The Straightaway

Politics Without Pundits

Posts Tagged ‘democrat

100,000 Strong for Obama

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Barack Obama draws an estimated 100,000 supporters at a late October rally in St. Louis, Missouri - a former Republican safe state now being hotly fought over by Obama and McCain. Photo courtesy of

What a picture! I especially enjoy how that building in the background looks conspicuously like the White House. Good call by the Obama campaign on the location, I suppose.


Written by acs2008

October 18, 2008 at 9:18 pm

McCain Comes Out Firing in 3rd Debate

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Sen. John McCain came for a fight against Sen. Barack Obama in tonight’s final presidential debate of the 2008 election season. McCain was angry, energetic, and invigorating. He attacked Obama directly more than he had in the previous debates. He interrupted Obama and called him out constantly. He was a sarcastic jerk all night, rolling his eyes at Obama at least twice – in short, McCain was fantastic.

Obama started the debate poorly, seeming to be on his heels while spouting his usual campaign talking points. Early on, McCain countered the standard Obama comparison of McCain and Bush with the soundbite of the night:

Senator Obama, I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against him, you should have run 4 years ago.

However, Obama recovered, scoring points on his healthcare policy and other issues while maintaining his cool. In contrast to McCain, Obama was even, temperate, and looked very wise (although a bit too professorial). Obama wasn’t as engaging in this debates as others, but the key was his consistency – he looked more presidential than McCain.

Overall, McCain won this debate with his energy and boldness. However, this debate will do little in the polls other than energizing the base.

Debate Advantage: McCain

Here is the first part of the debate:

Sidenote: After the debate, NBC featured former governor and Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney as a commentator. While he talked, I started thinking about future elections. If Obama ends up winning in 2008, and the Democrats do a terrible job the next four years, the strong, conservative Romney will be a great bet for the Republicans in 2012.

Written by acs2008

October 16, 2008 at 3:24 am

RNC Wednesday Rundown: Venom without Substance

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Click on the image to see Giulianis 2008 RNC speech.

Click on the image to see Giuliani’s 2008 RNC speech.

Rudy Giuliani‘s energetic speech was filled with direct, personal attacks on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama. Giuliani kept the attacks coming all night, on anything from Obama’s experience as a community organizer to his foreign policy stances. Giuliani promoted the standard Republican line on McCain as a heroic POW war hero who is ready to lead America. Giuliani offered his own delusional foreign policy ideas, somehow managing to bring up September 11th. Again. (Surprise, Surprise!). The most effective and substantive part of Giuliani’s speech was his assertions on Obama’s flip-flopping tendences:

“They would have acted in their self-interest, and they would have changed their position in order to win an election. How many times have we seen Barack Obama do this?

Obama — Obama promised to take public financing for his campaign, until he broke his promise.

Obama — Obama was against wiretapping before he voted for it.

When speaking to a pro-Israeli group, Obama favored an undivided Jerusalem, like I favor and like John McCain favored. Well, he favored an undivided Jerusalem — don’t get too excited — for one day, until he changed his mind.

Well, I’ll tell you, if I were Joe Biden, I’d want to get that V.P. thing in writing.”

Overall, a solid, rousing speech that didn’t say much about the issues.

Click on the picture to view VP nominee Sarah Palins speech wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

Click on the picture to view VP nominee Sarah Palin's speech wednesday at the Republican National Convention.

Sarah Palin‘s vice presidential speech, written by a former Bush speechwriter, was a smashing success inside the RNC hall. Palin established herself as a small-town mother with strong family values, which is sure to excite the evangelical conservative base. She showed that she has the potential to fill the VP-Attack-Dog role well, hitting Obama constantly and very personally.

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”


“For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.”

Palin gave the usual inspiring rhetoric about John McCain, etc., but overall, her speech had little, if any, substance. She constantly attacked Obama’s policies, including a woefully erroneous assertion on taxes that leads one to believe that she is either a comfortable liar, or very misinformed on the issues – either would be dangerous, the former for the Obama campaign, the latter for the American people.

Palin came off as fiery but likable – her likability might allow her to get away with a lot. However, her barbs were deep and painful, some very dishonorable in a way that really contrasts with McCain’s respectful style. However, I suppose that is vice presidential politics.

Palin’s speech will galvanize true conservatives, but will do little, perhaps even repel, the independents they need to secure. Palin is quickly becoming the Republican Hillary Clinton, in the sense that she is a polarizing figure beloved by her party but absolutely abhorred by the opposition.

RNC Tuesday Rundown

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Former Presidential hopeful Fred Thompson gave what will probably be the strongest speech all night Tuesday at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. In fact, former Senator Thompson showed more life and said more words than he probably said during his entire abysmal primary season campaign.

First, Thompson vetted VP nominee Sarah Palin, calling her a “breath of fresh air.” Thompson poked fun at  Obama, saying that he preferred Palin’s substantive experience to just hitting the Sunday morning talk shows. Thompson attacked Obama several times (though he never mentioned the Democratic nominee’s name), calling him the most liberal, inexperienced person” to ever run for President.

