Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain Blames Palin Gaffe on 'Gotcha Journalism'

My apologies for the spotty coverage over the last few days, my friends! The school year is in full swing and statistics has drained me of my snarky ways. When I came back to life from seemingly endless reading this morning (i.e. turned on CNN), I realized that I'd rather be in denial that the world is falling apart around me. Speaking of denial - I'm skipping over the bailout blues for some comic relief...

So Palin enjoyed humiliating herself so much in her interview with Katie Couric that she went back and brought her running mate (I mean.. uh..) along with her. Katie Couric asked Palin about a statement she made this weekend that the U.S. should launch attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to "stop the terrorists from coming any further in."

In that comment, Palin seemed to be voicing the same position McCain had attacked Obama for stating in the debate on Friday. John "I'm About to Lose My Temper" McCain responded with, "I understand this day and age gotcha journalism... Grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country.

Gotcha journalism, huh? I'm sorry, I'm having a hard time distinguishing between this and any other situation in which the press has questioned Obama or Biden on comments that they've made on the campaign trail. I guess one man's journalism is another man's ‘gotcha journalism.’

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Sunday Funnies

This week's Sunday Funnies features Chris Rock commenting on the 2008 Election. Hilarious! Check it out below:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up, Folks!

Remember when you played tag when you were younger and just when you were about to get tagged, you’d yell “Time out” so you could catch your breath. That’s John McCain’s campaign strategy.

John “Country First” McCain has decided to suspend his campaign (but not his attacks on Barack Obama) and delay the debates so he can singlehandedly save the nation’s economy. How noble of him. The thing is that his website is still collecting campaign donations and his ads have continued running. I’m beginning to see a pattern with the McCain campaign: every time they run behind in the polls, they take a gamble. It makes you wonder that if McCain were elected President, would he make a non-commonsensical move every time he dropped in the polls.

Barack Obama is planning on hosting a townhall meeting on Friday if McCain is MIA. Is McCain really going to give Obama the opportunity to talk to millions of voters without him? Risky, risky, risky.

One person who has not happy with McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign was David Letterman. McCain called at the last minute to cancel his appearance on the show. Check out the clip of a not-so-happy Letterman:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

McCain Campaign: WAHHHHHHHH!

John McCain’s senior campaign aides convened a conference call with reporters on Monday to do what they do best: feign outrage. This time the topic was to complain about being called “liars.”

Senior Campaign Advisor Steve Schmidt used the call as an opportunity to scold reporters and press them to scrutinize Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Schmidt proceeded to list a number of stories that he thought that reporters should focus on about Obama and Biden but couldn’t seem to get all his facts straight. He urged the press to criticize Biden’s son, Hunter, for his occupation as a registered federal lobbyist for the credit card and banking industry. Only Hunter Biden’s lobbying clients don’t include any banks or credit card companies. He did work, as a vice president and then as a consultant, for a Delaware-based bank and credit card giant but does not appear to have lobbied for the firm. Hmmm.

The conference call was a risky move for the McCain camp and may perpetuate the image that they are adverse to factual information.

Check out the below clip of Steve Schmidt getting his whine on.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Has Palin Peaked?

It was bound to happen. Over the past few weeks, the media has gone into high gear dissecting the life and times of Sarah Palin, a relative unknown on the national political stage. But the magazine cover shoots, the tired diatribes about women with families in politics and the seemingly endless media hysteria over all things Palin couldn’t last long. The media has the attention span of a six-year-old with A.D.D. on red bull. All they needed was Britney Spears to go bald again – and Palin coverage would immediately subside.

A clear turning point was on September 11th. Just prior to that, the lipstick-pig foolishness had reached obnoxious proportions. Republicans had been itching for an opportunity to present any statement by Barack Obama as a sexist jab against Palin. Accuse Obama of sexism? Check.
But it was short-lived. The recognition of September 11th brought a well-needed sobering look at the issues and a pseudo-ceasefire between McCain and Obama. Early the next day, however, Obama seized the opportunity and came after McCain with some hard-hitting attacks on McCain’s “honor” that brought the McCain v. Obama battle back to the frontlines. But this time Palin took a backseat as Obama judiciously zero-ed his attacks in on McCain.

