Blogs

The Obama Infomercial

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 12:35 PM EDT

THE OBAMA INFOMERCIAL....The Nielsen people just emailed to tell me that Barack Obama's infomercial last night was viewed by 21.7% of all households watching TV. That compares to 38.3% for the final Obama-McCain debate.

Is that good? Bad? I'm not sure, really. But with the kind of money the Obama campaign has, I guess it doesn't matter much.

What did everyone think of it? I thought it was (duh) really well done and did a good job of presenting Obama as both a serious candidate and a normal human being. On the other hand, the tales of woe struck me as a little heavy handed. I think it might have been better if it had been a little less gloomy.

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Obama's 30 Minutes of Primetime Air Mentions McCain Not Once: Why

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 11:58 AM EDT

Just want to add a note to Elizabeth's thoughts on the Obama infomercial. A reader at TPM observes, "Obama can go on TV for 30 minutes and not mention John McCain even once. No way would the reverse be true." He or she is obviously correct: the McCain campaign has spent most of its time these past few weeks making a negative case for Barack Obama, instead of a positive case for itself. Everyone knows that's a product of Barack Obama's unique background and associations (has a previous presidential candidate ever had a relationship, no matter how insignificant, with an unrepentant terrorist?). It's also a product of the Republican Party's bankrupt credibility and discredited ideas. No one believes Republicans have policy proposals that will help the middle class, and no one would trust them to implement them properly if they did. The only thing left is to go after the other guy.

But I want to make one other point. John McCain has a much harder time making a positive case for himself than most candidates because he simply has zero warmth factor. I don't believe I've ever seen tape of him sitting down at a middle class family's kitchen table. I can't imagine him holding a child or posing with a monkey backpack. Outside of the POW factor, which may not have the currency we all imagine, there's little he has to sell. Certainly not enough to fill a 30-minute infomercial.

VIDEO: Former Bush I Aide Declines To Say He Will Vote for McCain

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 11:05 AM EDT

Every few weeks, I do a Bloggingheads.tv diavlog with Jim Pinkerton, one of my favorite conservatives. Months ago, Pinkerton, who was a top aide for the first President Bush and who was a senior adviser to Mike Huckabee's presidential effort, predicted that Barack Obama would be (or could be) destroyed by a campaign that highlighted his ties to Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. In a diavlog we conducted on Wednesday, Pinkerton said that John McCain didn't do all that was necessary for such a crusade to work, but he also noted his admiration for Obama (though not his policy ideas). It seemed to me that Pinkerton was close to endorsing Obama. So as our conversation was finishing, I asked whom he was voting for. You can see the exchange that ensued at the end of this clip:

Note that Pinkerton declined repeated opportunities to say that he will vote for McCain.

Profane Quote of the Day

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 10:59 AM EDT

In an article about Mark Salter, a man who has served John McCain in some capacity for 19 years and is considered his strongest loyalist, the Washington Post notes that Salter almost quit the McCain campaign in the dark days of summer 2007, but didn't because of a strong talking-to from the candidate himself.

"Listen," McCain finally said. "I'm dead man walking. I know it. I'm dead man walking. I'm going to lose this campaign [for the nomination]. . . . But I'm going to get up and work hard every day until it's over. Every day. That's what I'm going to do. So tell me something: Why are you acting like such a [wimp]?"

Hmmm, what do you think [wimp] replaces in that sentence?

A World Series We Can Believe In?

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 1:48 AM EDT

A WORLD SERIES WE CAN BELIEVE IN?....A friend points out that the last time the Phillies won the Series was October 1980, ushering in the election of Ronald Reagan and a long era of conservative ascendency. Tonight the Phillies won again. Another sign of a new era in politics? Maybe!

Infobama-mercial Changing Hearts and Minds?

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 12:16 AM EDT

There were no celebrities in tonight's 30-minute Obama short, but there were cameos by political somebodies, governors (Bill Richardson: "He can heal this country."), senators (Claire McCaskill), and vignettes featuring real people in key states and regions: the South, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, covering key demographics: the elderly, white, black, and Hispanic families (though no Asian family was profiled). Overall, it was a montage to remember, one full of specific promises made in a wood-paneled room that looked a little like the Oval Office 2.0.

The key question, of course, is how many people will be moved to vote for Obama after watching him for 30 minutes, watching him detail the specifics of his commitments to health care and education, seeing pictures of his mother, learning that he calls his daughters every night, and hearing him admit he "won't be a perfect president." Some might be swayed (certainly the Harry Potter demographic has reason to believe) but while change may be on the march, it's unclear how many minds this $5 million endeavor actually changed.

