example the Gallup Daily has seen margin reduced from eleven points to seven. It’s still a winning lead but with two and a half weeks left to Election Day, with more attacks to come from the Republicans and considering he’s held a lead on two or three occasions before only to see it fritter away within days, it’s time to ask:

I’m sorry, I take back what part of what I said about McCain last night, relating to the reactions of crowds at his rallies. I allowed some leeway for his attacks on Obama’s relationship with William Ayers and the reaction it provoked amongst elements on the basis that he didn’t intend this to happen (although he should have anticipated it) and that he then defended Obama in the face of boos from his own crowd. However all this is meaningless as long as he maintains the same line of attack that led to the shouts of “Traitor”, “Kill Him” and “Terrorist”. If it happens again at his rallies he must take full responsibility for it. Shame on you, Senator McCain, for letting yourself and the American people down when they really need the support and clear thinking of their leaders to guide them through this economic crisis.

So it’s a week since Sarah Palin tried to equate Barack Obama with terrorism, thus signalling that “the gloves have come off”, otherwise known as “the Republicans can’t win on issues, so they’re going to try irrelevant smearing”. So far it seems to have had little impact on the polls, although Obama’s lead in the Gallup Daily Tracker has softened a bit in recent days so let’s not get too complacent. So what’s different this time around (as opposed to 2004 and before)?

Firstly, I think the blogosphere has had an impact. Many bloggers, from yours truly to Bobby Kennedy Jr (if you’ll pardon the self-indulgent claims) have picked up on the hypocrisy of Palin questioning the patriotism Obama by accusing him of “palling around” with William Ayers, when she herself has a much deeper relationship with the secessionists of the Alaska Independence Party. As the mainstream media has, to a large extent, reneged on their responsibility to aggressively and quickly question these statements, those on the internet can catch these smears before they can grow legs and run.

Next, Obama’s response so far has been appropriate. He pre-empts and emphasises the personal nature of these attacks by saying that he can take them but that the issues of the election are more important instead of going on the defensive. If he keeps this up he may actually to keep his campaign reasonably clean, even though there is plenty of ammunition on McCain and Pali, with which to go negative.

Also, I think the smears from McCain and Palin have, so far, been kind of weak compared to what the likes of Karl Rove in the earlier years of the century and Lee Atwater in the 80s threw at their opponents. They have also been very clumsy and so blatantly rabble-rousing that their rabble have been roused into outrageous actions at recent McCain and Palin rallies, thus causing such a backlash that McCain has been forced to, temporarily at least, put a few fingers back in those gloves, thus costing his campaign precious time.

Finally, and possibly most importantly, perhaps the American people, particularly the Susceptible Centre I mentioned previously, have finally grown tired of being bullied and scared into making electoral decisions that go against their best interests. 

There’s still three weeks left to the election so it’s still too early to start acclaiming Obama president, but he has so far successfully survived the new attacks from McCain and Palin. If he has a good debate on Wednesday, he may be able to gain a lead big enough to protect himself from further smears until his 30-minute spot airs at the end of October and then hopefully, this will see him through to polling day.