The networks have called it. Senator McCain has made a very gracious concession speech. We will digest the numbers in the coming days, but tonight is an historic night for America. Congratulations and best wishes to President-Elect Barack Obama!
Here are my predictions for Western Democrats on Election Day:
A Senate pick up of four seats in the West
A House pick up of at least seven seats in the West
No net change for governors in the West
An Electoral College pick up of 19 electoral votes in the West over 2004
The election will not be close, and while the West will contribute many electoral votes to an Obama victory, so will all sections of the country. This will be a watershed election.
The economic headwinds facing the incumbent party have reached gale force. Even Alan Greenspan’s faith in “self-regulating markets” has been shaken. Eight years of Republican control of the White House, six of them with Republican control of Congress, have not been a happy affair. War, economic crisis, and arrogance in governing, including a cavalier attitude towards Constitutional balance, have taken their toll on the country. The economy and our economic prospects for the next several years are much worse than we thought just a few months ago. The policies of the past eight years, which in some ways go back two or even three decades, wedded as they were to an ideological demand for deregulated markets and tax cuts for our richest citizens, are now discredited. The phrase “worst since the Great Depression” has become commonplace. Try as they might the McCain-Palin ticket cannot run away from the Republican brand and has failed to articulate how Republican “mavericks” differ from regular Republicans. They have not been able to reach out simultaneously to the GOP base and the centrist independents. Senator McCain’s campaign suggests an erratic Republican response to our economic crisis and a continuation of our current foreign policy in the Middle East.
Senator Obama has an opportunity not only to change the direction to our politics, but by virtue of his intelligence, his personal history, and his temperament he has the opportunity to be a president who can inspire the nation as few presidents have done. Kennedy, FDR, and even Lincoln come to mind in this regard. Given our current predicament, he will need to employ his considerable talents to their fullest extent. Rebuilding our banking system, restoring confidence in our markets, remaking our energy policy, reforming our health care policy, and rethinking our educational policies are all now urgent tasks. At the same time, we need to extricate ourselves as best we can from costly foreign wars that have alienated our traditional allies. All these tasks will no doubt be done imperfectly, but we must attempt them as best we can, and the architects of the new policies should not be the architects of the policies of last eight years or even the last twenty years. Senator Obama was prescient enough to see that this year’s election would be about change. Nine out of ten Americans now believe the country is on the wrong track. Indeed, the question is whether our economic engine has fallen quite off the tracks. Senator Obama was also able to see that the election will also be about hope, because hope will be in short supply for many in the next few years. Senator Obama is the candidate most capable of articulating America’s hopes and uniting the country in the pursuit of those hopes through some very tough times.
The election of 2008 is haunted by two ghosts. The first ghost is the ghost of the Republican past, namely Herbert Hoover. The oldest voters will remember President Hoover. The youngest voters can Google up facts on the Great Depression. President Hoover was an honorable man with an impressive record of public service, but he was out of his depth when it came to handling the Great Depression, and the election of 1932 accordingly marked the end of a long Republican-dominated political era and the beginning of a long Democratic ascendancy.
The second ghost is the ghost of the Republican present, namely George Bush. President Bush, unlike President Hoover, has taken some very bold steps recently to curb the freefall of the financial markets, but too late to save his already crumbling legacy or to prevent what looks to be a very serious and long-lasting recession. His popularity has fallen to historic lows, and he is unable to command the confidence of the people.
The McCain-Palin ticket cannot run away from these ghosts, try as they might. The election will be a very scary night for a lot of Republicans.
Is the McCain camp giving up on Colorado and New Mexico?
From CNN’s Jon King
While Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado are still officially listed as McCain target states, two top strategists and advisers tell CNN that the situation in those states looks increasingly bleak. Iowa and New Mexico always have been viewed as difficult races, but the similar assessment of Colorado reflects a dramatic shift for a campaign that had long counted on the state.
"Gone," was the word one top McCain insider used to describe those three states.
It’s not over until it’s over, and Nevada and Montana remain in play in the West, but this is good news for our Western strategy.
Update October 21. The McCain camp is pushing back on the report they're losing hope in Colorado. See this link.
Update October 23. Though Senator McCain is headed to Colorado Friday, Republicans are reportedly slashing their television advertising in Colorado's three biggest television stations.
See this link.
Update October 29. CNN reports Senator Obama has doubled his lead in Colorado.
Polling in other Western states and swing states around the country continues to look favorable for Senator Obama and Democrats in general. Tonight's inspiring broadcast will surely help.
Governor Palin didn’t freeze in the headlights. Senator Biden didn’t ramble on in Senate-speak. Both candidates did a good job. Both candidates beat expectations. If you liked your candidate going into this debate, you liked your candidate at the end of the debate. Joe Biden was my candidate going into this debate, and I like him even more now. He is experienced, solid, and sober, yet passionate, thoughtful, and touchingly human.
Others talk about my excessive passion. I'm not going to change. I have 35 years in public office. People can judge who I am. I haven't changed in that time.
And, by the way, a record of change -- I will place my record and Barack's record against John McCain's or anyone else in terms of fundamental accomplishments. Wrote the crime bill, put 100,000 cops on the street, wrote the Violence Against Women Act, which John McCain voted against both of them, was the catalyst to change the circumstance in Bosnia, led by President Clinton, obviously.
