Tag Archives: politics

Predictions on the VP Debate: Bob and Jack are Back

Jack pushed open the door of the bar and squinted into the dark until he saw Bob.  “Why aren’t you at the Old Ebbitt? I’ve been to half the bars in town looking for you. Are you coming over to Evan’s tonight to watch the debate?”

Bob watched him approach. “The debate? What about the game?”

“We have that covered. Two TVs. Side by side.”


“Can I have the remotes?”

“No. And, Evan said not negotiable.”

Bob nodded thoughtfully.”I guess we know who will win anyway, since it’s all in Spin Doctor.”

Jack dragged a bar stool into position and sat next to Bob. “By the way, I have to hand it to you. You nailed it. Watching with the sound off may be one of your best ideas yet.”

Bob shrugged. “You seem surprised.”

“I thought you were just looking for an excuse to hang out in a bar.”

“Right. Like I need an excuse.”

“Okay, smart guy. What about the VP debate?”

“You tell me. You’re the Spin Doctor, after all.”

“I think we go with the sound off again”  Jack waved at the bartender and ordered a Bass Aie.

Bob nodded. “But not because of the visuals. It is possible that listening to this debate, without proper medication, could induce drowsiness.”

“So you don’t think Biden will implode?”

Bob shook his head. “Biden is over rated as an entertainment. He knows how to woo an audience, that’s all. Sometimes he gets caught by another audience that thought he loved them more.”

“What are you talking about? He’s married.”

“Funny. Ha ha. You know what I mean. He can talk to the Economic Club of Chicago and the Brotherhood of Baggage Handlers  and they both will think he’s their guy. Then, they see the news and find out he has a multiple personality disorder.”

“Exactly. And it will be great!”

The bartender slid the bottle of beer in front of Jack, no glass, and another drink in front of Bob.

Bob went on:“No. Think. Tonight the audience is everybody. Tonight he will be buttoned down and buttoned up. No gaffes, no shooting from the lip. Just get out of the debate alive with no headlines. He can’t move the needle so–just don’t blow it.”

Jack blinked at him. “No. I don’t think so. He has absolutely nothing to lose tonight. He’ll swing for the fences. Hold up Big Bird’s lifeless body.  He is going to go for the jugular, be the defender of the President. Even if he goes over the line, he’s not going to lose votes. But, he might energize the base. Right now, the air is coming out of the base. Turnout will be everything.”

“So what are you saying? You have too many metaphors. I can’t follow.”

“Abortion. The women have fled the ticket. This is no time for sweet talk. Immigration, another base issue. And then, a blend of economics aimed at black voters.”

Bob’s pinkish eyes  widened. “The race card?”

“Not saying they will play it. But they might accidentally drop it on the table then quickly pick it up.”

Bob stirred the ice cubes in his glass with the bar straw.

“What do you think?”

“Does Evan have any Glen Fiddich or should I bring my own?”

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What do you think will happen in the debate next week? Vote in my poll!

See the poll in the sidebar on the left.

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What do you think about #Romney’s 47% remark?

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Do you think Romney was wrong to criticize US actions in the Middle East?

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A whiff of Sabotage? Or just getting ready to abandon ship?

A spate of articles report that some pundits think Obama fizzled at the Convention.  According to Politico, before the Obamas left the stage, James Carville tweeted : “Certainly not the best speech of this convention.” WaPo’s Dana Milbank’s headline: “Obama the Demigod Comes Down to Earth.”

Are the Clintonistas shuffling toward the exits? Or bolting? Do I detect the notes of  a carefully spun narrative, whispered into a few eager but discreet media ears?  Now wafting out into the media airwaves, with no fingerprints and no smoking gun? A muffled clinking of the Clinton train as it is unhitched from the Obama engine? . .
Not saying they want Romney to win, do they?
What do you think? Vote in my poll, or leave me a comment.

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The Truth About Convention Bumps: What Happened and What’s Next?

Heading into the stiff winds of the Democratic Convention, does the Romney campaign start the week with a bump? What’s the final answer?
Rasmussen has Romney gaining 6 percentage points overall, which is average, according to Gallup. He started the week at 42%.  The latest head to head is Romney 48% to Obama 44%.
The Gallup daily tracking poll does not show a bump at this point. But keep in mind, the Gallup poll is a 7-day rolling average vs the 3 day moving average of the Rasmussen poll. In other words, the Gallup poll would include responses that were taken BEFORE the convention. So we will need to wait a few more days to see if there is an impact among registered voters, a broader measure than the Rasmussen “likely voters.”

So now does the same thing happen for the President? Will Obama get a bump this week? Please vote in my poll and let me know what you think!

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September 3, 2012 · 4:33 pm

Convention Red White and Blues: Bob: “Get me out of here. I see Zombies.”

Jack found Bob at the Hub over on Franklin Street.  It was dark inside, but he could see him in his lime green polo shirt and jeans. His head was on the bar. Not leaning on his elbow, but actually on the edge of the bar.

