Howard Fineman of Newsweek tells about participating in both campaigns’ conference calls today. He said his head was spinning by the end of the second one. I’ve been there, in business. It’s exhausting to take it all in on the phone when you’re missing key sensory input, hard to think quickly for hours on end, trying to be smart and persuasive and spontaneous, but all the while keeping your guard up.
This observation reminded me of business marketing, too:
By contrast, the McCainanites are talking less about the Electoral College map or voter groups than they are about the total number of calls and contacts they have made, and the historical trends that would suggest that they are not as out of the ballgame as it might seem.
Isn’t that funny? It’s exactly the kind of thing business unit managers or sales managers say when they’re not making their numbers, so to compensate in review meetings they very! enthusiastically! relate how many great! meetings they’re having and how much interest! they’re seeing out there in the marketplace.
Doesn’t it look suspenseful? Just like the rest of this crazy election season. It’s going to make a great movie some day.
It’s the image in the Obama campaign’s e-mail urging previous donors to make another contribution before Sunday. Five contributors will be flown to Chicago for election night in Chicago, complete with front row seats, backstage pass, and hotel.
Hey, Senator McCain: I’ve given less than $200. There’s nothing sinister about me. Honest, officer. I’m one of your shadowy ”secret donors” but I don’t think you need to be afraid of me.
Waited about 50 minutes at my early polling place, the Naperville Municipal Center.
It’s one of 15 early polling sites in my county, Dupage in Illinois, a part of suburban Chicago. County population is about 900,000. A poll worker said they’ve seen about 10,000 early voters at just that location since Oct. 13.
The county is using Diebold machines. Each operates independently—not hooked up to any server. Storage cards will be removed on Nov. 4 at poll closing time for the state, and added to the election day totals. (I asked a lot of questions.)
I was worried about minor identity mismatches. I filled out an “application to vote,” a half sheet of paper required so there was something to sign since they don’t have the big rolls available during early voting. Not sure if my voter registration included my middle name, I asterisked the space where I printed my name and mentioned in a footnote that sometimes I omit the middle initial. Turns out I had registered to vote without including the initial, and it didn’t matter; they allowed me to scribble it out on the form, since the signature, photo and birthdate all checked out.
I don’t remember having to show ID when I’ve voted before. It must be something new. Also don’t recall ever seeing a “No cell phones” sign before.
I saw a lot of happy faces in line. It seemed odd for a public place full of strangers. I don’t think I’m projecting but their mood seemed to reflect my own—kind of an excited anticipatory feeling, the way you feel when you’re keeping a birthday surprise. Of course, there were some resentful faces in the crowd, and they were attached to bodies that tended to be older, sleeker and better-dressed. Draw your own conclusions.
The economy’s meltdown has been a ghastly godsend for Barack Obama’s campaign, and it doesn’t seem like a very good idea to change a subject that seems to be working. In the final days of the campaign, though, sometimes I wish we would hear a few more reminders about our occupation of Iraq, and about the kind of shoot-first commander-in-chief that John McCain would become.
Think Progress points to a Der Spiegel interview with Robert Kagan, the neocon McCain advisor who was a signatory to the 1998 letter (.pdf file) to Bill Clinton urging regime change in Iraq.
Matt Duss, the Think Progress writer, picks out the astonishing part of the interview with the German newspaper. In response to a question about the Bush administration’s dishonest rationalization for invading Iraq, Kagan says characterizing it in that way is “a silly conversation” and “absurd conspiracy theories.”
SPIEGEL: Isn’t it true that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld took advantage of the outrage over the 9/11 terrorist attacks to strike Iraq? Is it even possible anymore to deny that the war was based on manipulation, exaggeration and flat-out lies?
Kagan: That’s absurd.
SPIEGEL: It’s a commonly held view…
Kagan: The Bush administration’s intelligence on Iraq was the same as the Clinton administration’s, the German government’s and the French government’s before the war. We now know that Saddam wanted the world to believe he had weapons of mass destruction—and the world did.
