Tag Archives: Obama

More from Jack and Bob: “Obama Campaign Fails Physics”

Jack and Bob have surfaced at the bar atop the Washington Hotel. Normally, they would lean on the bar, but tonight there is a  storm rolling in from the west, and the sky behind the White House is dark gray. The wind had picked up, and most of the tourists have gone for shelter. So it is quiet and we should be able to eavesdrop from the next table:

 Jack:   “I can’t believe  you predicted Romney’s VP choice three days before he released it. Did you have inside info or were you just kidding around?”

Bob took a sip and frowned.  “I always have inside info. That’s why you’re friends with me, isn’t it?  But didn’t you read what I said? It was obvious.”

Jack:  “Really. Then what happens next? Please predict the final election results.”

Bob: “Funny. Give me a few more days, okay?”

Jack: “What did you think of the VP pick?”

Bob: “Not bad, I’d say.”
Jack: “Not bad? Ten million dollars since the announcement.”

Bob: “That’s what I mean. What did you think? You’re the spin doctor. How was the spin? How did they do?”

Jack:  “As I said in my earlier memo–which, by the way, was spot on–nice of you to mention–It isn’t about the person, you know. That’s not the story.”

Bob: (shrugs, shakes head, refuses to ask, “so what is the story, Jack?”)
Jack: “The Obama campaign failed the physics exam.”
Bob: “Physics?”
Jack: “Yeah. You know, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. VP announcement then  major arms treaty, visit the troops. New Free trade zone. Where’s the news? I read on Monday that a big  chunk of money would go to the drought in the Midwest.  That’s a start. But then, nothing.”

Bob: “Come on. There’s no news this time of year. Dog days of August.”
Jack: “Okay. Pay attention. Even I could figure out roughly when the VP announcement would be. I said it would be Monday or Tuesday. But they were smarter because they jumped it to Saturday. They knew it would reverberate all weekend and possibly take the Obama campaign by surprise.”

As Bob picked up his glass a gust of wind blew his napkin off the table. He made a grab for it and hit the railing: “Was that thunder?”

Jack went on: “But then I thought surely the Obama campaign would be ready for the announcement. They would  flood the week with news and steal the moment. Bury them on Monday and the rest of the week with news, events, creativity.  Take the momentum away from Romney and make news that only an incumbent can make.”

Bob: “No kidding?  When did they do all that? I’ve been out of town.”

Jack: “Exactly. It makes you wonder. Somebody dropped the ball. I wonder if they ‘re hiring Have you heard anything?”

Another gust of wind scattered the bar napkins and swizzle sticks across the floor of the bar. A lightning flash streaked the sky and sheets of rain splattered the edge of the table. Bob drained his glass.

Jack: “I’ll get the check.”

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Spin Doctor, Vice President, White House

Secret White House Meetings? Has Anybody Seen Joe?

Seems like a good time to reprise a post from a few weeks ago, which has apparently aged like fine wine:
You may have heard the rumors over the past few weeks—the suggestions that Obama might replace Biden on the ticket, perhaps with Hillary Clinton. The recent gay marriage announcement seemed to put more distance between the President and Biden. Just before, the NYT ran a lengthy piece about Sunday night strategy sessions in the Obama campaign, sans Biden. Ominous signs for Biden.

If the President were 75 years old with a heart condition, the choice of Vice President would certainly be more of a consideration. Since Obama is relatively young and apparently healthy does anyone really care who his Vice President is?

The old pols will tell you that the choice of Vice President is seldom a consideration for most voters. Voters react to the choice for President.

Yes, but what if the election is really close?

And, if Obama’s slide in the polls continues, changing VPs could be a Hail Mary pass.

What if Biden makes a really big, unforgivable gaff?

Or, another new embarrassing revelation?

Let’s face it, there have been lots of Biden gaffs. You might have trouble remembering why he was chosen in the first place.