The worsening economy coverage was the icing on Barack Obama’s cake. He was no longer playing defense against GOP attacks, was able to focus back on the issues and take advantage of McCain’s misstatements on the economy. Since then, McCain’s lead has retreated and stories about Palin’s tanning bed have been replaced by the AIG bailout and banking deregulation. Talk about a topic change.

The zeal that Palin first brought to the race as a female veep candidate continued to lose its’ edge as she came off as scripted in her interviews and failed to wow people with her knowledge on the issues. The American people began to see that all that glistened certainly was not gold and Palin fatigue began to set in.

Don’t get it twisted, massive crowds still flock to Sarah Palin’s events and she certainly has brought much-needed enthusiasm to the McCain ticket, but not with the considerable amount of fanfare that existed a mere few weeks ago. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, Palin's favorability rating is at 40 percent, 4 points down from last week. Her unfavorable rating is at 30 percent, rising 8 points in a week. Suburban and independent women are now in reach for the McCain campaign, but so far the campaign has failed to attract new women voters in critical numbers.

There is still plenty of time for the pendulum to swing back in Palin’s direction and for her to regain her footing. The Vice Presidential debate with Joe Biden on Oct. 2 may provide that opportunity for Palin, as the expectations for her to succeed against Biden are embarrassingly low. On the other hand, if her performance is anything like her last few interviews, which were heavy on spewing the codewords “maverick,” “reform” and “ruffle some feathers,” a tad bit on substance with a dash of lies, she could lose the opportunity to prove herself as capable altogether and it could be costly for the McCain campaign. No pressure, right?

For now, it appears that Sarah Palin is that nickel in your pocket that has lost its shine. She still holds value to the McCain campaign but her charm and appeal have depreciated.

Cross-posted on Huff Post's Off the Bus

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Sunday Funnies

In an attempt to insert some comic relief in an intense political climate, I will begin a series called "The Sunday Funnies." Every Sunday, I will feature a political joke, article or clip that provides some light-hearted perspective on the political news.

So, take a breath, let go of the election anxiety and laugh. This week, check out this clip from SNL spoofing McCain's negative ads.

Friday, September 19, 2008

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: Saving our economy. So after an emergency huddle, congressional leaders and the Treasury Secretary have announced a “bold approach” to attempt to save our economy. And by bold, they mean expensive. The rescue plan is expected to cost $1,000,000,000,000.00. And no, this is not in monopoly money.

NOT: Installing a tanning bed in your house. According to recent reports, Palin had a tanning bed installed in the Alaska’s governor’s mansion. Breaking News: Tanorexics across the country are now flocking to the McCain-Palin ticket in droves.

HOT: Getting your groove back. As Barack Obama has intensified his attacks on McCain and as McCain has intensified his blunders, Obama gets his BOmentum back in the polls. A recent CBS/New York Times survey put Obama up by 48 percent to 43 percent. Woot!

NOT: Refusing to testify in a probe. Sarah Palin's husband, Todd Palin, has refused to testify on Friday in the investigation of his wife's alleged abuse of power. Todd Palin was among 13 people subpoenaed by the Alaska Legislature, but it looks like the Legislative Council will not compel any witness to testify before Nov. 4. And we care after Nov. 4 because...?

HOT: Knowing where Spain is. During an interview in Miami earlier this week with Spanish-language station Union Radio, a reporter asked McCain whether, if elected, he would receive Zapatero in the White House. McCain responded with a statement about Mexico and Latin America — but not Spain — pressing the need to stand up to world leaders who want to harm America. Candidate has been officially stumped.

NOT: Having George Allen perform minority outreach. I know that this sounds like the headline of an Onion article, but I kid you not. Republicans have announced that George Allen will perform minority outreach for the Prez campaign. I'm beginning to think that this theory that Republicans want to lose in November has some validity to it.

Check out Our Fabulous Video of the Week:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Do Sexism Criers Fall Silent When It Comes to Michelle Obama?

One of the many blatant hypocrisies that has stood out for me during this election is the fact that Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin supporters, who are so quick to cry sexism, remain silent when seemingly sexist connotations are assigned to Michelle Obama.

