Sunday, October 12, 2008

US Presidential Race

McCain's campaign is currently in tatters, that never seems to last long though!

Last weekend he allowed his campaign operatives to make the extraordinary statement, to the Washington Post I believe, that they wished to "turn the page" on the financial crisis and move to attack Obama's judgement and character. They let all and sundry know that they would raise the Ayers issue, possibly even in the debate Tuesday. Reviews, even from conservative commentators like Peggy Noonan on Meet the Press, were very negative and polls have continued to move in Obama's direction.

Sure enough Ayers was not mentioned Tuesday and everyone agrees that Obama came off best. McCain-Palin events are whipping up quite nasty rhetoric from the more redneck element though, which is again creating concern among commentators like George Packer, for example. This has led McCain to once again dial back the rhetoric and another outbreak of playing nice.

On the other side I think we saw a trademark Chicago shove from Obama. (This whole "Bambi" thing was always a fiction. The reason to like Obama is that he is very considered and also tough, I hope his more dewy eyed supporters are not too disilluisioned, they should definitely reader the Lizza profile in the New Yorker as well as the earlier one.) After McCain announced his intention to increase the negative attacks we saw Obama release a 15 minute account of the Keating Five scandal on the web.

Last weekend also saw (with suspiciously apt timing) the release of an extraordinary polemic against McCain in Rolling Stone. It'll take a while for you to get your jaw back up off the floor after you read it.

Some good quotes: this one from a fellow prisoner of war in Vietnam (and I am leaving out the best bit)

Dramesi, who went on to serve as chief war planner for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and commander of a wing of the Strategic Air Command, was not surprised. "McCain says his life changed while he was in Vietnam, and he is now a different man," Dramesi says today. "But he's still the undisciplined, spoiled brat that he was when he went in."

And in honour of local corruption hawks this one:

There is no small irony that the Reform Institute — founded to bolster McCain's crusade to rid politics of unregulated soft money — itself took in huge sums of unregulated soft money from companies with interests before McCain's committee. EchoStar got in on the ground floor with a donation of $100,000. A charity funded by the CEO of Univision gave another $100,000. Cablevision gave $200,000 to the Reform Institute in 2003 and 2004 — just as its officials were testifying before the commerce committee. McCain urged approval of the cable company's proposed pricing plan. As Bradley Smith, the former chair of the Federal Election Commission, wrote at the time: "Appearance of corruption, anyone?"

But really read the whole thing.

Oh and the NYT has finally noticed Obama's extraordinary ground operation.

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