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.

Dubbed “the closing argument,” Obama has, perhaps surprisingly, fully reworked his recent string of stump speeches reminiscent to his early primary victories, in a sense summing up his campaign. 

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?

In the final stretches of the now slightly Obama leaning presidential campaign, the trailing McCain/Palin camp has truly let loose their steam, and people have noticed it. CNN just recently released information from a McCain aide among other things, quoting that “Palin is going rouge.”

And some of the loudest voices on the internet as well as the media have questioned: Is the McCain Campaign Imploding?

And this in fact raises a very good question. 

It is not disputed from either party that regardless of the current attacks, since both parties entered the political spotlight and are now close to ending the election, we have seen two very different strategic McCain campaigns.

So a question like this can in fact be raised. The answer? Not entirely.

This essentially boils down to the circumstance of the situation McCain has been in, as well as the fact that their original strategic goals have not fallen through.

And this in a sense involves Sarah Palin and also doesn’t. As detailed in my other work, the Palin strategy has not been a long term success, at first creating a press frenzy but lately failing to deliver enough positive media attention toward the McCain campaign. 

And in part, because of this McCain has lost ground. 

But regardless of the past, I believe that the McCain campaign is trapped in a position they truly can’t dig themselves out of any other way than what they are doing strategically right now. 

But what is interesting is that the strategy they are using in a fact has put forth the sense that McCain has been negative enough to look like it is imploding, as reports of both McCain and Palin coming are off as desperate.

And this is nothing short of true — but my main point here (in plain words) is that the only thing the McCain campaign can do is desperately attack via the press and public statements – the reason being the political position they are in. 

But in the same sense, the Obama campaign is doing the most strategically sound thing to do — point this out. The highlight of this backfire tactic has been this quote recently hammered in by a seemingly fired up Joe Biden:

Barack Obama has a backbone of steel — he can take 8 more days of attacks. But the American people can’t take 8 more years old George Bush in the form of John McCain.

So to the commenters: is the McCain campaign imploding, and what strategies are both campaigns using?

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?

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. —

 

After two weeks in South America, daily reminders that I’ve been spoiled keep presenting themselves. But I had always thought that the skiing would be different. Trust me, after all that time I spent on vallenevado.com, many assuring thoughts entered my mind. The pictures on the site described not a resort, but a huge central lodge surrounded by mountains on all sides blanketed with powder, much like a volcano inside out (if you remember your 6th grade geometry). But after a rather frightening one and a half hour drive, which had more traverses than the Yankees have pennants, I was getting a bit skeptical. So as far as the actual skiing: I’ll quote Andy Roddick here: “It was horrible, it sucked. Otherwise it was great.” 

My point is the skiing here is not an exception to my spoiled points. The snow quality wasn’t great (I ski in Utah so that’s another world in itself), there was only one high speed lift, and to top it off it was extremely overcast which probably got me into a bad mood. But besides that, it was great. 

What I mean by this is the resort itself has great potential. First off, let me say Valle Nevado has a lot of terrain. South American ski resorts have a different mentality than the ones in the States and Canada — there are no rope lines. Everything out of the groomed runs are at your own risk, and that’s great. You don’t get your lift passes clipped from you, and most of the non-groomers end up at a lift, plus its a ghost town anywhere away from a groomed slope. But it’s not like you should stay away from the off-piste though, its amazing. Sadly we came too late (3 days after the storm) so we only found patches of the untracked stuff left. Here’s the video — bare with me on the on music…

But if you get bored with all the huge area that Valle Nevado offers, don’t worry — you have access to two other great resorts: La Parva and El Colorado — which border Nevado on both sides. So with a clear day and powder, you can have the day of your life here. And hopefully that’s what I am going to get in a matter of days — the weather man is calling for a meter of fresh snow. By that time I will be skiing in the famous Portillo resort, entirely in another direction. And hopefully then I will be able to see beyond a few feet in front of me. Well, we’re excited — I am writing this in the car smack dab in the center of Santiago our two hour pilgrimage to Portillo.

Although they are only separated by a river, Buenos Aires and Montevideo are like New York and South Africa. Compared to Montevideo, Buenos Aires is much larger and more modern, with a very European feel to it. There are a lot more English speaking people and directions, so that is always a good sign. But even though the city is huge and spacious — and cluttered with gigantic skyscrapers — it still has a very Spanish feel to it. My point? If you took a picture of one of the streets here and gave it to anyone, they would guess it was somewhere in Spain.

We are staying at the Alvear hotel, and I think it means posh in Spanish. I would conclude that this hotel is like the Four Seasons, with diamond studs falling off of it. My room has a bright red floor, two bathrooms (thats intense), posh couches, three high-definition televisions (one above the bathtub), and the most comfortable bed in the universe (besides mine at home). And don’t think we just picked the coolest hotel we could find — on the drive from the airport, I didn’t see one hotel on the way that wasn’t a skyscraper. 

We are staying in Buenos Aires for about five days, and we have plenty to do here. My mom (the master scheduler) has set up a lot of cool things to do. These include some tennis for me (I am a tournament player that hasn’t played since I left) on the famous Argentine red clay, a sports event (probably a soccer game) and a few museums, which I can live with if I can bring my computer. 

Although I must admit I am most looking forward to Chile because of my love for the Mountains, you could say I am not getting the full Argentine experience because we aren’t exploring outside of Buenos Aires, which is basically on the Eastern edge of Argentina. I will almost be back here when I ski in Portillo, Chile in a week, (it is almost on the border) but besides that I will be missing the “Argentina Andes” experience. I bet the rest of Argentina is awesome and much different that this Barcelona-like city, but I guess you can’t cover South America entirely in two weeks, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

I’m excited to be here in Buenos Aires and I’ll keep posting as long as interesting stuff keeps happening (which it has a habit to do).

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As soon as I landed in Uruguay, I knew it was different than the rest. Right after you finish immigration customs, you’re forced to walk through a superstore with over 1,000 perfumes, with everything from a car to tennis rackets on sale. The store was gigantic, somehow reminding me of the gold-lined gambling rooms that you must walk through on the way to your hotel room. But besides the store, the airport was anything but massive. The baggage claim room was packed full of Uruguayans, airport employees, soldiers, and hidden cameras, so I dared not take any pictures. One thing I noticed that proved to separate Uruguay from the rest of South America was the influence on technology. I’ve seen many more mobile phones and computers here in Uruguay than Lima and Santiago combined.

Driving to where we are going to stay for the next three days, I really got a feel from the average streets and marketplaces. It is the equivalent to the USA’s February, so it is about 40 to 50 degrees here. The streets look dark and abandoned from the outside, but once inside a flower store, I was given the full warm  welcome. I’ve been given the impression that because of the season, more people are staying inside. It was beautiful when we passed a long stretch of abandoned beach (in the gallery above) with towering apartments overhead. This place fits the puzzle piece more on your average South American city during the winter, which I didn’t exactly see in Lima and Santiago. The Spanish and Italian influence here is huge, and because of that, I haven’t seen many Americans around. We are here in Montevideo for another two days until we take a boat to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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