William Katz:  Urgent Agenda




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Posted at 7:31 p.m. ET

The race card is being played.  As always, it's ugly.  It's being played against John McCain, who is anything but a racist.  This man, after all, has adopted a child of color.

But who cares about facts?  The leftovers from the 1960s think it's just ducky to charge a man with racism, and they do this as a matter of routine.  After all, if you believe that America is a racist society, and the American "power structure" is inherently racist, than charging a presidential candidate with racism comes with the package.

But Jonathan Martin, at The Politico, writes a thoughtful piece debunking the charge against McCain.  The Politico leans liberal, and it's good to see that they did this.  There are a couple of lines that I think are a bit unfair to McCain, but overall the piece is solid:

John McCain is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. He could never mention Jeremiah Wright and ensure his campaign aides don't either, and he'd still be accused of running a racist campaign.

That's the way the game is played.

But is McCain doing anything overtly racist? No

Nice to see that someone's rational.

That doesn't matter, though, to the outrage industry, ever on the lookout for any sign of racism and quick to pounce even when it's not there.

I was reminded of McCain's quandary when I got an e-mail touting the expertise of a college professor. Now, reporters get such pitches from PR shops and college publicity departments all the time. But this one stood out:

Lester Spence, an assistant professor of political science at The Johns Hopkins University, is available to discuss with reporters his belief that racial overtones are becoming part of Sen. John McCain's campaign rhetoric as Election Day approaches.

"Sen. John McCain's recent attacks on Barack Obama, accusing him of being a terrorist, combined with GOP columnists and bloggers arguing that Obama supports 'painting the white house black' and 'racial reparations' represent an embrace of the problematic 'Southern Strategy' that the GOP has historically used to increase white racial resentment," said Spence, who is African American. "But as can be seen in the most recent presidential debate, he is employing this strategy selectively, only among the GOP faithful."

McCain has not called Obama "a terrorist."

And those "GOP columnists and bloggers?" Spence is apparently referring to Peter Wallsten's LA Times story on Sunday that drew much liberal outrage. In the piece — a well-reported and fascinating look at Obama's racial challenges in Appalachia — Wallsten alluded to a Republican activist in Southwest Virginia who wrote a racially offensive column for a local paper.

From that — one isolated piece from a low-level party activist in a rural paper that only got noticed by the good reporting of a journalist who delved deep into the coalfields — Spence infers "an embrace of the problematic 'Southern Strategy' that the GOP has historically used to increase white racial resentment?"

And McCain's plight:

He's now in a no-win position. His supporters want him to use Wright against Obama, seeing it as the closest thing they have to a silver bullet in a difficult race. But, as messages like the above prove, he is already being accused of racism without ever mentioning the controversial pastor. One can only imagine the accusations that would rain down upon McCain should he extend his indictment of Obama's judgment to the Democrat's decision to sit in Wright's pews.

I'm afraid reporters are afraid of the same accusations, which is one reason why Obama has become the least examined presidential candidate in recent memory.

Watch for the race card to be played skillfully in the closing weeks, in an attempt to make us feel guilty if we don't vote for The One.

October 8, 2008.      Permalink          


UPDATE AT 1:06 P.M. ET:  The Gallup tracker just out extends Obama's lead to 11 points.  I don't know.  Of all four trackers, Gallup's is the only one showing Obama gaining, and that 11-point lead is the largest in any poll.  Hope this is wrong.  We'll see over days.

UPDATE AT 12:24 P.M. ET:  Dow is off 197. 

UPDATE AT 11:38 A.M. ET:  Dow is down 65. 

UPDATE AT 11:33 A.M. ET:  Two new trackers, just out, show dramatic and possibly significant results.  Hotline, which had Obama up two yesterday, has him up just one today.  It was six two days ago.  Battleground, which had Obama up seven yesterday, now has him up four.  So, of the three trackers published thus far today, all show Obama losing ground.  Significant?  Maybe.  But we will not know until a trend over days develops, or doesn't.  These results do not include reaction to last night's debate.   

UPDATE AT 9:39 A.M. ET:  The Dow opens down 106.

