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October 30, 2008

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I really appreciated the artistry with which they wove together three threads - the life of ordinary Americans, the direction he is proposing to take the country in terms of policy, and Obama's own biography (both him and his family), so that they all related to each other in an apparently seamless manner.

And not one mention of either McCain or Bush - no attacks or slams at the opposition, just challenges and solutions, making it a very forward looking piece.

I have no idea how this ad will impact the election, but it struck me as having the potential to be as powerful as Reagan's "Morning again in America" ads were.

But then I watched it -- and I honestly thought it was great, and even sincerely moving at times

Not even one small criticism? What about the music, it was a bit over the top.

the music over the speeches was close to the line, granted. but there was less of that than i originally feared

Obama has earned our trust. He's run an amazing campaign -- it shouldn't be too hard to repay him with a little confidence.

And also, what Coates said [caution, f-word].

I think, more than anything, we saw tonight that the Obama campaign is run by professionals.

There were so many ways that the infomercial could have gone wrong. Instead the ad has generally been lauded by the punditocracy this evening (I'll assume that's not true on Fox News but someone else will have to report on that one).

And that's the key difference between the campaigns: professionalism. Obama's camp is coolly executing its gameplan in the fourth quarter. And McCain's team is crumbling in crunch time like the Cowboys.


Not even one small criticism? What about the music, it was a bit over the top.

You want criticisms, OK, here's a short list:

- It was cheesy and emotionally manipulative, especially the music at times as you point out. Ditto the amber waves of grain at the beginning. Also the brief monochrome shot of Obama's head backlit by stadium lights to create a sort of halo effect which was about 2/3rds of the way through could be interpreted as an attempt at quasi-religous iconongraphy.

- The cut to the live footage of the Florida rally was a bit jarring.

- The prerecorded bits felt overproduced, too slick almost.

- I would have prefered that the story about the semi-retired couple with healthcare problems was followed by a brief mention of healthcare policy proposals instead of a segue into energy.

- The policy bits were too vague, a little more detail would have been more to my taste.

- Not enough mention of how we are going to pay for all of this.

etc., etc.

If I had loads of free time and multiple viewings I could probably nitpick it to pieces.

So what? If it wasn't perfect, a reasonable question to ask would be (or so it seems to me), compared with what?

The 30 mins flew by. It didn't feel like undergoing root canal surgery. Given what most political ads are like, can you imagine what it would feel like to listen to an elongated version of your average 30-60 second spot ad?

What would a 30 min commercial from the McCain/Palin campaign have been like? Do you think they could put together 30 mins of solution oriented presentation of issues without one slam on Obama, without one sleazy attack or nasty dig?

What about other political leaders - who else could have done something like this and carried it off, knowing that if it flopped or produced a noteworthy gaffe or SNL worthy cringe inducing moment this late in the campaign it would dominate the news cycle from now till the election?

This was a tightrope walk without a net, and Obama and his team made it look easy.

This is the most amazing thing about Obama: he always, always came through. The "celebrity" meme, the DNC, fundraising jitters, Sarah Palin, financial crisis, Bill Ayres, and tonight — and if we want to go back to the primaries: the early doldrums, a surprise NH loss, Rev. Wright, "bitter"gate — Obama has been able to parry every attack and navigate every pitfall. And he does so with just right mix of passion, reason, optimism, and toughness. Everything, from the smallest detail to the larger narrative arc, everything is in sharp clear relief.

Given everything Obama has been able to handle over the last 20 months, I cannot imagine him falling short November 4.

LeftTurn - your nit-picks give me comfort. You are precisely not the target audience.

Appeal to emotion. Empathy and understanding of the problems Americans are facing. These are the prescription.

A little more policy detail would be like so 2000.

Given everything Obama has been able to handle over the last 20 months, I cannot imagine him falling short November 4.

Whether he does or not depends on what you and I, among others, do between now and then. It is not over. It is just getting started.

"A rope on the Goodyear Blimp". Amazing imagery! I'm totally stealing that line.

I am in a hotel in Ohio, spending the last week of the campaign far from my wife and daughter, knocking on doors during the long days. I am but a single strand in this long rope tied to the blimp. We are all doing our part to make this happen.

LeftTurn - your nit-picks give me comfort. You are precisely not the target audience.

Appeal to emotion. Empathy and understanding of the problems Americans are facing. These are the prescription.

