Keith Olbermann's comment on Prop 8


Why Barack Obama won

Although the first black President of the USA is a huge and meaningful step, welcomed with a surprising dignity by John McCain and George Bush, this is not because of his being black that Barack Obama was elected, which is probably even more meaningful, but because of the precision and the impressive hard work of his campaign, in which every single detail was thought.

The Obama campaign's program was deliciously well prepared. Vague enough to allow a large target to identify, when Hillary Clinton' s program was too precise not to be boring and segmenting, it determined the keys points and brought really bright answers, turning the flaws of his proposals into strong qualities.
His being black and his lack of experience, which could have been his main handicaps, were connected to this powerful need of change after what is perceived as a failure by the Bush administration and used as a symbol to proove his ability to get the country to a new era.
His vote against the war in Irak was well used and completed by his willing to renforce the troops in Afghanistan, which avoided the risk of making him sounded as a weak pacifist and outlined the failure of Bush in those two wars.
His health care plan was not ambitious enough to scare the independent and republican voters.
His tax plan was well thought to speak to the middle-class, of which he took such a care since the financial meltdown, while John McCain remained silent about them, not even mentioning them during the debates.
Otherwise, he remained uncomfortable on moral issues, being unable to take a straight to the point stand, probably too afraid to take the risk to alienate voters. His positions on the death penalty, the gun control, the gay marriage, god, abortion, were confused, weak and coward as we saw on the faith forum. We may ask if he was disguising his point of view. His "blunder" about people "getting bitter and clinging to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations" sounded way more frank and sincere and was really more interesting. But the campaign is not conceived to let candidates being sincere and honest anyway and a brighter opponent than John McCain would have used this weak point of Obama's wanting to keep both parties happy.

After this program, he also worked on the form.
He took advantage of his beautiful skill of speech. He used it to rebound after Hillary Clinton's attacks about Jeremiah Wright during the primary and calm it down when it made him sounded too intellectual and elitist after his speech in Berlin, where he was not that convincing, probably because he has no good reason to be there and was smartly weakened and mocked by McCain.
He was able to mix up different levels in his speeches. Composed with touches of facts and symbols, politics and emotions, determination and attention, promises and compromises, all his speeches are build with the same technical pattern. Each of them is a story made up to allow people to identify and to hope.

His campaign did not forget the fundamentals of an election: the ground game.
They spin a tight web throughout the country: "The Obama campaign has broken the country into a collection of battleground states, which are dissected into precincts that are parceled one more time into neighborhood teams. (Ohio, for example, is divided into 1,231 neighborhoods.) And each of these teams, if the recruiting is up to speed, has a leader who, ideally, lives just down the block from all those doors that need to be knocked on." They deploy lawiers to control the polls (Kerry neglected this point in 2004). His rejecting the public financing allowed his campaign to raise a amount which has reach an unprecedented level. And they used the most aggressive marketing strategies and the opportunity of the new technology to do this: social networks, mobile phones to keep people tuned and get them involved.
They offered for instance to win a dinner with Obama or a backstage pass on Election night to encourage donations; they reveal the choice of the running mate by texting those who would give their names, collecting this way plenty of contacts; they made up contests, counting the events hosted, the calls made, the doors knocked, the amount raised to motivate the members of my.barackobama.com, as at McDonalds; and they strongly encourage registration of new voters...

We may notice that if the Obama team spent such an energy to work on every single detail, they avoided the negative campaigning, despite the asks of a lot of democrats in August to fight back (the memory of a Kerry too weak was persistent). They launched a site to fight against the rumors (the members of my.barackobama.com were frequently asked to send disclaimers emails to every kind of people) but mostly refused the low blows, saying, for instance, that the issue about Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy was "off limits".
After the financial crisis, Obama's image of seriousness, dignity and calm turned out to be reassuring in storm times and gainful for him.

This campaign was a really beautiful deployment of skill and hard work. We may regret that in those times where probably any democrat would have been elected, as Bill Clinton was close to suggest in The View, Barack Obama's program is so shy and not ambitious enough, not taking enough advantage of this republican tiredness.