Jack eased toward him quietly from behind and was surprised to see his eyes open, trained on the small tv set  hanging from the corner of the bar.  “Jeez Bob, I thought you were asleep. Are you okay?”

Bob sat up. No hello. “Of course.” He drew his drink close and looked at it fondly.

“Why aren’t you at the Forum?” Jack looked up at the tv. “They aren’t even showing the convention.”

“Duh.” Bob took a sip. “I couldn’t take it anymore. I know M. C. sent us down here to cover the convention, but. . . ” he shook his head, unable to go on.

“Are you crazy? Haven’t you heard the speeches? Even if you don’t agree with everything, I mean, I thought you were a professional.”

Bob squinted at Jack. “You just got here, right?” He took another gulp. “I went down there the first day, I was hanging around, you know, where they were doing those cable shows. I tried to watch. I was there an hour or two. I swear to God, Jack, they were interviewing corpses. Zombie politicals. And they all said the same thing. Over and over. I watched the producers. They came towards me. They started grabbing up people in the bar, making them talk on camera. I had to get out of there.”

The bartender came over and Jack got an iced tea.

“Bob, do you think maybe you got a hold of some bad fire water?”

“No way. But wait. It got worse. I went to the convention Tuesday night. I know a guy who got me some credentials. . .”

“Really—that’s great. Why didn’t you write something about it for the blog?”

“Maybe I will, when I recover.”

“What happened?  Did somebody hit you or something?

“Almost. There was a sea of red, white and blue.  And I couldn’t find the bar. Then, more zombies saying the same thing, more or less.  The great state of something or other casts most of their votes. Bla Bla . . . Some of them had on red cowboy hats.”

“Come on, is this your first convention? That’s what they always do.”

The bartender came back and asked if I wanted to order breakfast. Not sure what he meant by that, so I said no.

“No, it’s not my first convention. But you know how we block out certain things. Like you remember what it’s like to go over to Rehoboth and swim in the ocean. You remember the hot sun and the cool water lapping against you as you walk out to the surf. But you forget completely how the waves crash down on you, knock you over, spin cycle you with sand and grit and small shells and get up your nose. I went home and burned every red, white and blue article of clothing. This shirt is all I have left.”

“No you didn’t. You can’t burn things in a hotel room.”

“Okay, true, but I got rid of it.”

“So you didn’t watch any of the speeches? Seriously?”

“I thought you were going to write that part.”

“Great. I thought maybe, since you were here, that you were. What happened to your cell phone, anyway?”

“Good question. How did you find me, by the way?”

“Easy. Asked the concierge for a list of dives. This was the first one he mentioned.”

Bob waved at the bartender  and pointed to his glass. “By the way, I started a tab.”

The bartender slid his drink in front of him. “Here you go, Jack. Is that Abbott with one t or two?”

Obviously a complete waste of money to fly these characters to Tampa. Please help us by voting in the poll, so we have some kind of convention coverage.

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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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Bob Carson Reluctantly Explains a Few Things about VP Timing

Since I discovered his memo two weeks ago, Jack has been unusually quiet. Fictional characters are extremely unreliable and his motivations are questionable.  He may be working on something for the Obama campaign, since he claims he is neutral. I was able, in his absence, to put a couple of FAQ from readers to his close friend, Bob Carson, who is also entirely fictional. Please pardon Bob’s sarcasm. It’s just the way he is.  This is all I could get from him.

Q. Why doesn’t Romney make up his mind about the VP and just tell us? Everyone wants to know and we are sick of waiting. Can’t he make a decision or what?

A. Stop before you further embarrass yourself. Do you eat the icing on the cake first? Do you eat the pie filling and not the crust? Do you skip dinner altogether and go to the dessert? I was going to ask about foreplay, but let’s stick with food analogies.
Seriously, and I use that word loosely, you have to try to step back and notice what is actually happening here. Although the campaign appears to be slavishly following my memo (see below. I’m not sure they can get Merkel to meet with them but I’m going to make a few calls), I don’t have any actual information. But, did you notice how one day the story was Mitt’s taxes and Bain Capital and the next day, you were wondering if he really was going to choose Condi? Then it was Portman, Pawlenty, Rubio, Jindal, and Ayotte. The main drama and one of the few things they can control right now is the VP choice and timing. Teasing us with the choice is actually a sign they are on the ball.

Q. But that seems so mean to the contenders. Isn’t it unfair to keep them dangling?

A. On the contrary. They are the anointed ones.  The cream of the crop of the nation’s leaders. The moment a choice is made, they will go back to their humdrum lives–but they may never be the same. They will have been elevated to the elite just because they made the list.  Remember, in Washington, the illusion of power and actual power can be hard  to differentiate. Certainly not for amateurs–some who have tried have been blinded.

MCL: Do you have questions for Jack –or Bob– or anyone else in Spin Doctor? I’m not sure his information is reliable, but I will be glad to attempt to get  a civil answer from him. In the meantime, while there is still time, please take a moment and vote in the VP poll. It will help relieve the stress.

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Filed under 2012 Election, campaign tactics, Spin Doctor, Vice President, White House