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. —

 

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Senator Barack Obama’s pick for Vice Presidency has been a rare case — swaying everyone’s opinion from your teenage daughter to the head of the New York times. And in a presidential race that is one for the history books from the candidates to the voters, what better time to keep the suspense high? So I guess the questions are who and why — but now its “when?”

Obama has left the country guessing left and right, but this time — the press has nowhere to go. Obama has been in a dark room with six top advisers, which means two things: a well thought out final decision — and no leaks. Although many news segments and articles have been written about possible choices, they have no possible leads and no one to get information to. So in the end, even with their top politics men analyzing anything everything and anything that could be going on in that room, they really don’t have a clue about who Obama will actually pick. It could be anyone from Vladimir Putin to Rihanna, as Paris Hilton put it. 

So with that said, who Obama does pick is not only a very important decision for his long term campaign, but will make a huge point to the public and sadly, race will be a factor. Obama’s best reception publicly as far as race, however, will probably a white male. As Hillary Clinton best put it during one of the primary debates: “there’s me {in other words a woman}, there’s Obama {in other words a black man} and then there’s John.” Referring here to John Edwards, her point was that with Obama and her breaking racial and gender barriers, John Edwards just looked like a stereotypical politician — a rich white male. And at this time in America, that’s what it can come down to — what race or sex you are as opposed to your actual political policies. 

His pick also shows to the more educated Americans what kind of policies he likes and what kind of politician he enjoys working with. He/she pick will show people who he thinks is a true leader and what he thinks his Vice President (lets call him/her “x”) has strengths and weaknesses. And that’s one of the reasons that picking Hilary Clinton would be complete suicide. In the rare case that Obama does pick Clinton as his running mate, he will get pounded by the press and the public. Why? Although Clinton shares many of the same opinions as Obama, she has not only fiercely attacked Obama throughout her campaign and decided to not completely disable her campaign after losing, she has attempted (and mostly failed) to cut Obama down in any possible way, and that mostly doesn’t involve politics. 

So who does this leave as the perfect running mate. In my case, John Edwards — but it would take more than just a flawless PR stunt to get his personal problems out of the way. And although what he did was horrible, I think he would be the perfect “x” for Obama — a publicly nice, white male that doubles as a great politician. Plus, he hasn’t gotten on anyone’s nerves yet. But since he is most definitely done (in the rare occasion he comes back it will be years), Obama is digging deep into his list of possible running mates, and the world will keep guessing.

So with no clues, the last thing to guess would be from a tactical point of view. During John F. Kennedy’s campaign, he chose (under great controversy) Lyndon Johnson, who wasn’t exactly his biggest fan or vice versa. One of the bigger reasons of choosing him was because JFK was not very popular in the South — and in the end — Johnson was. Obama could use this tactic for his advantage in his long struggle to steal some (bright) red states. Although it probably wouldn’t be in Obama’s best interest to shoot for Mike Gravel as VP, it would be almost monumental for the general elections to find someone with good connections to the midwest, preferably Ohio, who as we know literately picks the eventual president. So who has connections there? Well, there’s Ted Strickland…and not much else. As far as Ohio their aren’t many people over in the first door on the left, and Ted Strickland as governor is the best bet for Obama there.

But no news of anything in that category has popped up, we really have no leads in any direction. And with the democratic convention coming up, all we can guess all we want but — unless some sort of leak or lead surfaces — we’ll just have to wait and see. 

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After sitting through all the superhero movies Marvel and Hollywood could throw at me, I was pondering the awful question: what has happened to the great Hollywood? It seems today that everything they make is the customary Disney G-Rated movie that will definitely include: 1 dead parent, 2 golden retrievers (or more), someone from either the disney channel shows Hannah Montana, The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, or the Raven Show, and finally one of the annoying Jonas Brothers to randomly do a solo during the credits. Either that or they will mass produce an string of animated Star Wars movies and then throw in a second Transformers without Megan Fox (because she asked for too much cash), with more annoying Shia Labeouf, and then toss in as much special effects that you’d think you were in a nightmare. The result? Sadly, with millions of 15 year old girls for Shia Labeouf and millions of tweenage disney cult members buying tickets, the makers of these movies (while sitting on a throne of cash) start a sequel — then a trilogy…. This is why movies today in every season but maybe Fall are just the reality of a bad dream. And now, the small population of film enthusiasts that appreciate good movies today is a dying breed. 

If only Hollywood could put aside their blood and gore ego and remember the masterpiece that they made almost 40 years ago in All the President’s Men. This was a movie that defied all the odds to me, it delivered an excellent plot, twists, suspense, it kept you guessing, and above all — there wasn’t a single shot fired. The plot was true (Nixon’s henchman’s infamous failed heist of the democratic headquarters) and even though you knew the ending, you still wanted to see more, because somehow even though you knew every single detail backwards and forwards, you were engaged 100% on the screen. You head was spinning through the full two and a half hours, and after so many years, here we are in 2008, still remembering this movie. Its a timeless, classic mystery, but its too action packed to be a classic or a mystery. Its a great action movie, but there wasn’t a single drop of blood. This movie deserves to be in its own category, and it goes to show you that even though today we have all the money and brains we want to spend on a cinema, we are still too egotistic and stubborn to produce a movie with a plot and sequence that we could 40 years ago. And because of this, I am saddened that I was not born yet into that past movie era of great minds, directors, actors, and above all…plots.

In past years, USA basketball has come into big competitions with high expectations, and after “shockingly” being beaten by teams that trained together the entire year for these moments, one might wonder if they are destined to lose unless they play with a team’s mentality. Can this country, blessed with the most talented basketball players the world has to offer, ever assemble a group of ball-players to compare with Jordan’s historic 1992 Barcelona squad? Is this Coach K’s year to make a gold medal team? Can America put aside its troubles and rivalries, and instead of playing for themselves, play for the world? Is this their year? All signs point yes, but what do I think? No. And I’ll tell you why.

In today’s basketball, more and more of our best players are assembling overseas, and less are developing in America. Our young american players grow up under a coach’s eye, each and every one of them with tremendous talent, but most totally uncoachable. And this is the exact opposite over in Europe, with great, coachable team player being mass produced like Toyota Prius’s. So unless America can get it together NOW and play for the common prize, a gold medal (which I don’t think is going to happen this year), our future looks dim.

In contrast, the 1992 team consisting of the NBA’s legends who united once a year to play together as one, were much like Europe’s players today, but much more talented. Led by Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Charles Barkley, that team had depth too, their entire bench hand-picked from the nba’s greatest role players. Jordan, among his teammates, sacrificed points for assists (he rarely posted over 18 points in a game), and the team excelled more than any USA team could wish to do today (or ever again). My point is, unless the US can take away their star power and ego, we’re not going anywhere in the olympics. Do I think we can do it this year? Yes. Will we do it this year? No.