Archive for October 7th, 2008

My Obama Minute: Sherrod Brown

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

I went to a political fundraiser tonight in Cleveland, a few blocks from the Cleveland Clinic. I was there because I helped bundle some larger donations for Obama.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown spoke at the event, and he was magnificent. I didn’t take notes, because I didn’t have a pen and pad with me, but the thing that really struck me was the senator’s description of the Democratic ground war in Ohio. He said that there are 500 paid Obama staffers in Ohio and almost 100 field offices — not just in the heavily Democratic northeast, but all over the state, including in southern counties that Democrats haven’t seriously contested in decades.

He said the enthusiasm, too, is on Obama’s side, all over the state, adding that he’s never seen anything like it in his political life.

Sen. Brown was optimistic about Obama’s chances, but struck a cautionary note, reminding the hundred or so in attendance that John Kerry was up 4 points in the polls the Thursday before the election. The next day, Friday, was when Osama bin Laden’s video appeared. People began to get fearful, and the polls froze. Then, day-by-day over the weekend, they began to drop. On election day, Kerry lost by 2 percent.

We have a lead, Sen. Brown said. “But it’s not enough.”

He seemed particularly concerned about the new slash-and-burn approach of the McCain campaign. “The Swiftboating started Sunday,” he said, a reference to the day Sarah Palin started falsely saying that Obama pals around with a domestic terrorist.

It just might work, he said.

He spoke eloquently about Obama’s positions on the economy and health care, and then answered more than a dozen questions from the audience. He told us that he’s going around the state, talking about the elephant in the room — race — and making a personal appeal for voters to look beyond it in this crucial election; to take the measure of Obama, the man, the leader, beyond his skin color.

His final message was clear: We all need to do absolutely everything we can — talk to everyone we know; try to persuade every last family member or friend; leave not a single stone unturned — and, if we do, come Jan. 20, Barack Obama will be in the White House.

Today I Bought a Whole Milk

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Today I bought a whole milk with a “best by” date of November 8.

Which means the milk in my refrigerator will go sour three days after we have a new president-elect.

When I realized this, I gasped, audibly, right there in front of the farm fresh eggs.

Which means I probably need to seriously consider taking a vacation, roundabout November 8th.

A Clear and Present Danger

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) — Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, in some of her sharpest attacks on Barack Obama, linked the Democratic presidential candidate to a domestic terrorist group from the 1970s, telling supporters Obama is someone who used to “pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”

On Larry King Live tonight, surrogates for John McCain — picking up on arguments made by conservative columnists recently — tried to argue that Obama’s links to domestic terrorist Willaim Ayres says something damning about Obama’s judgment.

They’re not talking about his political judgment. They’re saying that his past associations (tangential, at best, by the way) show that his decision-making would be dangerous for America. The implication is that Obama shares the same radical worldview.

Put aside, for a moment, the fact that Larry King could hardly contain his laughter at the absurdity of the charge. Think, if you will, about what happens if we take the McCain campaign at their word.

Suppose they really are concerned.

We’ve know about the Ayres connection for a long time. Obama was asked about it, directly, by George Stephanopoulos in one of the final debates against Hillary Clinton.

So McCain knew all along about this connection. He knew that, as he’s now arguing, it was evidence Obama would be a dangerous, radical-style leader in the White House. And, yet, he only brings it up now?

What kind of judgment is that?

If you were running for president, and you knew your opponent represented a clear and present danger to your country, would you wait until four weeks before election day to bring it up — and only then, through surrogates?

I guess McCain is only “Country First” when the polls show he’s losing so badly, he has no choice but to go embarrassingly negative, swinging for the hills.