Yeah, I knew that already. I was trying to make the point that it didn't have to be perfect, just effective. Little things that I notice don't get in the way of that - I've learned that much from watching the debates and then being stunned at how well Obama has polled afterwards.

I think this 30 min spot was the same way. IMHO this election is shaping up very much like 1980 where Reagan represented a change and Carter tried to make him scary, and it didn't work.

Also, ditto what now_what said above - this isn't about us trusing Obama not to stumble at the end. It is about him trusting us not to stumble at the end, and making sure that this trust wasn't misplaced. It is up to us now.

thanks swarty -- but note that i stole it from the seminal bill murray film "what about bob"

OK, then I'll borrow it from you , who borrowed it from Bill.

And I saw that movie!

Swarty

// it was pitch perfect.//
So was the olympic opening ceremonies but that doesn't mean I want to be ruled by the communist party.

A while back, I remember a comment at BJ about second-guessing Obama. To paraphrase, after all that he's been through in the primaries and general, after all the problems that have crept up, after all the BS the right has thrown at him, he and his campaign have managed to brush it off, turn it around, and continue to exceed our expectations. What (in whatever 'crisis' was at hand at the time) makes me think I know how to handle this better than Obama and his team?

But, uh, yeah. I was pretty damn nervous about this too Pub. ^.^

So was the olympic opening ceremonies but that doesn't mean I want to be ruled by the communist party.

then it's gonna suck to be you, comrade!

--

i thought it was too slick and overproduced, too. but i think that about most things. my wife thought it was great.

d'd'd'dave must have missed the parts of the Chinese Olympic opening ceremony that were exposed as fraudulent. Hardly what you'd call a "pitch-perfect" occurence.

I know that a lot of Obama opponents insist that Obama's just as big a fraud, and it must be very frustrating for them when they consistently fail to "unmask" him as a crypto-muslim, as anti-white Black Liberationist Christian, as a vapid celebrity, as "presumptuous", as a terrorist-sympathiser, as a socialist, as whatever the ever-changing allegations about his supposed "real" identity will be over the next couple of days.

Maybe one of these days you guys will figure out that Obama is what he claims to be - a moderate to centre-left politician with good leadership ability and a steady temperament - and it's the accusations that are painting the fraudulent picture.

What happened to honest candidates? I find it hard to support candidates that are marketed to us. Honestly, an infomercial? This is the height of a good campaign? It seems as if we are being sold a president in the same way we were sold SUVs.

I tend to be one of those jaded folks who doesn't like things that are overproduced, and for the main part I didn't find it to have gone too far - although I'm so heavily invested in the campaign and this candidate that my judgement's very questionable. As with some others, I thought the bit at the start when the music kept on playing as Obama spoke to camera was not a great idea (although there's a joke there that he spoke to camera and we heard music ...). D'd'd'dave, couldn't you have made the same point without verging on a Godwin Violation?

What happened to honest candidates?

name one

"BHO", if you want to get past the emotional appeals and dig into the candidates' policy proposals and their records, I salute you. You are fortunate in that the internet makes it easy for you to conduct your research, and Obama, at least, makes a lot of information easily accessible for you on his website. The emotional appeals that you deride aren't really aimed at you; They exist to inspire greater volunteer efforts among the candidate's supporters and to sway undecided voters who lack your dedication to the cold facts. In the infomercial there were several mentions of policy programs, or at least priorities, and on-screen text indicating that more information was at the campaign website (it did strike me as a bit odd that the website and text messaging information were given, but no telephone number).

BHO, aren't all campaigns marketing? Weren't the Lincoln-Douglas debates, America's mythical gold standard of campaigning, a marketing effort? Would you sit through such a debate today?

The problem comes when the marketing is fraudulent, but there's no hint of that in the Obama campaign. Sure, the Republicans are willing to warn us how awful it will be under Obama, but they've already shown that they are incompetent and untrustworthy. Their track record shows us that they deserve to get less than 8% of the vote. Everyone else who votes for Republicans this year is either an unthinking victim of their marketing or hasn't been paying attention.

He really missed the opportunity to connect his plans to the problems he laid out. none of the parts were linked in any way. it makes the plans get lost which makes people say 'how is he going to fix this'

also, no explanation why one should vote for him to be in public office. they way he described fixing the problems, it sounds like government doesn't have anything role to play and people just need to talk to their neighbors more to find their boot-straps. Missed opportunity to make an actual liberal appeal instead of this right-wing garbage.

