From a distance – Calling the race for Obama, or maybe not just yet ?

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The underlying conviction of the British newspapers about the Presidential Election seems to be, Obama will win the race. They just don’t dare to say it out loud. In a way it is understandable, there have been so many surprises in this overlong campaign, so why not another momentum change in the last four weeks? Personally, I do not think there will be another upset, if only because the McCain surprises have lost almost all of their charm. His first one, the nomination of a woman as running mate could have been a real game-changer, had he made a wiser choice. By all means the perfomance of Sarah Palin is painfully inadequate. Whatever the pundits say, she was an abject failure in the debate. She so obviously skirted the questions to spew forth her talking points it was an embarrassment to watch. I am not an American, but I am a woman and really, to me this is insulting. John McCain’s second attempt at mavericking the race by theatrically suspending his campaign, racing to Washington to “fix it”, was another failure. So what on earth can he think up now that will change a race that has Obama leading 264 to 163 in electoral votes (111 votes toss up with Obama leading in six of the eight remaining toss-up states). Going dirty is the only remaining option, William Kristol has already done the “journalistic” groundwork for that and the McCain campaign has already gone there, but my guess is that people have moved on and mostly made up their minds. Barack Obama will win this race.

But then, who am I? Let’s have a look what the big boys and the big girls in journalism have to say:

Starting with The Times there is Daniel Finkelstein, who essentially says the race is over. Holly Watt is traveling the South and is detecting early warning signs in Georgia:

The Peach State has already begun early voting, and it will not have lowered Republican blood pressure one little bit. 30% of Georgia’s voters are African-American, but that group has cast 40% of the votes so far.

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Biden in Cincinnati

Some key phrases courtesy of Steve Benen at Washington Monthly:

On McCain’s judgment:

“This week, John talked about the judgment required to be Commander in Chief. He’s right: nothing is more important than judgment. But time and again, on the most critical national security issues of our time, John McCain’s judgment was wrong. Right after the terrorists attacked us on 9-11, John responded by urging that we consider attacking countries other than Afghanistan, including Iraq, Iran and Syria. In the run up to the war in Iraq, John insisted that we would be greeted as liberators… that we didn’t need a lot of troops… that victory was imminent. Then, he said he wasn’t worried about Afghanistan… that we would ‘muddle through’… and he declared Afghanistan to be ‘a remarkable success.’ In John’s judgment, there is nothing to talk about with Tehran. And he has one idea for dealing with Russia: kick it out of the Group of Eight nations.”

On Iraq and counter-terrorism:

“It is John’s judgment that six years into the war in Iraq, we should keep spending $10 billion a month… indefinitely… at a time Iraq is running an $80 billion surplus. And John McCain continues to insist, against all the evidence and all the facts, that Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism… and not the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan where the people who actually attacked us on 9-11 reside and are regrouping. John is more than wrong — he is dangerously wrong. On a question so basic, so fundamental, so critical to our nation’s security, we can’t afford a Commander-in Chief so divorced from reality and from America’s most basic national interests.”

On Spain:

“Last week, John McCain said he would not meet with the leader of Spain. Now folks, he would not meet with the leader of a NATO ally. A NATO ally who has Spanish forces in Afghanistan, who has forces fighting side by side with the U.S. Ladies and gentlemen, what kind of judgment is that? What kind of bluster is that? Ladies and gentleman, John McCain’s notion about how to deal with our allies as well as adversaries is something I just don’t understand. How in God’s name will we deal with Russia, without a united NATO. Ladies and gentleman, John McCain has gotten it wrong on so many fundamental issues.”

On Obama:

“Time and again, Barack Obama has demonstrated the judgment we need in our next president… and the vision to see over the horizon. Seven years ago, Barack Obama opposed one of the most disastrous decisions in the history of American foreign policy: the diversion of our military might, our resources and focus from Afghanistan to Iraq. He was profoundly right. Now, he is right again: Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq responsibly. He will be as careful getting out as George Bush and John McCain were careless getting in…. Barack Obama understands what John McCain does not: the next President must be more than the Commander-in-Chief for Iraq. He must be Commander-in-Chief for America’s security around the world.”

