Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Big Blue Makes a Comeback

The presidential election is winding down; McCain's camp is attempting to deal with insiders' frustrated leaks and squabbles (Which go back as far as 2007) to the press concerning "Palin going rouge," and at the same time trying to squeak out a public show of solidarity and optimism, but with seven days left until November 4th the electoral map is looking shockingly blue.

An Associated Press piece released today on-line reports that Obama leads or is tied in eight important states, such as Colorado and Florida, which is surprising because these states are traditionally Republican. It looks bad for Senator John McCain and it looks as though this Navy pilot needs to eject. "If you believe in miracles," said GOP consultant Joe Gaylord of Arlington, Va., "you still believe in McCain."

A lot of the media, such as The Tribune's "The Swamp," are also reporting this week that Obama is winning these states that Bush #43 indeed carried. So, the media seems to me to be doing a thorough job of reporting and polling.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Blowing Winds of Change

The Presidential campaign is winding down and with only 10 days left until November 4th, the strong headwinds seem to be blowing the Democrats way, with Sen. Obama currently leading in electoral votes 375 - 163 and with the majority of the world's news articles and pundents calling the contest in the Illinois senator's favor, it appears as though its over for the GOP. This week, I have scanned the Internet (trying to stay away from partisan sites,) to try and find articles, blogs etc. that include any empirical evidence as to the possibility of Sen. McCain actual winning the "most important election of our lifetime."

In a October 24th post from The New York Times' campaign blog - "Campaign Stops," there is an analysis that basically states through enumerated reasons - " John McCain still has a good chance to win." One reason the author states is because of the possibility of a lopsided system of checks and balances, (If Democrats win the election, the House and Senate, not to mention the White House will be in one parties control,) and the lack of experience factor among other reasons contributes to McCains chances.

Another piece is the's October 24th "America at a Crossroads." The article covers El Dorado Kansas, which Obama has family ties to, and that the majority of folks there are for the 72 year-old Republican. "But family ties only go so far - and the flicker of hope Obama's visit generated among local Democrats has since been snuffed out by the town's overriding conservatism," the article quotes.

As of now, the winds still seem to be blowing at Obama's back, but the contest isn't over yet, and 10 days is a long time in politics to turn this thing around.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

"Joe the Plumber"= Sam the Tax Owing Non-Plummer

During the final presidential debate held on Wednesday night at Hofstra University, John McCain, in an attempt to surreptitiously frame the last three weeks of the campaign season and paint the Democrats as once again- "tax and spend" liberals who will raise taxes for the struggling middle class, invoked the name of the new GOP pal "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, over twenty times in the 90 minute contest.

Even before the closing statements were uttered, "Joe the Plumber," -(really a symbol for politicians to wield much in the same vein as Chuck Shummer's imaginary template blue collar family), was being vetted by the press. What did the media find out? Probably some things the McCain campaign didn't know about or didn't care about since the encounter caught on tape between Obama and Wurzelbacher was too good to pass up. Here's what has been discovered in the last few days.
His real name is Samuel Joeseph Wurzelbacher according to the San Fransico Chronicle's October 17th piece which is quite entertaining. Another piece that reports that he really isn't a licensed plumber and doesn't pay taxes- even though he's quite worried about falling into Obama's 250,000 bracket - is CNN's October 16th article.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Palin Report Released

The big news this morning is the 263 page report from Alaska state legislative investigator Stephen Branchflower, which is said to be released today and contains a finding that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power as Alaskan Governor. How has the MSM done in the early coverage of this scandal?

The Washington Post's piece (linked above,) relates the charges and finding that Palin and her husband Todd, abused both their positions-Todd as the husband of the Governor, and Palin as the one with executive power,) when they launched a campaign to get her ex-brother in law bounced from the state police. I enjoyed the accompanying video package because it does a fairly good job succinctly outlining the whole story.

Politico's " The Arena," which is a new feature on the site- gathers a collection of policy makers and "opinion makers," and debates the news. This morning the discussion is about "Trooper Gate" and the investigative report. Fred Barbash is the moderator and guides folks such as Tim Griffin, Republican attorney and strategist, through a debate on whether or not the finding that Palin "abused her power," will effect the GOP campaign. I liked the expert insight provided by these people who are strategists from both parties, and who have differing opinions.

"Trooper-gate is small potatoes in and of itself. But it will remind people again about McCain’s tendency to make impulsive decisions without sufficient vetting" said Rosabeth Moss Kanter on The Arena.

These two pieces by the media are good examples of interesting, semi-unconventional (not really anymore,) attempts at covering a burgoning problem seeping up from the ground and into McCain's campaign.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

U-Mass and Public Media React To 2nd Debate

The overall consensus concerning U-Mass students and the media community following Twitter during the debate was that neither candidates had made a major blunder or had scored any coveted points with the un-decided voters - which happens to hurt McCain's campaign more than Obama's.

"I think overall both did okay. Neither were great in this setting and neither really wanted to respect the rules they set up," said mralexan on Twitter. Moderator Tom Brokaw seemed to be aggravated when each senator streamed by the agreed upon time limits, and sternly voiced his concerns, with some Twitters responding to the breach with sharp commentary."How do you contain two men like these, McCain's a kiss-ass and Obama wants his message heard?" asked mlyvett, a student at U-Mass.

