Sunday, August 31

Republicans Alter Convention

John McCain says Republicans will suspend most of the activities planned for Monday's opening of their national convention because of the threat of Hurricane Gustav.

McCain, who will accept the presidential nomination Thursday night, said only those portions of the program that are absolutely necessary will be held.

You can read the rest of the Yahoo News report here.

DNC Recap

After a long and hard fought primary battle, Democrats gathered last week in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. By most accounts, the week-long celebration elevated the standard political convention to new heights as it merged the art of storytelling with multi-media and added in a splash of the "wow" factor that turned what could've been boring rhetoric into an entertaining media event.

Of course, the historical moments (and there were many) were not lost on this audience. Every opportunity was given to recognize Obama's achievement as the first African-American to capture a major-party nomination. And as coincidence would have it, Clinton was lauded for being the first woman to contend seriously for the Presidency in the same week as the anniversary of women's suffrage.

Here are a few of the highlights with links to the specific speeches that stood out from the week:

Of course, the crescendo of the week was Sen. Barack Obama's acceptance speech (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5) that was given before 84,000 people in a spectacle that was part rock concert and part political rally. His speech clearly outlined his policy difference with John McCain and then provided, in more specific detail than ever, his economic, foreign policy, energy and education plans.

Despite the media's wish for a brawl between the Clintons and the Obamas, the convention seemed to genuinely unite the Democratic party and continue to push their candidate forward.

What was your favorite moment from the DNC?

Saturday, August 30

Did You Miss Me?

What a week to not have Internet access! My apologies to those of you who were expecting daily coverage of the DNC. It was my intent to watch the convention into the wee hours of the morning each day and then report back to you. I didn't have any problem staying glued to the action, it was the reporting that became impossible from my family's vacation spot this week.

Many thanks to Jeff Porter, or as we like to call him here at P4M, Anonymous Jeff, for filling in this week. It's no secret to our regular readers that Jeff is an Obama supporter who likes to keep things interesting around here so I thought he'd enjoy the opportunity to wax poetic about his party's convention. He assured me he tried to keep it objective, but it looks like he found himself on the hot seat several times.

My apologies to any new readers who clicked here looking for objective and unbiased political coverage. I know some of you were taken off guard by Jeff's commentary, especially his thoughts on Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Rest assured, Anonymous Jeff has been relegated back to the comments where you can always find him sparking debate.

In the mean time, I'm ready to post some closing thoughts on the DNC and to get geared up for the RNC. These are certainly exciting days for American politics.

How Much Is Your Obama Tax Cut?

Guest Blogger: Jeff Porter, Obama Supporter

Here is a useful calculator for determining how much your tax cut would be under the Obama tax plan. All numbers are from the Tax Policy Center.

A Historic Day For Motherhood

Guest Blogger: Jeff Porter, Obama Supporter

John McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his choice for Vice President. Who is Sarah Palin? In many ways, she's an impressive figure.

Palin, 44, is a first-term governor of Alaska, taking office on December 4, 2006. She is the youngest person and the first woman to hold the office. As governor, she signed two major pieces of legislation -- an overhaul of the state's ethics laws and a competitive process to construct a gas pipeline. Under her leadership, Alaska invested $5 billion in state savings, overhauled education funding, and implemented the Senior Benefits Program that provides support for low-income older Alaskans. She created Alaska’s Petroleum Systems Integrity Office to provide oversight and maintenance of oil and gas equipment, facilities and infrastructure, and the Climate Change Subcabinet to prepare a climate change strategy for Alaska. Alaskans like her. She has an 80-90% approval rating.

Before governor, she was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 6,715, located about an hour's drive north of Anchorage, and served on the Wasilla City Council.

Her personal story is quite interesting. She is an avid fisherwoman and lifetime member of the NRA. She has 5 kids - Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig, a 4-month old with downs syndrome. She won the Miss Wasilla beauty pageant, then finished second in the Miss Alaska pageant. Her husband is Todd Palin, a lifelong Alaskan and four-time champion of the Iron Dog, the world's longest snowmachine race. Governor Palin has a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Idaho. Her religious affiliation is Assemblies of God and she enjoys hunting, fishing, running (she runs marathons) and plays flute.

