Archive for October 30th, 2008

Election Day Forecast, Akron, Ohio

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

For my Obama minute today, I went down to the local campaign headquarters, to get a briefing about my Election Day role. I’m going to be the “red team captain,” responsible for polling site operations in Ward 8, focusing on the targeted precincts, H and K. More on this later.

First, a bit of scene setting. The phone bank room was literally packed. Young, old, black, white. Sitting at a long table, dialing away. A long table packed with food, brought in by other volunteers, along the wall.

Next door, in the Democratic headquarters, it was also a hive of activity, with about a half dozen people putting Obama-Biden yard signs together.

I brought in some buttons that say “Barack Obama” in Hebrew. No sooner had I put them on the table than a local Ecumenical minister, a black man, maybe in his 60s, flashed a huge, gold-capped grin, and picked up a pin, admiring the Hebrew letters. Then he reached out, and, without saying anything, we shook hands. A black Christian minister from Akron, and a Jewish writer from Jersey.

Something’s happening here.

As I was walking out, I glanced up at the wall. The headquarters walls are crammed with posters and signs and newspaper clippings and maps, outlining territory, and letters from school kids — crayon drawings — along with a few photos of Barack and his family. But there, by the door, was a single sheet of people with the five-day forecast. Written on top: “Elect Obama, Rain or Shine.”

It’s been miserable here in Northeast Ohio this week. Snow, hail. Wind. Threatening to hit 32 degrees. When Dan Shapiro was here the other day, he jokingly (but pleadingly) said: It’s not going to be like this on Election Day, is it?

Democrats need turnout on election day. And the better the weather, the better the turnout.

Just today, the weather turned. Bright sunshine. Cool, but crisp.

According to that piece of paper in the local Akron office, Election Day will be mostly sunny, high of 59, low of 44, with a 10 percent chance of rain.

We’re waitin’. Waitin’ on a sunny day.

Another Neurotic Democrat: Mitchell Bard

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The New York City based writer and filmmaker is a dude after my own heart.

(Thanks to Loyal for the ND sighting. Keep ’em coming.)

Here’s the nut:

Barack Obama leads John McCain in every poll. Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.comgives Obama a 96.7 percent chance of winning. And some McCain supporters with a nose for survival are jumping off of the Republican bandwagon faster than Sarah Palin running to an Alaska consignment shop (yes, I’m talking to you Joe Lieberman).

And yet I can’t bring myself to believe Obama will win next Tuesday.

You have to forgive me. As a 41-year-old Democrat, I’ve seen too much to ever be confident. I watched the nation choose a bumbling Bush (the first one) over a smart, successful governor, all because the governor was a bit of a nerd. Okay, a lot more than a bit, but still. (I often think about the Saturday Night Livesketch in which Jon Lovitz, as Michael Dukakis, in a debate with Dana Carvey’s George H.W. Bush, responds to a nonsensical response by looking into the camera and saying, “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy!”) I’ve seen Americans twice put into office a language-bungling, shallow-thinking, political legacy who, as was brilliantly said once, was born on third base but acted like he hit a triple (one of the elections coming after it was clear he had led America into a dangerous, damaging, unnecessary war that was completely mismanaged by his administration).

So you can at least understand why I won’t believe that the U.S. has elected Obama until/if I see McCain giving a concession speech.

What? Me Worry?

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I’m not sure about this Obama infomercial last night.

I liked the idea going in — staying on the offensive, presenting your vision, uninterrupted.

Of course, it’s given McCain a perfect opportunity to remind people that Obama went back on his pledge to accept public financing. The front page headline in the Akron Beacon Journal this morning was “Obama Floods Airwaves; McCain mocks half-hour ad he says was paid for with ‘broken promises.'”

I liked the idea of cutting away to the live event at the end of the ad. It injected some excitement. Some sense of the real. And it happened in South Florida. But, as Howard Kurtz writes in the Washington Post’s Media Notes:

The idea of moving from the safety of a videotape to a live event was inspired. But doing it in a cheering Florida stadium with Obama going to the overblown rhetoric and vowing to “change the world,” not so much. The whole idea of the show was to bring Obama down from the clouds and into the street. The big rally came close to canceling out the man-of-the-people image so carefully constructed in the previous 27 minutes.

Moreover, log on to your Yahoo! email account today, and you are greeted with this AP headline: “What Obama’s ad left out.” The AP article begins:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama was less than upfront in his half-hour commercial Wednesday night about the costs of his programs and the crushing budget pressures he would face in office.

Obama’s assertion that “I’ve offered spending cuts above and beyond” the expense of his promises is accepted only by his partisans. His vow to save money by “eliminating programs that don’t work” masks his failure throughout the campaign to specify what those programs are — beyond the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

And the thing is — unlike so much of what McCain-Palin has launched at Obama this cycle — in my view, all of this is fair game. Obama invited this critical look at his policies. For 24 hours, he’s turned himself into a bull’s eye. The press would be remiss for not writing articles like the one above.

You know how sometimes, a running back tries to get a few extra yards, late in the game, and, instead of going down on the first hit, pushes forward, grinding, trying to slough off a tackler … only to fumble, and fumble the game away?

I have a sinking feeling this morning. Now, it’s true, I always have a sinking feeling. So it’s nothing new.

But this, quoted in Kurtz’s column, makes me utterly queasy:

Is the race tightening? Well, maybe, says the New Republic’s Noam Scheiber:

“Obama’s lead in the national tracking polls looks to be around five points (I get 5.5 when I average all six of the trackers I mentioned, along with the Hotline and Battleground trackers, which haven’t changed much in the last few days). If that drops two-to-three points, as it easily could in a week, I don’t think it’s crazy to think McCain will have a shot at winning Pennsylvania, Virginia, and/or Colorado. Unlikely, yes, but not crazy. According to sites like Real Clear and Pollster.com, Obama’s lead in those states is currently larger than his 5.5 point national lead (significantly so in Pennsylvania). But, as I argued last week, the relationship between battleground-state numbers and national numbers can change significantly as we approach the finish, and those state averages you see could easily be a week out of date.

“My immediate concern is twofold: That McCain is getting some traction with his liberal/socialist/redistributionist charge–the WaPo tracker shows McCain narrowing the gap on the economy over the last week–and, in light of this, that Obama is striking his high-note a few days too early.”

I take comfort in knowing I’m far from the only neurotic Dem out there. But, with five days to go, it’s cold comfort, indeed.