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TOMORROW....As near as I can tell, here's the state of the race. Obama is ahead by a lot, but (a) the Bradley effect might cost him a couple of points, (b) super-duper black turnout might help him by a point...

| Mon Nov. 3, 2008 12:44 PM EST

TOMORROW....As near as I can tell, here's the state of the race. Obama is ahead by a lot, but (a) the Bradley effect might cost him a couple of points, (b) super-duper black turnout might help him by a point or so, (c) Palin-mania might help GOP turnout more than we expect, (d) Palin-phobia will increase Obama's share of the female vote, (e) independents are likely to break heavily for McCain, (f) a joyous Obama tsunami will add a point or two to the Dem column, (g) Joe the Plumber is making inroads among working class voters in swing states, but (h) Obama's ground game is awesome and adds hidden strength to his poll totals. Plus i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, and y.

Feh. This is a mug's game. None of the pundits know squat. The polls are what they are. Obama's ground operation has been in the planning stages for months and it's superb. As of today, pretty much everyone's mind is made up. Obama's going to win by 5-6 points (maybe more!), and tomorrow the most disastrous presidency in modern history will finally begin the shamefaced descent into the memory hole that it so richly deserves. I can't wait.

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Bankruptcy in China

The acceleration of China's manufacturing decline.

| Mon Nov. 3, 2008 12:26 PM EST

BANKRUPTCY IN CHINA....China's manufacturing decline has accelerated recently due to the global financial meltdown, but apparently China's provisions for corporate bankruptcy aren't quite as smooth as one might hope:

First, Tao Shoulong burned his company's financial books. He then sold his private golf club memberships and disposed of his Mercedes S-600 sedan.

And then he was gone. And just like that, China's biggest textile dye operation — with four factories, a campus the size of 31 football fields, 4,000 workers and debts of at least $200 million — was history.

....In recent weeks, there have been many fires, increasingly large-scale. In Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, Ye [Hang] counted at least six major bankruptcies, including Jianglong; Feiyue Group, China's biggest sewing machine maker; and Zhejiang Yixin Pharmaceutical Co., among the largest in that industry.

"Of these six, one [owner] committed suicide, one was detained by police, and the remaining four all escaped," he said. "I can imagine that in the future, there would be more such cases as a result of the chain reaction."

I don't especially want anyone committing suicide, but I confess that the thought of Wall Street executives in failed banks either being detained by the police or going to ground and hiding in terror holds a certain appeal. Is there any chance that the U.S. could import the Chinese method temporarily just for the financial industry?

Gun Manufacturer's President Asked to Resign Over Support for Obama

Apparently supporting Barack Obama is enough to cost you your job if your job happens to involve making guns. When...

| Mon Nov. 3, 2008 12:25 PM EST

Apparently supporting Barack Obama is enough to cost you your job if your job happens to involve making guns. When Dan Cooper, the co-founder and president of Montana-based Cooper Firearms, told reporters he supported Obama, he probably didn't expect he would be forced to resign. But an internet-fueled uproar and the threat of a boycott led to the Board of Directors asking for Cooper's resignation late last week. Hearing the story, Montana's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer (who also supports Obama) interrupted an elk-hunting trip to offer his help:

"I said, 'Look, I will support Cooper Firearms in their sales promotions. I will go to vendors. I will go state to state. I will help you sell the firearms, if you think the governor of Montana can help you close some deals,'" Schweitzer said.
The governor said Friday he will do what he can to help the company and its 40 employees overcome any lingering backlash.
"For the couple of weeks that lead up to an election, it's almost like Halloween, a lot of the goblins are out," Schweitzer said. "Things will cool down, they always will."

Cooper Firearms better hope "things cool down." Many gun dealers, including Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse, are already canceling orders after being threatened with boycotts. The canceled orders mean Cooper is now in very serious trouble: losing Cabela's and Sportsman's Warehouse, its two biggest accounts, could threaten the very existence of the 38-employee company. So it's no surprise that the company's board felt it had to ask Cooper to resign.

Gun owners, pushed along by the NRA, have leaned Republican for decades. Obviously they think that protecting their Second Amendment rights is very important. But the attack on Cooper seems like a big overreaction. Second Amendment activists just won a huge Supreme Court case, District of Columbia v. Heller, that will make it very hard to implement any meaningful restrictions on guns, no matter who is President. And Obama, for the record, has said he believes the constitution grants an individual right to bear arms. And even if Obama does secretly want to ban handguns, it seems highly unlikely that it would be anywhere near the top of his agenda. It's just too politically risky. Dan Cooper probably realized all this. But realizing that his Second Amendment rights are more than likely safe under an Obama administration will come as cold comfort to Cooper if his choice for President ends up costing 38 people their jobs.

