The Straightaway

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Posts Tagged ‘republican national convention

The Palins and the Alaskan Independence Party

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Since it is Obama’s guilty-by-association headlines (former Weather Underground member William Ayers) that have been dominating the media, it is only fair to present Sarah Palin’s: her husband, Todd Palin.

Todd Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence Party from 1995-2002. The AIP is a libertarian political party that advocates strong states rights, including the repatriation of all federal lands in Alaska to the state.

It has been claimed that the AIP is a secessionist party. Although there may be members of the party that wish to secede from the Union, it is not part of the party platform, as posted on the AIP website. However, the ultimate goal of the AIP, also posted on the website, states:

The Alaskan Independence Party’s goal is the vote we were entitled to in 1958, one choice from among the following four alternatives:

1) Remain a Territory.
2) Become a separate and Independent Nation.
3) Accept Commonwealth status.
4) Become a State.

Basically, the AIP wants the citizens of Alaska to be presented with the option of secession, if it so chooses. Secession would be a possibility if this ultimate goal were achieved, but it cannot be construed as a direct aim of the party by this wording. (The AIP must have commissioned a top-notch lawyer to write this, because it is perfectly worded, masking unconstitutional secession as a primary goal).

Sarah Palin has never been a member of the party. However, she did address the party’s convention via video earlier this year. Much the same way that George W. Bush addressed the Republican National Convention, via video screen.

Here’s Palin addressing the 2008 AIP Convention:

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Electoral Battle Plan

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In the 57 days until the 2008 Presidential Election, 12 swing states will be in the political spotlight. These twelve states and their 157 combined electoral votes will most likely decide who becomes the next President of the United States: Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Here’s a mini-profile on each of these battleground states: (Data from 270towin.com, realclearpolitics.com, and the U.S. Census Bureau)
Colorado (9 Electoral Votes)

Colorado has only gone to the Democrats once in the last 40 years, to Bill Clinton in 1992. In 2004, incumbent Republican George W. Bush won the state by only 4.7%. Sensing that this state is ripe to turn, the Democrats have made a strong push to secure it, holding their 2008 national convention in very-liberal Denver. The smashing success of the star-studded convention may very have put Colorado in the Democratic column. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +3 (Rasmussen Sept. 9)

Florida (27 electoral votes)

Everyone remembers how important Florida can be in a tight presidential election. Florida has a sizable hispanic population that is uncharacteristically Republican. The endorsement of Governor Charlie Crist (R) will surely help McCain, but the sagging economy and particularly lackluster housing market in Florida might play into Obama’s hands. Right now, Florida is truly up for grabs. Most Recent State Poll – Tie (Rasmussen Sept. 9)

Michigan (17 electoral votes)

Michigan has been solidly Democratic since the election of Bill Clinton in 1992. Before that, Michigan was solidly Republican, voting with the Elephant five consecutive times. The Republicans must be hoping that this is a re-alignment election for the state. Despite having a Democratic governor and two Democratic senators, Michigan’s working-class voters have simply not connected with Obama the way they did with Hillary Clinton. McCain hasn’t been that popular in Michigan either, getting blown out in the primary there by Mitt Romney (and if McCain had selected Romney as his running mate, Michigan would for sure be theirs). But for now, Michigan is too close to call. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +1 (PPP Sept. 8)

Minnesota (10 electoral votes)

The Republicans must have thought their long-shot chance in the state was close enough so that putting their convention in the state might put it in their column. Not likely. Minnesota over the years has been solidly Democratic, voting Republican only once, in Nixon’s 1972 landslide. In the primary, Obama won by a great margin over Clinton, while McCain finished a distant second to Romney. Officially, Minnesota is a “battleground,” but I don’t suspect the battle there will last long. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +12 (CNN/TIME)

Missouri (11 electoral votes)

Historically, Missouri tends to vote Republican, except if it’s a southern Democrat running (Jimmy Carter in 1976, Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996). Obama narrowly won the state’s primary of Clinton, but McCain also won the Republican counterpart. For now, Missouri seems solidly Republican. Most Recent State Poll – McCain +10 (PPD Aug. 17)

Nevada (5 electoral votes)

Usually Republican, Nevada voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 2004, Bush edged out Kerry by only 3%. State polls have fluctuated greatly, showing leads of 5-7% for both Obama and McCain within the month of August. Libertarian Bob Barr might steal some votes from McCain in this state, although the addition of pro-life, pro-gun running mate Sarah Palin might neutralize the Barr Factor. RCP Poll Average – Obama +1 (Individual polls not reliable).