Let me refresh your memory:

Biden was elected back in 1972. Shortly after the election, his wife and daughter were killed in a horrible automobile accident. His two sons were critically injured. Biden was devastated and considered quitting the Senate before he was sworn in. He ultimately did take the oath and perhaps as a reward  was given a seat on the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committee. Both were considered plum assignments.  Prior to his election, Biden had served one term as county councilman, so it wasn’t like they needed his input. One of the youngest senators ever elected, he gained seniority over time and  became chairman of Foreign Relations. Ultimately, he was recognized as a kind of foreign policy expert. When Obama chose his running mate, it was crucial to find someone who could strengthen his foreign policy/commander in chief credentials.  Plus, in person, Biden is a charmer. He ingratiated himself to the young Senator from Illinois and Mrs. Obama, rumor has it.

There is speculation that Biden might run for president in 2016, when he will turn 74. Is that an inducement for Obama to keep him on the ticket or does that undermine the idea that he will have singular loyalty and continue to be the hatchet man?

Biden is a complex character. He can relate to “joe sixpack” to recall another phrase that got him in trouble earlier in his career.  He has people skills, but shoots from the hip. There have been plagiarism allegations and major health issues. You can read more about him in one of the best books on American politics, What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer.
Bill Kristol makes the argument that Obama is already paving the way to elevate Hillary as a way to get a lock on the women vote plus energize the base. But don’t forget that Hillary has baggage, too. Revelations from Edward Klein’s The Amateur  drive a further wedge between the Clintons and the Obamas. Kristol throws out a few other names, Mark Warner, Ken Salazar.  Here’s something I haven’t heard—that team Obama is vetting replacements. Could they do that and keep it quiet?

Bottom line, I think Obama will keep him unless it looks like he has no choice or needs to create some news. To dump him would be a sign of weakness. Dump Biden and bring in Hillary to save the bacon? Pretty hard to stomach unless you are really going under.

What do you think? Will Obama dump Biden? Please let me know by voting in my poll or leave me a comment

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Uncategorized, Vice President, White House

Election Predictions–or not– from Jack and Bob!

Since it is August, Jack Abbott has been sailing on the Chesapeake. But after getting a deluge of emails from readers, he agreed to answer a few and arranged to meet his friends, Bob Carson and Evan Brett, at the Old Ebbitt last night. Once again, fictional characters are extremely unreliable and we do not vouch for this information.

Evan: I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, Jack.  But a lot of the questions imply that the direction of the campaign seems pretty clear. So how about a prediction. Who do you think is going to win the election?

Bob: Really? You think you know? If you do, why don’t you stop wasting time on politics and give me some lottery numbers.  By the way, Evan, are you running a tab? Appreciate it.

Jack: Seriously, if you see those good-looking folks on TV making predictions—well, let’s just say, anyone who says they know who will win at this stage in the election is spinning. Not saying there is anything wrong with spinning, of course.
It’s way too early to predict. Too many things still have to unfold before we will have an idea.

Evan: Come on, it can’t be that hard. The conventions, the debates, then the election.

Bob: Evan, are you serious? Is this your first rodeo?

Evan: I’m just asking the questions, Bob. And by the way, these are for Jack.

Bob: Fine with me. I just came for the drinks.

Jack: Well, there are lots of unknowns. We may have an uneventful three months or so. But what about the “October surprise?”  We don’t know if there is something out there, something held back for maximum impact. And if there is a foreign policy crisis, it almost always inures to the sitting president. On the other hand, what if the sitting president is surprised?

Evan: So if you won’t give me a prediction, at least tell me who is in the lead right now. Is Romney ahead or Obama?

Bob:Very funny. Romney has a huge lead with white voters, but lags with women and minorities. He is polling behind in key swing states. But wait–Gallup had them even on July 30. Are any of these polls right? Are they all wrong or are some wrong and others right? Is this the dream where you are in your underwear taking the SAT?

