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Old 10-19-2008, 09:55 PM   #736
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I don't have a land line and haven't had a land line in many years so I never get unwanted calls except a genuine wrong number. It's fabulous.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:58 PM   #737
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I just don't pick up my landline unless it's very late at night because then it's almost always one of two people I've told to call me then -- everything else goes to the answering machine. If it's someone I know and want to talk to I pick up if I'm here, or I call back. Does wonders for my irritation level during political campaigns.

I only give my cell phone number to people I actually want to talk to. I think the only business that has it is my vet.
That's the way to go if you don't want to be bothered by us


Also, if you (the general you) could be as polite as possible when on the phone, because it's probably just someone like me just doing their job or volunteering on the other side, and it's never fun to get rude people when all I've said is "Hello"
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:00 PM   #738
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I don't have a land line and haven't had a land line in many years so I never get unwanted calls except a genuine wrong number. It's fabulous.

This is one reason that polling will have to change in the future...
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:46 PM   #739
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As a campaign intern who spent all summer calling people on the phone, it's frustrating to have to explain to people who yell in my ear "I'M ON THE DO NOT CALL LIST!" and say, in a non-condescending way, that politicians are exempt, and really, would congress pass legislature that would hinder their campaigning in that way? Heck no.

I did some calling once, way before the do not call list. It takes a special kind of nerve to do that (I mean that in a good way). I mustered up the nerve one election cycle, working for a Republican, of all people. She was a pro-choice Republican trying to beat that asshole Bob Dornan in the primary. She actually took 40% of the vote! I spoke to at least two women on the phone who were registered voters who told me that their husbands told them how to vote. I do not lie. That was the election that generated the legendary soundbite about "lesbian spearchuckers." I've always been proud to be a "lesbian spearchucker." That's what B-1 Bob called the supporters of his pro-choice opponent, and I still wear that badge with pride.
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:46 PM   #740
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I thought it was interesting, the Powell endorsement happened overnight our time here, so I switched on the TV this morning when I was getting ready to see if he actually did it (I was half expecting a diplomatic, non-specific, tip of the hat type endorsement or none at all). CNN were showing some of their international business programming, so over to Fox I went. For half an hour they were talking about it, showing clips of responses to it, but did not once actually quote Powell, let alone show a clip of him actually on Meet the Press. That might have just been the half hour or so that I caught, but I thought it was maybe a funny ‘typical Fox’ moment. They get a good Republican/far right soundbite and they’ll play it every 5 minutes so it is absolutely drilled in, anyone watching will know it off by heart pretty quickly, but probably the most eloquent soundbite loaded pro-Obama message yet? Haha, no way. Especially considering what Powell is really skewering is essentially the Fox Message of the Week as well.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:48 PM   #741
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McCain's camp is already trying to underplay Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, saying it doesn't mean much. What a joke. If he endorsed McCain they'd be jumping up and down saying how important it is.
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Old 10-20-2008, 12:29 AM   #742
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McCain's camp is already trying to underplay Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, saying it doesn't mean much. What a joke. If he endorsed McCain they'd be jumping up and down saying how important it is.
Agreed.

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Old 10-20-2008, 01:42 AM   #743
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McCain's camp is already trying to underplay Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, saying it doesn't mean much. What a joke. If he endorsed McCain they'd be jumping up and down saying how important it is.
Sure he would. But that's normal campaigning strategy. Any politician would be trying to do that.
Obama was in a very comfortable position here. Had Powell endorsed McCain, well, he is a Republican after all. Now that he endorsed him: He is a Republican that publically endorsed Obama!
McCain on the other side, he needs to do anything to make that look not being a big deal and not that important.

Powell has a great taste in beer, so it's only natural that he is for Obama. Flensburger Brewery
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:53 AM   #744
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Long but interesting article in today's New York Times Magazine about the Obama campaign and working-class white voters (full text here).


Working for the Working-Class Vote

By MATT BAI
October 15, 2008



For a guy who just four years ago was running his first statewide campaign, Barack Obama has made startlingly few missteps as a presidential candidate. But the moment Obama would most like to take back now, if he could, was the one last April when, speaking to a small gathering of Bay Area contributors, he said that small-town voters in Pennsylvania and other states had grown “bitter” over lost jobs, which caused them to “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.” That comment, subsequently posted by a blogger for the Huffington Post, undercut one of the central premises of Obama’s campaign, an argument he first floated in his famous 2004 convention address—that he could somehow erode the tired distinctions between red states and blue ones and appeal to disaffected white men who had written off national Democrats as hopelessly elitist. Instead, in the weeks that followed, white working-class primary voters, not only in industrial states like Pennsylvania but also in rural states like Kentucky and West Virginia, rejected his candidacy by wide margins, and he staggered, wounded, toward the nomination.

