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April 12, 2009

Bluntly, there is no other way to express where I have been the past six months besides the words: “I screwed up.”

In a nutshell, I suddenly abandoned my healthy readership, and disappeared into my supposed alibi consisting of sad excuses of overloading homework and events. I took a break, fiddled with a possible culturedecoded.com, and ended up less than I started with. And although I understand that most likely some of you — my readers — may not read my work again, I want to apologize for my naive pause from blogging and come back just as I left Culture Deocded. 

An overwhelming amount of events have occurred in the political world as I have left, and I want to discuss them as soon as possible. A President Barack Obama has taken countless actions to bring the free world back to where it once was, some of which I disagree with and some of which I agree with. Iraq has remained a focal point in the middle east, and there is still question in the air over when american troops will really pull out. Somalian pirates have put a fixture in the previously quiet Gulf of Aden, and America is torn over what actions should be taken. The president has purchased a long awaited dog, and Vice President Biden has taken swings at Karl Rove, and the press is taking sides.

As far as the status of the blog, I encourage all of you visiting and returning to leave comments on what you think about the issue at hand. A successful blog is not just written by the author, but by its readers, and if you contribute, there will be very interesting conversations for a long time. 

So without further ado, I will continue where I left off, and work as hard as possible to initiate political discussions that will benefit everyone.

– pacer521

The Expectation Of Change

November 23, 2008

Driving throughout the largely liberal Los Angeles area, everything from Barack Obama bumper stickers to tee-shirts suggest what has rarely been suggested before in such a large volume: mass change –accompanied by a single date: January 20th. 

Of the many emotions this provokes from me as a self-proclaimed liberal and Obama supporter, satisfaction and rejoice are overshadowed by disappointment in the form of political rhetoric and greed. To me Barack Obama is a new kind of politician – eloquent and prolific in the limelight — but as shown in his campaign, strategically and politically brilliant. He has somehow transformed and captured the majority of the United States and brought it to one voice and one meaning, hope. 

But within this word, a sanctuary of hope that delivered to millions of Americans an image of the “American dream,” a utopia of economic prosperity and governmental perfection, only a handful of Obama supporters see hope in the practical sense, only they see hope attached to patience. 

Obama Campaigns I, myself too young to lay my respective punch-hole in the ballot box for another two elections, acknowledge that in fact I have not been captivated by Barack Obama because of his mantra of hope, nor have seen him as the leader that millions of Americans do.

But I support him in the way that I have never supported one single idea or campaign in my life. He, in my humble opinion, was the best candidate running for President — carrying the necessary policies to help the United States of America prosper and thrive. 

But in no way do I link the date January 20, 2009 to economic wealth and political prosper. Obama is simply a liberal politician who is in fact the right leader for this country that beckons political guidence and leadership. 

But in the same way the better life that seems so close away from all Americans will not be handed over by Obama on January 21. And in the end, America will see a political disappointment that this nation perhaps have never seen before. They will have to be patient and forgiving to a president Barack Obama, while they let him politically dig out the country from the deep hole it has been forced into.

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?

McCain With The MediaI 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?

An interesting point was raised in a past comment section by Huxbux, who questioned that the recently news-absorbing election wasn’t as unique as it has been perceived to have been. 

This past election was in itself extremely fragile, but in my view held a surprising turnout as far as the political paths both campaigns took. 

Previously I analyzed a surprisingly accurate quote in conclusion of both parties’ conventions, reading:

“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.”

This quote’s accuracy, however, flows directly against reality. The McCain campaign was in its entirety a momentum stricken campaign with one weakness: the party and president it was overshadowed by. But what proved to be a more or less fatal flaw and now a strategic focal point, McCain essentially played away from his original advantage — and into the hands of Barack Obama, the Economy and George Bush — via a relentless blacklash attack campaign and an obvious disregarding of past political strategy with a PR boost as a running mate. 

Obama Campaign

And this is precisely what game Barack Obama the political momentum he needed, and as it is said, the rest is history.

But in a completely different manner, I believe that the main reason Obama won is also the main reason that this historical election was indeed unique — Obama didn’t win purely on strategy, the most notable show of this being the youth. 

In short, never before has one political figure been so extremely accepted by the youth and never before has such a political barrier been placed between the youth, but most impressively — never before have I personally felt such an urgent and strong vibe within my surrounding classmates and school on any issue.

I think that if studied from a less strategic standpoint, Obama has truly been a transcending figure across the United States, and the globe for that matter, but his and this past election’s uniqueness has been shown almost completely by the youth.

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.

Politics is an extremely fragile game in itself. Taunting some and seeming vague to others, political moves are to be perceived by opinion — the Sarah Palin pick being no different. 

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.

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?

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. 

Why? After a comfortable dinner at home, a somewhat race affected voter leaning Obama most likely will answer his phone to a pollster and tell him that he will be voting Obama come November 4th. 

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?

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. 

 And I think that the pundits and press respectively with  point this out. But I think that McCain’s strategy will  essentially turn out to be more long term than short as far  as the election. 

 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?

pacer521

As a bit of an off-topic post: Today I heard something that I had heard in different contexts all my life, but never really brought out in a political light. In a Yom Kippur sermon, a rabbi pointed out to me something the all of us have (or are going to learn) the hard way — it is the human instinct to always be right. 

I know that we have all heard this before, but bare with me. The speech was mostly about the science of insisting on being correct to reduce sadness and stress, but as a political junkie rather than a health enthusiast, one point of the sermon clung on to me. 