He really missed the opportunity to connect his plans to the problems he laid out.

we obviously watched different shows. the one i watched had all kinds of proposals sprinkled through it.

See my eyes, I can hardly see. See me stand, I can hardly walk. I believe you can make me whole. See my tongue, I can hardly talk. See my skin, I'm a mass of blood. See my legs, I can hardly stand. I believe you can make me well. See my purse, I'm a poor, poor man. Won't you touch, won't you mend me Christ? Won't you help, won't you heal me Christ? Won't you save, won't you pay me Christ? Won't you kiss, you can cure me Christ.

DNFTT

" It seems as if we are being sold a president in the same way we were sold SUVs."

I heard there's also a slightly used 1936 Buick 8 Coupe for sale.

Feed me, cleek / Feed me all night long - That's right, boy! - Go to it, Feed me cleek / Feed me all night long / Cause if you feed me, cleek / I can grow up big and strong.

_So I'm done doubting._

Our lead is solid,
Solid like Barack.
That's what our lead is,
That's what we've got-got-got-got-got.

I'm sorry, I can't help myself. I can't get that out of my head.

alchemist - I'm so sorry. I've heard that humming the Chicken Dance helps.

alchemist: aw thanks a lot dude. Whatcha go and do that for?

the 30 minutes flew by

I noticed this too -- I was skeptical about the amount of production and glossiness -- but they did not interfere with or distract from the flow of the piece. It held my attention.

(Which reminds me: It will be fantastic to have a president whose speeches hold my attention. I can't remember such a thing.)

I admit that I wasn't paying very close attention. It didn't seem to be my kind of thing, and I agree that some of the music was over the top. But I don't imagine that will stop the trolls from pretending that we're all hypnotized. Looks like it's time to break out the pie-ifier, cleek.

Missed opportunity to make an actual liberal appeal instead of this right-wing garbage.

I too am appalled by way Obama is spending these few remaining days trying to appeal to those outside his base. The nerve.

Feed me, cleek / Feed me all night long

That is to trolling as Abbey Road is to pop music.

So was the olympic opening ceremonies but that doesn't mean I want to be ruled by the communist party.

So is "Dancing Queen", but it doesn't mean I want to be ruled by Karl XVI Gustaf.

I find it hard to support candidates that are marketed to us. Honestly, an infomercial? This is the height of a good campaign?

I hear you, and share your frustration that modern political campaigns, especially at the national level, are so focussed on style and form, rather than substance.

Unfortunately, high-production-value media are pretty much the venue in which we live our public lives these days. Folks don't read the paper that much, they don't read a lot of books other than for entertainment. In spite of the very large crowds that have attended both McCain and Obama's rallies, the majority of people don't actually show up to hear public speeches.

TV and radio are where it happens. And both, TV especially, are pretty glossy formats. If you want to play, that's where you need to be.

I watched Obama's show with quite a bit of apprehension. Was this really necessary? Isn't this going to turn off a lot of people who are already suspicious of him, and wonder if he's for real or not? What the hell is he going to talk about for half an hour?

IMO it was well done, primarily because most of it was not about Obama, but about *other people*. The message here, I think, was that Obama understands the issues regular folks are facing.

It was certainly cheesy and manipulative, but that's what TV tends to be. It's not a neutral medium.

I don't know if candidate infomercials bodes well or ill for the nation as a whole, and frankly I hope it's not a precedent. But it didn't suck as badly as I thought it might, and I thought it made the point Obama wanted to make.

Thanks -

great. Now i'm going to have tracks from Jesus Christ Superstar stuck in my head all day.

One question: who's Judas?

That is to trolling as Abbey Road is to pop music.

Yeah, maybe, but we've seen better.

BOB, now, was easily the Captain Beefheart of trolling.

See if you can bring your game up a notch or two, BBM.

Thanks -

Carl Anderson

Sorry russel, in the words of that great philosopher P.E. Sailor, Iyam what Iyam.

Looks like it's time to break out the pie-ifier, cleek.

it's always on, in cleektown. and bbm has been workin in the pie factory fuh-evah.

I wish I could give in completely, but I look at some of these stupid polls (like the new Penn poll where Obama is only up by 4) and I just want to pull all my hair out.