Look, I understand what it's like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, I understand what it's like as a parent to wonder what it's like if your kid's going to make it.
I understand what it's like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, "I've got to leave, champ, because there's no jobs here. I got to head down to Wilmington. And when we get enough money, honey, we'll bring you down."
I understand what it's like. I'm much better off than almost all Americans now. I get a good salary with the United States Senate. I live in a beautiful house that's my total investment that I have. So I -- I am much better off now.
But the notion that somehow, because I'm a man, I don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone, I don't know what it's like to have a child you're not sure is going to -- is going to make it -- I understand.
I understand, as well as, with all due respect, the governor or anybody else, what it's like for those people sitting around that kitchen table. And guess what? They're looking for help. They're looking for help. They're not looking for more of the same.
It was the man not in the room who is pulling the GOP ticket down, namely President George W. Bush, whose approval rating is reaching new lows. If we had found those supposed WMD’s in Iraq, if we had been greeted as liberators, if we still had the confidence of the world that we once had, if the Dow was hitting 16,000 instead of falling below 11,000, if the government was running the surplus it was running eight years ago, if we weren’t on the verge of a financial meltdown and a deep recession, then President Bush wouldn’t be the anchor around the ankles of the GOP that he is.
Given all that, the Obama-Biden ticket is on track to bring a welcome change to the country. I will sleep better when Barack Obama is President and Joe Biden is Vice President.
I didn’t see any knockout blows in tonight’s first presidential debate. I didn’t see any major gaffes. Each candidate held his ground. McCain did not look too old. Obama did not look too young. If you had your mind made up before the debate, this debate probably didn’t change your opinion. If you were looking for a really deep discussion of the issues, you were probably disappointed. Most Americans don’t expect that from TV, except perhaps on PBS. But TV does convey some things. It is said that Nixon won his debate with JFK on radio, but lost it on TV.
Commentators are noting that Senator McCain generally refused to look at Senator Obama, which is a bit disturbing when you think about it.
Watch this YouTube clip with the sound turned off.
Then ask yourself who looked more presidential.
Events are moving at a rapid pace, especially on the economic front, as the 2008 election hurtles toward a conclusion. Colorado is a key state, perhaps the key state, in the election. So what does the latest polling show?
Barack Obama has regained the lead over John McCain in Colorado and has maintained his lead in the three other battleground states being followed by the Quinnipiac University poll.
Obama is favored by 49 percent of likely voters in Colorado, versus 45 percent for McCain. McCain had held a one-point lead in Colorado in late August.
And Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Udall broke a tie with Bob Schaffer, leading the Republican by 8 percentage points in the September poll.
By a 49 percent to 42 percent margin, Colorado voters would rather see Biden as president.
Just over half of the Coloradans surveyed said the economy is the most important issue in the election.
Colorado voters gave Obama the nod — by six points — on which candidate better understands the economy.And a Western Strategy has helped produce these results.
"Two years ago when the Democrats picked Denver for their convention, one of the main reasons was the hope it would help them win Colorado, which is shaping up as a key state in the Electoral College," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Sen. Obama has come from behind to take the lead there and it is a reasonable assumption that the convention has something to do with this," Brown said.
On Friday, I had a chance to chat with DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Naturally, I asked him about the Western strategy.
Over at BlueOregon, Jeff Alworth (who joined me on the call) has the write-up. Here's what Dean said about the West:
"We’re ahead in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado right now. We think the road to the White House leads through the west, and if we win those three states, I think Barack Obama will be the next president. [Even] Montana is in play. We're only down two there."
Not only that, but Dean's 50-state strategy is a key underpinning to Obama's 50-state strategy - which includes the West and extends beyond it:
"What Barack is trying to accomplish is something Bush willfully chose not to do. Barack wants to be president of all America, not just the half that agrees with him. The reason he’s adopted the fifty-state strategy is because he wants to be the president even of people who don’t agree with him so he can reunify the country. That’s what I find so refreshing, a candidate that wants to bring people together instead of what McCain is doing by driving them apart. So being a player in every region of the country matters: North Carolina, Virginia is in play, there’s the western states that we talked about that are in play—and that hasn’t happened for a long, long time. And I think that’s the kind of President Barack Obama will be, someone who cares about all the American people, not just those who agree with him."
Good stuff. Let's bring this one home, folks.
Kari Chisholm | September 15, 2008 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)
…remember where you live. You live in a nation of gun owners and hunters. You live in a country where one out of three girls get pregnant before they are 20… Knock Palin for having kids, for having a kid who's having a baby, for anything that is part of her normalness -- a normalness that looks very familiar to so many millions of Americans -- well, you do this at your own peril.
Sarah Palin’s Alaska gave every Alaskan an extra $1,200 from oil revenues, and the GOP loves her. Alaska has no income tax and no sales tax. Alaska’s tax revenues come from taxing oil
Actually, I am warming to Sarah Palin on this. Maybe we ought to do more of this nationally. Maybe this ought to be a plank in the Democratic platform. Shouldn’t every citizen, not just Alaskans, get $1,200 from a tax on oil?
Per dollar of federal tax collected in 2005, Alaska citizens received approximately $1.84 in the way of federal spending. If only we could do that nationally. How is your state doing?
You can find out at this link.