Thompson had very strong words in support of his friend John McCain, reiterating his heroic POW experiences and praising McCain’s “strength, courage, humility, beauty, wisdom, and honor.” Thompson stressed that McCain was a big proponent of “reform,” which has become the Republican version of the nauseating buzz word “change.” Although he bumbled through some key points, Thompson gave a pretty good speech overall.

But as for Lieberman…

The fact that Independent Democrat Joe Lieberman is speaking at the RNC at all is shocking – just eight years ago, he ran as the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Lieberman’s speech was likely supposed to accentuate McCain’s maverick reputation. However, Lieberman said very little of consequence. If anything can be taken away from the Lieberman speech, it is that John McCain is a swell guy, whether or not you agree with his policies. This kind of bland statement pales in comparison to Thompson’s points – Thompson framed McCain well, specifically mentioning free trade, taxes, judge picking, abortion, and other issues.

Lieberman’s bland speech and bland facial expression failed to wow the convention hall, which was fairly empty in the upper levels. Compared to the DNC’s Tuesday night – featuring an electrifying speech by Senator Hillary Clinton – the RNC has not been able to produce the same energy as its Democratic counterpart.

Coming up Wednesday: the highly anticipated speech by VP nominee Sarah Palin. Considering the buzz around her, it is almost certain that things will pick up for her speech. But will it be enough to energize the conservative Republican base and put McCain/Palin over the top? We’ll have to wait and see.

Republican National Convention: George W. Bush

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George W. Bush endorses John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

George W. Bush endorses John McCain for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

President George W. Bush gave a speech tonight via satellite at the Republican National Convention backing the Republican ticket. It wasn’t a very exciting speech, but President Bush said what he needed to say. Bush said that he was confident the American people would pick McCain/Palin after looking at the “judgment, experience, and policy stances” of the ticket. Bush spent little time attacking the Democrats, only referencing the “angry left wing” once.

Overall, it was a pretty tame speech that did not quite electrify that crowd.

Written by acs2008

September 3, 2008 at 2:32 am

Sarah Palooza

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Republican presidential nominee John McCain set off a media frenzy today by choosing Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. News of the Palin Decision led 95 percent of America to ask – Sarah Who?

Sarah Palin, currently the governor of Alaska, is a 44-year old former beauty queen and mayor of a small town in Alaska. She had been casually mentioned as a possible VP choice for McCain, but was thought to be well behind other hopefuls in the running, such as Independent/Democrat Joe Lieberman, Mitt Romney, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Is this dark horse a good pick for McCain? I think Ed Rollins of CNN said it best – the choice is “brilliant but risky.”

Choosing Palin has started a media circus that has been successful in taking away a lot of the buzz from Barack Obama’s monumental acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday. She’s a fresh face, much like Obama was, and will be severely scrutinized coming into next week’s Republican National Convention in Minnesota.

Palin is young – just 44 – evening out the aged McCain ticket. She is also a woman (a likeable one) that may very well steal away some Hillary supporters who were already thinking about voting for McCain. Ingeniously, McCain has subdued Obama’s History Train. Now, whoever wins this fall will surely make history, putting either the first African-American or woman president/vice president in power.

Palin has been described as both “maverick” and “very conservative,” two terms that usually don’t go together. However, they fit here, much like the “maverick” yet “very liberal” tag might fit Obama – Palin is a Washington outsider who is not afraid to lock horns with the Republican establishment. However, she is also staunchly pro-life, which may lure many social conservatives who have been weary about McCain into actually casting a ballot for him this fall.

Now, the risky side of Palin: she is even greener than Obama. She has been governor less than two years, has no experience at the national domestic level and on foreign policy issues. When asked earlier if she would like to be vice president, she answered that she wasn’t even really sure what responsibilities the vice president held. Any “inexperience” knives that the McCain camp tries to throw at Obama now can be deflected and returned, perhaps in greater force.

Obama has accused the Republicans constantly of resorting to the “politics of fear” to steer people away from voting from Obama. The Democrats have potentially been handed their own fear-mongering “gift issue” if the dare us it. Imagine this revised version of the 3 AM Red Phone Call Ad:

It’s dark. 3 AM. The red phone is ringing. The executive must make a crucial security choice. But John McCain isn’t there to answer it – he has been incapacitated. It is up to young Vice President Palin to answer the call and save America. Do you trust her, if need be, to answer the 3 AM call? Do you trust her enough to put America in her hands?

It would be a despicable move, something that might tarnish the reputation of the Democratic machine forever. But it just might work, drawing away the centrist blue-collar folks in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio away from this attractive new McCain-Palin ticket and into the comforting arms of Obama-Biden. And it’s not an entirely fantastical situation – often in American history, for one reason or another, the vice president has had to take over the president’s duty, either on a temporary or permanent basis. (Vice President Dick Cheney had presidential power vested in him at least once during this term, when President George W. Bush was undergoing a medical procedure).

McCain has made a shrewd choice, dampening Obamamania a bit while adding a little fanfare to his ticket at the same time. It will either turn out to be a brilliant strategic move, or an irreparable blunder.

We’ve got 68 days ’til we find out which one it will be.

Written by acs2008

August 30, 2008 at 4:40 am