The quality of the polls varies like the quality of Maryland crabcakes. It depends what goes in to them. Sometimes you can read the ingredients and know it’s going to be all wrong. Sometimes it looks okay, but then you can’t always tell the proportions. If you put too many republicans or democrats in there, the crabcake will be off, and so will the poll.

Oh, wait. Was that for Jack, too? What do you think, Jack?

Jack: Good answer, Bob. Evan, do you want another beer?  I know you do, Bob. I’ll get the waiter.

MCL: If you have more questions for these three characters, you could hurry over to the Old Ebbitt to see if they are still there—I doubt it– or you can forward them to me. If you want to know more about these guys, check out Spin Doctor.  And before you leave the site, please take a moment and vote in the VP poll.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Spin Doctor, White House

Now What? Who will win the SPIN? Vote in my Poll!

Okay, the ruling is out. I’m not going to regurgitate it here. What do you think about the spin? Will it be the best thing to happen to reinvigorate the Obama campaign or a  Pyrrhic  victory? Will it propel Romney with more angry money? What do you think?

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The Health Care Cliff: Obama at the Edge

When we look back on the 2012 campaign, will the turning point be the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare?

Not only the decision of course, but how the candidates react to it—how will they spin it? The Obama campaign has not exactly been deft in handling touchy matters so far. And the Romney campaign is still untested.
Supreme Court police are said to be ready. Justice Ginsberg predicts it will be contentious. The decision will spring soon–in the next few days.

Most of the impact of the health care law will take effect in the distant future. But efforts to assuage the electorate do not seem to have worked so far.

The most recent Rasmussen has 52% in favor of repeal.

77% of those with health insurance now consider it good or excellent.

“Seventy-six percent think they should have the right to choose between expensive insurance plans with low deductibles and low-cost plans with higher deductibles. A similar majority believes everyone should be allowed to choose between expensive plans that cover just about every imaginable medical procedure and lower-cost plans that cover a smaller number of procedures. All such choices would be banned under the current health care law.”

And there is this one:  “65% angry at government policies.” A bit vague, but ominous.

For the Obama campaign, whatever the outcome, they had better bring the A game, because the polls are opposed to the decision.

An outright win for the Obama administration will set up repeal of the law as the defining domestic issue in the campaign: Repeal vs the imprimatur of the Court’s blessing. How will the Obama campaign try to do what they have been unable to do for the past two plus years?  Surely they have a major media blitz, unlike anything we have seen from them so far. Andy Griffith with guns blazing. Betty White exuding reassurance and calm. Pitches from other popular media personalities. Will it work?

A partial or complete loss for the Obama administration will be more difficult: Opponents will crow that their hand is called. They overreached. The professor didn’t understand what would be allowed under the Constitution, etc.

Proponents of the health law will be quick to brand the justices the “Bush Court” and dismiss their views as partisan.

But the Obama campaign will  have  to convince already hostile or indifferent voters that the remnants will need to be protected from the savages in Congress.

The Romney campaign has a much easier game plan. Win, lose or partial loss, they can be for repeal. The law can continue to be the economic bogeyman. Fear of the law’s impact on our future health is easier to imagine than fear of the status quo—our current system.
Regardless of the decision and your health care views, watch the spin. The best spinners are going to win in November.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Uncategorized, White House

A Word about Polls

Or, why do I retweet Rasmussen so much…

Polls are the lifeblood of democratic (small d) politics. It’s how we keep score.

Interim drama.Short for who is winning?

But different polls often give conflicting results.

If you check out RealClearPolitics.com today, you will find a poll to support your fondest hopes for the November election. Unfortunately, you may also find a poll to reinforce your worst fears.

Here is a timely example:

Gallup June 13 tracking poll Obama 46% Romney 45%.

But wait! There’s a Rasmussen poll, same date, that has Romney up by 4 points, 48-44%.

Which one is right?

I seldom admit this, but I don’t actually know. No one does.
But here is what I think, and briefly, why I tend to follow Rasmussen

LIKELY  VS REGISTERED VS ADULTS

First look at the sample.