Of course it was cheesy and emotionally manipulative. Any appeal to undecided voters this late necessarily has to be. If you cared about policy you would've made up your mind--one way or the other-- a long time ago.

There's a tendency to treat undecided voters as these sophisticated, impartial judges carefully weighing each new piece of information. That's nonsense. They're low information voters. If you haven't decided yet it's because you haven't been paying attention; if you haven't been paying attention it's because you don't care about politics or understand political issues. Offering these people facts and logic is a waste of time.

Now i'm going to have tracks from Jesus Christ Superstar stuck in my head all day.

If Obama wins, will Palin give us a version of "I Don't Know How To Love Him"?

Thanks -

yoyo,

Next time you really should turn your television ON.

Cultist.

Cultist
One thing the whole RW and Son of Cain campaign overlooked is that Obama plays an important part in the cult of Cthulhu and will rise him this very winter solstice. Yog-Sothoth will follow on inauguration day after Michelle Obama has sacrificed Sarah Palin's children to the Great Old Ones.

Iä! Sarah Palinath! Star-Moose of a Thousand Young!

I wonder if Obama plans to continue this sort of thing into a new generation of "Fireside Chats"? Shorter, one hopes. But the parallel is real: FDR was the first major politician to realize how to use radio in a permanent campaign, by using the same sort of tone and format as the broadcasters people were used to hearing. The technology is at last here for a President to make short, polished video presentations that look about as good as what we see on TV, almost as casually as FDR could sit before a microphone. Meanwhile, web streaming has removed the broadcaster monopoly on airing video. This kind of mini-movie has become the norm in all sorts of speechmaking venues -- company presentations, motivational speakers, even trials, and of course at the quadrennial Party conventions. It's overdue to became a tool of governance.

ThatLeftTurn: I would have prefered that the story about the semi-retired couple with healthcare problems was followed by a brief mention of healthcare policy proposals instead of a segue into energy.

The most jarring moment of the infomercial to me. I turned the sound off after that, and reflected quietly on the bleak prospects for actual universal health care, which was all the more painful for my new acquaintance with that older couple in Sardinia, Ohio.

If each of those passages in which we meet struggling Americans were followed by more convincing policy commitments specific to their story, it would have been overwhelmingly great and effective. As it was, it didn't suck as badly as I expected it.

The amber waves made me throw up a little, too, but hey, that's your cue that it's a commercial. Half an hour away from a World Series game, though, waves of grain set the mood more for Budweiser than Obama. Hope no one was unduly disappointed...

I came to this conclusion some time ago, Publius. Every time I've disagreed with them (notably, wanting them to go on the attack more after the GOP convention) they've been right and I've been wrong, and I consider myself a pretty shrewd and knowledgable observer of the American political scene (for an amateur, anyway). Resistance is futile.

Still trying to figure out what gives people the idea that obama would make a good president. even if you like his ideas, are you really comfortable with a senator in his third year taking control of the white house? seriously... two full years in the senate? i know he's bright, but jesus people...

and if you're voting for his policies only, do you really think he's going to be able to cut taxes, increase spending and reduce the deficit/debt all while fighting two wars and dealing with a serious financial crisis?

/ducks

If this kind of thing becomes a tool of governance, then there better be ample opportunity for reply, video and otherwise.

Because there was quite a bit in the parts I heard that are objectionable (and were equally so in his convention and other speeches), but that I tolerate on the grounds that 1) it's a campaign, with only two real outcomes and 2) it's his campaign, something on which I'm very unlikely to have any impact.

I'd feel very differently about these objectionable assumptions/arguments if employed in support of policies and legislation. Among them:

- the 'lazy ungrateful wogs' vibe of "our tax dollars to rebuild Iraq while they have a $79 billion surplus"

- the bland acceptance of inequality in the introduction to the first personal story, the woman who "moved from the city to the suburbs because she wanted good schools for her children" (Emphasis in Obama's voice-over, not added by me).

- the intellectual dishonesty and anti-Arab racism of "ending our dependence on Middle Eastern oil".

I'd have a longer list if I'd listened to the whole thing, but you get the idea.

i know he's bright, but jesus people...

Obama is brighter than McCain is crotchety, anyway. Obama may not be bright enough to save the world from all its troubles, but it looks like he can save it from at least one calamity: a McCain presidency.

... do you really think he's going to be able to cut taxes, increase spending and reduce the deficit/debt all while fighting two wars and dealing with a serious financial crisis?

