Saturday, August 23, 2008

John Kerry’s – Using Veterans for Political Gain?

Jeff Beatty, Republican Candidate for US Senate recently chastised incumbent John Kerry for his use of veterans as props for his political ambitions. Kerry’s spokesperson, Brigid O’Rourke, complained to the Globe that Beatty was using “Karl Rove” tactics, (Note: Apparently, the Kerry Campaign is concerned with the general election if this comparison is being drawn prior to the primary.) (Boston Globe article)

The Blog initially reported on Beatty’s beef with Kerry’s use of veterans. Interestingly, the blog cited Thomas Dumm, a political scientist at Amherst College, as an expert. This in an obvious attempt to portray Beatty as the opportunist. According to the FEC Dumm has made substantial contributions to Senator Kerry’s Campaign, making his criticism of Beatty's stance somewhat suspect.

Having briefly met Jeff Beatty at an event in Chicopee, MA, (Beatty threw out the first pitch in an American Legion Championship game. The American Legion is a Veteran's organization), and having the opportunity to watch him interact with the crowd, most of whom were veterans, it appeared to be less of a campaign stop and more of a tribute to those who served. Who’s Fooling Who here?

While John Kerry steadfastly refuses to reveal his military records, Beatty has them proudly on display at his website – and as each poll is released Beatty’s numbers continue to improve. Ms. O’Rourke will most likely be comparing Jeff Beatty to George Bush next – invalid comparisons, lacking substance and merit, are what the Kerry campaign has given to date. Additionally, Blogs like PolitickerMA (owned by Observer Media) will continue to cite experts that, in all likelihood, have ties to the Senator. Are the people fooled? Not exactly. Is it any wonder that now when one Google’s John Kerry Mass. Senate Race, two names repeatedly appear in every single Bay State Newspaper Article - his opponents, and the words: “if” followed by John Kerry wins the primary.

In the interest of full disclosure, this blog is conservative feminist viewpoint and commentary on news items – that said, the author has been known to vote both sides of the aisle based upon job performance. Although Ed O’Reilly, John Kerry’s primary challenger holds some ideals that are not compatible to this blog, he is given fair treatment due to his background (non-elitist), a passionate approach to the campaign, as well as his unwavering stance on issues that may or may not be popular with all voters. In what we have seen so far, he appears to have the interests of his State and his Party in the right order - In other words, he is the ideal candidate for the Massachusetts Democratic Party.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kerry - Not VP - Agrees to Debate Senate Challenger, Ed O'Reilly

The Boston Herald is reporting today that John Kerry has agreed to debate his Democrat Challenger, Ed O'Reilly. Kerry had previously declined due to his heavy schedule. The agreement came, coincidentally, the same day that Obama made his final decision on a running mate. Articles from newspapers across the Baystate, including the Boston Globe, have taken to inserting "if" when referring to Kerry running against the Republican challenger, Jeff Beatty. Beatty, a distinguished veteran, (Link to citations, commendations and medal) has recently drawn attention to Kerry's use of U.S. veterans towards his own political gain.

Ed O'Reilly, Kerry's challenger, has been highly visible, in the Baystate media in the past few weeks, calling on Kerry to debate. O'Reilly for Senate signs can be found on roadways from Framingham to the Berkshires in growing numbers.

Although Rasmussen continues to give Kerry a 99.9% chance of holding onto his seat, Kerry's lead over Beatty is decreasing each month - polls which have not, to date, included Kerry's Democrat rival. Alternately, The Suffolk University Poll taken in June, indicated that 51% of the states electorate preferred someone other than Kerry - neither Beatty or O'Reilly were included in the poll. With that in mind, there may not be an incumbent in the 2004 Massachusetts Senate Race.

John Kerry – Not protecting his Bay State Seat - Is he Obama’s Choice?