Obama wins

Thrilling election night

Ok we are waiting... Are they going to kiss? Oups... Sorry, I'm mistaking the series... Is he going to win ?


Is there any good reason to vote for Obama?

As the dirty tricks grow, the polls are said to tighten and the so-called "Bradley effect" threatens, it must be a good time to consider the good reasons, if any, to vote for Barack Obama.

First of all, his being a black man.

This must be the main and the most important reason and this is probably a bad one. It may be a significant progress for the USA and the world to see a black man leading the most powerful country, but it may not be enough. The civil rights may regress throughout the country, the efforts may be stopped, this victory may be seen as the proof there's no need to fight and to move on anymore when some hates may be reinforced somehow. The victory of Obama would represent a huge step, but only a step. We know how strong it is in this country, in the world, to think that being black is not an obstacle anymore to reach to the highest job. This is not enough, this is only a symbol, but this is a powerful symbol.

Of course, his blackness is not a reason not to vote for him, but it may not be a reason to vote for him also. We hope people do not vote considering a color of a skin.

An other reason is his being a democrat.

We can see how democrats take advantage of the Bush administration failure. There's a lot of work to do to fix the economy, to restore trust in the us throughout the world, to forbid the threatens against freedom and torture Bush allowed and supported within his presidency, to close Guantanamo and to stop the death penalty.

Barack Obama doesn't seem ambitious enough. He won't change this unfair economic system, his tax plan won't "spread wealth", whatever the republican say, but may be less unfair than the McCain plan, who recently moved toward the right.

Barack Obama's health care plan is weak and sounds like a sleight-of-hand not to threaten the republican voters. This plan won't be that "affordable", because poor people will still have other priorities than their health and also because, with the economic crisis, his plan will be even less ambitious.

It will be difficult to close Guantanamo, but Barack Obama promised it.

And his ideas about the death penalty are almost too subtle to be trustworthy: "Obama was also a cosponsor on a comprehensive reform of the death penalty in the state of IL., which many believe will begin a domino effect in neighboring states to abolish or reform their own death penalty systems. Although, it should be noted that Obama is not against the death penalty as a whole. He believes that some crimes are irreconcilable, such as the rape or murder of children, mass murder, that a society has the right to call for the death of prisoner..."

An other reason was pointed by John Kerry on "Meet the press" yesterday, who repeated what we all think after the economic meltdown, that McCain is erratic while Obama is calm and trustworthy. We saw in this blog how those qualities were flaws earlier and how McCain's shooting from the hips used to seem to be a quality... But the fact is Barack Obama turned out to be calm enough to listen and determined enough to manage. Those must be important qualities to lead.

The last reason is his raising such a hope throughout the world.

This hope is irrational and looks like rather a worship than a serious trust. This hope doesn't rely on facts. It is raised by a charming campaign, which is vague and imprecise enough to let people think what they want, and uses more easily emotions than political points. This hope will be disappointed. But before it lands, before the buzz is killed, this hope will probably strongly impulse a ground swell of change and will constitute a huge opportunity, a strong energy for the one who arouses it and will likely lead the country. Plenty of things will be possible for Barack Obama because of this hope. Plenty of things will also be impossible. He won't do everything. No human can respond to such a hope. But he has a large margin before him. People have a large margin before them, since, with this hope, that's what they believe.

This hope in this symbol is an appointment with history. It can't be missed because of all the things it makes possible.


Media are sexist and elitist against Sarah Palin

This Sarah Palin's getting pranked brings to a close a frankly disturbing sensation felt throughout this campaign. Does she deserve such a fuss?

The joke is well done by the both masked avengers, really funny and fair enough, mind you...

The way journalist are testing her with their gotcha questions, to which plenty of pundits would be having a bad time to answer, like the Bush doctrine" trick question... and the way all her mistakes and blunders are broadcasted are harsh and irrational.

There are really good reasons to want her not to be vice-president or much less president: her lack of experience in the national level is obvious; her political ideas are out of touch and quiet dangerous; her "troopergate"; and her opportunism is probably unquestionable. But we slip toward a different matter when we make such a fun at it.

Media were less cautious and demanding with Bush. So what is the point about Sarah Palin?

