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?”

What Is Up With the Polls?

September 14, 2008

A well hidden Sarah Palin recently broke her hide-from-the-press tactic and agreed to her first interview with seemingly safe outlet ABC and their Charles Gibson.

The interview, in my (humble) opinion, came to me as Palin attempting to convince Gibson that she was ready, painfully reminiscent of that faithful day of having to sit down with my father and plead for him to take off my training wheels. But what more?

At seemingly the same time, the Obama camp released two consecutive attack ads (here and here), followed by the New York Times, who published three editorials in one day, all critical of Palin. And on top of that, liberal researchers dug out what looked like a gem from Alaska, putting together a factual claim that Palin governed Alaska from the center, far from her extremely-right political status today.

Then, nonetheless, the nationwide polls, which earlier this month flew up and down like the stock market, barely jerked to either side. 

So why? Why, with all these attacks from both sides, Palin’s interview, the New York Times, and both Presidential and Vice Presidential debates coming up, haven’t the polls moved? Certainly more independents have taken note of Palin’s weaknesses and strategy and shifted to Obama. And likewise, surely the Independents and Republicans have taken note of the “bitter” attacks from the left and gained more of a lead? 

Maybe they were paying too much attention to Ike.

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Sarah Palin’s stage presence is not just (frankly) full of it, but rather a powerful force that transcends her image right before your eyes.

And as the second chapter in the saga of the Republican convention comes to a close, all anyone can talk about was what everyone originally thought was a mire introduction to the grand closing — John McCain’s speech. 

But it was instead the main figure of the entire convention, and the talking point on both the web and television, creating many side stories as well. Why? Palin’s speech was powerful. So powerful, in fact, that not only did it spark very heated initial reactions, but later provided so much aftershock that it seemed apparent to me to write about it.

Putting my strong political opinions aside, I must give Palin credit — that no matter how completely false and utter lies she used, it was hard (even for me) to shake of her speaking passion, mostly credited to how zoned in she was. And because of this, I know for a fact that many gullible Americans have fallen “victim” to her transcending speech, ignoring her factual mistakes and instead focusing intently on her valiant, confident speaking power.

And right now, no matter how many people (including me) stress the comparison between the top of each party’s ticket, because of her star power, Palin has gained the public centerpiece of not only the Republican party, but the image of politics in general. And, strangely, this is not because of the higher possibility of her being commander and chief in the near future, because — as my sister would say — John McCain is like a “dinosaur”, but rather because of her instant celebrity status and overall image that is so different. 

By different, I don’t mean because of her gender, but rather her breed. She is a new breed of politician, far away from your raging and shouting, sweaty middle aged point maker, but rather someone who we have not seen yet — a setting of mind that many teachers know to loathe. She uses her stature and newly-found political ego to her advantage, acting like she knows for a fact that each and every single thing she says is true, in the most convincing way I have ever seen this done among politicians. 

Simply put, she’s a giant black whole for your brain, in the form of a person who would most likely be the farthest away from that status — a small town governor of the second-least populated state in the US. 

So — as a word of caution, not a political recommendation –please vote on what you believe, not what you have been convinced to know.

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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In politics, anything can happen, but it relies on the press to take it as far as they want it. John Edwards has certainly caused a national stir after admitting an affair to filmmaker Rielle Hunter, 42, but is it really in our hands to decide his political fate?  The press was certainly responsible for other downfalls of presidential hopefuls, including presidents themselves, and this is no exception. So what is going to happen?

In my opinion a blow like this could send him either to Kansas or Washington DC. If Barack Obama has any brains in his head, he’ll think long and hard about the possibility of giving Edwards a campaign spot. Not that he wouldn’t make good decisions, but it could be political suicide — especially during the aftermath of the Reverent Wright bonanza. The press could eat both of them up, and unless Obama has some sort of master escape route, then this could be a decision that won’t favor Edwards. So I say that his role in this presidential outing is looking pretty grim. 

But then again, things could make turn for the better. The press seems not to remember that John McCain, after spending years in captivity during the Vietnam War, blew off his old wife (who by the way was waiting the entire time for him) so he could run off with Cindy McCain, his current one. At that time he wasn’t campaigning, so it was the perfect time for him to do something like that. And now that “the first door on the right” media seems to adore McCain, they just regard it officially as old news. This was a dodged bullet for McCain and he hasn’t been pestered by it ever since. 

So could Edwards pull off a McCain and get by it? Sadly, I don’t think so. Although the left wing did like him, he still has this chip on his shoulder that no one can ignore. So there are two things he could do. First, he could wait it out, staying away from the media but when forced to comment on his affair, apologizing for it as he has done. This way he can get off the grid, and look at his chances furthermore. And anything can happen during that time. The luckiest he could get would be if the conservatives got some huge dirt on Obama and leaked. That way he could try to hitch a ride on Hillary’s back, where he has more chances. 

The best thing to do for him, in my opinion would be to try to pull a Bill Clinton. No, I’m not calling for him to deny the whole thing but to hold periodic press conferences and apologize profusely, doing everything from bringing in his wife to publicly slapping the girl he cheated on. The press would love it, and if everyone falls for it, he could bounce back. 

The one thing he shouldn’t do would be pointing out what McCain did back in Vietnam. It would first give the press an outlet to shove this whole thing back in his face, saying he’s desperate and doesn’t want to apologize like a third grader after stealing someone’s toys. Although what McCain did was worse, this would be like signing his will and walking the plank. So that’s what I think about this whole thing, hope you guys have some other ideas as well as opinions of you own.

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The Decline of Gaming

August 4, 2008

It has occurred to be that gaming has been on more of a decline than ever. Growing up with a Playstation and a Playstation 2, I was in love with adventure games equipped with good storylines. I always thought that good video-games should be movies that you can control, where there is an 60 to 40 percentage of gameplay to in- game movie transitions between levels. I remembered buying games for my Playstation — I was like a kid in heaven. Surrounded by great titles that I knew would occupy and entertain me for years, I knew there we no bad choices for my platform. And with a master video gamer as a big brother, I got some fun gameplay in and great insight from him.

But soon after the Playstation 2 came out, gaming got bigger and more important in pop culture and because of that, more time and money was put into it. This generated better graphics, but not much else. More and more games are now based off of bad Disney movies and younger celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lizzie McGuire which sell but aren’t nearly of any quality. And because of this, more and more games with plots and original gameplay have vanished from the shelves, leaving true gaming purists saddened. But this is like losing a vote and gaining one hundred for a presidential candidate, he/she wouldn’t care. And they haven’t. So with the future not looking grim and the with the video game shelves flooding with worse and worse games, this is not a good sign. Of course there are a few games still around from this dying Breed, but the best games still remain in past platforms. And sadly, things will remain this way until changes are made.

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