John Kerry (D-MA) should be taking his bid for re-election a bit more seriously – given that he is faced with worrisome polls (Suffolk University Poll), a stronger than anticipated primary challenger (Ed O’Reilly) and a stronger GOP Opposition Candidate (Jeff Beatty). Additionally, the Bay States Newspapers normally Kerry committed editorial slant is taking a turn - in the opposite direction. Even the Boston Globe has questioned why John Kerry does not have the time to debate his Primary Challenger. In an article entitled “Kerry is Debatable”,
the Globe asks why Kerry has time to debate for Barrack Obama, yet, does not take the time out at home – noting: “the people of Massachusetts deserve a debate before the Sept. 16 primary.”

Perhaps it is arrogance, or perhaps Kerry has managed to obtain a position elsewhere. With the V.P. rumor mill churning, Huffington Post contributors weigh in on why Kerry would be the best choice for Obama as a running mate. - they make a compelling case – include the fact that Kerry’s deep ties to Obama are undisputable.

Today, or tomorrow, Obama will reveal his choice as running mate – if it is not John Kerry, will he then turn his attention to his own seat, or will he continue to stump for his chosen candidate? It appears the junior senator basks in the national spotlight; chances are his constituents will be treated to a barrage of advertising and mailboxes stuffed with re-elect Kerry literature – with a stop or two in each district hobnobbing with local Democrat politicos. Time is running out (Primary set for September 16), however, and although there is a Kerry Campaign ad, they aren’t playing statewide – what is showing up are banners for both Ed O’Reilly and Jeff Beatty, both of whom are receiving state press on an almost daily basis.

Therefore the questions remain, is Kerry the V.P. choice that will be announced today, or tomorrow by Obama? Or is he so arrogantly confident that he will retain his seat he isn’t bothering to protect it. The Massachusetts primary will be telling, as polls can, admittedly be deceiving due to small samples and the general make-up of the state. That said - given the electorate makeup: 30+% Democrat, 12+% Republican and 51+% Unenrolled – should half the Unenrolleds vote in the primary for O’Reilly, (assuming half will take a Democrat ballot), and 23% (or the percentage of votes that O’Reilly received in the primary) of Democrats vote the same way, Kerry won’t have to worry about dodging debates in the Bay State.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

John Kerry Faces Massachusetts “Operation Chaos”

John Kerry, junior Senator, Democrat, Massachusetts has been receiving a bit of local (state) press lately, most of which is questioning his unwillingness to debate his primary challenger, Ed O’Reilly. For whatever the reason, Kerry is reluctant to commit to debate his opponent prior to the state primary. (Springfield Republican). In recent weeks, Kerry’s name has been thrown out as a possible Obama V.P., which may be why he hesitates, or it could be his prior debate performances that have him reluctant to enter that venue once again. Either way, O’Reilly is getting attention.

Yesterday, during the 3:30-4:00 pm radio segment of the Howie Carr show, a caller suggested that those independent and Republican voters in the Massachusetts change affiliation, and vote for Ed O’Reilly in order to unseat John Kerry (frankly, most likely unnecessary given Kerry’s appeal to Democrats in the state), in other words an “Operation Chaos” (See Rush Limbaugh). Carr replied that he (paraphrasing) fully endorsed that plan.
Herein lies the problem with that type of scheme; if one is truly interested in supporting a specific candidate and has every intention of voting for that candidate in the general election (Jeff Beatty, Republican for Senate, Massachusetts), then casting a vote, even during the primary for the “opposition” reinforces the notion (mainly perpetrated by the DNC and the press) that Massachusetts is a “lost cause” for the RNC. In other words, it downplays the facts that the polls show ever increasing support for Beatty and that the state’s electorate is overwhelmingly not – Democrat. Over 50 percent of the states electorate is Unenrolled and those unenrolled voters lean both ways – but for the most part are moderate. Kerry has held his seat for 24 years simply because there were no other choices. This year is different – having opposition from within his own party will do enough damage to his already weakened position (Suffolk University Polls), in the state, and should he survive the primary, he will be up against an impressive Beatty organization. If there were no opposition other than O’Reilly for Massachusetts Republicans and Independents to cast their vote to oust Kerry, fine and good, however, that is not the case. Those on both sides of the aisle as well as those Unenrolled who feel more closely aligned with one party over another, in this state have a unique opportunity to send a message of change this year. One should go to the primary and vote their general election choice; this gives ones candidate a bit of extra ammunition, having integrity and conviction when casting a vote, rather than subversion in mind.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