Is this because a woman still has to be better than a man? Is this because she is an outsider, talking improperly as real people do and not having confidence enough to send the media packing when they are rude?

We should be careful about what we ask for a candidate to do and to be, what normalization our asking implies. We shouldn't even consider his or her personality.

Her accent, her spontaneity, her sounding weird are not something to make fun at, since people sounding proper with a perfect accent and perfect background and studies turned out to fail somehow in the leading of a country.

But I assume her being so close of becoming vice-president, with her dangerous and narrow-minded ideas, is such a terrifying possibility that it must be better to laugh at it.

Let's laugh though:


Barrack Obama snake charmer

The McCain campaign is pathetically splitting somehow, scapegoating Palin, talking about her as a "Diva", a "whack job", a "rogue", which is not entirely false since she seems to distance herself from those friendly advisers to aim at 2012, or frankly jump from the ship:

Meanwhile, Barack Obama improves his tactical position:

He offensively struggles in the republican states.

He has given his "closing arguments":

Where he sticks to the economics, which turned out to be such a favorable matter for him, and insists on his "change" point.

Then he indulged himself in buying a half-hour tv ad:

This ad was definitely not a surprise, same targets, same strategy: riding the wave of the economics, charming the swing states by choosing stories of people living in Missouri, Ohio and New Mexico and giving the final speech in Florida and most of all reassuring people about Barack Obama with plenty of endorsements.
This huge move even avoids the risk of being called megalomaniac by giving way to simple people, making Obama looking in service of someone else.

They may argue about Barack Obama's stepping back on the withdrawal in Iraq; the weakness of his health care plan compare to Hillary Clinton's one; his unability to balance the budget...

But this is not about politics, this is about entertainment, marketing and worship... Barack Obama doesn't have a precise plan to reform the country, or at least didn't express the beginning of it within almost two years of campaigning. He's charming, promissing, feeding hope and belief, story telling... And this is a very beautiful story.


John McCain is done

We may see in front of us the consequences of the so-called "momentum". And we may see it enough to determine how it consists: confidence. John McCain lost his confidence few weeks ago. He is not convincing because, and perhaps only because, he doesn't seem to be convinced anymore.

While Barack Obama staid focus, stuck to his lines, went on his campaign, without paying attention to the ups and downs of the polls, the Biden's blunders, nor the republican attacks, ending up making an impression of a ground swell moving on; John McCain seems to have tried to use a momentum to improve his campaign, surfing on the waves, going up, shooting from the hips, playing the maverick card when the polls backed him, and following them down with the financial meltdown. He now appears to be swept away. Hesitant, confused, doubtful.

His campaign had so much skill to take every opportunity, whatever their hypocrisy or their lies, from the forum of the faith, then the RNC Convention or the pick of Sarah Palin, to their arrogance in redefining the meaning of change to make it fit to McCain, which almost succeeded until the financial crisis. The last smart move was McCain's suspending his campaign. Too bad for him, he suspended his suspending. David Letterman's making fun at his hesitations announced the end.

The McCain strategy turns out now to reveal all its flaws.

McCain struggles hard to try to get back this momentum, this confidence, he needs to go on, but the opportunities become rare and the margins narrow. His last attempts sound desperate as his critical tone against George Bush to try to distance himself from him or his Joe the plumber gimmick, his repeating over and over Obama will increase taxes or also his playing the scaremonger card, throwing terrorism, race, confusion or anything in the garbage at Obama (check this page out to count how many McCain's ads are positives).

Today, on "Meet the Press" he seemed tired, unable to make a point anymore, struck. Does he think everything is lost yet? That's however how it felt.

Why can't McCain get back his coolness, his sense of humor, his straight to the point way of talking? Why didn't he stick to his line while his campaign suspension to make it believable? Why didn't he distance himself from George Bush way before, letting Sarah Palin talking to the republican base, which was the only thing she was useful to? Why all his qualities appear to be flaws?

The McCain campaign chose a short-run moves strategy, perfect to make a momentum up, but they turn out to be too short, while Barack Obama made a campaign on a long run, no fuss, no moves, which proves to be solid and reliable.

Are the McCain campaign advisers going to be able to throw one of those clever trick they are good at during the week before us?