UPDATE AT 9:31 A.M. ET:  The Rasmussen tracker, just published, shows Obama up six.  It was eight yesterday.   


Posted at 8:32 A.M. ET

I don't always agree with Dick Morris, and his track record for predictions is no better or worse than that of many others.  However, at his best, he's a very astute observer of politics, and has a knack for making an argument as persuasive as possible.  Today he organizes the case against Obama in ways that the McCain campaign should follow.  He starts with the Obama/Ayers connection:

Barack Obama should have run screaming at the sight of William Ayers and his wife, Bernadette Dohrn. Ayers has admitted bombing the U.S. Capitol building and the Pentagon, and his wife was sent to prison for failing to cooperate in solving the robbery of a Brink’s armored car in which two police officers were killed. Far from remorse, Ayers told The New York Times in September 2001 that he “wished he could have done more.”

Ayers only avoided conviction when the evidence against him turned out to be contained in illegally obtained wiretaps by the FBI. He was, in fact, guilty as sin.

That Obama should ally himself with Ayers is almost beyond understanding. The former terrorist had not repented of his views and the education grants he got were expressly designed to further them.

The press, of course, is completely uninterested.  True "sophisticates" think the connection is just fine.

So let’s sum up Obama’s Chicago connections. His chief financial supporter was Tony Rezko, now on his way to federal prison. His spiritual adviser and mentor was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, of “God damn America” fame. And the guy who got him his only administrative job and put him in charge of doling out $50 million is William Ayers, a terrorist who was a domestic Osama bin Laden in his youth.

Can't blame a guy for having friends, can you?  You never know, you might need someone to babysit the kids.

Now that Obama is comfortably ahead in the polls, attention will understandably shift to him. We will want to know what kind of president he would make. The fact that, within the past 10 years, he participated in a radical program of political education conceptualized by an admitted radical terrorist offers no reassurance.

That's the key that the McCain people must emphasize - the potential for real damage, the potential that these radical ideas will seep into the federal government.


Why did Obama put up with Ayers? Because he got a big job and $50 million of patronage to distribute to his friends and supporters in Chicago. Why did he hang out with Jeremiah Wright? Because he was new in town, having grown up in Hawaii and Indonesia and having been educated at Columbia and Harvard, and needed all the local introductions he could get to jump-start his political career. Why was he so close to Rezko?

Because he funded Obama’s campaigns and helped him buy a house for $300,000 less than he otherwise would have had to pay.

Not a good recommendation for a president.

What Morris is creating is what Walter Lippmann called "the picture in our heads."  He's creating an image of an irresponsible, exploitive Obama, always advancing himself, no matter what it takes.  It's the image the McCain people must also create.

We saw last night that a dry debate on issues just doesn't do it for McCain.  He's an adequate, but less than inspiring performer.  He's got to create a message in the next month that sticks, that's vivid, and, yes, that's a little bit scary.

This is hardball stuff, and the future of the country is at stake.  This is no time for marshmallow politics or complex discussions of interest-rate theory.

October 8, 2008.      Permalink          


UPDATE AT 8:05 A.M. ET:  Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. stock-index futures climbed and European shares pared declines after the Federal Reserve and five other central banks cut interest rates in a coordinated bid to unlock credit markets. The dollar and government bonds fell.

UPDATE AT 7:20 A.M. ET:  From CNN:  Federal Reserve, joining central banks worldwide, cuts key interest rate by half percentage point to 1.5 percent.

UPDATE AT 6:57 A.M. ET:  Oct. 8 (Bloomberg) -- Stocks tumbled worldwide for the fifth day, U.S. index futures plunged and government bonds rallied after the U.K.'s $87 billion bank bailout plan failed to restore confidence in the financial system.


Posted at 6:50 a.m. ET

I'll agree with the conventional wisdom that last night's debate was a draw, which means, in practical terms, a victory for Obama.  McCain needed to turn the race around, and either couldn't find the chance to do it, or lacked the rhetorical talent to do it.  I think Paul Mirengoff is right, at Power Line, when he says that Obama moved closer to the presidency.

But the race isn't over, not by any means.  The polls are dividing into two camps - those showing Obama with a large lead, and those showing him with a small one.  We should get some refinement of those results by the time of the final debate, a week from tonight.