Most recently, Bill O’Reilly stated, “Now, I have a lot of people who call me on the radio and say she looks angry. And I have to say there’s some validity to that. She looks like an angry woman.” I wouldn’t be surprised that if such a description was attributed to Clinton or Palin, supporters would assert that there’s a double standard that women who are smart, serious and professional are considered “angry.” Not to mention that such a statement seems completely untrue. At most appearances, Michelle is either smiling or serious – and certainly does not come off as an “angry woman.” What’s more, the Fox News’ characterization of Michelle Obama as “Obama Baby Mama” in June was also met with radio silence from the feminist community. But why?

Could it be that the intersection of race and gender just gets too hairy and so the battle is best left alone? The “Obama Baby Mama” comment is soaked in both sexist and racist connotations and perhaps many supporters of Clinton and Palin would rather avoid a subject where racism plays a role. It is clear that some republicans are trying to associate Michelle with pejorative images that are specific to African-American females. They would like to perpetuate the image of the “angry black woman” to instill hatred and fear in small-minded people – much like Ronald Reagan tried to do with the image of the “welfare queen” during his presidential campaign.

Or are we dealing with that aged-old taboo question from the Suffragist Movement that Women’s Rights has always been an exclusively white middle class woman phenomenon and black women are rarely invited to the dinner table? Such a question reemerged during the primary election, when Geraldine Ferraro asserted that; “Gender is the most restricting force in American life.” It is a zero-sum game to try to quantify sexism, racism or any other “ism” for that matter, but many women of color shuttered when they heard this comment. It brought back the fears that women of color and black women in particular have always been on the sidelines when it comes to fighting for equal rights for women and that they are virtually ignored when sexist comments are hurled their way.

Cross-posted to Political Voices of Women

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Uh, What I Meant Was…

This picture seems to be a physical representation of the McCain camp’s campaign strategy as of late. From acknowledging that the economy is fundamentally strong to slamming Wall Street “fats cats” that are connected to his campaign contributions, McCain has been digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole in the ground. Now we can see why their campaign strategy has had to resort to lies and a hockey mom!

The latest snafu involved McCain campaign surrogate Carly Fiorina who stated this morning that Sarah Palin doesn’t have the experience to run a major company. When asked by an on-air personality for St. Louis’ KTRS Radio, “Do you think [Sarah Palin] has the experience to run a major company, like Hewlett Packard?"

"No, I don't," responded Fiorina. "But you know what? That's not what she's running for." And it got worse. In an attempt to clarify her comments on MSNBC, Fiorina explained, "I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation ... " Oops, she did it again.

Seriously, I think I could do a better job representing John McCain. The Obama campaign rightly took advantage of the gaffe, “If John McCain’s top economic advisor doesn’t think he can run a corporation, how on Earth can he run the largest economy in the world in the midst of a financial crisis? Apparently even the people who run his campaign agree that the economy is an issue John McCain doesn’t understand as well as he should,” said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor. Zing!

Check out the awkwardness here:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad News: When Karl Rove Says Your Campaign Ads Went “Too Far”

As if this election could not become more of a hot tranny mess: On Fox News Sunday, mastermind Karl Rove stated that McCain has “gone in his ads one step too far, and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the 100-percent-truth test.” Whoa-ho.

I still don’t fully trust the guy and am suspicious that this statement is some backhanded way to get votes (not sure how yet) – but it is refreshing to hear that the McCain camp is being called out on their lies.

I have to say that I have to give the media brownie points (further complicating my love-hate relationship with the media) for exposing many of the lies. In a world where the truth is truly relative, the media outlets have actually been doing their homework and playing the role of the watchdog they are suppose to be. (Begins a slow clap).

On Sunday morning, the Obama camp sent a memo to reporters entitled a "Dishonorable, Dishonest Campaign," which highlighted a number of the erroneous pieces. Joe Klein, of Time magazine called one spot the "sleaziest" he had ever seen. Paul Krugman of the New York Times, defined the episode as a "blizzard of lies." On Sunday, the St. Petersburg Times, ran an editorial entitled: "Campaign Of Lies Disgraces McCain," while the Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman, wrote that "to McCain the truth is expendable."

What the campaigns have learned over the last few weeks is: There is such a thing as too many lies. Now, we all expect an ample amount of stretching-the-truth-and-taking-innocuous-comments-out-of-context moments in elections. That’s just the nature of the beast, my friends. But there is a fine line. And the McCain campaign reached it, crossed it and set up camp there for a few weeks. I mean you can’t just say that the sky is purple (i.e. your veep didn't take earmarks and opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere") and not expect anyone to call you out on it.