On the issues, she is anti-abortion rights, pro-gun rights, supports the teaching of creationism in public schools, opposes same-sex-marriage, and has a strong record of ethics reform. She is considered a fiscal conservative and is credited with slashing millions of dollars in state spending. She initially supported the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere", but cancelled the project when some federal funding was lost. She supports responsible drilling in Alaska's ANWR and helped pass a tax increase on oil company profits. She also has expressed skepticism about man-made global warming. Her views on immigration, trade, foreign policy and national security issues are unclear, but I'm sure we'll learn much more in the coming weeks.

One final note of interest. Palin is currently under investigation for potential abuse of power related to the firing of the state's former public safety commissioner Walt Monegan. It is alleged that Palin pressured Monegan to fire a state trooper who was going through a messy divorce with Palin's sister. It's hard to imagine McCain selecting Palin without fully vetting this issue, but the investigation will continue.

Overall, Palin is a fascinating choice. McCain's age and health is sure to become a bigger issue in the campaign with Palin on the ticket. She complements McCain's reform/maverick message and should appeal to religious conservatives on the social issues. It remains to be seen if she pulls broader support from women, especially pro-abortion rights women.

Palin is obviously a strong modern woman and not afraid to go up against the "big boys." Democrats should be careful to not underestimate her. This campaign just got a lot more interesting. The media must be in heaven right now.

Friday, August 29

Sarah Palin - A Heartbeat Away From Commander-In-Chief

Guest Blogger: Jeff "Married to my Daughter's Mom" Porter, Obama Supporter

Can someone please explain to me how Obama isn't experienced enough to be President but Sarah Palin is? I guess the inexperienced argument only applies when it's the other guy.

The Obama Speech - In My Opinion

Guest Blogger: Jeff Porter, Obama Supporter

I probably can't add much more to what already has been said about Obama's acceptance speech last night. As an Obama supporter, I thought it was very effective, even by Obama standards. I was happy to see him put more substance in the speech instead of relying solely on soaring rhetoric, although there was plenty of that, too. I also thought his pokes at McCain were well-executed and appropriately tough but civil. Obama must be one of the most gifted public speakers to ever run for President. His speaking ability alone would be a refreshing change after the last 8 years of Bush's painfully fragmented and often butchered speaking style.

I'm sure those of you who are not inclined to vote for a Democrat will find plenty of things to not like about Obama and the speech. That's fine. At the end of the day, the speech really wasn't about trying to get your support. It was more about reaching out to disaffected Democrats (especially Hillary supporters), Independents and Republicans who are at the end of their rope with the current Administration and want to believe again in the goodness of their government and, as Obama said, the promise of America. In that respect, I think Obama's speech probably accomplished a lot.

It will be interesting to see how the Republicans respond at their convention. This might be one of those times when it's not good to go last. The only sure thing is that, no matter who wins in November (Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin), history will be made.

Thursday, August 28

Who Is Barney Smith?

Guest Blogger: Jeff Porter, Obama Supporter

If you only watched network coverage of the Democratic National Convention last night, you probably didn't see one of my favorite parts of the stadium extravaganza. The least celebrated speakers of the evening were ordinary citizens explaining why they support Obama. They were great! This group of plain-spoken Americans made the case for Obama far better than most of the professional politicians.

One of my favorites was Barney Smith from Marion, Indiana. If it's possible to look like a Barney Smith, this is the guy. A lifelong Republican, Barney lost his job at the RCA plant after 31 years of service when his job was shipped overseas. He's now an Obama supporter. My favorite line from Barney: "We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney." Where did they find these people?

Historic Perspective

Guest Blogger: Jeff Porter, Obama Supporter

It is with a heavy heart that I must report a terrible tragedy. While vacationing with her family, Natalie became ill with Dead Zone Syndrome. If you are not familiar with Dead Zone Syndrome, it is a painful condition caused by prolonged periods of no Internet access. Please keep her in your prayers. Being the dedicated blogger that she is, Natalie asked me to guest blog for her. I don't know where she got the idea that I have political opinions, but I'll give it my best shot.

As the Democratic National Convention unfolds, it's sometimes hard to see past the made-for-TV drama that political conventions have become in the age of the 24-hour news cycle. Long gone are the days when conventions actually meant something. Today, it's more about political theater (and lobbyist parties) than the nitty-gritty of selecting a Presidential candidate. However, if we look beyond all of the glam, glitter and mind-numbing speeches, the historic nature of Barack Obama's nomination is really remarkable and something to ponder for a moment.