The fact is that debates rarely change much.  People often see what they want to see, and look for things that reinforce their views.  But McCain does need a magic moment, or event, to get past his lackluster debate performances and the press bias, which will make it increasingly difficult for him to get his message out.  His campaign is poorly organized.  He proposed a government mortgage buyout scheme last night, and failed to alert, in advance, even his best surrogates.  Mitt Romney appeared on the air after the debate and announced that the plan was news to him.  That is terrible planning.

An influential opinion analyst told me a few nights ago that, while he hears from the Obama campaign all the time, he rarely hears from the McCain campaign.  More bad planning.

I've suggested that McCain and Palin go on a whistlestop across the country together, and put on a real show.  Invite voters onto the train.  Do a Truman.  But do something to counter the image of a tired campaign that doesn't do much to enhance the impact of its star, Sarah Palin. 

The McCain campaign's final push must hit this message:  Obama isn't ready, you don't know the real man, McCain is tested, reliable and wise.  It must also take on the sensitive race issue, denouncing immediately attempts to rap McCain or Palin as racists because they dare criticize The One.  McCain might give a speech devoted to this one item.  It will draw voter attention to the irresponsible use of the race card, which is likely to increase.

And McCain must hit the economy.  He actually won on that issue last night.  He must repeat constantly the theme that Obama will make matters worse. 

Chances are the race will tighten, if McCain campaigns vigorously.  There may be an October surprise.  You don't give up until the votes are counted, and then you ask for a recount.

October 8, 2008.      Permalink          


UPDATE AT 6:19 A.M. ET:  The Reuters/CSPAN/Zogby tracker, already published, has Obama up two.  It had him up three yesterday.  The trackers yesterday divided into two groups - Gallup and Rasmussen had Obama with an eight- or nine-point lead; and Hotline and Reuters/CPAN/Zogby had him with a two- or three-point lead.  Rasmussen and Hotline publish later this morning, Gallup in early afternoon. 




11:52 P.M. ET:   Karl Rove, on Fox, said that McCain did what he had to do to set the tone of the rest of the campaign.  I have my doubts.  The world will little note, nor long remember what they said here.  This debate will be forgotten quickly.  The last debate is next Wednesday, the 15th.  That means that there will be three full weeks of campaigning afterward.  Unless something big happens in the last debate, those three weeks may turn out to be more important than all the other weeks of the campaign put together - assuming the polls tighten enough to make the race competitive at that point.  Maybe this has just begun.

10:56 P.M. ET:   The headline on Drudge says it all:  BORING.

10:40 P.M. ET:   A Frank Luntz focus group gave the debate to Obama.  I would call it a draw, but the group, in Arlington, Virginia, felt otherwise.  If that view prevails, McCain's problems will only deepen.  My feeling is that the debate will have no effect, and that McCain, if he is to win, will have to win on the campaign trail and with ads.  He needs drama in his campaign - a whistlestop across the nation, with Sarah at his side. 

10:37 P.M. ET:   I'll be monitoring the reaction from the TV pundits, but my own feeling is that the debate changed nothing.  Both men performed respectably.  There was not a single spark.  Obama is smooth, but lacks experience and knowledge.  McCain has both, but lacks poetry.  Bill Kristol is on now, correctly criticizing the bland nature of the questions.

10:32 P.M. ET:   We're getting to the point in the debate where fatigue starts to set in.  Neither candidate has scored a knockout blow, in part because the questions didn't allow for one.  McCain is now making his final statement.  Effective and moving.  Debate over.

10:26 P.M. ET:   Effective moment.  McCain goes over and pats a retired Navy chief on the back.  Very human.  Reminds the audience of McCain's life story.

10:22 P.M. ET:   McCain has the edge in this foreign-policy discussion.  He's firm, detailed, and passionate.  I just wish he could phrase things as well as Obama, who is really saying nothing, but saying it well.

10:17 P.M. ET:   McCain continues on Pakistan.  He's good, but there are no great lines, no zingers, no effective use of language.  It's a term paper, which is McCain's liability when he speaks. 