In McCain’s recent press interviews, he clearly looks very uncomfortable trying to defend these lies. It’s obvious that a group of manipulative advisors have been behind the distortions and it’s sad that he has allowed them to destroy his image as a straight-talker for political gain.

Check out Barack Obama’s recent campaign ad challenging McCain’s "honor":

Friday, September 12, 2008

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

HOT: Tax cuts. Check out the site ObamaTaxCut and find out how Obama’s Tax Plan would benefit you. And also how much John McCain’s tax plan WOULD NOT. Hm, I’m already calculating how many pairs of shoes that would mean…

NOT: Biting the hand that feeds you. Talk about AWKWARD. Lieberman returns to the senate and is excluded from the Weekly Democratic Caucus Lunches. Better get out the brown bag, my friend! In other news, his Legislative Director straight-up quits the first working day after the Republican convention.

HOT: Education reform. Barack Obama detailed his education reform plan earlier this week, outlining his ideas to modernize buildings, increase technology in classrooms, double funding for charter schools and help uplift students of color moving into the 21st century.

NOT: Voter suppression. Ah yes, I knew there was something missing from this election. The chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County Michigan (swing state central) is planning to use a list of foreclosed homes to block people (read: African American voters) from voting in the upcoming election. According to a report by the state’s Department of Labor and Economic Growth, more than 60 percent of all sub-prime loans — the most likely kind of loan to go into default — were made to African-Americans in Michigan. And it begins!

HOT: Obama goes aggressive. As Democrats fret endlessly about tightening polls, Obama plans a sharper tone. He released a campaign ad that avoids mentioning Palin but accuses McCain of being out of touch with the country after 26 years in Washington: "He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send e-mail. Still doesn't understand the economy, and favors $200 billion in new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle class."

NOT: Having taxpayers cover your stays at home. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a “per diem” allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business. Very un-maverick-like, indeed.

HOT: U.N.I.T.Y. In a can’t-we-all-just-get-along moment, political rivals McCain and Obama called a political ceasefire to honor those that died in the terrorist attacks in 2001.

NOT: Lipstick on Pigs. I’ll die happy if I never hear the words “lipstick” or “pigs” again. Period.

Check out Our Fabulous Video of the Week:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seeking the Calm in the Storm

Today, the nation pauses to memorialize the nearly 3,000 people who died during the Sept 11. terrorist attack. The seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks comes in the midst of bitter and divisive campaign attacks. Let this be a moment for the campaigns, media outlets and the public to put the political bickering aside. Perhaps today may be an opportunity to pacify the personal assaults (I'm hopeful!) and focus on the issues at hand - how are we going to best protect America at home and restore America's image abroad.

John McCain and Barack Obama have both put their campaigns on hold to honor the victims at Ground Zero. The two candidates will gather at the site of the World Trade Center and bear witness to the tragedy that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pa. Later, in the evening, McCain and Obama will intersect again for half-hour appearances at a TIME-sponsored forum on national service at Columbia University. The candidates will not speak together at the forum, but will participate in a discussion about national service with TIME managing editor Rick Stengel and PBS's Judy Woodruff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Election ’08: Looking More Like Junior High By the Hour

Oy! I seriously think I’ll have a head full of gray hair and will have lost 30 pounds by the time this election is over. I’ve noticed that I get chest pains every time I turn on CNN these days. I think I’ve developed a bad case of electionosis (election fatigue, rapid heartbeat at the mentioning of the word “poll,” sudden violent outbursts while watching Fox News, insomnia, mood swings from highly optimistic to depressing hopelessness). Can I get a 12-step program, please?!

The latest incident, which has raised my heart rate, is an accusation from the McCain camp that Barack Obama called Sarah Palin “a pig.” It’s almost as if they were waiting to pounce on any innocent comment from Barack and frame it as sexist. Does the truth mean nothing these days?

On Tuesday, Obama criticized McCain's economic policies as similar to those of President Bush, saying: "You can put lipstick on a pig ... it's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years." The McCain campaign accused Obama of “smearing” Palin in “offensive and disgraceful” comments and demanded an apology. Interestingly, McCain used the same metaphor a few times last year, including once to describe Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care plan.

