Vice President Joe Biden has recently fed into the main stream media’s growing White House side story — his “single handed war” on the past Bush Administration. The latest chapter in the proposed saga came in the form of an interview unrelated to the subject, where Biden, in the process of answering the more or less softball question of “is the US more safe now than before”, made a controversial attack at former President Bush.
“We are more safe. We are more secure. Our interests are more secure — not just at home, but around the world. We are rebuilding America’s ability to lead. I remember President Bush saying to me one time in the Oval Office — and he was a great guy, enjoyed being with him. He said to me, he said, ‘Well, Joe,’ he said, ‘I’m a leader,’”
“And I said, ‘Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one’s following.’”
Enter former Bush adviser Karl Rove, who later, in an appearance in Fox News’s On the Record, fired back, assuming the political body and essentially answering for the Bush Administration:
“Joe Biden said, for example, that he spent hours with the president. Joe Biden was never alone with the president for more than a few moments. There was staff in the room at all times. He never said these kind of things.”
“I hate to say it, but he’s a serial exaggerator. If I was being unkind, I’d say he’s a liar. … You’ll notice every one of these incidents has the same structure. Joe Biden courageously raises the impudent question. The president befuddledly answers, and Joe Biden drives home the dramatic response. And I mean, it just — it’s his imagination. It’s a made-up, fictional world. He ought to get out of it and get back to reality.”
Although it isn’t hard or illogical to start with jabs towards both sides in this debate — in my view its important to step back and take a look at what isn’t in this equation, and why.
It surprises me in more ways than not that President Obama or any of his immediate staff has not stepped in with Biden, as his argument may not necessarily be gaining as much healthy traction as it was designed to receive. This, if I may go as far, may be yet another sign of the new administration’s naive nature, but it may very well be a seasoned strategy. I’ll explain:
Looking back into the illustrious and brilliant Obama/Biden campaign, one might recall the many Bush attacks that took place, which most of the time ended in long, back to back ad campaigns that I believe played a role in Obama’s overall win in the polls. These attacks were fully backed, and ruthlessly pushed forward by the Obama campaign, whether they started via mistake (i.e. Biden’s Indian Gaffe) or for a political gain. But now, as we see another attack initiated, President Obama has held back, unlike the past candidate Obama. So why?
My view is that Obama doesn’t believe Biden picked the best fight in the best time.
In a time where the Oval Office is already juggling domestic and international congressional problems, as well as the new policies trying to are trying to implemented, most of the official word coming out of the White House has been positive. And because of this, the right wing is more or less starved of talking points to get out into the press — as they would be taken second stage to the President’s news, which is essentially flowing out in a more of less politically healthy way.
So now that something has indeed come out as an attack, I wasn’t exactly surprised to see a response from the unofficial GOP within the day. Karl Rove, whether himself or a PR coordinator, sensed that this was the loophole that was exactly what they needed and politically pounced on it.
And it was in fact a good idea. Vice President Biden does in fact have a reputation of both sides of the aisle of stretching the truth, and I am more than assured that this alleged “conversation” did not exist. And because of this exaggeration and Rove’s seasoned ability to pounce, he has created a handle for the White House in the GOP — Joe Biden’s mouth.
But again, there are many ways to play something like this, so I’ll open this up to the commenters: Where was Obama in this exchange, and why did he stay out of it?
November 9, 2008
In conclusion of two gruesome years of brutal campaigning and rhetoric, global attention and nationwide anxiety, a president has been elected in the form of an eloquently-speaking 46 year old — Senator Barack Obama.
The opposing party has since acknowledged their defeat and seemingly ambled in the direction of moving on, but anonymous political finger pointing from John McCain’s aides at to past running mate Sarah Palin and back have sparked various amounts of media airtime, and again the media bias topic has been thrown onto the table.
So in final closing of the election, this question is more or less ready to answer: is the media in fact biased to one side and if so, by how much?