10:14 P.M. ET:   McCain is discussing Pakistan, and comes off far more knowledgeable and reasoned than Obama.  Here McCain is developing a real advantage.  We'll see if he can maintain it. 

10:05 P.M. ET:  McCain is up.  I wish he'd stop using the phrase "my friends."  It's grating and makes him sound like a typical politician.  However, he speaks with authority on defense and foreign issues.  They have a good debate going on foreign issues.  I'm hoping for a McCain knockout here.  Stand by.

10:00 P.M. ET:  The debate is half over.  A draw at best.  They're now on foreign policy, which should be McCain's strength, but he fell into a trap by allowing Obama to exploit dissatisfaction with the Iraq War. 

9:55 P.M. ET:    Obama is speaking on health insurance.  On this he's detailed and very effective.  McCain is up.  He's knowledgeable, but I can't follow what he's saying about his health plan.  The debate, frankly, is not that exciting.  There are no sparks, no great moments.  Those are the things McCain needs in order to pull away.

9:50 P.M. ET:    Exchanges on energy policy.  Both men are effective, but McCain is speaking with more passion.  The problem is, he's held back by a less-than-great speaking style.  He's not losing, but he's not putting Obama away.

9:40 P.M. ET:    Obama is talking taxes, and presents his tax plan.  On this he's very effective because he's talking details.  He also speaks logically.  You can follow what he's saying.  Obama isn't winning the debate, but he's not losing.  He's not letting McCain get ahead.  Now McCain speaks, and speaks with some passion, about taxes and entitlements, and he's good.   

9:35 P.M. ET:   Obama gives a good answer on sharing of sacrifice.  McCain is now up talking about taxes, and he is effective.  McCain simply knows more.  If he can combine that knowledge with some music, and some passion, he'll be fine. 

9:29 P.M. ET:  McCain is answering a question from Fiora of Chicago, whom I personally know.  McCain is far more substantive than Obama, but Obama is much more smooth. And I'm afraid he's a better showman.  He has that buttery approach that is pleasant to the ear. 

9:21 P.M. ET:  McCain on the attack against Obama's spending record.  He's pretty effective.  Not great, but at least he's come alive.  He's not taking prisoners tonight.  I wish he were more articulate and had better, more precise attack lines, but for McCain this is good.

9:16 P.M. ET:  Obama is talking about the economy, defending his record.  His defense is deceptive.  He claims he never championed Freddie and Fannie, which is untrue.  Now McCain replies.  A reasonable but not brilliant answer.

9:12 P.M. ET:  Now McCain comes alive.  He attacks Obama on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac issues.  Notes the campaign cash Obama got from those institutions.  Good answer.  Keep it up, Mac.

9:08 P.M. ET:   The debate begins.  Town hall format.  First question deals with the economy.  Obama gives a smooth reply, but doesn't say much.  However, he hammers the point about helping the middle class.  He attacks McCain.  McCain replies.  It isn't good.  He simply will not attack Obama, even though Obama blocked many of the mortgage reforms that would have prevented the current crisis.  If he doesn't start attacking, he's cooked.

9:01 P.M. ET:   Tom Brokaw is introducing the debate.

8:52 P.M. ET:  We're about to start live blogging of the presidential debate.  The debate starts in eight minutes.


Posted at 6:56 p.m. ET

From a 2002 article published by George Mason University's History News Network.  It deals with Chesa Boudin, son of Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, members of the Weather Underground, serving time for for the murder of two police officers and a Brinks guard.  Now read the rest:

As for Chesa, he’s been raised for the past 21 years by two of his parents’ radical colleagues. Chesa’s adoptive mother — Bernardine Dohrn, whose sultry likeness once hung in every US post office – is currently the director of the Children and Family Justice Center at Northwestern University. His adoptive father, Bill Ayers, is a professor of education at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Familiar names? 

As many will recall, publication of Ayers’s Fugitive Days – a book that celebrated, among other things, the Weather Underground’s 1972 bombing of the Pentagon — coincided directly with the September 11th tragedies. Ironically, the New York Times had run a glowing profile of Ayers and Dohrn (a puff for the book) that very morning. The piece featured a color photo of the affluent, middle-aged couple holding hands beside a headline that read: “No Regrets for a Love of Explosives.” Halfway down the column, Ayers told the Times’s Dinitia Smith: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.”