Not exactly. I think he will raise taxes on rich people, cut spending on at least one war, and make sure that the solution to the financial crisis is something other than welfare for Wall Street.

But the most important thing Obama will do is make Limbaugh's head explode, give Hannity apoplexy, and cause Ann Coulter to dissolve into a puddle of bile. And after lunch ...

--TP

seriously... two full years in the senate? i know he's bright, but jesus people...

That's actually a really good, and fair, question.

My *sense* is that he will do a good job. That is based on his record in state government, his very brief record in the Senate, but primarily on how he has handled himself in his campaign.

He seems like a guy who can deal effectively with reality. By that, I mean he has demonstrated that he can look at problems, analyze them to understand their dynamics, and then think of, implement, and follow through on solutions that achieve the ends he is looking for.

I think he's done that, in the face of quite significant odds, in his campaign.

He also doesn't freak out, he responds to change and emerging conditions well, he doesn't blame other people for things that don't work out his way, and he appears to run an efficient organization. Also all good attributes for the position of President.

I find all of the above stronger reasons to support him than his specific positions on issues. I'm almost certainly to his left on policy. That said, he's closer to me on policy than any Republican is ever likely to be.

The words "seems" and "appears" show up quite a few times in my answer. He is certainly less experienced than a typical candidate for President, and we don't really know how he would perform in that office. A vote for Obama is, in fact, a gamble that he will live up to appearances.

It ain't perfect, but IMO it will certainly do, especially in the context of the last eight years.

Thanks -

Haven't looked at the commercial yet, but to Nell's last comments: I'm not sure what "opportunity for reply" would mean in a whole country full of people, and I don't know how PR messages from a President would be any more a "tool of governance" than any other kind of public address... but yeah, I know what you mean about the discomfort of hearing those kinds of rhetorical shortcuts too many times.

I just finished reading Kim Stanley Robinson's trilogy of near-future novels (Forty Signs of Rain et al.) about climate change and the federal government. They're a very odd mix of SF, political thriller, character study, philosophizing and wish fulfillment - wouldn't work for everyone, but I think he's on to something. Anyway, one thing that really struck me was, in a story where all kinds of momentous things are happening to the planet and to the characters, it seemed like the wildest fantasy idea of all was that they manage to elect a President who thinks about things, and can converse like a human being, and makes an effort to stay in touch with the people. Toward the end there are some excerpts from the guy's blog, and the punchline to each one is like "(2,000,000 comments)" - you don't get to see the comments, but it's clear that he's picking some of them out and building on them or arguing with them in the next post. This was weirdly emotionally affecting to me, and not in a "bloggers are Teh Future!!" way, but just... well, you probably know what I mean. I've almost never even had a boss who would do that. Sigh.

He also looks ahead several steps, which is difficult to do in a tense and rapidly changing situation.

And to ducking's question, all I can say is "what Russell said", because he said it well and I think I agree with every single word of it. Oh crap, did I just admit to being part of a hive mind?

If this kind of thing becomes a tool of governance, then there better be ample opportunity for reply, video and otherwise.

Like what? I'm sure Fox News will reply, and the AM spectrum folks. :) More seriously, we do have that whole free press principle, and as we have seen in this election season, lots of groups have the time, cash, and talent to produce 2-minute spots on the fly. So I'm sure there will be replies. And spoofs, remixes, photoshopping...

Actually, the chief objection to doing this is probably that it creates more of a record to be used against Obama whenever he changes course. But that's the modern world for you.

re your specific objections to potential post-election rhetoric, I think you're asking for far too much ideological purity and nuance. I don't have to agree with the social decisions that led to poor inner-city schools, in order to sympathize with any given individual who moved to find a better school. Any more than I have to agree with the unthinking anti-Semitism of "if I do not love her, I am a Jew!" to think that Much Ado About Nothing is a magnificent play by a brilliant humanist. I don't have to fight every battle all the time.

I really disagree that the $78B surplus talking point has a "lazy ungrateful wogs" vibe - it's just a focused version of the point Obama has been making since 2002, which is that we are wasting resources on a useless project. It's not his fault we're doing it in a third-world country.

Similarly, is there some way to say "Middle East" that would not strike you as racist? I think the goal of energy independence is a wonderful one. I'm tired of getting our energy in a way that ruins our environment, squanders a global resource we need for plastics, fertilizer, and medicine, and indebts us to a bunch of kleptocratic tyrants, and simultaneously provokes and funds a worldwide jihad. Actually, it's a pro-Arab policy: the ibn Saud clan's wealth has not been a good thing for Arabia.