SPIEGEL: But, unlike Washington, both Paris and Berlin did not want to go to war without UN approval. And the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna asked the United States—unsuccessfully—for a few more months to complete its investigation in Iraq. But the US wanted this war for strategic reasons.
Kagan: In retrospect, we have to admit that Washington could have waited a while longer. That’s a different question. But I think it’s about time we moved beyond this silly conversation and these absurd conspiracy theories. There is a real debate as to whether we should have gone to war in Iraq. And now we should have an intelligent discussion about the new challenges we face in Iraq and elsewhere.
It’s so crazy and disrespectful to hear these guys continuing to pretend they didn’t have a clear aim in mind from day one and concocted a case to fit the aim. Most Americans and most of the world know that much of the justification for invasion was a fiction, and still they try to con us. They must think we’re idiots. When I see the word “neocon” it’s the con part that rankles.
Also check out ThinkProgress’s McCain war cabinet. You want more neocon foreign policy? McCain’s your guy.
Obama talks mostly about more of the same George Bush economic policy. I can’t think I’m alone in being even more frightened by more of the same George Bush foreign policy.
If you’re arguing with undecided voters about the socialism charge leveled by the McCain campaign against Barack Obama’s tax proposal, give them a little historical perspective and explain it’s a tiny tweak—not the huge deal McCain seeks to make of it.
Obama proposes to raise the top marginal rate to 39%—up from 35%. Note that the top rate hovered around the 90% mark all during the 1960s and stayed up in the 70% range throughout the 1970s.
The McCain campaign can try to make spreading the wealth into a mountain of an issue, but it’s not. It’s a small change. It won’t threaten the fabric of democracy.
The Obama campaign should have made the calculator into an embeddable widget. I’ll take a look at it tonight and see if I can pluck it out.
My inauguration countdown widget continues to be a relative hit by my modest standards, getting 300,000 views so far this month. It seems like a very long time since I made it over the Christmas holidays last year. It has been fun to see it show up on other people’s blogs. Since the widget is available as a Google gadget, it’s been especially well patronized by Blogger bloggers.
Whatever will we talk about and think about when this is all over next week? Maybe some of us will stay involved and channel our interest into making things better and more just.
New blog. I’ve been changing blogs like John McCain changes his strategy, but I haven’t worried about preserving my brand since Google shrank the pagerank on my OPML blog from 6 to 0. (Long story.) I figured, like Sarah Palin, what do I have to lose. So, when the OPML Editor didn’t play well with my new desktop running Vista, I moved from the OPML blog to the blog at learnandteachonline.com that I abandoned three years ago. But it’s made with Drupal, which I just never took to, so I never went deep into it. Every time I upgraded or wanted to change something, answers on the support forums were circular and haughty. I dreaded working on it.
So I’m making this with Expression Engine (EE), the LAMP CMS I use at work. It feels like an old shoe. I’ll just start fresh, and not worry about trying to migrate old content. Lijit search is in the sidebar and is supposed to include the old blogs, though at the moment it doesn’t seem to be finding everything.
Trying Friendfeed for comments. I’ve been following the developments at Friendfeed on the Gillmor Gang and NewsGang Live. On a recent show someone, probably Steve, mentioned using the service for blog comments, and it reminded me I’d thought of trying an FF room for that purpose shortly after the rooms concept was introduced.
You can see the widget for the almost real-time Amylooo room in the sidebar here. I’ve also sort of integrated it traveling the other way. The comments link at the bottom of each post is a link to the Friendfeed entry. It’s not completely automatic; I have to publish the post, then go to Friendfeed to fetch the link, and enter it in a custom field in the EE blog post form.
Entry link naming at Friendfeed is quite complicated, probably because each comment in each thread has its own URI, and maybe for some security purpose? That’s a good thing, but it’s too random, not predictable enough, to integrate it the way I can with some services. It would be nice if each entry in my room started with the same string so it could be appended with the post title here to save the manual work. For example, for a sidebar item in an email newsletter I do at work in EE, I can pop up a page for a poll at Survey Monkey that only requires an ID number added to an address that always starts out the same.
Does your organization have a policy on cell phone use while driving?