Recently, when Ayers sat for yet another Times interview — this one to discuss the triumph of Chesa’s Rhodes Scholarship — he showed up wearing a red-star revolutionary pin.

Nothing to see here, nothing to see.  Just an ornament.  Let's not have guilt by jewelry.

And more:

Ayers and Dohrn were there at the founding of the Weather Underground. At a 1969 “War Council” that helped launch the organization, Dohrn raised three fingers in a “fork salute” to Charles Manson, whom she proposed as a revolutionary inspiration. She went on to joke about Manson’s victims and dubbed them the “Tate Eight” after Sharon Tate, the pregnant actress whom members of the Manson tribe stabbed in the womb with a fork. “Dig it,” said Dohrn at the time. “First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach! Wild!”

Later that same year, Ayers attempted to extort money from the Vietnam Moratorium Committee — demanding $20,000 to abstain from violence during a planned peace protest. After rejecting this demand, a member of the Moratorium group asked Ayers what he really wanted. “To kill all rich people,” Ayers responded. When another peace activist pointed out that Ayers himself came from wealth, the radical answered with an angry slogan: “Bring the war home. Kill your parents.”

But times change, even for people like Ayers and Dohrn.  By the 1980s, they blazed new paths of glory:

Dohrn and Ayers had realized, by this time, that radical was no longer chic. They’d already surrendered to the FBI the previous year. Charges against Ayers were dropped. (“Guilty as hell. Free as a bird. America is a great country,” Ayers said when interviewed by David Horowitz ten years ago.) Dohrn, meanwhile, pled guilty to aggravated battery and bail-jumping, but received only a fine and probation. Two years after her surrender, she spent seven months in jail for refusing to give information to a grand jury concerning at-large members of the Weathermen organization.

So the crimes continued well past the sixties.

For Barack Obama, these are just guys in the neighborhood.


October 7, 2008.      Permalink          



Posted at 6:18 p.m. ET

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.  What can I say?  Of the four candidates at the top of their tickets, I think she's got the best political smarts of all.  She's been on the attack, and I'm sure (I hope) the campaign is doing internal polling showing that the attack is working.  ABC News reports

At an outdoor rally before thousands of enthusiastic supporters in Jacksonville, Florida this morning, Palin raised her now-regular criticism tying Obama to Ayers, a founding member of the Weather Underground group which claimed responsibility for bombings at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol in the early 1970s.

Palin called Ayers one of Obama's "earliest supporters" for hosting a 1995 meeting kicking off Obama's bid for the Illinois State Senate. She mocked claims this week by the Obama campaign that the Democratic presidential nominee did not know about Ayers' past before the 1995 meeting.

"Now our opponent's campaign is claiming for the first time, Barack Obama wasn't aware of Ayers' radical background. Barack recently remembered him as just a guy in the neighborhood," Palin said. "Wait a minute there. You mean to tell me he didn't know he had launched his own political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist?"

That's a great line, ay?

"You know, what's next, claiming that he didn't know two of his biggest supporters were running Fannie Mae, the subprime mortgage giant? Palin said. "Maybe he thought they were just guys in the Washington neighborhood."

Wonderful, wonderful.  Go Sarah!

"And since he got called out on his plans to meet unconditionally with terror state leaders like Ahmadinejad, will he now claim he was unaware of his radical background?" Palin added, in mocking reference to Obama saying at a Democratic primary debate last year that he would meet leaders of rogue states without preconditions.


"Ladies and gentlemen, this election is about the truthfulness and judgment needed in our next president," Palin concluded. "John McCain has it and Barack Obama doesn't."

You may all applaud now.  I hope McCain is that effective tonight.

October 7, 2008.      Permalink          

NOTE AT 4:55 P.M. ET:  For a terrific little video showing how Sarah Palin handles a heckler, go here.  I say she's the best man we've got.

UPDATE AT 4:33 P.M. ET:  The Down closed down 508 points.  Bloomberg reports:  "U.S. stocks fell, sending the Standard & Poor's 500 Index below 1,000 for the first time since 2003, on speculation banks and real-estate companies are running short of money as the credit crisis worsens."