Also to duckling's question, I don't want to even talk about reducing the deficit now. It's just basic Keynesian economics that you want deficits during a recession. I can't stand all these ostentatiously wise analysts saying, "well we all know Obama's going to have to scale back his spending programs and tax cuts in light of the financial crisis." No! Now is exactly the time to spend money on infrastructure, give people tax credits, etc.

Also, that McCain thinks the answer to the crisis is to cut spending is insane. Though in all fairness, that's all he knows how to talk about. Whenever any someone asks him a question having anything to do with the economy he responds by talking about earmarks. Then he tells that anecdote about spending money to study grizzly bear DNA and makes that lame joke about not knowing whether it was a criminal issue or a paternity issue. So do I feel more comfortable with Obama? Absolutely.

But the most important thing Obama will do is make Limbaugh's head explode, give Hannity apoplexy, and cause Ann Coulter to dissolve into a puddle of bile.

Well, that and greatly swell their bank accounts. The boost in audience and the opportunity for more ranting about liberal tyranny will more than make up for any slight disappointment over not having a President McCain.

Ducking, is there something about McCain that gives you the idea that he would be a good president? Being a POW isn't a qualification for the office, and as you say, being a senator isn't necessarily that relevant. The way he's run his campaign, jumping from one gimmick to another and abandoning almost every position he took in 2000, certainly hasn't given me any confidence that he'd be anything but a disaster.

KCinDC,

You're right. I think Coulter expects big sales for her new book, Muslim Nigger Communists: Why Poor People, Minorities, Non-Christians, and Everyone Else I Hate Should Be Ritualistically Disemboweled.

seriously... two full years in the senate? i know he's bright, but jesus people...

Put me down for hive mind as well, since I also agree with what russell said at 3:18pm.

Also, in pre-judging a potential President I think it is important to keep in mind the qualifier: "compared with what?" The US has grown so large and complex, and our global role is so large, that the job is almost impossible by definition. No one person is going to be able to fix all this country's problems, much less make the Earth spin straight on its axis. We need to temper our expectations with an understanding that it will take the collective talents and efforts of a great many people to deal with our current situation (messes are easier to create than they are to fix - entropy is a witch that way), and all we can really ask of a leader, even a very wise one, is that they lead. We have to do most of the real work.

Even measured purely as a leader and policy maker, the POTUS has disappointed more often than not in our past history. The 19th Cen. presidents were a seemingly endless parade of mediocrities, and if you ignore both Roosevelts the 20th Cen. group was only slightly more distinguished. If Obama delivers viable solutions for even a quarter of the things that he has promised to tackle, he’ll probably go down in history as one of the top presidents in US history.

To follow up on that last comment of mine - also keep in mind that some, perhaps many of the problems we face today have a time span longer than the 8 years of a two-term Presidential administration. How much of a success would we judge FDR today, if he perforce had been out after the 1940 election?

TLTABQ, what a dreadful thought. Who were the likely contendants, Harry Hopkins and Willkie? Probably neither one would have managed Lend-Lease, or Europe-First, so he would probably be a historical irrelevance compared to the first President to truckle to the Greater European Reich.

ducking, another hive-mind response here. Yeah, I'd prefer an Obama w/ more experience, but he looks WAAAAAY better than the alternatives we were offered -- Slick Johnny, The Most Hated Woman In America, and SpongeBob AngryPants.

What would a 30 min commercial from the McCain/Palin campaign have been like?

Dante wrote the script, quite some time ago. It's pure hell, though.

On topic: I've decided to surrender to hope.

My third grader is scheduled to canvas on her birthday. I'm letting this happen because I think the likelihood that her heart will be broken by avoidable incompetence is low, vanishingly low. That doesn't promise a win for her preferred candidates, but if we lose, we lost.

If Obama delivers viable solutions for even a quarter of the things that he has promised to tackle, he’ll probably go down in history as one of the top presidents in US history.

I think if Obama presents the case for viable progressive solutions, whether 1% of them are implemented or not, he will have accomplished more to move this country back into the community of civilization than any of the other alternatives.

Despite that, I'd prefer a combination of Jesus, Mohammed and Siddhartha. But he didn't run.

