Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thank You Barack (Its Biden)


The speculation over who Barack Obama and John McCain will choose as their respective Vice Presidential nominees reaches a fever pitch as Obama's choice is expected later today, and McCain's next week. Joe Biden is announced as Obama's pick during the show. With Adam Graham, John McJunkin, Fabian Story, Sharon Cobb, and David Oatney

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Friday, August 22, 2008

How Bad Does McCain Want It?

CNN's John King points out that for Democrats, the month of August seems to be where they lose their elections:

In 2004, for example, John Kerry led most national polls heading into
August; his biggest lead was in the five-point range. But by early September,
some surveys had President Bush up by as many as 10 points.

The Democratic collapse of 20 years ago is the stuff of legend. Michael
Dukakis was up 17 points in some national polling after his July convention, but
that lead started to fade in August and in the end Dukakis won just 10

So will it happen again?

The numbers aren’t as dramatic as 1988, but they do have many Democrats

In mid-July, the CNN poll of polls - an averaging of major national
polling data - showed Obama with a six-point lead over Republican John McCain.
Now, as we prepare for next week’s Democratic convention, Obama has a tiny
1-point edge over McCain: 45% to 44%.

Zogby has John McCain up by a full six points of course, and that is well outside the margin of error. Barack Obama is hoping that his announcement of a running mate tomorrow will cause his numbers to dramatically increase. Oh, he'll get a bump in the polls, to be sure-as he will out of the Democratic National Convention-but will it last?

In the next two weeks, we will see just how bad John McCain wants to win the General Election. His campaign is already showing signs of turning the race around, and if he can choose a solid conservative running mate to energize his base, he has a real shot at victory in November. If, however, McCain chooses a moderate or a liberal as his Number Two, he will have allowed a golden opportunity slip through his fingers-and perhaps he will have done so on purpose. John McCain has the ability to put Barack Obama away...if he actually wants to do it.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Gergen: Public Opinion of Obama Turning

Former White House aide David Gergen says Barack Obama needs to introduce a game-changer, and quickly, to avoid the prospect of November defeat:

From my perspective, Obama needs to introduce a game changer — and fast — before public opinion starts to gel around the notion that he is a phenom who deserves great respect but is not seasoned enough and would be too much of a risk in the Oval Office.

Public opinion has likely already been moving in that direction for some time. This is, after all, a less-than one-term Senator who came seemingly out of nowhere and is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. The last time we handed the country over to someone with that level of experience, it was 1976-and history tells us how that worked out.

John McCain isn't under much of a burden to drive home the message that Barack Obama isn't ready for the big show, as that is being proven on a daily basis. Instead, it is Obama who now faces the burden of proof that he has not only the experience, but the fortitude necessary to govern a country which is in no way convinced of his abilities in some very difficult times.

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Raymond Finney Abandons Recount

State Senator Raymond Finney has formally abandoned his petition for a recount in his Republican Primary fight against Doug Overbey.

Finney has handled this entire situation in an extremely classy and dignified manner. I join many East Tennessee Republicans in believing the result to be a very unfortunate one, and that the citizens of the Eighth Senate District may no longer have the best representation.

Senator Finney may also be correct when he states in his withdrawal letter that the process was controlled by a number of wealthy and powerful people both inside and outside the Republican Party who had an interest in Doug Overbey's election.

However, to everything there is a season-and God's signal to some people that the time has come to leave one chapter of their lives and move on to another often comes in different forms. In the world of politics and public service, the time to leave the stage is different for everyone-but that time inevitably does come. Reconciling oneself to that reality is difficult when you enjoy your job and you enjoy serving the people, as I believe Raymond Finney has. That difficulty is compounded if you believe that the circumstances of your defeat were in any way less than honest or honorable.

It is apparent that Raymond Finney's time to leave public life has come for him, and this State was extremely blessed to have a man like him in public office.

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Tragedy at Central High

This morning, a student walked into Central High School in Knoxville and-after an argument with another student- drew a gun and shot that other student:

Knoxville Police said the victim of this morning's shooting has died.

They also said the shooting was not random; instead, they do believe the victim was targeted specifically by the suspect.

Both the suspect and the weapon have been taken into custody.

Nicole and I used to live not terribly far from where this shooting occurred. When I heard where it had happened, I was shocked. Yes, the Fountain City area seems to have seen an increase in criminal activity in recent years, but when you are familiar with a place, it still comes as a surprise when you hear that something like this has happened there. My prayers go out to the victim and his family, and all of the students at Central High today. Ryan McDonald, a 16-year old student, has died after being shot.

The suspect knew and intended to shoot the victim, police report.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why I'm Glad I'm Not A Democrat

In the Democratic Party in East Tennessee, they are determined to be so united that you aren't allowed to have Republican friends:

A shouting match broke out at the Knox County Democratic Convention Tuesday night, and it all centered on a teenager.

The controversy came to a head on election night when 19-year-old Caroline Hindman stopped by the Republican celebration at the Crowne Plaza with her mother to congratulate family friend Fred Sisk on his win for county trustee.

A week later, Hindman says she received an e-mail from Knox County Democratic Party Chair Sylvia Woods asking her to resign or face impeachment.

It may shock readers to learn that I have many friends who are Democrats. I even felt honored to be able to shake the hand of former Lt. Governor John Wilder the day before he announced his retirement to the State Senate. He was exiting Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey's office, where I presume he was informing Ramsey of his decision and asking for floor time to announce that he would not seek re-election.