“That was my biggest boneheaded move,” Obama told me recently. We were sitting across from each other on his plane, the one with the big red, white and blue “O” on the tail, flying some 35,000 feet above Nebraska. “How it was interpreted in the press was Obama talking to a bunch of wine-sipping San Francisco liberals with an anthropological view toward white working-class voters. And I was actually making the reverse point, clumsily, which is that these voters have a right to be frustrated because they’ve been ignored. And because Democrats haven’t met them halfway on cultural issues, we’ve not been able to communicate to them effectively an economic agenda that would help broaden our coalition....I mean, part of what I was trying to say to that group in San Francisco was, ‘You guys need to stop thinking that issues like religion or guns are somehow wrong,’ ” he continued. “Because, in fact, if you’ve grown up and your dad went out and took you hunting, and that is part of your self-identity and provides you a sense of continuity and stability that is unavailable in your economic life, then that’s going to be pretty important, and rightfully so. And if you’re watching your community lose population and collapse but your church is still strong and the life of the community is centered around that, well then, you know, we’d better be paying attention to that.”

......................................................................

“First,” Obama said, “you have to show up. I’ve been to Elko, Nev., now three times.”

“Elko?” I asked twice, straining to hear him over the engine noise.

“E-L-K-O.” He sounded vaguely annoyed, as if I had just confirmed something about the media he had long suspected. “That, by the way, is the reason we got more delegates out of Nevada, even though we lost the popular vote there during the primary. We lost Las Vegas and Clark County, but we won handily in rural Nevada. And a lot of it just had to do with the fact that folks thought: Man, the guy is showing up. He’s set up an office. He’s doing real organizing. He’s talking to people. No. 2 is how we talk about issues,” Obama went on. “To act like hunting, like somebody who wants firearms just doesn’t get it—that kind of condescension has to be purged from our vocabulary. And that’s why that whole ‘bittergate’ episode was so bitter for me. It was like: Oh, this is exactly what I wanted to avoid. This is what for the last five or six years I’ve been trying to push away from.”

...Gore and Kerry tried, somewhat dutifully, to prove their cultural affinity for regular white guys; when that didn’t work, they tried to change the subject to policy platforms instead, hoping in vain that voters would just sort of forget about all that guns and church stuff. In both cases, that failure translated directly into defeat. According to exit polls in 2004, Kerry lost white men by a crushing 25-point margin.

Given the fact that he is not, in fact, a white male, Obama would seem to face an even-less-forgiving landscape among white-male voters. While voters overall give Obama the advantage over John McCain when asked which candidate is better equipped to navigate these tumultuous economic times, Gallup polls throughout the summer and into the fall consistently showed McCain with a double-digit lead among white men who haven’t been to college. And yet Obama has persevered, devoting far more time and money than either of the last two Democratic nominees on an effort to persuade working-class and rural white guys that he is not the elitist, alien figure they may be inclined to think he is. The Obama campaign has more than 50 state offices throughout Virginia, a state no Democrat has seriously contested since Obama was a teenager. In Indiana, there are 42 offices; in North Carolina, another 45.

Mathematically, Obama can probably win the election without winning any of these states—or Nevada or Montana or any of the other conservative states where he has campaigned in the past several months. What he probably can’t do, if he doesn’t convert enough voters to throw at least a few traditionally red states into the blue column, is get beyond what he dismissively refers to as the “50-plus-1” governing model, the idea that a president need only represent 50% of the country (plus 1 additional vote) to command the office. From the start, Obama has aspired not simply to win but also to stand as a kind of generational break from the polarized era of the boomers, to become the first president in at least 20 years to claim anything more than the most fragile mandate for his agenda. Absent that, even if he wins, Obama could wake up on Nov. 5 as yet another president-elect of half the people, perched uncomfortably on the edge of an impassable cultural divide.