I'm not going to nitpick over the ad, but I would like to say, pessimismwise, that the only way McCain is going to win this is by voting-machine fraud, which is already being reported in West Virginia. Votes are flipping from Obama to McCain, and not the other way around. Now, if the polls are solidly for Obama, then people are going to question the results. That's why they're now screwing with the polls.

That's my paranoid two cents.

@Trilobite:

I love the idea of energy independence, too. But we buy oil from Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico... and Obama wasn't mentioning any of them, just "ending our dependence on oil from the Middle East". I agree with all your other reasons to strive for the goal, too, but Obama wasn't mentioning any of those.

But, I hear you cry, it's an ad, and there was no time to go into all the nuances. That's what I'm talking about when I mention the slack I'm willing to give a campaign ad, even a half-hour one, versus making the case when in office for a policy move. There's not the same excuse for dishonesty by omission, for oversimplifying, for catering to peoples' prejudices.

We'll have to agree to disagree about the Iraq reference.

Overall, I agree you can't fight every fight every time. Which is why I can tolerate unsettling assumptions in a piece where a whole policy agenda's being covered.

But when we get down to brass tacks on specific issues, with an hour to spend on each of them, I very much doubt I'm going to like it more.

Case in point: Very much appreciate your comments in the high-risk pool thread and believe with you that single-payer is the only way to go that has a chance of solving the problem. But Obama's welded to the private insurers, and there's exactly zero chance of his pushing for single-payer. Hell, there's no sign he'll even include a public pool as part of his plan. I truly don't understand how his approach is supposed to work for the non-employer-covered like me, nor how it's supposed to remove the crushing burden that employer coverage is for employers.

But I plan to look at it with a more open mind once we're past election day.

Some people are wowed by half-hour infomercials; I'm wowed by phone lists with only one wrong number out of fifty. This campaign has it goin' on.

Phoebe, if there's voting machine fraud, voters aren't going to see the votes flipping. It'll register normally on the screen but be counted for a different candidate behind the scenes. Why on earth would an evil programmer make the fraud obvious?

Obvious vote "flipping" comes from miscalibrated touchscreens, which are a problem but hardly something that's going to go on for any length of time before the machine is taken out of service. If enough machines are out of service that can cause long lines and discourage voters and maybe even lose the election for us, but that's different from voting machine fraud.

Onthe subject of Jesus Christ Superstar tunes as Obama campaign songs, how about this? (To the tune of Hosanna)

Oh Bama, oh bama, bama bama bama, oh

Bama oh, bama oh, bama!

Bama oh, bama oh, bama oh bama!

Bama oh bama oh Obama!

The lyrics are easy to learn, and the tune is guaranteed to stick with you until you are sick of it.

And it works as a way to practice typing, too.

I think Obama is doing some pandering to prejudices (Arab oil*, Iraqi surplus) indeed. I would prefer, if he would not. I can see the reasoning behind that as being "we need a simple talking point because complex ones don't fit into the stump". My impression is that he does so only in speeches to crowds but does not in a less emotional context.
Personally I think that, if Obama is not sincere or genuine, then he must be the world's most talented demagogue (=people-seducer) and actor. I do think that he has an immense self-control and is actually quite nervous at least at the beginning of public events** but I do not think that he hides a demonic entity behind a pleasant mask. I also appreciate that he is not one for the quick spontaneous answer "from the guts" but tends to think first, a disadvantage in modern interviews (or on the battlefield) but a clear plus for the one that has to make decisions of great and long-term importance.

*he even mentioned Venezuela in that context in speeches iirc.
**a net positive I think. It's a platitude that the greater the fear the greater the merit in overcoming it but there is still truth in it.

Oh Bama, oh bama, bama bama bama, oh

Bama oh, bama oh, bama!

Bama oh, bama oh, bama oh bama!

Bama oh bama oh Obama!

Roll, tide, roll!

Thanks -

I agree with russell if Obama has the strength and wisdom to surround himself with good people, and I have no reason to believe he won't. Our Achilles Heel is still Congress - we need to figure that one out. Hopefully a new generation will bring us some new leadership into the ranks. And I think polling fraud would trump voting fraud should the 'unthinkable' happen. In that case, I would wish the same.

I wish there was an emoticon for 'somewhat unfriendly ironic sarcasm'. And then I wish some posters here would use it. I get very confused.

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