Last night, Anita Dunn, a senior campaign adviser, called the McCain attack a "pathetic attempt to play the gender card about the use of a common analogy - the same analogy that Senator McCain himself used about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care plan just last year." Even Gov. Mike Hukabee said on Fox News: "I'm going to have to cut Obama some slack on that one. I do not think he was referring to Sarah Palin."

I’ve concluded that we’ve reached a low point in the election where it appears to look more and more like a junior high spat or an episode of the “Hills.” And the media is that self-conscious gossipaholic girl who looks for any opportunity to instigate and cause trouble. “And then Barack was all like, 'oh no you didn’t.' And then McCain was like 'oh yes I did and by the way, you’re sexist. Plus, you’re not invited to my birthday party. So there.'"

The only people benefiting from this back-and-forth from the campaigns is the media. The American people aren’t benefiting and we’re learning that much of what has been said over the last few weeks is a half-truth or a lie such as the fact that Bristol Palin’s babyfather is a 26-year-old black guy and that Oprah refused to let Sarah Palin on her show. I’m getting to the point where I’ve taken an “every other approach” with campaign coverage, which means that I believe every other rumor I hear from the blogs and the media. I know that it’s so convenient and pathetic to blame the media for everything but it does appear that most comments would go entirely unnoticed were it not for news outlets that obsess and elevate any and every quasi-criticism.

For those of you, like myself, who have been battling electionosis – I encourage you to stay strong! It’s been a rough few weeks with polls, the campaign he-said-she-said, and the straight-up lies coming out of the mouths of the GOP (more so than usual). I received an email this week that said “Buck Up.” Totally what I needed to hear to get reinvigorated, look beyond the daily spats and get focused on what really matters. So the next time you hear someone complaining about the latest attack or faux pas, remind them that the numbers are still on our side, there's plenty of time left and pass on some optimism. I remember reaching this exact breakdown point towards the end of the primary. This too will pass, my friends.

Check out the McCain campaign ad blasting Barack Obama's 'lipstick' quip:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Our Fabulous Political Woman of the Month: Heather Mizeur

It’s that time again! Time to spotlight a woman who is accomplished, dynamic, poised, politically savvy and just plain fabulous all the way around. For September, that woman is Heather Mizeur.

In 2006, Heather was elected to a four-year term in the Maryland General Assembly, representing the 20th district (Takoma Park and Silver Spring) in the House of Delegates. She serves on the Health and Government Operations Committee, which deals with all matters of health insurance and health policy issues before the state of Maryland. Ms. Mizeur sponsored and won passage of the Family Coverage Expansion Act in 2007 and the Kids First Act in 2008, accomplishments noted by the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, and National Public Radio. The Democratic Leadership Council named Mizeur their “Democrat of the Week” for her innovative health policy ideas in March 2008.

Prior to joining the Maryland General Assembly, she served one term as a member of the Takoma Park City Council, where she was known for her pragmatic leadership and attention to constituent services. Maryland Democrats elected Heather Mizeur to be their representative to the Democratic National Committee. Heather spent five years sharing her health policy expertise with non-profit community health centers for low-income, minority, migrant, and homeless people across the country. In addition to her work at a national non-profit health care organization, Delegate Mizeur spent nearly a decade working as a policy analyst and political director on Capitol Hill for three members of the House of Representatives, and most recently as Domestic Policy Director for Senator John F. Kerry. She was named the Maryland State Director for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential campaign in 2004 and was the principal architect of Kerry’s agenda for health care reform during the campaign.

Heather’s solid grounding in social justice has led her to perform significant volunteer work. A Truman Scholar and graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she traveled to remote and impoverished villages in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, where she helped repair water systems, teach public health classes, and work with medical teams to deliver much-needed health care. She is now the senior technical advisor to the Montgomery County Latino Health Initiative. Heather also spent four years as a member of the AmeriCorps national service program. She worked as a tutor and mentor in a dropout prevention program for at-risk youth and serves on the board of directors of the Long Branch Athletic Association (LBAA). She lives in Takoma Park with her spouse Deborah and their dog Chester.