I think that in looking at this topic, many can see it in very different ways, based on their political views from the election. It is not a rare sight to see both liberal and conservative blogs and strongly left or right press outlets sending out daily attacks at the media, and that is not where or what would be constructive to do in actually answering this question. Instead, what we have to work with are simply facts and what has happened.
Blame in this corner generally comes from clips of news anchors strongly defending or attacking a political figure, which can be taken in different ways based both on the context and the topic.
Fox News, attacked daily for bias, has in fact been “exposed” numerous times of taking anti-Obama clips from interviews and failing to air the rest, which most of the time is in fact against McCain. And respectively, frequently attacked MSNBC has not only been accused of bias toward Obama, but has also devoted air time to attack the supposed “right” media.
But with this aside, to accuse the media of bias is more or less a completely impossible argument to complete in a non-partisan manner. The talking heads most politically attacked are merely hosted by media outlets and not necessarily backed by them — with the exception in my opinion being Bill O’Riley. But in fact, I enjoy viewing O’Riley even though I know him as conservative, in the same way I enjoy watching Keith Olbermann because I know him as a liberal.
But above this, I honor both O’Riley and Olbermann for simply attacking each other, brutally pointing out mistakes in simply the form of media that we Americans have come to know. I personally perceive Fox News as conservative and MSNBC as liberal, but have come to not simply face these facts, but absorb both in light of what each media outlet has to say, and take it into context when choosing what to believe how to believe.
So I’ll open this up to the commenters: What do you think — is there bias in the media, by what magnitude, and how is it perceived by you?
November 1, 2008
On the morning of August 20, Barack Obama and John McCain were in a virtual dead heat for the White House.
Obama was five days away from the Democratic Nation Convention, where his campaign hoped to put in a press swing that would ride him through the GOP’s Convention. He was also riding up attention for his extremely anticipated Vice Presidential decision, as his anxious base and the country alike stood at a standstill.
But as the infamous truth holds, none of this essentially played out — Sarah Palin was standing in the way.
Blanketing world news, Palin’s entrance to the global stage both wiped clean any and all publicity from Obama’s historic convention and in doing so started a “press wildfire,” exploding into the media for weeks, then months.
But now, as we look back on late August, the daunting shadow in our minds looms between McCain, the press, and the oval office — the polls. Gone from a dead heat to a widening eight point Obama lead, McCain’s promising late August media swing has seemed to backfire.
And as early ballots begin storming in, the McCain campaign finds themselves in a run against the media, the independents, and finally, against Sarah Palin.
As a thirteen year old not effected by voting week or polls, it is more or less clearer to see the strategic effect rather than the emotional toll, and in that respect I believe that the choice of Palin as running mate has essentially the snowball that has turned into an avalanche.
Palin’s political entrance in the McCain campaign put an extremely positive effect onto the conservative base, but in doing so moved the McCain campaign significantly to the right.
In addition to strategically abandoning liberal Republican voters and the center, Palin opened the McCain campaign up for examination from almost every political side of the isle, detailing that Palin was the female form of President Bush — far right in many of her individual policies.
But what interests me is that the McCain campaign didn’t solely defend Palin, but set off an array of attack ads to the left, sending off the first signs of agitation from his campaign.
And as Obama simply defended them with response press statements and ads himself, the media simply caught on, causing many have accused the media of — bias. The Obama press endorsements kept racking up, backing the McCain campaign closer and closer to the wall.
The press had caught the strategic unstableness of the McCain campaign, and simply reported it. McCain, in a deeper and deeper hole, executed the response that ultimately will keep him out of the oval office — more attack.
Strategic failure and a political gamble have brought the McCain campaign to their knees — and this is why, as the Fall leaves are raked off the street and world politics comes to a standstill on November 4th, we will see a President Obama elected.
October 27, 2008
With less than a week until the voting booths draw themselves open, both candidates find themselves in the vital battlegrounds, but also engaged in arguably the most tactically important stretch in the election.
And because of this, we are now starting to see different strategy in the press and in both campaign’s speeches.