When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he famously predicted that his party had just signed away the South for a generation to come. In truth, the outcome was more profound than Johnson could have imagined. The culture war, whose Bunker Hill was the campus quad of the 1960s, soon spread to just about every region of the country, where rural and working-class white voters, already anxious over economic change, recoiled at the vehement strain of antimilitary, antiestablishment liberalism that took hold of the Democratic Party in the era after Selma and Saigon. The effect, especially on the presidential level, was immediate and drastic. In the 32 years before Johnson made his pronouncement, Democrats controlled the White House for all but 8 of them, and only twice—in 1948 and 1960 — had the Democrat won by what could be considered a narrow margin. In the four decades since, only two Democrats have managed to get elected, and only one has claimed a majority of the popular vote. (This was Jimmy Carter, who eked out exactly 50.1% without winning a single state west of Texas.) By the turn of the century, almost completely driven from the South and West, Democratic presidential candidates had taken to focusing all their efforts on an ever-shrinking pool of coastal and industrial states.

...He told me, when we talked, that Washington’s us-versus-them divisions had made it impossible for any president to find solutions to a series of generational challenges, from Iraq to global climate change. “If voters are similarly polarized and if they’re seeing two different realities, a Sean Hannity reality and a Keith Olbermann reality, then we’re not going to be able to get done the work we need to get done,” Obama said.

..................................................................

For a national Democrat, the hardest part of the electoral formula is probably the last piece—holding one’s own in the sea of small towns in the southern and Appalachian regions of [Virginia] that are far more similar to the rest of the Deep South than they are to Virginia’s northern counties. Voters here haven’t known economic expansion in decades, and they seem to have decided long ago that neither party was especially serious about stopping the decline, or even knew how. There is a strong sense in these communities, and not unreasonably, of suffering endless condescension—a feeling that urbane America has already written off the rural lifestyle as a relic or, worse, as a joke. For that reason (and this is actually the point Obama says he was trying to make in San Francisco), cultural issues matter far more in the rural areas than they do in the exurbs, because voters see those issues as a test of whether politicians respect their values or mock them—a construct that Republican strategists have become expert at exploiting.

.......................................................................

It is often said in politics that a candidate’s strength is also his weakness. Obama’s greatest asset as a candidate, the trait that has enabled him to overcome both a thin résumé and the resistance of his own party’s establishment, is his placidity. Even more than through his ability to give a rousing speech (plenty of other candidates, from Ted Kennedy to Howard Dean, could do that), Obama has differentiated himself from recent Democrats by conveying a sense of inner security that is highly unusual in a business of people who have chosen to spend every day asking people to love them. He does not seem like a candidate who’s going to switch to earth tones in his middle age or who’s going to start dressing up in camouflage to rediscover his inner Rambo. Obama is content to meet the world on his terms, and something about that inspires confidence.

And yet that same lack of pathetic neediness may in fact be a detriment when it comes to persuading voters who, culturally or ideologically, just aren’t predisposed to like him. I once heard a friend of Obama’s compare him with Bill Clinton this way: if Clinton sees you walking down the other side of the street, he immediately crosses over to shake your hand; if Obama sees you coming, he nods and waits for you to cross. That image returned to me as I watched Obama campaign in Lebanon. Clinton wouldn’t have wanted to leave that gym until every last voter had been converted, even if that meant he had to memorize the scheduled sewer installation for every home in Russell County. Mark Warner, a similarly tenacious glad-hander, went to rural Virginia again and again because, deep down, he needed to change people’s perceptions of who he was. Obama doesn’t connect to the world that way, which is probably why his campaign has always preferred big rallies to hand-to-hand venues. Obama gives the impression that he’s going to show up and make his case, and if you don’t fall in love with him, well, he’ll just have to pick up the pieces and go on.

....................................................................

I was surprised, then, when [Jim] Webb told me that while he was enthusiastic about Obama and would campaign for him, he did not intend to vouch for him on social issues. “I believe that Barack Obama has the temperament and the intellect and the ideas to be president,” Webb said. “But I don’t talk about his positions, and I don’t defend his positions.” When I commented that Webb wasn’t where Obama was on gun rights (Obama favors what he calls some “common sense” restrictions), Webb cut me off. “No, he’s not where I am on guns,” he said pointedly. It occurred to me that this was probably the kind of validation Obama could do without. (Webb appears to have softened his stance. A few weeks later, he decided to tape an ad promising voters in southwestern Virginia that Obama would not, in fact, confiscate their guns.) Webb and I discussed the conventional wisdom taking hold—in discussions not only about Virginia but about Pennsylvania and Ohio and Michigan as well—that white men weren’t breaking Obama’s way mostly because he’s black. Webb disagreed. When it came to white working-class and rural voters, Webb said, what mattered was whether Obama seemed to share the same basic small-town values. “Does he understand me?” Webb said. “Can I trust him?”

