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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

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?

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?

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?

There is no disputing that the decision to nominate Sarah Palin as the Republican’s vice presidential pick was certainly a surprise, causing the press to have one of the biggest political field days in history. But in the end was she strategically a gain or loss for the McCain campaign? 

I think that this essentially is the problem: what is a gain, what is a loss, and what was Palin meant to do — things certainly debatable but not entirely clear. 

But nevertheless, the centrist point here is that John McCain is (in his own words) “Running to win, and winning to govern.” What this is perceived to mean is that McCain is essentially running for the oval office and frankly doesn’t mind whoever contributes in getting him there. 

So with this mindset the question can be more or less tackled, starting with the concept that Palin’s effect on the press was positive or negative. 

I think the answer to this is yes and no. As explained a countless amount of times, Palin’s immediate burst into the political media was very much a success off the bat, but the (to be theoretical), the chaos that Palin threw at the press has in a sense died down — to the point where Palin is at the point of strategic questioning. And as we have seen lately, this has been proven to be damaging to the McCain campaign in the long run. 

And how has this happened? Palin’s immediate political success can be largely credited to timing. Announced the day after Barack Obama’s final democratic convention speech, the McCain camp essentially used the general political media attention to their advantage, and in doing so not only sweeping away both parties’ attention from the Democrats, but also setting an extremely flammable fictional wildfire in the media. And this I ultimately credit to Palin’s extreme demand in the first few weeks she was in the political spotlight. 

 I, as many other people also pointed out that while the Sarah Palin “wildfire” was burning, Palin wasn’t actually conducting much press herself, shown in the fact that she has yet to break ten television interviews. 

And although this may have been extremely efficient for both Palin and the McCain campaign, it hasn’t politically helped the McCain campaign in the long run — both sides of the press are now politically and strategically questioning Palin, in my opinion one of the factors in McCain’s deficit in the polls.

So I ask the commenters, has Palin helped John McCain strategically and politically — and has Palin truly solitified the base and gained votes not possible by McCain himself?

Overall, has she been worth it?

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

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?”

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. —

 

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.

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