Sunday, September 21, 2008

Post Gazette LTE

This election must be about addressing the issues

David M. Shribman's Sept. 14 column, "A Wide Open Election," may be factually accurate, but it is not what the voters want or need to hear. Since the nominees of each party have been selected, we continue to hear about strategy and personality and not issues.
Our unemployment rate is now just over 6 percent. Worker productivity continues to rise, but wages are stagnant and the price of food, gasoline and daily essentials are rising. This means that although the average American is working harder, he or she is able to afford less. The economy is not working for many Americans.

The war in Iraq continues, and the war in Afghanistan grinds forward with its deadliest month since its start. The credit crisis continues to grow as Freddie and Fannie, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and now potentially AIG have crumbled. The majority of voters do not want our government to bail out large companies or provide the individual with a handout, but they do expect a functioning government to proactively address these issues.

It is not liberal bias to say that during the past eight years the administration has failed to do so. It is certainly more important to remind voters of these facts and speak to the issues than to concentrate on the political spectacle.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Joe

Everyone will have a say on what the meaning of Obama picking Joe Biden is and what the impact will be on the election. How can the change candidate pick a Washington insider? Why didn't he pick Hillary? Is he admitting his foreign policy weakness? Did he cave to the Washington insiders? Is Biden like Cheney? Is he giving up on Virginia? Why didn't he really pick someone unique? And it will go on and on and on and on...

The reality is VP picks just don't matter. They never have swayed any presidential race, ever. What will matter is how Obama uses Biden. He can have Biden respond to the attacks from McCain. He can have Biden do the attacking. Either way the choice of Biden doesn't really matter, but of course, I have to have my say. I think it brings into focus the clear policy choices in this election: the economy, jobs, and Iraq.

Biden's age, Washington experience, and ties to his son's lobbying firms takes all of theose arguments off the table. They did not seem to be allowing Obama to surge ahead of McCain even though his message of change may have secured him the democratic nomination. The age of Biden and McCain may bring Obama some older voters, but it takes McCain's age off the table. Obama's lack of Washington experience can't be used against the ticket, because Biden brings that time. McCain's lobbyist ties can't be used against him because Biden, after so many DC years, no doubt has the same ties. It also will defuse the race card. Biden's off color comment, although not intentional, (clean and neat quote) may be replayed. Obama can show that he can rise above it and even, possibly, attract some white voters who have issue with his race.

Since all of these superficial items are off the table, since those in glass houses should not throw stones, what will we talk about? Issues? I think that is waht Obama is hoping. For in the category of issues important to the American voter, the average voter, the one that has not had the time to consider who they are going to voter for, Obama will win. He will win on the economy: more McCain / Bush trickle down, supply side talking points will be dead in the water. The argument that McCain / Bush have generated that freeing big business increases jobs does not hold water when a voter's job has been sent to Mexico. And finally, people are just tired of Iraq. The majority of Americans think it was a bad idea, think we should get out, and realize we were all fooled into going there in the first place.

Will the trivial be ignored and the issues actually argued? I believe that is Obama's hope and hope is a powerful thing.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

How can Obama the "Change" candidate pick Hillary?

In one day the notion that Hillary Clinton will be Barack's running mate has gone from "a complete inacuracy" from Terry McCauliffe, to a rumor from CNN, to a quote from Hillary that she is "open to it."
But how can Obama bring change and still choose Hillary? How can he not choose Hillary, unite the party, receive the votes of Hillary supporters, and most importantly be elected President? If he chooses Clinton he may loose independents and those Obamicans excited about a new kind of politics. If he chooses someone else, it depends on how Hillary works for his campaign. Her choices are: 1. smile and endorse, but undermine him in private in preparation for 2012 2. endorse and work for his election, then receive her payback, or (the most likely) 3. Arrange her spot as the VP and let Obama steal the show.
No one knows what will happen, least of all the candidates, and it will probably be a combination of the three choices.
Here is how Obama can chooses Hillary Clinton fro the VP slot without loosing the appeal of being the change candidate:
Tell the voters, humbly, that although he does not agree with all of Clinton's positions, the race was just too close for her not to be on the ticket. This shows that he respects all of the voters who supported Hillary as well as her campaign supporters. It also MAY make the ticket more exciting to the large number of female voters who routinely stay home.

Obama could give a speech, another great one, where he steps outside of the lengthy campaigning, puts aside the rhetoric, and tells voters that if he can unite with Hillary Clinton and bring his party together after 18 months of bickering, he can bring our country together after 8 years of George W Bush. Criticizing W is a huge applause line.

Tell voters that going back to the Clinton peace, the Clinton economy, and the idea that universal health care can work, and will work, is Change that should have happened and now it will. (Don't forget to bring in Al Gore.)

Remind reporters that JFK picked LBP and Reagan picked Bush I and they all were supposed to despise each other. Laugh off the RFK remark, Ferraro, race baiting, and debate criticisms as an unfortunate reality in the political world. Easier said than done, but the media may let it slide as the audience looks for the Obama / McCain bickering to begin.
His campaign will have to assess where she is an asset and where she is a liability. Obama can likely forget Missouri, Iowa, South Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado with Clinton on the ticket. He may compete in Ohio, Florida, Arkansas, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and Nevada. Not a bad trade off.

Tell the independent voters exactly what you will expect of Senator Clinton, then hope the voters that do not like her aren't too interested in it. Send her to campaign in Appalachia. Send Bill with her.

Above all people just like Obama. If he runs the campaign and ignores the advisers that will come with the Clintons, they will win...big!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama in the primary

LTE on the Tribune Review's "endorsement" of Hillary Clinton:

In your endorsement of Hillary Clinton you state Barack Obama's experience is "no portfolio for president."
I and the majority of Democrat voters disagree.
Obama has written and co-sponsored a variety of successful legislation. This includes: health care for children, securing dangerous nuclear material, and powerful ethics reform. He consistently articulates real solutions for our problems. A brief view of his record proves his effectiveness as a bipartisan legislator.
By claiming "you know where she (Clinton) stands," you reveal the main problem many voters have with Sen. Clinton: We do not know where she stands.
Her political double-speak is unfortunate. I believe Clinton would be a capable president and that we need a change from the current administration, but I believe Obama is the best choice of the three remaining candidates.
I prefer a president who is well removed from the Washington machine and will appoint a Cabinet that contains the most qualified people, not the most connected.