News from the Votemaster
As expected, the site was down for a couple of hours yesterday as the datacenter replaced a defective power supply. Apologies.
John Heilemann has a good piece in New York Magazine about John McCain's strategy. It is to run a campaign attacking Barack Obama personally as too young, too elite, and too pampered to be President as opposed to attacking Obama's ideas and also as opposed to promoting McCain's ideas are something the country really needs. A variety of ads have already surfaced in this vein. More will follow. The irony, of course, is Obama was raised by a single mother whereas McCain is the son and grandson of admirals and married a woman worth an estimated $100 million.
This strategy puts Obama in a real bind. If he ignores the attacks, the charges tend to stick. If he hits back, he looks like just another politician. It is classic Lee Atwater and usually works. It is possible that Democratic 527 groups like Moveon.org will hit back hard (like running ads accusing McCain of taking bribes from convicted felon Charles Keating), but Obama won't touch that kind of stuff with a barge pole.
Companies are now posting their second quarter results. General Motors lost $15.5 billion in that quarter. A bit over half was due to one-time write downs, but that statistic does not suggest a robust economy. On the other hand, Exxon made $11.7 billion in that quarter, the largest quarterly profit any American company has ever made. High gas prices probably have something to do with both numbers. These staggering amounts are surely going to play a role in the election as the economy moves front and center. Oh yes, and unemployment has risen to 5.7% as another 51,000 jobs were lost in July. This might be a good time for candidates for all offices to come up with an economic plan.
Today's VP boomlet is for Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina. The idea is to appeal to women. However, each of these women comes with a lot of baggage. Palin is in the middle of a scandal right now. Her sister was married to state trooper Mike Wooten and is now involved in a bitter child custody battle with him. Palin tried to help out by asking the state Commissioner of Public Safety, Walt Monegan, to fire Wooten. Monegan refused so Palin fired him. Even the Republican controlled state legislature had a problem with this so they appointed retired prosecutor Steve Branchflower to investigate. McCain really doesn't need a running mate who is under investigation for abuse of power. Carly Fiorina has a different problem: she performed so poorly at HP that the board of directors fired her. So she wouldn't feel bad about this, they gave her cash, pension benefits, and options worth about $40 million. The Democrats will have a field day with this.
If McCain wants a female politician, he could pick Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) who is a heavyweight and not involved in any scandals at the moment. An alternative CEO who has been discussed is Meg Whitman, who was a spectacular success when she ran E-Bay.
Kevin Barber sent a spreadsheet that wasn't what was asked for but is interesting in its own right. It shows which states have been good bellwethers (i.e., voting for the winner) over the years. Missouri is the best one, having voted for the loser only once since 1900 (in 1956). Here it is in Excel format. Several people filled in the original spreadsheet. They'll be up in a few days.
Another Senate poll in Alaska shows that his indictment has not helped Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) much. Probably the only way for the Republicans to hold this seat is for Stevens to drop out after the primary.
We also have one House poll today, in MO-06. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) has a small lead over Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes (D) in what is expected to be a close race.
-- The Votemaster