Heather has become a recognized leader on health care, higher education, energy and the environment, high technology, social justice, and civil rights issues. She has dedicated her career to finding creative ways to expand quality, affordable health care to all. She is a tireless public servant with a vibrant personality and warm, down-to-earth demeanor. I applaud her for her service and for making waves in the political arena.

So three cheers and two snaps for our Fabulous Political Woman of the Month! If you have someone you’d like to nominate for next month, hit me up!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Pull Off Michelle Obama's Look For Less

So please forgive me if I'm having a distinctly "girly moment" here but I need a serious breather from Electionmania.

I'm not one of those people who says, "Wow.. did you see what Lauren Conrad wore to the VMAs last night?" I could care less. But I have become "one of those" for Michelle Obama. I must confess that I looked for a purple dress for three weeks after I saw her in her faboo one (alas, no luck). Same with the orange dress (also an unsuccessful venture). Le sigh.

She's received much acclaim for her classy yet sassy ensembles and I've broken it down so that you can attempt to pull it off. Here goes..

Here's the famous dress Michelle wore on the View. The original dress is from White House/Black Market for $148. The dress immediately sold out after the show. Now that's star power! To the right is a mas cheaper version of the dress at Sears for $20.99. At the end is my version of the dress (which I've appropriately deemed "my Michelle Obama dress") which I received as a gift. Love it.

Purple dress is from Banana Republic for $130. Faux pearls are from Express for $24.50 and belt is from JCPenney for $20.00.

Gray and black dress is from Ann Taylor Loft for $59.99. Black patent leather Mary Janes are from JCPenney for $39.99.

Black shirtwaist dress is from Target for $44.99. Black boots are from Payless Shoes for $44.99.

Trench coat is from Sears for $91.00.

Dress is from Ann Taylor Loft for $39.99 and brooch is $19.99 on Amazon.com.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

HOT or NOT: The Week-In-Review

And just when you thought that the “Week-In-Review” was no more, it’s back and better than ever (well, I can’t promise that)! This has been quite a convention-ful week. Let’s take a look...

HOT: Diversity. Though speakers at the Republican convention stressed that they are in-touch with “real Americans,” the sea of white faces in the audience told a different story. At the Democratic convention, Blacks made up 25 percent of the delegates at Invesco Field, black musicians Stevie Wonder and John Legend performed and vendors sold T-shirts with slogans in Spanish. With racial minorities set to be in the majority in a few decades, Republicans need to rethink their strategy to avoid possible extinction.

NOT: Presidential elections = Personality contests. Um, can we please not decide another election based on “who do you want to grab a beer with?” If that’s the basic qualifier, then make it Daniel Craig and (instead of a beer) a mango mojito please. Seriously, while Republicans continually push McCain and Palin’s “character,” we still know very little about what issues, policies and reforms that their administration would implement.

HOT: Community Organizers. After numerous assaults on Obama’s work as a community organizer, a coalition of community organizers across the country launched the Web site OrganizersFightBack. What Palin didn’t know was that Obama was working for a group of churches that were concerned about their parishioners, many of whom had been laid off when the steel mills closed on the south side of Chicago. Boo-yah.

NOT: Unemployment. What everyone seemed to miss this week was news that unemployment has climbed to a 5-year high of 6.1 percent. Worried about the economy and their own business prospects, employers cut payrolls by 84,000 in August, marking the eighth straight month of losses. Unemployment rose among almost all demographic groups, but women were hit hardest, with a rise equal to the high for the last downturn in September of 2003. Oucher.

HOT: Reformist Image. As John McCain replaces his campaign strategy from “experience” to “change,” the battle of the “Reformists” is on. Hey, I guess if you can’t beat the strategy, join it. Sigh.

NOT: Invoking Racist Code Words. Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland described Barack Obama as “uppity” on Thursday. For decades in the segregated South, “uppity” was a word applied to African-Americans who didn't stay in their place. Westmoreland, who was born and raised in the south, recently issued a statement saying, “I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense.” Really now?

HOT: Voting. Since the last federal election in 2006, the Obama campaign’s voter registration efforts have added more than 2 million Democrats to voter rolls in the 28 states that register voters according to party affiliation. Voting: So hot right now.

And - of course - check out Our Fabulous Video of the Week:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin Rallies Her Base, But At What Cost?