Screwup in Syria

SCREWUP IN SYRIA....The London Times reports that the American raid on Syria last week wasn't an encroachment of Syrian sovereignty after all. According to "sources in Washington," they say, the al-Qaeda commander targeted in the raid, Abu Ghadiya, "was feared...

| Mon Nov. 3, 2008 11:57 AM EST

SCREWUP IN SYRIA....The London Times reports that the American raid on Syria last week wasn't an encroachment of Syrian sovereignty after all. According to "sources in Washington," they say, the al-Qaeda commander targeted in the raid, Abu Ghadiya, "was feared by the Syrians as an agent of Islamic fundamentalism who was hostile to the secular regime in Damascus." So they gave the go-ahead for the U.S operation. But things didn't go as planned:

In the time-honoured tradition of covert US operations in the Middle East, this one seems to have gone spectacularly wrong. The Syrians, who had agreed to turn a blind eye to a supposedly quiet "snatch and grab" raid, could not keep the lid on a firefight in which so many people had died.

The operation should have been fast and bloodless. According to the sources, Syrian intelligence tipped off the Americans about Abu Ghadiya's whereabouts. US electronic intelligence then tracked his exact location, possibly by tracing his satellite telephone, and the helicopters were directed to him. They were supposed to kidnap him and take him to Iraq for questioning.

....It is not clear what went wrong, but it is believed that the helicopters were spotted by the militants on their final approach and a gun battle broke out. That is supported by an account from a local tribal leader, who said a rocket-propelled grenade had been launched from the compound at the helicopter. The firefight blew the cover on a supposedly covert operation.

As usual with these things, you can decide for yourself whether this report is believable. But it wouldn't surprise me if it turned out to be at least partially true.

Obama Brings the Hood to Montana

A conservative white guy from the South canvasses for Obama and breaks my heart. From the Christian Science Monitor (via...

| Mon Nov. 3, 2008 9:32 AM EST

A conservative white guy from the South canvasses for Obama and breaks my heart. From the Christian Science Monitor (via Andrew Sullivan):

At the Obama headquarters, we stood in a group to receive our instructions. I wasn't the oldest, but close, and the youngest was maybe in high school. I watched a campaign organizer match up a young black man who looked to be college age with a white guy about my age to canvas together. It should not have been a big thing, but the beauty of the image did not escape me.

Read the whole thing. It's beautiful.

In the same vein, WaPo's Wil Haygood went to Montana, where blacks are nearly non-existent, to see how these whitest of white folks are reacting to the thought of a black man as President.

Wil is an excellent, excellent writer (and a good friend) but I have to wonder how Montanans would have responded to a white reporter. Their comments sound a tad...careful to me. Not that they should be assumed to be Kluxers, but I just wonder. There are a few lovely images though:

The Future

THE FUTURE....So what does the political world look like on Wednesday if the gurus at ABC News are right? They all announced their guesses Sunday morning, and the average of their projections is 352 electoral votes for Obama plus a...

| Mon Nov. 3, 2008 1:55 AM EST

THE FUTURE....So what does the political world look like on Wednesday if the gurus at ABC News are right? They all announced their guesses Sunday morning, and the average of their projections is 352 electoral votes for Obama plus a pickup for the Democrats of 24 seats in the House and 7 or 8 seats in the Senate.

If this happens, the upshot is that both parties get moved to the right. Most of the Democratic pickups will be in centrist states and districts, which will move the Democratic caucus moderately toward the center. At the same time, it will remove these centrist states and districts from the Republican side, which will make the GOP caucus not just smaller, but even more conservative than it is now. As a touchstone, the Republican Study Committee, the hardcore conservative wing of the House GOP contingent, currently represents a little over half of their total strength. After Tuesday they're likely to represent nearly two-thirds, which means that the rump of the House Republican caucus remaining after Tuesday is likely to be almost entirely in the hands of the most faithful of the movement conservative faithful. These true believers are not likely to give in quickly to the notion that hardcore conservative ideology needs a bit of freshening up if the party wants to regain its competitive edge. On the contrary, they'll probably double down, convinced that they lost only because John McCain and George Bush abandoned the true faith that America truly yearns for.

Will these folks rally around Sarah Palin as their conservative savior? I continue to see that as unlikely, but who knows? Desperate people do desperate things, and there's no telling if they'll somehow convince themselves that she represents their future.

Anyway, consider this an open thread. I'm not saying anything original here, just sort of noodling about how long it's going to take for the Republican Party to start making a comeback after their losses this year. My guess is that the business wing of the party will become (partly, reluctantly) reconciled to a Democratic majority, if for no other reason than self-preservation, which will leave the evangelical/Southern wing of the party in effective control. And if that turns out to be the case, the GOP is in for a very, very long stay in the wilderness.