My opinion at least. What did you think?

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Why Wright Happens

| Thu Oct. 30, 2008 12:06 AM EDT

How come white folks can consort with racists but blacks can't? Not that I'm conceding that Rev. Wright is a racist. But let's stick to the point.

Jonathan Stein's post gives me the perfect opportunity to kvetch about something that's been driving me crazy about the attacks on Obama via Wright.

Stein's right that vicious ads like this one will give a great many cover to vote against Obama. But here's the thing: What about the racists and loonies who helped raise most of us? My father was bitter beyond belief about white racism, even though he had white friends and volunteered to fight in WWII. I can separate his horrific life experiences (Jim Crow sharecropper) out from my own (post-Civil Rights Movement) world view, as do most other Americans. When the elders got together and ranted and raved about the white man, I didn't go upstairs, write a formal denunciation, and secede from my family. I considered the source and was grateful to have been born later. How dare you demand that we have no complaints? Church, and to a lesser and more troubling extent, certain forms of rap 'music', are places we go for catharsis. And catharsis ain't usually a pretty sight.

Jason Whitlock, whom I blogged about earlier, summarized this notion perfectly:

Getting What We Paid For With Sarah Palin

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 9:39 PM EDT

I just read one of the most refreshing, clear-eyed appraisals of Sarah Palin—and, more importantly, a breeze-clearingly fresh analysis of just how depraved the GOP has become—over at HuffPo.

Jason Whitlock, a self-proclaimed apolitical sports writer, found himself bemused by the Palin Veep selection, so he gorged himself figuring out who she was. The more he found out, the more suspicious he was about her selection and subsequent success among "certain" segments. Then, as only a Negro with what we call 'mother wit' can, he nailed it: Heifer's getting over on no-money-down easy credit, shored up by the same corrupt old insiders who gave us our current depression (tho some GOPers are taking up arms):

Obama Benefits from Record Turnout of Early Voters

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 8:12 PM EDT

As CBS reports, early voting has been increasing nationwide for some time, from 7% of all votes cast in 1992 to 20% in 2004. But this year, excitement over the "change" election has broken many state records for early voter turnout. In Colorado, for instance, early voters amount to more than 31% of registered voters. One woman in Georgia reported waiting more than eight hours to vote early.

And how are early voters voting? The AP reports that early voters are overwhelmingly breaking for Obama. Here's their breakdown by party in several key states:

Florida: About 2.6 million people have already voted in a state where absentee ballots overwhelmingly favored President Bush in the razor-thin 2000 election. Among those voting so far this year, 45% are registered Democrats and 39% Republicans.
North Carolina: About 1.6 million people have already voted — 54% are registered Democrats and 29% are Republicans. About 100,000 newly registered voters have signed up and voted at North Carolina's one-stop voting centers. Among them, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by about 2-1.
Iowa: About 340,000 people have already voted — 49% are registered Democrats and 29% are Republicans.
Colorado: About 815,000 people have voted — 39% are registered Democrats and 37% are Republicans.
Nevada: About 342,000 people have already voted in Clark and Washoe Counties, which contain nearly 90% of the state's population. Among those voters, 53% are registered Democrats and 30% are Republicans.
New Mexico: About 111,000 people have voted in Bernalillo County, the state's largest. Among them, 55% are registered Democrats and 33% are Republicans.
Georgia: Black voters make up about 35% of those who have already voted — a big increase from the 2004 election, when 25% of the state's electorate was black. Blacks voted for Obama by ratio of 9-1 in Georgia's Democratic primary this year.

Digital Trainwreck

| Wed Oct. 29, 2008 8:07 PM EDT

It seems the recession is spreading in the art world, too. Yesterday, "worry-free" photo storage provider Digital Railroad sent a notice telling its subscribers they had 24 hours to get their images off the DRR server, or lose them. Then they pulled the plug.

Photographers flooded DRR's servers as they tried to salvage their archives, but not everyone was able to download their work in time. Even photographers with back-ups in other locations stand to lose big from DRR's shutting down: Re-archiving images and setting up shop somewhere else takes time. And as we all know, time is money.

Hit just as hard (if not harder) by DRR's closure are powerhouse photo agencies like VII, Noor and Redux, which lost the interface from which they do business.

If this reliable business for photo agencies and stock photographers can fold, who's next?