UPDATE AT 3:06 P.M. ET:  Roller coaster.  Dow down 306.

UPDATE AT 2:37 P.M. ET:  The Dow has rebounded and is now down 156 points.

UPDATE AT 2:34 P.M. ET:  From AP:  LAS VEGAS -- Nevada state authorities are raiding the Las Vegas headquarters of an organization that works to get low-income people to vote.  A Nevada secretary of state's office spokesman said Tuesday that investigators are looking for evidence of voter fraud at the office of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN.  No one was at the ACORN office when state agents arrived with a search warrant and began carting records and documents away.  Secretary of State spokesman Bob Walsh says ACORN is accused of submitting multiple voter registrations with false and duplicate names.  The raid comes two months after state and federal authorities formed a task force to pursue election-fraud allegations in Nevada.

COMMENT:  Obama was a lawyer for this group.  ACORN fraud issues have cropped up in many states.  This could become a major story if the vote is close on election night.

UPDATE AT 2:16 P.M. ET:  The Dow is down 300 points.

UPDATE AT 2:09 P.M. ET:  The Gallup tracker, just released, has Obama up nine points, tying his largest lead yet in this poll. 

COMMENT:  Three of the four trackers out today confirm a large lead for Obama.  Only Hotline shows a small lead. 

UPDATE AT 10:40 A.M. ET:  The stock market is currently up 33.85.  No great rally, but no loss either.

UPDATE AT 10:25 A.M. ET:  Two new trackers, just out, show dramatically different results.  Battleground has Obama up seven, same as yesterday.  But Hotline, which had Obama up six yesterday, has him up only two today.

COMMENT:  We always stress that polls are snapshots in time, and that only trends count.  However, please note that four new polls, Hotline, Democracy Corps, CBS, and Reuters/Zogby/CSPAN, show Obama with a lead of only two or three points.  Start of a trend?  I have no way of knowing, but stand by.

UPDATE AT 9:32 A.M. ET:  Rasmussen's tracker is out, showing Obama up eight, no change from yesterday, and consistent with most (but not all) other polls.  We are looking today to see if any tracker shows a drop for Obama, given yesterday's publication of the Zogby and CBS polls, both showing him up only three.

NOTE AT 9:02 A.M. ET:  Reader Alan Weick has written an excellent note on John McCain, in response to comments here.  Mr. Weick writes:

Dear Mr.  Katz,

I agree with all you've said regarding what McCain must do to win.  I just doubt that he is constitutionally able to do it.  McCain  strikes me as a man of unique principles that were forged in the crucible of his military experience.  While no one can question his ability to fight, I think it's clear the he believes there is, at least in terms of campaigning in a  democracy, a set of "Marquis of Queensberry" rules that honor requires him to obey, regardless of whether it benefits him or not.  

His apology for a  supporter's use of Obama's middle name strikes us as bizzare, but it reveals a  unique sense of propriety that would certainly not be shown were the  situation reversed.  I don't agree with him.  And it certainly looks like bowing to political correctness and, horribly, MSM opinion.  But what else explains this reluctance to engage in the same bare-knuckled tactics  as his opponent?


Alan  Weick

Well stated, I think.  McCain must liberate McCain.



Posted at 8:44 a.m. ET

That's the way Barack Obama describes radical pal Bill Ayers - just a guy he knows in the neighborhood.  But Sol Stern, in the Manhattan Institute's excellent City Journal, has a somewhat more detailed take on the mysterious Professor Ayers.  Stern takes on a New York Times whitewash of the Ayers/Obama relationship:

The article explored the putative relationship between Ayers and Barack Obama during the time they worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a five-year philanthropic venture that, starting in 1995, distributed over $160 million in school-improvement grants to the Windy City’s public schools. Ayers wrote the grant proposal that secured seed money for the schools and ran the implementation arm of the project; Obama became chairman of the board that distributed the grants. Not only did the Times exonerate the Democratic presidential candidate of having anything like a “close” relationship with Ayers—their paths merely “crossed” while working on the Challenge, the paper said—but it also bestowed the honorific of “school reformer” on the ex-bomber.


Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer.


For instance, at a November 2006 education forum in Caracas, Venezuela, with President Hugo Chávez at his side, Ayers proclaimed his support for “the profound educational reforms under way here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chávez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution. . . . I look forward to seeing how you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane.”

Capitalist education?  Is that what I learned in physics class?  That miserable moneygrubber Einstein, did we expose him!

Ayers’s school reform agenda focuses almost exclusively on the idea of teaching for “social justice” in the classroom. This has nothing to do with the social-justice ideals of the Sermon on the Mount or Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Rather, Ayers and his education school comrades are explicit about the need to indoctrinate public school children with the belief that America is a racist, militarist country and that the capitalist system is inherently unfair and oppressive.

Aren't you shocked by that?

Despite the Times story, American voters still don’t have an accurate picture of the relationship between Obama and Ayers during their work on the Annenberg Challenge...

...Meanwhile, in one of the Democratic primary debates, Obama said that Ayers was just “a guy I know in the neighborhood”—which certainly qualifies as one of the biggest fibs told by any of the candidates so far.


Is it too much to hope that one of the moderators of the two remaining debates will press Obama for a fuller accounting of his work with Bill Ayers on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and also ask Obama what he thinks of Ayers’s views on school reform? If the mainstream media deem it important that voters know which newspapers one of the vice presidential candidates reads, they certainly ought to be demanding more information from a presidential candidate about whom he collaborated with in distributing $160 million to the public schools.

Challenging The One?  Are you kidding?  Don't you know what the new rules are?


October 7, 2008.      Permalink          



Posted at 7:24 a.m. ET

We don't have to be reminded as to where the political race is today, the day of the second presidential debate, to be held in Nashville.  Obama has opened up a lead of, perhaps, six to eight points over McCain.  Put another way, McCain has slipped back, leaving a six- to eight-point gap with Obama.  There are some new, more optimistic polls, but they are outliers.  CBS, reporting yesterday, has Obama up only three, as do the Democracy Corps and Zogby polls.  But a new NBC poll has him up six.  We'll publish tracking polls as they become available later today.

Dick Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, have written a perceptive column that, I think, gives a good picture of where the race stands, and where it's likely to go. 

THE polls now all indicate an Obama win on Nov. 4; some even suggest a landslide. But there's a strong chance the race will tighten back up this month.

Notice the term, "a strong chance."  Not a guarantee.  Much will depend on McCain's performance, somewhat lackluster thus far, and whether the economy goes into a tailspin.

But October may see the end of Obama's surge: He's peaking too soon.

Once the Democrat is seen as the clear leader and likely winner, the spotlight will inevitably shift to him. And he may not benefit from the increased attention.

Obama didn't do well when he last emerged on top, in later Democratic primaries. The more it appeared that Hillary Clinton would lose, the more voter concerns over Obama's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright cost him state after state in the later primaries.

Obama still beat Clinton because he'd already amassed a sufficient delegate lead earlier on. That dynamic doesn't apply in the general election.

From his mouth to you know whose ears.

The Democrat gained by standing back during the rescue-bill drama. But now voters (with a strong push from the McCain campaign) will be giving him a closer look - and some won't like what they see.

Correct.  Obama has always lost support when people look closely.  It's like having a good mechanic look at a used car.

So Obama will be in the spotlight on how he'd handle the economy and on whether he is part of the political mainstream.

Voters will still be in the mood for throwing the Republicans out of office, so Obama may not fall all the way down - but October will be no cakewalk for the Democrat.

It is up to John McCain to make Obama's life miserable.  And the first thing McCain must do, starting with the debate tonight, is to ignore the press and its opinions.  A negative editorial in The New York Times will not hurt him.  I mean, who does he think reads those things?  But a perception on the part of the public that he's a quitter, someone who refuses to fight for a victory, will kill him. 

October 7, 2008.      Permalink          

UPDATE AT 7:05 A.M. ET:  Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) -- European stocks and U.S. index futures rose as Australia's bigger-than-expected interest-rate cut spurred speculation central banks around the world will reduce borrowing costs to cushion their economies from the credit freeze.




"What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.



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