Some people had strong feelings about Brokaw and his role as moderator. "
Brokaw responsibility was to enforce the rules, if anything he underplayed them when he extended extra time," said kylejelley, a student posting her reactions on Twitter. But the other two men on stage were up to their usually tricks; listening attentively to the questions, but ignoring them and hitting their own talking points-Health care, taxes and the Iraq and Afghanistan war.

Friday, October 3, 2008

First and Only Vice President Debate- Student Analysis

On Thursday night we witnessed the first and only vice president debate- waged between the "hockey mom" newcomer, Gov. Sarah Palin (Lenox Lewis,) and the longtime senator from Delaware, Joe Biden (Mike Tyson.) The world was watching to see who, if anyone, would land the knockout punch on their opponent. Would Palin hold her own and erase definitively from the public memory her recent interview gaffes? Would Biden put his foot in his mouth by talking too much and act too condescending towards the female governor?

University of Massachusetts students geared up to watch the fight to find answers to these questions, as well as the other more important questions on issues and policies.The start of the debate showed Palin a little nervous on her feet. alexdipace noticed the candidates' body language was cordial towards each other and mentioned Palin's unsure response- "Palin definitely seems a little shaky, she doesn't have a prompter this time".Others thought the novice was off to an OK start. laveaux56 says "Palin is actually going okay.... "

A majority of students were turned off by Palin's continuous calling of McCain a "maverick," as well as her statement that she would not be answering the way the moderator and Biden would like. alexa_m aims and takes one shot at both issues-hitting her target with a thud- "Palin is spewing canned language and not responding to the question, already said maverick x2."The students at home liked the way Biden was bringing Barack's statements to the ring, and were also commenting on the fact Biden has women's eyes on him-in a good way. "I enjoy that Biden is referring directly to Obama's statements," said elrenolyds. "Ooo women seem to like Biden. He's going off the charts. What's the appeal?" says kletourno.

The CNN meter drew the students attention again as in the Pres. debate last week-alexa_m said referring to Biden's charm, " According to the CNN debate meter, women are loving him."Towards the end, climate change was another big discussion between the students. jackiebink said referring to Palin, " Is it just me, or did she completely dodge the causes of climate change?"The students seemed to be leaning towards Biden, and most felt he had won the debate. Although, the question of had Palin held her own and completed her job as vice pres. hopeful was answered for mcwalsh24. "She did her job, but as the media begins to pick apart the nuances I am sure it will start to sway people to a particular side."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

College Students Have Invested Interest In Debates

The first presidential debate between Senator’s Barack Obama and John McCain commenced on Friday with the financially unsound economy, education and the protracted war in Iraq garnering the majority of the debate among the candidates, as well as from the audience who watched from home and posted their reactions on Twitter, a social networking and microblogging service.
College students have a large stake in this particular election for many important reasons and therefore, some watched the debate closely to gauge the candidate’s responses to the essential questions. For example, the troubled economy and the education system personally affect the 18-22 year-old age group on a daily basis, whether it’s the distressing worry of a crumbling job market after graduation or the increase of college tuition and the availability or lack there of student loans.
Kletourno who was watching the debate with some friends said “Two of my friends just joined me, Mike and Heidi, and they say ‘amen’ to education as a priority.” KylieJelley, watching the contest live, expressed her own concern with the burgeoning economic crisis. “With the economy continuing like it is, we will have to invest in education,” she said. Education was also spoken about in other underlying topics, such as the now failed government bailout package.
When McCain was asked a question by the moderator concerning the proposed $700 billion government bailout, and what programs he would have to cut out if he were president to help pay for it, McCain verbally maneuvered a bit and then mentioned a “spending freeze.” Erin, a viewer watching with Adampaul33 liked Obama’s response which including an analogy of McCain’s “spending freeze,” and the futile successes it would yield. Adampaul33 said “Erin likes Obama’s analogy on a spending freeze-‘like using a hatchet instead of a scalpel.”
Elreynolds watched the debate with her roommates who were still concentrating on education even as the candidates had moved on to another topic. “Brian thinks that the [education] system is too flawed to ever fix,” said elreynolds.
Another reason that this debate and election have attracted a close eye from the “Millennial” generation is the war in Iraq. Many young people have friends overseas who are fighting in combat situations, and who are risking their lives daily.
One related topic concerning Iraq that the viewers and Barack Obama discussed quite fervently was the question of “Should we have ever gone to Iraq.” Edoody101 said “Whether or not Obama liked the way we entered Iraq, it does not matter since we are there.” “I’m not a huge McCain fan, but I like that he’s looking forward…let’s stop talking about ‘should we have entered Iraq,’” said ereed8. “My friend just got back from Iraq this week…timing is pretty good,” she added.
Foreign policy goes hand in hand with the war, and benjaminswill noticed a tacit tactic employed by McCain during the debate. “McCain is certainly playing up his foreign policy experience,” he said.
Hard issues aside, the viewers also found some humor in watching the candidates. One such instance was the facts that it seemed the Senator’s were blinking excessively during the televised contest. “Ya they’re both blinkers. I guess I can’t use that as the deciding factor in whom I’m going to vote for,” said kletourno.
The debate ended and the audience remarked on the serious stature each candidate displayed throughout and the upcoming debate between Governor Sarah Palin, Joe Biden. “Biden will just overwhelm Governor Palin with his verbiage,” said Ashley_Coulombe.