For the past year, conservative support for McCain has been lukewarm at best. Then came Sarah Palin. Republicans praised her stances on family values and overstated her meager executive experience. Their support since her debut has been blindly unwavering, with evangelicals claiming that her 17 year old daughter's unwed pregnancy is "humanizing". It is doubtful that her supporters would be so full of grace if one the Democratic candidates were in the same position.

Palin established herself as a bulldog-with-lipstick by delivering an acerbic speech on Wednesday which was heavily laced with jabs at the Democratic ticket. Conservatives greeted the speech with loud acclaim and excitement; however, the undertone of relief was palpable as she proved her viability to her rightwing base. Her speech served as a cattle call and escalated the bitter attacks on Barack Obama.

The question is: Will rallying the base come at a cost?

Conventional wisdom states that in order for the Republicans to win in November, they need to capture a significant portion of the moderate and independent voting blocs. And, although her speech will reinvigorate the Republican faithful, encouraging them to donate more money and increase their hands-on involvement in the campaign, Palin is simply preaching to the choir.

Republicans missed an opportunity to court moderate and independent voters by having Palin deliver a highly polarizing speech. As of now, it appears that Republicans are gambling that energizing their base will net them more votes than appealing to centrists.

It is unclear whether Republicans will continue pursuing this strategy as November approaches knowing how easily they can change their talking points. Check out this Daily Show clip to see what I'm talking about:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

McCain Takes A Stab At History (or Herstory, Rather)

I knew it. I just knew that McCain would put a woman on his ticket. There’s no doubt that his risky pick in Sarah Palin has raised a number of eyebrows from media outlets and the public alike – especially in response to accusations that she used undue influence in trying to fire a state trooper and her acknowledgment that her 17-year-old unwed daughter is 5 months preggos. McCain is taking a BIG CHANCE. But do the potential pay-offs justify the risks? Let’s see…

1) PAY-OFF: Inexperience
As a Washington outsider, Palin’s freshness and youthfulness could serve as an asset for McCain and possibly energize the younger voters and those disillusioned by political “business-as-usual” practices in Washington.

RISK: Inexperience
By putting someone on the ticket with less than two years of executive experience and zero-foreign policy experience, he has limited his ability to attack Barack on his lack of experience. McCain’s number one attack on Obama is that he would not be ready on day one. We could ask Sarah Palin the same question. Untested on the national stage (including the fact that she’s never been on a Sunday morning show), more allegations about Palin may come to light and McCain’s judgment will be questioned in the process.

2) PAY-OFF: History
McCain is making a move to counteract Barack’s message of history and turn women out to vote for McCain. This move could potentially bring more women into the party.

RISK: History
There is a possibility that not all Republicans will be thrilled about the “history” argument. Just as there were West Virginia Democrats that would not vote for Barack based on race, there may be Republicans that will not want to support Palin based on gender. They may tell pollers that they’d support a woman on the ticket, but in the privacy of the voting booth – with the thought of a woman president – they may change their minds.

3) PAY-OFF: Court Disgrunted Clinton Voters
There are still many frustrated Clinton supporters up for grabs and McCain has been working hard with campaign ads to win them over. There is a possibility that he could pull over large numbers of Clinton supporters, who are passionate about breaking the glass ceiling, to his side.

RISK: Court Disgrunted Clinton Voters
Much speculation has been floating around about how McCain’s choice could push Clinton supporters to vote for him. But just as all Black Americans don’t blindly vote for a black candidate (case in point: Alan Keys), Clinton voters may not blindly vote for McCain. A recent New York Times/CBS News Poll conducted just before the convention found that 6 in 10 of the roughly 18 million voters who supported Mrs. Clinton in the Democratic contest would support Mr. Obama. These numbers may have increased after Hillary Clintons speech at the convention. What’s more, McCain’s attempt to pander to Clinton supporters may backfire. Many may be insulted by the fact that McCain believes that Palin is comparable to Clinton just because both happen to be female. Clinton supporters may also question Palin’s views on reproductive rights and pay equity.

4) PAY-OFF: Mother
Palin’s compelling story as a mother of 5 may be able to win over the “hockey moms” contingent and make her more relatable to suburbanites that care deeply about family values issues. She may also be seen as a heroine for working mothers who are struggling to pull off the work-home balance.