The speeches consist less of attacks to the other party, rather a more “dreamy” and crowd pleasing stump made up of policy proposals.
But what is the most interesting is that the Obama campaign has essentially changed its entire framework from the present economic situation and policy attacks to a more or less futuristic tone.
Obama has, however, hit home on one present-oriented message, what he calls the one week campaign, where the Democrats have stressed that the “future of America” depends on the action in the next week of campaigning. The Obama campaign has also leaked and later confirmed reports of a thirty-minute campaign ad set to air in most national television stations, and most notably during an (if necessary) world series game 6.
But the most ironic catch to the Obama campaign “closing argument” and PR ploy has been that it simply has not been countered.
Seemingly unaffected, the opposing McCain campaign has not yet put up any hint of tactical rework in their campaign in response to Barack Obama’s future oriented campaign change.
McCain’s latest Pennsylvania campaign stop was capped off with nothing less than expected, a well-rounded attack and policy proposal speech that showed no sign of contrast from recent weeks.
To open this up to the commenters, simply: what does this mean for the remainder of the election — and will McCain change his campaign in response to Obama?
October 25, 2008
In the already delicate presidential election, race has truly worn many masks from the start. Bloggers and the media alike have thrown out suggestions of the race card, and the issue has now become the latest talking point among the press.
But truly what amount of votes will actually swing because of a candidate’s race?
I think the reason that this question is so debated is because there is truly no answer. In an election that I still stress is different from every other, many issues will not truly be answered with previous election trends, but to correctly answer the race question would be essentially impossible.
But in a sense this means less than what it its importance is perceived. After a half-hour drive to the polls, that same man will stand in front of the ballot and thousands of questions will be screaming at him, one being race.
Am I saying that this man won’t vote Obama because he is African American?
No, I am essentially saying that not a single pundit predicting race’s affect in this election will be looking over the voting booth at that man’s vote, nor will that pundit know what that man was originally going to vote if race was not the problem.
But what we can debate is the volume of people who may be swung because of race, which the answer being completely not enough. In my opinion, the amount of people who will vote McCain because Obama is African-American will be close to the amount of people who vote Obama because he is African-American.
So again I’ll open this up to the commenters with the obvious question: What importance does race truly hold?
Repetition can and has proved a deadly political strategy in recent months, but has it necessarily won out voters? I’d like to cite a quote by former USSR leader Vladimir Lenin, reading:
“A lie told often enough becomes truth.”
The strategic beauty of this quote is simply because it has essentially lasted into the present and proved itself when associated with the past. But what is arguable is that campaigns have put this quote into practice — with political ads.
With a seventh grade education (and counting), I am not ready to make a statement about a past world war nor am I about to call anything or everything thrown around the political spectrum a “lie,” but it is unimaginable not to disregard that the concept of Lenin’s quote has surrounded our daily lives. Living in California, media outlets and advertising are close to impossible to escape, only escalating as the voting season has transitioned itself into full swing. But what it also noticeable is the volume in which these ads are coming.
For example, Proposition 8, aimed at taking away certain gay rights, has been advertised almost entirely against by No On 8, with a ratio of 5:1 to their opposition, Yes On 8. This lopsided press swing shows a win in funding to No On 8, but it also begs the question: could more ads from one campaign than another ultimately win a large number of votes?
Obviously gay marriage is an issue that isn’t likely to be effected by the press, but is this also the same in the fragile politics of a national election?
What strikes me even more is the similarly advertising and funding wise between Barack Obama and No On 8 — both have sufficiently more ads and money than the opposing campaign, and both are seemingly in the lead.
So I’ll ask the commenters once more — has Obama’s frequent on-air time and sufficient donation lead effected the polls, and will it effect the voting booth?
October 20, 2008
CNN analyst Gloria Borger recently raised an interesting question: in the increasingly close reality of a McCain loss, who will be to blame?