...[W]hen I got back to my office, I tracked down [Webb's] cousin Jimmy, who, it turns out, is 78 years old and knows Virginia politics as well as he knows the old coins he sells to collectors. Jimmy Webb told me he was a strong Obama supporter, but he had a slightly different take on things than his famous cousin. “When you get past Roanoke and out this way,” he told me, “in southwestern Virginia and eastern Tennessee, blacks are just not that popular. That’s one of Obama’s problems. I’ve had Democrats tell me that they’re not even going to the polls.” I heard much the same thing from Steve Cochran, the Democratic committee chairman in Montgomery County. (Believe it or not, Cochran, too, is somehow a distant cousin of Webb’s.) “I think if the people of southwestern Virginia had the opportunity to meet Barack Obama and see how intelligent he is and how genuine he is and how caring he is, there would be no question,” Cochran said. “But there is still this little bit of skepticism in Appalachian Virginia, as there is in a lot of other parts of the country, that this guy is still just a little bit not like me. I see people having a little trouble getting around that color barrier.”

.......................................................................

Perhaps the problem with this entire discussion about race is that it begins with the wrong question. Most polls focus on determining the prevalence of racial bias among white voters and whether it will affect their choices on Election Day. This may be the best way we have to measure the impact of race, but it is hardly revelatory; no one should be surprised to learn that racial stereotypes exist, particularly among lower-income and less-educated white men, or that such stereotypes affect the way voters see Obama. The more important question is not whether race is a factor in people’s votes but whether it is a determinative factor—that is, whether Obama’s being black is the disqualifying fact for white voters that it might have been 20 years ago or whether it has now been reduced to one of those surmountable obstacles that any candidate has to overcome.

When Al Smith, New York’s Democratic governor, ran for president in 1928, his Catholicism was a deal breaker. When John F. Kennedy ran in 1960, the prejudice remained, but it had lost its defining intensity.
Kennedy felt sufficiently disadvantaged by his religion to address it in a major speech, just as Obama did on race during the primaries, but in the end, some sizable segment of Protestant voters who had concerns about pulling the lever for a Catholic did so anyway. In other words, it may be possible for racial prejudice to exist, as all the polls suggest it does, but for it to be only one significant influence among many, including voters’ views on the economy and on McCain as an alternative. There is another parallel in the Kennedy example that may prove relevant if Obama’s strategists have their way. While Kennedy undoubtedly lost the votes of some Protestants who feared papal influence over the White House, their numbers were more than canceled out by the Catholic voters who came to the polls at a level never before seen. Obama’s strategists accept that there will be some number of voters—particularly white men—who will reject Obama solely because he is black. But they are betting, first, that most of these voters wouldn’t have voted for a Democrat in any event and, second, that the groundswell of black support for Obama will produce enough new African-American votes in a lot of states to offset them.

............................................................................

I asked Obama if it was frustrating to have seen, throughout the campaign, so many polls that showed him trailing badly among white men with lower incomes or less education. “It’s not frustrating,” Obama said, shaking his head. I found this believable; Obama seems almost impervious to frustration. “There are a couple of things at work here. No. 1, let’s face it--I’m not a familiar type.” He laughed. “Which means it would be easier for me to deliver this message if I was from one of these places, right? I’ve got to deliver that message as a black guy from Hawaii named Barack Obama. So, admittedly, it’s just unfamiliar. Which, by the way, is a different argument than race,” Obama continued, pausing to make sure I understood. “I’m not making an argument that the resistance is simply racial. It’s more just that I’m different in all kinds of ways. I’m different even for black people. I went through similar stuff when I ran against Bobby Rush on the all-black South Side of Chicago.” In that race, a Democratic primary for Congress in 2000, Rush, the black incumbent, handed Obama his first and only political defeat. “It’s like: ‘Who is this guy? Where’d he come from?’ So that’s part of it. The second part of it is that I’m trying to do this in an environment where the media narrative is already set up in a certain way. So it’s hard to not be dropped into a box.”