McCain Takes the Lead Trumps Obama by 5 Points

In a Reuters/Zogby poll taken this past week, John McCain took an overall 5 point lead over Barack Obama for the first time and is leading Obama on the economy by 9 points. The impact from the Saddleback Civil Forum will certainly play a significant roll in upcoming polls. The forum, played on both CNN and Fox news over the weekend, shed new light on the way both candidates handle questions posed unscripted. McCain clearly led Obama in that forum and led to speculation that the upcoming debates would favor McCain.

With Russia threatening (Fox News and Matt Drudge both have breaking news today noting: “Russia Says Response to U.S. Missile Shield Deal with Poland Will Go Beyond Diplomacy”) use of force, McCain can only widen the gap in upcoming polls.

Raffling Obama – the New Approach to Candidate Fundraising

There is nothing like a good old-fashion raffle. One buys a ticket, or a chance, and is entered into “contest” to win a prize. Normally, the prize is a basket of treats at a church picnic, lately; the prize is a chance to see Barack Obama speak at the DNC convention. You can “bet the house” that the price of these “chances” to see Obama is a bit higher than the normal 25 cent ticket. An email from Howard Dean to Obama supporters, suggests carnival desperation:

Dear [desmoinesdem],

When Barack Obama delivered his breakout speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, the energy in the hall was amazing. He made thousands of people, including me, feel extremely proud to be Democrats.

This year is going to be even better.

On the last night of the convention -- when Barack accepts the Democratic nomination -- more than 75,000 people will fill the biggest stadium in Denver to be a part of the moment.

We're opening up the convention to as many people as possible, and I hope you'll be there to join me.

If you make a donation before midnight tomorrow, you could be part of a very special opportunity. Ten supporters who give before the July fundraising deadline will be selected for an all-expenses-paid trip to Denver. You'll get to bring a guest, fly to Denver, spend a couple days at the convention, and meet Barack before his speech.

Donate today, and you could go Backstage with Barack:

Make a donation before the deadline

This would be a very different message if you were a Republican.

For one, you wouldn't be invited to the convention -- unless you were a rich fat cat or very well connected. Also, this message would be filled with false, negative attacks targeting Barack and other Democrats.

That's not how politics should work. You are what makes this party work, and you deserve the facts, not smears.

Here's a simple fact: John McCain and the Republican National Committee finished June with $100 million in the bank. And that's not counting the untold millions collected by shadowy outside groups preparing their next Swift Boat.

Here's another fact: Tomorrow at midnight is the fundraising deadline for July. The media and political pundits will once again be sizing up the DNC to see if we can compete with John McCain and the RNC.

We need to close the fundraising gap -- and, unlike our opponents, we do not accept money from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs. Instead, we rely on ordinary people like you giving only what you can afford.

Let's show the strength of our Party and this movement for change. Make a donation to support our 50-state organizing strategy before tomorrow's deadline, and you could join Barack backstage at the open convention in Denver:

With your support, we can do more than just win elections up and down the ballot in November. We can change politics and make this country better for all Americans.

Thank you,

Howard Dean

“Enter before midnight”! and “You could go Backstage with Barak” are phrases surrounded by the plea to donate.

The word that comes to mind: degrading. Being fairly certain that this is not the only type of “political raffle” that has been held in the past year does not lessen the feeling that some politicians have reduced the quest for the Office of the Presidency to a low – one that has sunk below an appropriate adjective.

Apparently, some journalist found the raffle political aspect predictable. The Boston Globe blog headline reads: “And the Winners Are”, going on to note that those chosen in the “raffle” were all from key battleground stages. A post from the political blog at "Time Out Chicago calls the fundraising effort a “calculated shame” - this from an Obama devotee.