Full text of the speech below the fold.

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Biden on “When does Life begin?”

Joe Biden understand the separation of church and state when it comes to privately held beliefs on when life begins:

He understands that he should not use the power of the State to force his religious belief about when life begins on everyone in the country.

This concept is alien to “evangelical christians” such as Palin who feel that the Federal Government (State Governments, too) should be run according to their beliefs.

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Palin’ by Comparison

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After listening to both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential acceptance speeches, I thought I would take a closer look at how each views both the issues and their political opposition. I found this rather telling.

On the Issues, this is what Biden had to say:

  • Barack Obama’s going to deliver that change, because, I want to tell you, Barack Obama will reform our tax code. He will cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people who draw a paycheck. That’s the change we need.
  • Barack Obama will transform the economy by making alternative energy a national priority and in the process creating 5 million new jobs and finally, finally freeing us from the grip of foreign oil. That’s the change we need.
  • Barack Obama knows that any country that out-teaches us today will out-compete us tomorrow. That’s why he’ll invest in the next generation of teachers and why he’ll make college more affordable. That’s the change we need.
  • Barack Obama will bring down health care costs by $2,500 for the average family and, at long last, deliver affordable, accessible health care for every American.
  • Barack will put more cops on the street, put security back in Social Security, and he’ll never, ever, ever give up until we achieve equal pay for women.

And this is what Palin had to say about the issues:

  • To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.
  • Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest — and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.
  • Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines … build more new-clear plants … create jobs with clean coal … and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal and other alternative sources.

Now, granted, these are acceptance speeches, but look at the lack of detail provided by the Republican candidate. Biden got in several specifics of Obama’s overall plan for this country.

As to what they both had to say about their political opponents, check out the amazing comparison below the fold.  Video of both of these speeches are below the fold, as well.

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Palin Gets Crash Course in Foreign Policy 101

The McCain team has hastily assembled a team of former Bush White House aides to tutor the vice-presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, on foreign-policy issues, to write her speeches and to begin preparing her for her all-important Oct. 2 debate against Sen. Joe Biden.

Steve Biegun, who once served as the No. 3 National Security Council official under Condoleezza Rice at the White House, has been hired as chief foreign-policy adviser to the Alaska governor.  After taking leave from his job as vice president for international affairs at Ford Motor Co. last Friday, Biegun flew to St. Paul and, together with McCain’s foreign-policy guru Randy Schuenemann, began briefings for Palin on national-security issues—an area where her resume is conspicuously thin.  (That is just their nice way of stating that she has absolutely no experience in foreign policy or national-security issues.)

Biegun is hardly the only Bushie to be tapped for Palin duty. Among others:

Matt Scully, a former Bush White House speechwriter, is working on Palin’s acceptance speech to the convention Wednesday night.

Mark Wallace, a former lawyer for the Bush 2000 campaign who served in a variety of administration jobs including chief counsel, has been put in charge of “prep” for the debate against Biden.

Wallace’s wife, Nicolle Wallace, the former White House communications director, has taken over the same job for Palin.

Tucker Eskew, another senior Bush White House communications aide, is serving as senior counselor to Palin’s operation.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former chief economist at the Council of Economic Advisers who has been serving as top economics guru for the McCain campaign, has moved over to serve as Palin’s chief domestic-policy adviser.

The proliferation of former Bush White House aides in the Palin team may strike some as ironic-and could even provide some fodder for the Democrats-given the McCain camp’s efforts to distance itself from the unpopular president. (It has been widely noted, for example, that while the president is addressing the convention tonight by satellite, neither the president nor Vice President Cheney will be coming anywhere near St. Paul. And when Palin’s selection was announced last week, McCain aides touted it as an example of the senator returning to his “reformer roots” and rebelling against the GOP establishment.)

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