He reminded me that back in March, for instance, he accepted a spontaneous invitation from a voter in Altoona, Pa., to bowl a few frames, and it turned out Obama was basically a god-awful bowler. Some commentators gleefully used this deficiency to portray him as out of touch with the common man, in a John Kerry-windsurfing sort of way. (Joe Scarborough, on MSNBC, used the word “prissy.”) To Obama, this brought home the bleak reality that, as a Democratic nominee, he was going to be typecast, fairly or not. “I am convinced that if there were no Fox News, I might be two or three points higher in the polls,” Obama told me. “If I were watching Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me, right? Because the way I’m portrayed 24/7 is as a freak! I am the latte-sipping, New York Times-reading, Volvo-driving, no-gun-owning, effete, politically correct, arrogant liberal. Who wants somebody like that? I guess the point I’m making,” he went on, “is that there is an entire industry now, an entire apparatus, designed to perpetuate this cultural schism, and it’s powerful. People want to know that you’re fighting for them, that you get them. And I actually think I do. But you know, if people are just seeing me in sound bites, they’re not going to discover that. That’s why I say that some of that may have to happen after the election, when they get to know you.”

Hearing him say this a second time, it seemed to me a remarkable admission--if not a retreat from his driving vision, then at least a deferral. Normally, in political campaigns, you hope people get to know you and then decide to vote for you; Obama now believed that perhaps only the inverse was possible.
Once, he might have thought that if he could only win a bunch of red states and pile up 350 electoral votes, he could obliterate the red-blue paralysis of the last decade and wield his mandate like a machete against the culture warriors in Washington. Now, it seemed, he understood that even a Reaganesque triumph wouldn’t suddenly erase the effect of 40 years of exploiting peoples’ darkest fears or ignoring their legitimate anxieties, the twisted and bipartisan legacy of a lost political generation. If he won, Obama would likely start out as a 50-plus-1 president, no matter what the map had in store. And then the campaign would begin again.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:00 AM   #745
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For all you non-Americans:

If the world could vote?
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:10 AM   #746
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Long but interesting article in today's New York Times Magazine about the Obama campaign and working-class white voters
This has always bothered me - what the hell is the working-class white vote?

I don't think that would include people like me, and I don't work any less hard than the people who apparently fit that description. Nor am I any less white.
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Old 10-20-2008, 01:23 PM   #747
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I don't work any less hard than the people who apparently fit that description.
Hmmm, I don't think I've ever heard anyone object to the term on those grounds before. Well, it sounds kinder than "lower class" or "unskilled workers," which are the other fairly common ways of referring to this group (low-paid workers, especially low-paid manual workers). It's not intended to mean 'working as opposed to lazy' and at least in the US, I don't think it much occurs to anyone to hear it that way. As applied to electoral politics (and especially in tandem with "white") it's certainly a rather arbitrary category--as designated 'voting blocs' always are. It just happens to describe a group of voters who noticeably vary considerably from one election to the next in terms of which party they support, and it's a large and geographically widely dispersed group, hence the perception by both major parties that they're a key voting bloc to focus on.
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:29 PM   #748
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That sounds similar to what Sen. George Allen said to the Webb guy - "Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia." And he lost. I think McCain will lose Va. (and I get to help make it happen ).
ntal!
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:33 PM   #749
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As someone who lives in RoVA (rest of virginia), Northern Virginia is actually VERY different culturally. Home is central virginia and I go to school in tidewater virginia, and most of my classmates are from NOVA (northern virginia). It really is different, but hey they help Virginia get democrats elected

I was out in the mountains in western Virginia today, generally a deep red region, but the McCain v. Obama signs were about 50-50
ooooo 50% ?! not too shabby I'd say!

SOmewhere/when on a major channel were just talkin' 'bout Tidewater----over the weekend re voting! So I wondered about you!
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Old 10-20-2008, 05:37 PM   #750
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......... In the debate, McCain tried to paint the fact that Obama has spent so much money as a negative thing against Obama---that he's a "big spender." The fact of the matter is, it's the American people as a whole who are the big spenders in this campaign. Yet, the beauty is that none of us really are---the average donation continues to be under $100.

I don't care whether you like Obama or not.....but you have to be impressed by the beauty of his campaign.
What I've heard is around 65 $ is the average.

I guess a commune-nitty organizer CAN DO sumptin' right??!!?
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