I count Sharon Cobb as a personal friend, and it is a known fact that most of the elected officials in my family bloodline were Democrats. My Granddaddy was a party-switcher. My Great uncle was an elected Democratic County Tax Assessor in West Virginia.

Yet no one-least of all the Democrats who know me-has ever questioned my loyalty to the Republican Party. Using the kind of logic employed by the so-called Knox County Democratic Chairman, the Jefferson County GOP needs to put me through the ringer and completely discount me because I have been known from time to time to socialize with members of the party opposite.

Isn't it great to be a Republican? Freedom sure is wonderful.

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My Sign

If you live inside the boundaries of the Town of White Pine, in the coming weeks you just might see me pass by your house with one of these:

I realize that a whole lot of folks don't like having election signs in their yard, but my little campaign that could sure could use the help. Believe it or not, there are a lot of folks in our community who don't even know we are having a local election November 4th when we vote for President. After Labor Day, it really will be time to get the word out.

If you live in White Pine, I'd be honored if you'd allow me to put a sign in your yard or on your property this fall.

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Zogby: McCain Leads

A Reuters/Zogby poll presently shows John McCain with his largest national lead of the campaign so far-46 percent to 41 percent-outside the margin of error:

In a sharp turnaround, Republican John McCain has opened a
5-point lead on Democrat
Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race and is seen as a stronger manager of the economy, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

McCain leads Obama among likely U.S. voters by 46 percent to 41
percent, wiping out Obama's solid 7-point advantage in July and taking his first
lead in the monthly Reuters/Zogby poll.

McCain now has a 9-point edge, 49 percent to 40 percent, over Obama on the
critical question of who would be the best manager of the economy -- an issue
nearly half of voters said was their top concern in the November 4 presidential

I have long said that McCain can defeat Obama if he goes on the attack, as Barack Obama has far more negatives attached to him than the media has hitherto led the general public to believe. The McCain camp has not planted doubt about Obama in the minds of voters, so much as they have successfully managed to reinforce the doubts that already existed in the minds of voters.

National polls-as we have said in this space before-should never be seen as the arbiter of a presidential election. The polls in each individual State give us a far better barometer of where things would stand were the election held today. However, the nationwide numbers can give us evidence of a general shift in voter attitudes and let the informed observer know when there is a potential change in the electoral trend-and that is what we are beginning in observe in this case.

Just as in 1988, when Michael Dukakis held a decent lead through the summer that dissipated in August, Barack Obama has held a sometimes substantial lead through the summer that has fallen to pieces in the month of August.

None of this means that McCain can be assured of victory, as Barack Obama's numbers can be expected to tighten when he announces his running mate-a move expected within days. John McCain's new solidified position in the polls makes his announcement of a Vice Presidential nominee all the more important. If McCain chooses a candidate that could cause the conservative base to warm to him, his position in the national polls may begin to stabilize, but if McCain alienates conservatives by his choice, he could blow a golden opportunity to pull off the biggest media political upset since Harry Truman in 1948.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vice Presidential Blues

MSNBC and the Associated Press are reporting on Barack Obama's short list as he is apparently nearing the selection of a running mate:

The list of potential running mates is widely believed to be down to four names: Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. Obama's major rival for the nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, was seen by some Democrats as a longshot pick.

As was pointed out in this space yesterday, Virginia is going to be critical to the outcome of the General Election, and that has got to be on Obama's mind as he considers his options. The map is slowly beginning to tilt in John McCain's direction, and the selection of a moderate like Tim Kaine or Evan Bayh has the real potential to reverse that trend, putting Virginia in play for Obama or making Indiana a very close fight.

If Obama surprises some people and chooses Hillary Clinton, I'm not sure that pick will pay the political dividends that either Obama or Clinton might be hoping for. Hillary Clinton is hugely unpopular with a whole lot of people.

John McCain, on the other hand, has a problem of his own:

McCain's top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

I am quite uncertain is to the impact of Tim Pawlenty on the Republican base, and only time would tell. However, entirely too many base conservatives now see Mitt Romney as disingenuous and fraudulent, and I do not believe that a Vice Presidential choice that involves Romney would do near as much to energize nservatives as the McCain campaign may believe.

We are in for a very interesting two weeks.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

The Electoral Map This Week (August 18)

This week's electoral college map shows some very interesting developments:
<p><strong>><a href=''>Electoral College Prediction Map</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the general election. Use the map to experiment with winning combinations of states. Save your prediction and send it to friends.</p>

The World is ready to say that Colorado is switching from "toss up" to "leans McCain" after McCain showed his first viable lead there since June in a Rasmussen poll August 13. Although McCain's lead is still within the margin of error, he has steadily gained in every poll and has now overtaken Obama, and I believe that trend will continue.

On the other hand, Barack Obama's lead in Michigan is holding steady enough that I believe we can take Michigan from the toss-up category we had placed her in and say that the Wolverine State would go for Barack Obama if the election were held today.

Nevada is still in the toss-up column this week, though I wrestled with switching it to John McCain because he now shows a slight lead and has trended positively there over the last three weeks. I am still not quite comfortable enough that we are seeing a stable trend to make the switch.

Virginia is in a dead even percentage point tie, and were the election held today, it may hinge on the outcome in the Old Dominion.

Our toss-up States this week: New Hampshire (which could begin to move next week), New Mexico, Minnesota-where John McCain has closed to within four and is gaining-Ohio, and Virginia.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hail Holy Queen...

Since Friday was a day to honor Our Lady, I found this robust recessional version of Hail Holy Queen Enthroned Above sang at the conclusion of a Latin High Mass

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