New Hampshire (4 electoral votes)

New Hampshire has long been an anamoly – a moderately Republican state nestled within the very liberal Northeast. In 2000, New Hampshire went to Bush, but in 2004 the New Englander John Kerry took the state. Obama lost the Democratic primary to Clinton, while McCain’s New primary win re-energized his almost-dead campaign. New Hampshire is still up-for-grabs. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +1 (Rasmussen Aug. 18)

New Mexico (5 electoral votes)

The key to New Mexico will be the state’s large Hispanic population (44%). New Mexico voted for Clinton twice and for Gore in 2000, but in 2004 Bush beat out Kerry by less than 1%. New Mexico is a fine “bellwether” state – in eight of the last ten presidential elections, the candidate who won New Mexico won the entire state. Obama could get a boost from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson (D), who supported Obama after ending his own bid for the presidency. RCP Average – Obama +4.3 (Individual polls not reliable)

North Carolina (15 electoral votes)

North Carolina has only voted for a Democratic president once in the last 40 years, for Jimmy Carter in 1976. Both Obama and McCain scored impressive primary victories in the state. A key factor in the state could be the sizable African-American population (20%). Nationally, African-Americans have voted for Obama 80% of the time. If he can get optimum turnout from these voters, he might have a small shot at taking the state. Most Recent State Poll – McCain +3 (PPP Aug. 28)

Ohio (20 electoral votes)

Ohio is the ultimate bellwether state – in each of the past 10 presidential election, Ohio voted for the eventual winner. In 2004, Ohio put Bush over the top to secure the presidency. Obama lost the state to Clinton in the primary, while McCain earned a solid victory during the Republican primary. The most recent Rasmussen poll showed McCain up by as much as 7 points. However, two separate polls in August with much higher sample sizes (hence, more accurate) shows that the race is almost even in this state. Advantage: McCain, but not by as much as he’d like. RCP Average – McCain +1.3

Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes)

Working-class voters love the Clintons. They’re not so fond of Obama, which has kept Pennsylvania in play for the Republicans. Historically, Pennsylvania leans Democrat, having voted that way in the past four presidential elections. Obama will get a boost from his running mate Joe Biden, a Scranton, PA native. However, McCain and Palin might be able to sell Pennsylvanians on social issues, if not the economy. Obama might need Clintonian aid in Pennsylvania to seal the deal but for now, I think it’s his to lose. Most Recent State Poll – Obama +2 (Rasmussen Sept. 7)

Virginia (13 electoral votes)

Virginia just might be 2008’s Ohio, the state that pushes one candidate over the edge for victory. On the surface, this might look like bad news for the Democrats – in the past 10 elections, Virginia did not vote Democrat a single time, even during the Clinton years. However, with one Democratic senator (Jim Webb) and a Democratic governor (Tim Kaine, who was on Obama’s VP shortlist), maybe Virginia is ready for some “Change.” Had Obama picked Kaine as his running mate, Virginia would probably be his. He still has a shot there, but he must campaign his butt off in VA. Most Recent Poll – McCain +2 (FOX News/Rasmussen Sept. 7)

Results – Based on these poll numbers, if the election were today, Democrat Barack Obama would win the presidency with a narrow 278-260 electoral victory over Republican John McCain.

Obama’s Game Plan – Obama has to focus on clinching Pennsylvania and Colorado. He should also campaign hard in Virginia, where an upset would seal the presidency for him. Winning Ohio might be a little too much to ask for, but Obama should make a definite effort there.

McCain’s Game Plan – McCain should campaign hard in the three Mountain West states still in play: Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico. If he can take two of these, McCain will get just enough electoral votes to claim victory. Of these three states, Colorado and Nevada are particularly vulnerable. McCain should be careful not to let Ohio and Virginia out of his grasp. Taking Pennsylvania would be a definite game changer.

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.”

and

“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.

Executive Experience: Does It Matter?

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During his harsh speech at the Republican National Convention (more on it later), former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has stressed Barack Obama’s lack of executive experience.

Well, neither Barack Obama nor John McCain have any executive experience.

This leaves us with the question: does executive experience matter?

Five of the previous 43 American presidents had no executive experience: James Madison, John Quincy Adams, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy .

What an illustrious list! James Madison, one of the greatest early American minds, framer of the Constitution and engineer of the Bill of Rights. After serving in the Virginia legislature for only 4 years, and the Continental Congress for 3, Madison became the President and defended Washington against the British in the War of 1812. Abraham Lincoln, after only three years in the House of Representatives, became one of the most eloquent executives ever, who kept the nation together in its most dire hour (the Civil War). And who can forget John F. Kennedy, the short-lived but inspirational leader who led America into space and towards equal civil rights.

Sure, even these three great men made mistakes in office (Bay of Pigs, anyone?), but overall, they were great leaders. You can be sure that both McCain and Obama have the potential to be great executives, experience be damned.

TIME’s article on Executive Experience

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