Gallup polls registered voters. This means, for example, that if you are eighteen you go to get a driver’s license, you check the voter registration box, you show up on the voter registration rolls and you might get called.
But will you actually vote?

On the other hand, Rasmussen polls “likely voters.” Generally, these are registered voters who voted last time. In the last few elections, Rasmussen has been pretty accurate, and this is a big part of his secret sauce. It is more expensive and complicated to poll this more select group.

Many, perhaps most,  of the surveys you see poll registered voters. Some poll “adults” regardless of whether the adult can actually vote.

So what does it mean? Gallup polls most likely include a lot of folks who won’t bother to vote. So they may like Obama better than Romney, but not enough to leave work early, or figure out how to get an absentee ballot or whatever it takes.

TIMING

I also notice that the Gallup poll was done over  seven days. Rasmussen –three days.

So as events/gaffes take place, Rasmussen will be more likely to reflect them. “The private sector is fine” took place on Friday. The impact would have been felt over the next three days. Did this contribute to Romney’s bump? Possibly. On the other hand, Gallup may feel that using a rolling average shows the trend and smoothes out the little blips and gaffes. But do we really care about week old voter intentions?

If you were alive in 1980, you may remember the seismic change in polls in the last few days of the election. Alas, I am not old enough to remember “Dewey Defeats Truman” but something similar happened.

DOES SIZE MATTER?

Perhaps, but not that much when we are talking about samples. Unless the sample is especially small, all the correct statistical analysis would have taken place to calculate the margin of error. So unless the sample size is a few hundred, I don’t worry about it.

SO YOU ARE SAYING, IGNORE ALL POLLS EXCEPT RASMUSSEN?

No. All polls are interesting. There are many other factors to consider also, too deep in the weeds for this blog.

But read the fine print. Some may be misleading, outdated or wrong.

As for NovelPolitics polls, they are the most select, of course. They represent the views of a relatively small sample of highly informed, motivated and intelligent electorate.

So if you haven’t already, please check them out and vote.

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Filed under 2012 Election, White House

Biden’s Hail Mary Pass

Last week I blogged about whether Obama would replace Biden on the ticket.

I’m not going to repeat the reasons this was a possibility.

But with his 45 % unfavorable rating higher than his 42% favorable–and  higher than Obama’s negatives– clearly he was/is  in jeopardy.

I don’t know what happened next, exactly. The great thing about writing fiction is that you can connect the dots, even when there may not be actual dots or they may not be connected.

In this case, there are dots.

We know, or think we know that Biden is not in the Obama campaign strategy sessions. That’s because he’s not there to give strategy advice.  He doesn’t need to hear the latest polls or focus group results. He has a job. He knows what to do.  He is a heat seeking missile.

Target?

The disillusioned white voters who, according to the Post, have deserted Obama by a huge margin.

So Obama goes after his base with anti-rich rhetoric.  Michele raises her profile with young blacks, with such harmless, innocent moves as attending a Beyonce concert. And Joe will connect with white, Reagan democrats.

As with most politicians who reach a high level, Biden is actually not stupid. Whether someone wound him up, or whether he figured it out himself, he had to do something about those negatives.

So he’s been out there, giving the populist performance of his life, going back to his roots, talking about his parents and their dreams.

And then yesterday, he pulled out the stops. He went personally nuclear: he talked about the accident in which he tragically lost a wife and child. I don’t know whether he has brought up this extremely sad and moving story over the past  40 years. What I do know is that it made the front page of the Washington Post, and probably went out on AP all over the country (I first noticed it in an UneditedPolitics.com tweet).

I am reminded of the 1988 campaign, in which then Vice President Bush had an image problem. He was regarded by some as a “wimp.” This was incongruous of course with the facts and with his war record, for example, in which he had not just served, but been a hero. His campaign advisors wanted to get the story out, but it was delicate. The candidate was uncomfortable with raising it. Ultimately, they figured out a way to get their spin out, and the press stopped pushing the wimp issue.