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Are You a Reservist With Job Trouble? The Asst Secretary of Defense Awaits Your Call

According to the Pentagon at least 10 percent of returning reservists and national guardsmen and women have reported problems with...

| Sun Nov. 2, 2008 11:01 PM EST

According to the Pentagon at least 10 percent of returning reservists and national guardsmen and women have reported problems with their jobs, lost pay, demotions, loss of employment altogether after deployment. This despite the fact that they are protected under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, which guarantees their jobs upon return. A 60 Minutes piece tonight detailed this growing problem citing employment lawsuits pending against Wal-Mart, UPS, and American Airlines, among others.

And with regular deployments for guard and reservist platoons now scheduled for every five years, 1.2 million guard and reservists, 45 percent of the military, are now in regular rotation. Military leaders are calling this a more appropriate use of military services, in other words, a bargain. Business owners in turn are asking why they should be heavily subsidizing the military. Really this is another way of outsourcing our military. This time it's the businesses employing the reservists who are footing the bill for non-full time warriors who need to come home to benefits and open jobs deployment after deployment. Without a draft, and unless we're going to turn over operations to Blackwater, such outsourcing is becoming the norm in our deficit- and war-ridden situation.

Still, if you are a national guard or reservist and you are having a problem with your employer, the assistant secretary of defense, Thomas Hall, pledged on 60 Minutes tonight that he'll see to it that your case gets the proper attention. His number is 703-697-6631.

Snakes on Obama's Plane?

Why did Obama boot reporters from the New York Post, the Washington Times, and the Dallas Morning News last week?...

| Sun Nov. 2, 2008 7:25 PM EST

Why did Obama boot reporters from the New York Post, the Washington Times, and the Dallas Morning News last week? It's not quite the uniting move, but at this stage the demand for seats is at a premium so some folks just had to go. All of these papers' editorial boards have endorsed John McCain, so it may or may not be a coincidence, but either way, Drudge pounced on the move to swap reporters out for "network bigwigs," instead of adding a second plane. The Obama campaign insists that the move was strategic, to "reach as many swing voters as we can."

It may not matter a lick in the long run, but Fox et al are outraged. At this point the angry right is grasping at everything, like Obama's press conference comment that inspired the RNC's Audacity Watch this morning. Is this not the same "arrogance" shown when the candidates are introduced as the "next president of the United States" at their conventions and rallies? What voter wants to support a candidate who doesn't think he'll win?

Quote of the Day - 11.02.08

QUOTE OF THE DAY....From Syrian ambassador Imad Moustapha, in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine:"I have reason to believe that even if McCain becomes president of the United States, he will also be inclined to sit and talk with Syria....

| Sun Nov. 2, 2008 3:04 PM EST

QUOTE OF THE DAY....From Syrian ambassador Imad Moustapha, in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine:

"I have reason to believe that even if McCain becomes president of the United States, he will also be inclined to sit and talk with Syria. I can tell you this on the record: Senator Joe Lieberman, who is supposed to be very close to McCain, has said this explicitly and very clearly to me personally."

That's good to hear. I wonder why McCain's supporters seem so reticent to say the same thing publicly?

2004 vs. 2008

2004 vs. 2008....Back in 2004, I remember at least a few bloggers and pundits arguing that liberals would be better off if John Kerry lost. I never really bought this, but the arguments were pretty reasonable. Leaving George Bush in...

| Sun Nov. 2, 2008 1:28 PM EST

2004 vs. 2008....Back in 2004, I remember at least a few bloggers and pundits arguing that liberals would be better off if John Kerry lost. I never really bought this, but the arguments were pretty reasonable. Leaving George Bush in power meant that he'd retain responsibility and blame for the Iraq war. (Despite the surge, that's exactly what happened.) Four more years of Republican control would turn the American public firmly against conservative misrule. (Actually, it only took two years.) If we waited, a better candidate than Kerry would come along. (Arguably, both Hillary Clinton and Obama were better candidates.)

Conversely, it's unlikely that John Kerry could have gotten much done with a razor-thin victory and a Congress still controlled by the GOP. What's more, there's a good chance that the 2006 midterm rebellion against congressional Republicans wouldn't have happened if Kerry had gotten elected. By waiting, we've gotten a strong, charismatic candidate who's likely to win convincingly and have huge Democratic majorities in Congress behind him. If he's willing to fully use the power of his office, Obama could very well be a transformational president.

So: were we, in fact, better off losing in 2004? The downside was four more years of George Bush and Dick Cheney. That's hardly to be minimized, especially since the upside is still not completely knowable. But for myself, I think I'm convinced. The cause of liberal change is better served by Obama in 2008 than it would have been by Kerry in 2004. Comments?