RISK: Mother
The fact that Palin has 5 children, including a child born in April with Down syndrome and a pregnant daughter, could concern many Republicans and Democrats alike. Studies have shown that women with young children have a harder time winning elections because voters are wary of the toll it will take on their children. A young child with Down syndrome will have significant needs and raises critical questions about whether she can handle the job and take care of her maternal responsibilities.

While I believe that speaking about Palin's daughter should remain off-limits, it is a legitimate question to ask whether she has the judgment and the wisdom to potentially serve as Commander-and-Chief. Her decision to knowingly subject her pregnant daughter to public scrutiny as well as a disturbing revelation that she boarded an 8-hour flight while having labor pains may speak to her poor judgment.

5) PAY-OFF: Maverick Image
McCain sees Palin as a fellow maverick for breaking away from her state’s Republican establishment and defeating one of Alaska’s elder statesmen, Frank Murkowski, in 2006. She has become popular in the state for advocating for tough ethical standards for politicians and passing a state ethics law overhaul. Palin supports McCain’s image as reformer and fights against the Obama campaign’s perception as him as “more of the same.” The maverick image could help McCain build more support amongst independent voters who are tired of Bush but not fully on board with Barack Obama.

RISK: Maverick Image
Recent articles noting an ethical investigation against Palin, her consistent ideological support for Republican principles and allegations that she directed indicted Senator Ted Steven’s 527 group – may indicate that the “maverick image” will not stick for long.

This pick could provide great rewards for McCain and the Republican party at large, but the question is whether the rewards outweigh the risks?

Monday, September 1, 2008

DNC Recap: Highlights & Lowlights

There are moments when you feel yourself standing in the midst of history. Every single conversation, interaction, moment seems to hold greater importance. You can hear yourself describing every detail to your grandchildren as you’re caught in that moment.

That’s what Denver was.

It was an hour, a day, a week trapped in history, soaked in historical significance. The fact that Barack’s speech was given on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech, as thousands flocked to the stadium with one common cause, made it that much more poignant. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but you could feel the energy, the passion, the power of now, of this moment in our times. As the streamers came down and the fireworks went off, I remember looking up at the sky – feeling that anything was possible at that moment. That this is the essence of the American Dream – the sincere hope that our days before us will be better, more prosperous, more promising than the dark days behind us.

Obama’s awe-inspiring speech, the thousands of chanting Americans from all walks of life speaking in one voice, the American flags blowing in the cool, crisp Denver summer evening breeze was the culmination, the climax, the pinnacle of a phenomenal week.

Looking back on the week – here are a few highlights (and lowlights).

Top 5 Highlights:
5) Friendly locals. Seriously the Nicest. People. Ever.
4) Perennial Party with a Purpose events. Throughout the week, the Perennial Strategy Group hosted a celebration of Civil Rights Icons with Dorothy Heights and the Martin Luther King Jr. family. They hosted “A Season for Change” Reception with Chris Tucker, Biz Markie, and Musiq Soulchild and a “I Have a Dream” Celebration with Susan Sarandon and Spike Lee. Celebrities + Politics = My Ultimate Affair.
3) Every Women Counts Celebration. Lifetime and Rock the Vote hosted a late-night event to celebrate and inspire women to vote and lead. Guests included the Army Wives, Taye Diggs and a performance by Ashanti.
2) Manifest Hope Gallery. The gallery spotlights artists across the nation who use their voices to motivate the grassroots movement surrounding the Obama campaign. Dozens of Obama-inspired artwork were showcased at the gallery during the convention.
1) Speeches. Special kudos to Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and – of course – Barack Obama.

Top 5 Lowlights:
5) Frustrated locals (who made it quite obvious that they were not a fan of the thousands who came to disrupt their Denver way of life).
4) Protestors. I’m all about the first amendment but the Nobama protestors and the Clinton Supporters for McCain (all 3 of them) were just plain obnoxious. Boo.
3) Losing my voice.
2) Having a strong desire to cut off my ankles after endless walking/ standing.
1) Credentials. Ok, so I knew it would be difficult getting creds for all of the events and to gain access to the Pepsi Center and Colorado Center – but I had no idea how bad it would be. Unless you were a delegate, you had a better chance of finding a needle in haystack than getting credentials. Most people played the "it’s not what you know but who you know" game.

All and all, it was a fabulous convention. Stay tuned for more!