As I detailed in another post, I used a quote stating a common fact: the Republican party is not currently popular. This can be brought out in many different ways, but recently the common scapegoat for McCain eventually falling short of the presidency would be because of the party he is running in.
Many people would also point out that Sarah Palin ultimately will hand the McCain campaign a loss, mostly because of the clear cut political line she placed between McCain and Barack Obama, and the fact that her social conservative standing has moved the McCain too far right than they want to be strategically.
And then there are many people who say that the reason McCain choose Palin wasn’t exactly strategic — she was rather chosen from the commands of the far right base, which is contradicting to another recent post and what I will bring up here.
My opinion here is that the nomination of Palin for running mate may have been a factor the far right wanting Palin’s politics, but in the end I believe that the main reason for McCain to go with Palin was nothing more than strategy.
As I have pointed out a large number of times, the acquisition of Palin was in fact well orchestrated, providing a media diversion from the Obama campaign and redirecting it to McCain for the good part of two months.
But what I failed to point out is this: Palin was not the best strategic choice for McCain — Joe Lieberman was.
Why? Lieberman would have moved John McCain’s campaign to the the left, not necessarily where the conservative base would have enjoyed it being, but precisely where the votes that will ultimately be the nail in McCain’s political coffin lie — moderates.
Because of Lieberman’s political standing, he would do the opposite that Palin has done — move McCain farther left. And because of this, Lieberman would increased McCain’s overall popularity, and fetched more votes rather than excited a handful of extremely right conservatives.
But the possibility of choosing Lieberman also answers the overall question of this post — will McCain’s loss be credited to the Republican party.
And the answer to that question is no. If McCain (who some consider to the most liberal Republican who ran) chose Lieberman instead of Sarah Palin, he would be in a significantly better place strategically by turning his campaign arguably the most liberal the Republican party has ever seen.
In short, McCain is on track to lose the election in part because of his unpopular party and demanding base, but he had the chance to dodge both of those obstacles with the acquisition of Joe Lieberman.
To open this up to the commenters, is has McCain’s party been a factor if he falls short of the oval office, and what would have happened if Lieberman was chosen?
October 15, 2008
In a debate questioned from different strategic and political views across the aisle, tonight was with no question the best and most interesting debate we have seen. And in the end, I think the debate ended close, which ultimately is a McCain loss from a strategic standpoint.
But in what may have ended that way it has didn’t come off the bat as a victory or tie in any means for Obama, who came off, in my opinion, too conservative and defensive as far as his personality. However, as soon as the most vital question strategically came forward, McCain figuratively drove off the track.
The topic of Bill Ayers and negative campaigning permanently turned the debate personal, which let Obama immediately capitalize and climb back in the debate, ultimately ending in a draw.
But what I found most interesting from this debate was that John McCain was seemingly derailed from a single soundbite and rather attacked in a much more frequent and less crowd pleasing manner.
As I have stressed for the last few days, McCain came into the debate with more of a burden on his shoulders to capitalize and pull off a game changing attack, and he came out without accomplishing this. And I think that this essentially ends up as a loss for McCain despite the close performance that he put forward against Obama.
Why? McCain didn’t talk about the voter, rather either attacking Obama or discussing what he would do differently than Bush and Obama when elected. In fact, the only time McCain talked about the voter was in the topic of his running mate’s policy of special needs children, especially autism. But if I may point out — in fact McCain is contradicting — Palin cut the Alaskan special olympics in half.
What is my point? In the end, McCain essentially tied, won or lost against Obama in a short margin, but he didn’t get back in to the election in any respect. Although the debate was extremely interesting from the right and the left alike, McCain has ended his campaigning in the national eye with a certainly benefiting performance — but I can’t stress enough that McCain didn’t do enough to make a difference in the voting booth. And this will ultimately contribute to McCain’s continuing loss in the polls.
So I’ll open this up to the commenters: Who won the debate, by how much, and will it make a short and long term difference?