You cannot objectively listen to Biden talk about his personal tragedy without being moved by it, or without seeing how it connected with the military families that have experienced loss. It would be easy to be cynical about Biden and his horrific personal experience. But I suggest we dig deeper and look at this man who has worked almost all of his adult life, to be at the pinnacle of American politics—and now, to be mocked, laughed at, reviled—to be one press conference away from standing bravely and applauding enthusiastically  “it’s time to pick a woman.”

What would you do?

You would pull out all the stops and use everything you have, because the one thing you do know is that you are likeable. And if you can get out there enough, you can turn this thing around. You will not be a drag on the ticket. You may not get Obama elected, but you are by God not wind up a laughingstock.

He already pushed the gay pride button. He is very at home with big labor.   So prepare yourself for the performance of a lifetime.

Oh, and if you are a gambler, Intrade now has Biden’s spot as VP  at 92.8%. Any takers?

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Vice President, White House

Plot Twist? Will Obama dump Biden?

You may have heard the rumors over the past few weeks—the suggestions that Obama might replace Biden on the ticket, perhaps with Hillary Clinton. The recent gay marriage announcement seemed to put more distance between the President and Biden. Just before, the NYT ran a lengthy piece about Sunday night strategy sessions in the Obama campaign, sans Biden. Ominous signs for Biden.

If the President were 75 years old with a heart condition, the choice of Vice President would certainly be more of a consideration. Since Obama is relatively young and apparently healthy does anyone really care who his Vice President is?

The old pols will tell you that the choice of Vice President is seldom a consideration for most voters. Voters react to the choice for President.

Yes, but what if the election is really close?

And, if Obama’s slide in the polls continues, changing VPs could be a Hail Mary pass.

What if Biden makes a really big, unforgivable gaff?

Or, another new embarrassing revelation?

Let’s face it, there have been lots of Biden gaffs. You might have trouble remembering why he was chosen in the first place.

Let me refresh your memory:

Biden was elected back in 1972. Shortly after the election, his wife and daughter were killed in a horrible automobile accident. His two sons were critically injured. Biden was devastated and considered quitting the Senate before he was sworn in. He ultimately did take the oath and perhaps as a reward  was given a seat on the Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committee. Both were considered plum assignments.  Prior to his election, Biden had served one term as county councilman, so it wasn’t like they needed his input. One of the youngest senators ever elected, he gained seniority over time and  became chairman of Foreign Relations. Ultimately, he was recognized as a kind of foreign policy expert. When Obama chose his running mate, it was crucial to find someone who could strengthen his foreign policy/commander in chief credentials.  Plus, in person, Biden is a charmer. He ingratiated himself to the young Senator from Illinois and Mrs. Obama, rumor has it.

There is speculation that Biden might run for president in 2016, when he will turn 74. Is that an inducement for Obama to keep him on the ticket or does that undermine the idea that he will have singular loyalty and continue to be the hatchet man?

Biden is a complex character. He can relate to “joe sixpack” to recall another phrase that got him in trouble earlier in his career.  He has people skills, but shoots from the hip. There have been plagiarism allegations and major health issues. You can read more about him in one of the best books on American politics, What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer.
Bill Kristol makes the argument that Obama is already paving the way to elevate Hillary as a way to get a lock on the women vote plus energize the base. But don’t forget that Hillary has baggage, too. Revelations from Edward Klein’s The Amateur  drive a further wedge between the Clintons and the Obamas. Kristol throws out a few other names, Mark Warner, Ken Salazar.  Here’s something I haven’t heard—that team Obama is vetting replacements. Could they do that and keep it quiet?

Bottom line, I think Obama will keep him unless it looks like he has no choice or needs to create some news. To dump him would be a sign of weakness. Dump Biden and bring in Hillary to save the bacon? Pretty hard to stomach unless you are really going under.

What do you think? Will Obama dump Biden? Please let me know by voting in my poll or leave me a comment:

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Filed under 2012 Election, Biden, Uncategorized, Vice President, White House