Comparatively, over at John, there are the usual “Make a Donation” buttons, but so far, no raffles. In a recent emails from the McCain campaign, the fact that Obama has raised 51 Million in July and McCain needs donations to compete are the theme. It is the usual “us vs. them” approach (see Howard Deans email text) used by both parties. One has to wonder, with the “raffle” approach (assuming like most church raffles, multiple chances can be purchased), what percentage of that 51 million raised in July was a direct result of hustling supporters? What will those carefully selected “winners” be subjected to in Denver? No doubt – they will be handed to the media on a silver platter as individuals from key states that are just devoted to Obama, so much so, that they put their hard-earned money up for a “chance” to go backstage with the “Candidate”.

In a perfect Republic, the candidate would be thrilled to meet the people that would hire him/her in the first place. Watching the Saddleback Forum one had the feeling that Obama was not completely comfortable in looking directly away from the camera and at the audience (granted Christians) – not the larger crowd and controlled venue to which someone of his ilk is accustomed. On the other hand, McCain came across as genuine in his interest – of the people and of the nation. McCain appears to “get it’, while Obama appears to be above it all, but not so much that he would not sell himself in order to make a fast buck.

Monday, August 18, 2008

McCain and Obama’s Saddleback Performance – Experience Trumps “Change”

Anyone who took the opportunity to watch the Saddleback Forum, hosted by Rick Warren on Saturday night had an opportunity to watch John McCain score and Obama fumble. The forum, hosted and moderated by Reverend Rick Warren, focused on character, integrity and faith. The presidential hopefuls were interviewed separately, at the request of the campaigns and agreed to answer similar questions. .

Barack Obama appeared generally at ease, but stumbled over questions on abortion (drawing a distinction between morality and science as regards to when life begins and then refusing to answer because “it was above his pay grade”), among others. The most striking were his comments on Supreme Court Justices – he would not have nominated Scalia, which, one would gather Obama would prefer a justice not strictly interpret the Constitution, therefore that was not a surprise. However, he named Clarence Thomas first, reasoning that Thomas lacked experience. Overall, a lackluster performance, rambling as it was unscripted.

John McCain on the other hand surprised those who have felt (author) that he had the charisma of a tranquilizer. Previously and admittedly, the support for John McCain had come from a “lesser of two evils” approach to picking a candidate. McCain came out gunning. He was amusing, connected with the viewer and left one feeling secure.
How was that possible? McCain has an usual style – he answers quickly and decisively – not searching for words in order not to offend anyone, he appears confident in his answers, and promotes hope in the American Dream. If age were an issue, he came across as more lively than the younger Illinois Senator. The Saddleback forum changed minds – and although the media is looking at the forum as one strictly for religious (specifically evangelicals), the reality – the entire spectrum of American society took time to watch this forum; it was broadcast by both Fox and CNN, with additional broadcasts by both networks over the weekend. In discussion with both independent and conservative Massachusetts viewers (where McCain has closed to within 9 points on Barrack Obama), comments focused not on question content, rather on the demeanor of both candidates: simply McCain came across as presidential and confident.

The press reacted, as it was glaringly obvious that McCain outshone Barack Obama, and therefore, he must have somehow cheated. The New York Times is crying foul noting that McCain may have had an opportunity to hear or have knowledge of some of the questions. (This after the Obama campaign accused, scrambling as usual - damage control.) Even if McCain somehow managed to hear or have knowledge of the first 3 similar questions put to Obama (which is an unsubstantiated claim from the Obama campaign), it would not explain the continued excellence of the McCain performance. From NBC to the New York Times, the obvious fact that the candidate who was thought to have Charisma that would outshine experience and put a Progressive into the White House, may now be another Dukakis or McGovern (politically speaking).

As the Democrats head into their convention, with McCain choosing to run 60 second spots on network television during the same time frame, the bounce from the convention may mirror the Obama Tour O8 (plus 9 points which faded within a week), which cannot bode well. It is now patently clear that Obama must stick to scripted debates; his cue card is essential.

Additional thought: Perhaps more important is his choice of running mate (more so than McCain), one can bet the house that should Obama choose John Kerry, (speculation), McCain could add the 12 electoral votes from Massachusetts to his win column.

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