October 14, 2008
In the extremely complicated game of politics, few things are for certain in the subject of strategy, especially the outcome of an already press-plagued presidential race for history — from every standpoint. And when the fact that the race has had arguably the most strings and skeletons attached then ever before is thrown in to the equation, the expression: “Its politics — anything can happen” truly goes literal.
But in the same sense, the presidential debates have been what many would call the most uneventful part of the campaign, when many bloggers (including me), strategists and the press alike stressed that the debates would do the opposite: setting off major gaffes and swinging the polls.
And as contradicting as this may sound, I am staying with my prior claim with one event in mind — the final presidential debate. This is because (in a nutshell) McCain must successfully make debate waves or he will lose.
Why? The final debate is essentially McCain’s last public stand against his opponent before the election, and both campaigns know that McCain does not want to enter an election with the poll deficit that he has today.
And because of this, McCain will have to look for holes to punch at more now than ever.
Am I suggesting he will attempt to pull off a: Lloyd Bentsen? No, but Bentsen’s “You are no Jack Kennedy” debate stab makes a good strategic point — if McCain intends to win the debate with some sort of effect carried out in the polls, he must not attack Obama in the way that he has but rather all in — with one soundbite.
If I can refer to one of my famous analogies, McCain’s theoretical sling shot has endless ammuntion and is relatively cheap, but won’t win him anything in the long run, as opposed to an expensive one shot Bazooka — A.K.A a knockout soundbite.
But does this exist? In my opinion, no.
If Obama uses the same common sense debate strategy he has been using so far, he will essentially know the above points. And if he does, he will simply prepare for the debate like the previous two — calmly presenting his policies and safely pointing out contradictions and points by McCain. With this strategy, Obama simply saves himself from politically falling on his face.
But also, in doing this, Obama also presents the best defense to the only offense that McCain can throw at him. What do I mean? In short, while McCain is searching for a throw his soundbite through the crowd, Obama has the ability to see McCain’s strategy before it starts — and possibly intercepting the soundbite when it comes.
So I’ll open this up to the commenters: “Is McCain going to try this, and what would the outcome be?”
October 10, 2008
In the final stages of the presidential election, there is certainly no disputing that the national spotlight has shifted to Barack Obama rather than John McCain, whether rightfully so or not.
While listening to a Fox Radio broadcast, a republican strategist put out a bold analogy in a similarly bold topic, quoting:
The party that can’t lose [Dem.] has nominated a candidate that can’t win, and the party that can’t win [Rep.] has nominated a candidate that can’t lose.
Although the quote isn’t exactly historically accurate (its very debatable), nor do I necessarily agree with what the man said, he certainly raises a very good point.
Although I am a (obviously non-racist) liberal Obama supporter who frankly doesn’t care about his previous political involvements, I know for a fact that many other people don’t share my views — whether they support Obama or McCain.
Several polls have shown that a great number of people are in fact concerned with Ayers and other people’s involvement with Obama, mostly the people that the McCain campaign have hit on in their recent campaigning.
It is of course also debatable if those campaign tactics have in fact succeeded (maybe another post), but my main point here is to raise an even more subtle question: “Has Obama’s background and not necessarily clear past kept the political race as close as it is?”
In my opinion the answer is yes.
The McCain campaign, in my view, is taking extremely long and (I’ll quote Obama on this) “erratic” bounds as far as attacks, but it has worked to some extent with the general audience. As pointed out in a great post, McCain’s attacks may have not convinced any talking head to intellectual blogger. But I disagree with the post it its claim that they has altogether failed.
But in the same sense, Obama is still a clear shot away from the White House, and this issue most likely would be far from relevant in that were to happen.
So instead I’ll open up another (certainly way off track) concept to the commenters, which is further prompted by my original question: Has Obama’s background and not necessarily clear past kept the political race as close as it is?
What if a non-scandalous John Edwards were in Obama’s political place at the moment? Would the election be more of a landslide?
—- In my opinion, this would be completely irrelevant and false, mostly because I support Obama because of his policies rather than his past involvements. —