The Rabbi pointed out this (not a direct quote):

This human knack is also translated in many ways than one….into politics. If you remember the famous Nixon/Kennedy debate, and visited a predominately Nixon-favoring apartment, the people living there would say: “look at this whooping we are giving Kennedy!” But if you went to a Kennedy supporting apartment, they would most likely say the opposite: “Look at this pounding we are handing Nixon!”

And although this would certainly not be rare in the present as well, the rabbi’s point was brought out completely in his last quote:

But the interesting thing here was is if you were in the far-right apartment building and Nixon [in the debate] stared straight at the camera and said, “I am a crook. I am not nearly qualified enough to become president compared to my opponent — and frankly, this was a stupid idea to run in the first place.” then the Nixon supporters in the apartment would most definitely roar in approval, saying: “Now there is an honest man fit for the job as commander and chief.”

 What the rabbi was getting at in my opinion was the fact  that all over the political spectrum there are people who  very intensely support their candidate.

 And although this is certainly not bad, (I wrote a while back  on this) some of these people are (this is just my opinion)  fixated on destroying the other candidate via the internet  and media. And this, in my opinion, can really derail them  as voters, and more importantly Americans.

 To support a candidate in this day and age is to support  someone that you truly believe can make an America that you want, not a congressman, senator, or frankly — another candidate’s America. But when a person rises above a certain passion for a candidate, many will instead turn to attacking the opposing party’s candidate.

And in doing this the really lose touch of their pick for president and become engrossed in a negative mindset of convincing other people that a candidate is not fit as president.

No, I am not having some sort of crisis or am trying out to be a guru, but my main point here is that these people, instead of using this incredible amount of energy on their candidate, choose to use it to attempt to persuade others into something that is truly their own choice.

If you want to get very deep into the subject, this can be traced to many other things involving religion, racism, and cults, but my meaning here is that equally, on both sides of the political spectrum, there is a very radical but still functional mental factor that continues to persuade large numbers of voters.

It seems like the press is now convinced on two topics — the economic bailout that has cost us one trillion in a day — and everything about Sarah Palin. Because I am no economics professional and am too young to have a bank account, I have become more or less obsessed with Palin and her press craze. 

Very early this month, I found a small blog offering that John McCain’s campaign should ask Palin to step down as running mate, in what seemed like a drunken tone, which I had very little interest for mostly because the blog’s credibility and links were nothing less than bogus. 

I then started seeing more and more blogs pop up with this topic, along with the occasional webzine posting a opinion piece with similar views to the original blog. But I was extremely surprised to see the story go all the way to CNN’s Jack Cafferty File, a very prestigious, and to me, credible opinion blog. So as I sifted through the hundreds of comments, some (let us say) “interesting” points came up. This is one that I will center my analysis around — written by “erica”:

If he [John McCain] has half a brain he will – but I think we know how much brain he has, based on the fact he chose her in the first place.

I originally noticed this comment because it was so overly partisan that it triggered dozens of follow up arguments, but after staring at it for quite a long time, I saw something different in it — it was completely true…without the “brain” comments. 

 In truth, McCain made a smart decision, but a very  important one in his acquisition of Palin. And many can  agree that it has not paid off. 

 In my perspective, Palin was chosen in the most part for a  nation-wide press boost and to collect outer right  conservatives who otherwise wouldn’t support McCain. It is  widely disputed if they intended to also herd in former  Hillary Clinton supporters, but that is completely off topic. 

 In short, for whatever reason John McCain choose Sarah  Palin, he cannot avoid the fact that he has chosen her. He  also cannot avoid the fact that he has backed her up and  called her “the best running mate I could have chosen”  multiple times. So this now brings me to a revised version  of the comment I saw. 

John McCain is now feeling his Sarah Palin press fire burn out in the midst of the economic crisis, and although he and his staff know that Palin does not have a good chance of coming out of the debate (or really any public appearance) with an increase in the polls, he has chosen her. He cannot replace her. 

He simply can’t. Sending Palin into a debate that now seems impossible to win and hard to stay alive would prompt any political writer, commentator, strategist, blogger — anyone to think that it would be a good campaign move to replace her. But he can’t.

Palin, in her VP beginnings, was a literal press flame although she barely ever choose to enter the media. And I, as well as many liberal and conservatives alike thought it she could carry that media flame all the way to the White House. As a Democrat and teenage citizen of the US, I was terrified by her, but as a political strategist I strongly thought that she could eventually carry her stardom all the way. But I forgot one thing — she had to debate. I stand corrected. 

The McCain campaign has found themselves in a trap. Their favorite baseball was hit as a home run, but instead of clearing their fence to their friendly neighbor’s yard, it was hit too hard, landing in the haunted house that Joe Biden lives in. 

In more simple words, Palin was a genius idea that worked, perhaps too well. The conservatives just didn’t look far ahead enough politically and tested all available traps to see that this could happen. Palin started off brilliantly, but then she made some mistakes and the press as well as many others have exploited them. Hence her “Bridge To Nowhere” claim that everyone from Bono to Keith Olberman have capitalized on. Her two failed interviews that are now legendary on youtube, being smashed to pieces by comedian Tina Fey. But most of all, it is the few information that has been given out, most of it called lies. 

So as Palin limps into the debates, there is a very low chance she will make it out. And there is literately nothing John McCain can do about it.

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