Obama Hasn't Closed the Sale
By KARL ROVE
This week also brought a reminder that Sen. Obama hasn't closed the sale. The Washington Post/ABC poll found 45% of voters still don't think he's qualified to be president, about the same number who doubted his qualifications in March. This is seven points more than George W. Bush's highest reading in 2000 and the worst since Michael Dukakis's 56% unqualified rating in 1988. It explains why Mr. Obama has ignored Democratic giddiness and done two things to keep victory from slipping away.
First, he is using his money to try to keep John McCain from gaining traction. The Obama campaign raised $67 million in September and may be on track to raise $100 million in October. Sen. McCain opted last month for roughly $85 million in public financing, giving him less than half of Mr. Obama's funds for the campaign's final two months. Even with robust Republican National Committee fund raising to augment his spending, Mr. McCain is at a severe financial disadvantage. So Mr. Obama is spending $35 million on TV this week versus the McCain/RNC total of $17 million. Mr. Obama is outspending Mr. McCain on TV in Virginia by a ratio of 4 to 1, in Florida by 3 to 1, and in Missouri and Nevada by better than 2 to 1. The disparity is likely to grow in the campaign's final weeks.
Money alone, however, won't decide the contest. John Kerry and the Democrats outspent Mr. Bush and the GOP in 2004 by $121 million and still lost. Mr. Obama's other strategy is to do all he can to look presidential, including buying very expensive half-hour slots to address the country next week. He wants to give a serious, Oval-Office type address. This is smart. People appreciate Mr. Obama's empathy on the economy, but as they take a long look at what he wants to do about it, they will be less impressed, especially if Mr. McCain draws sharp contrasts with clear policy proposals.
Mr. Obama is trying to make the case that his lack of experience or record should not disqualify him. But in doing so, he seems to recognize that the U.S. is still a center-right country. His TV ads promise tax cuts and his radio ads savage Mr. McCain's health-care plan as a tax increase. It's a startling campaign conversion for the most liberal member of the Senate. We'll know on Election Day if he is able to get away with it.
Similarly, Mr. McCain appears to be making three important course corrections. First, he and Gov. Sarah Palin are sharpening their stump speeches so their sound bites come off well on TV. Gone are offhand remarks and awkward comments read from notes perched on a podium. In are teleprompters and carefully crafted arguments. Mr. McCain is also more at ease than before and has an ebullient, come-from-behind underdog optimism that will serve him well in the final weeks.
Second, Mr. McCain is shaping a story line that draws on well-founded concerns about Mr. Obama's lack of record or experience. Mr. McCain is also bowing to reality and devoting most of his time to the economy. His narrative is he's the conservative reformer who'll lead and work hard to get things done, while Mr. Obama is the tax-and-spend liberal who's unprepared to lead and unwilling to act.
Mr. McCain is hitting Mr. Obama for wanting to raise taxes in difficult economic times, especially on small business and for the purpose of redistributing income, and for having lavish spending plans at a time when the economy is faltering. He's criticizing Mr. Obama for lingering on the sidelines while Mr. McCain dove in to help pass a rescue plan, necessary no matter how distasteful. And he's attacking Mr. Obama for not joining the fight in 2005 when reformers like Mr. McCain tried to rein in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Mr. McCain's other adjustment is his schedule. His campaign understands the dire circumstances it faces and is narrowing his travels almost exclusively to Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado and Nevada. If he carries those states, while losing only Iowa and New Mexico from the GOP's 2004 total, Mr. McCain will carry 274 Electoral College votes and the White House. It's threading the needle, but it's come to that.
This task, while not impossible, will be difficult. By mid-September, the McCain camp was slightly ahead in the polls. Then came the financial crisis. The past month has taken an enormous toll on the McCain campaign.
Whether it can find the right formula in the next 19 days to dig out is a question. If Mr. McCain succeeds, he will have engineered the most impressive and improbable political comeback since Harry Truman in 1948. But having to reach back more than a half-century for inspiration is not the place campaign managers want to be now.
Houseful of out-of-state Obama activists registered as Ohio voters, received absentee ballots
Something smells at 2885 Brownlee Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. I strongly recommend that the Ohio Republican Party get on the case before it's too late. Today's the last day to challenge voters who registered early in Ohio before the run up to Election Day.
Here's the stench: An entire houseful of young, non-Ohioan Democrat activists have used the Brownlee Avenue address to register themselves to vote in the Buckeye State and secure absentee ballots under extremely shady circumstances - all while mobilizing a large effort to register thousands of others for absentee and early voting. The activists are leaders of a group called "Vote From Home `08." The group is self-identified as having "extensive experience with political organizing, election administration, and Democratic politics." They were hailed as the "Justice League" by a Daily Kos blogger. Their Facebook page brags: "Want to turn the Presidential election blue in a key swing state? Vote from Home is a political organization that was founded by a team of young people for the purpose of assisting, aiding, and tracking voters to elect progressive candidates to the White House. Encouraged by the excitement of the 2008 elections and the movement around the Democratic candidates, Vote From Home will be in Ohio seeking to deliver 10,000 votes to Democratic candidates statewide."
My friends at Palestra.net, a network of young reporters who have been doing the voter and registration fraud reporting that the MSM has been slow to do, have a breaking investigative report on how several members of the Democrat Vote From Home team - all Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, and Truman Scholars studying abroad - are turning up on Franklin County voter rolls despite having no bona fide residence in Ohio and admittedly having little to no knowledge about the state before descending on it in August to sign up other new voters in a rush to put 10,000 Obama supporters on the rolls.
There is a big article about polling and the media here which argues that the media bias in favor of Obama may not do him much good and that the polls favoring him may not be right.
The polls usually show the Democrat ahead "Reviewing the polls printed in the New York Times and the Washington Post in the last month of every presidential election since 1976, I found the polls were never wrong in a friendly way to Republicans. When the polls were wrong, which was often, they overestimated support for the Democrat, usually by about 6 to 10 points. In 1976, Jimmy Carter narrowly beat Gerald Ford 50.1 percent to 48 percent. And yet, on Sept. 1, Carter led Ford by 15 points. Just weeks before the election, on Oct. 16, 1976, Carter led Ford in the Gallup Poll by 6 percentage points - down from his 33-point Gallup Poll lead in August. Reading newspaper coverage of presidential elections in 1980 and 1984, I found myself paralyzed by the fear that Reagan was going to lose. In 1980, Ronald Reagan beat Carter by nearly 10 points, 51 percent to 41 percent. In a Gallup Poll released days before the election on Oct. 27, it was Carter who led Reagan 45 percent to 42 percent."
Black racism, anybody?: "They say an informed electorate is a bulwark of democracy. How are we doing on that score? Well, a colleague of the talk show host Howard Stern traveled up to Harlem to canvas some folks about their choice for President. It is not surprising that most said they supported Obama. Statistics I've seen predict that Obama will get somewhere north of 95 percent of the black vote. But why? Judging from the responses of the men and women in Harlem, it doesn't have a lot do with his policies. Stern's colleague took several of McCain's policies-staying the course in Iraq, being pro-life, setting limits to stem-cell research, even choosing Sarah Palin as his VP-and attributed them to Obama. No problem! As one respondent put, it's very important to stay in Iraq and finish the job: he was really with Obama on that. He was with him, too, on being pro-life! Question: "And if he [Obama] wins, would you have any problem with Sarah Palin being Vice-President?" Answer: "No I wouldn't. Not at all."
For more postings from me, see OBAMA WATCH (2), TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, EYE ON BRITAIN and Paralipomena
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)