Less than 50 years ago, it was legal and not unusual for a black person to be told they couldn't sit at the lunch counter like everyone else, they had to give up their seat on the bus to a white person, they had to sit in the balcony at the movies, they were not welcomed in whites-only hotels, restaurants and neighborhoods and were forbidden from using whites-only water fountains. For generation upon generation, black Americans were told they were less than human and were often brutalized, denigrated and even killed for trying to maintain their human dignity. All of this, less than 50 years ago.

Today, a black man is the Democratic Party's candidate for President of the United States. Think about that. No matter what your politics, this is a good day for America.

Saturday, August 23

Obama Chooses Sen. Joe Biden as Running Mate

In a text message and e-mail to supporters early this morning, Sen. Obama announced Sen. Joe Biden as his choice for vice presidential running mate.

Time reports that, "The six-term Senator from Delaware is strongest in areas where the freshman from Illinois is weakest. Biden's tenure in the Senate, his foreign policy expertise, his religion, and his suburban middle-class background, all fill gaps in Obama's own presidential profile."

Biden will appear for the first time with Obama at a rally in Springfield, IL where Obama first started his campaign 19 months ago. They will then tour through swing states on their way to the DNC convention where they will accept their party's nomination on Thursday.

Obama Chooses Biden as Running Mate, NY Times

Behind Obama's Bet on Biden, Time

Blowhard Could be Just What Obama Needs, NY Post

Friday, August 22

Democratic National Convention Starts Monday

If you've got bags under your eyes from watching around the clock coverage of the Olympics, I'm afraid you may have to forgo sleep for a little longer. The Democratic National Convention begins Monday in Denver and the coverage each evening is sure to provide a star-studded spectacle that will feature prominent Democratic leaders and up and coming voices.

Here are just a few of the scheduled speakers:
  • Monday August 25th's headline prime-time speaker will be Michelle Obama.
  • Senator Hillary Clinton will be the headline prime-time speaker on Tuesday August 26th.
  • The headline prime-time speaker on Wednesday August 27th will be Barack Obama's Vice Presidential nominee.
  • On Thursday, August 28th, the DNCC will throw open the doors of the Convention and move to INVESCO Field at Mile High so that more Americans can take part in the fourth night of the Convention as Barack Obama accepts the Democratic nomination.
  • Other speakers will include Bill Clinton, Maya Angelou, Al Sharpton, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, Teresa Heinz Kerry, Jesse Jackson, Sen. Harry Reid, Elizabeth Edwards, Madeleine Albright, Sen. Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Richardson, Sen. Edward Kennedy and many, many more state Representatives, Senators and party leaders.
Consult your local listing for the exact times and stations where you can catch all the action.

Tuesday, August 19

Veep Week

Speculation is heating up that we could have a vice president annoucement from Sen. Obama as soon as this Wednesday. three front runners are Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

Sen. McCain has announced that he will name his running mate on August 29---his 72nd birthday. His choices are a little less obvious. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge are possibilities. Another interesting choice could be Sen. Joe Lieberman from Connecticut.

Obama Ready to Announce Running Mate this Week, NYT

Veep Week Speculation Hits Fever Pitch, Washington Post

McCain to Name VP on August 29, Politico

Monday, August 18

Back to Business

It's been over a week since my last post and apparently I took an unscheduled blogging break. With the start of school and the end of summer looming, I've been hanging at the pool, buying school supplies and trying to get all my ducks in a row for the fall.

I'm sure many of you have been doing the same.

But some of the most exciting days of politics are quickly approaching so it's time we pull ourselves out of the sun and get ready for the conventions, announcement of both parties' vice president nominees, and the final push to November.

Are you with me?

Thursday, August 7

The Final Word

The love just keeps pouring in here at P4M regarding the Obama rant I posted some time ago. As much as I'd love to continue repeating myself over and over in the comments, I thought I'd just post a final comment here so we can all move on to other equally explosive topics.

For the last 8 months I have provided balanced and non-partisan coverage of the election on this blog. My desire is to provide a place where people can become knowledgeable about politics and challenged to think so they can make informed voting decisions. Over these months, many of you have thanked me for providing a place where you don't have to wade through the spin to learn the clear facts about the candidates and their campaigns.

I always go out of my way to make sure the candidates are portrayed fairly and accurately. Even though I try to have multiple sources confirm facts, occasionally I get a fact wrong or misspell a word. Many thanks to those of you who set me straight.

But I think my track record has been pretty clean. In fact, much better than most of the media who love to print stories while the facts are still unfolding or quote sources who are not reliable, or take quotes out of context.

But here at P4M, we all seemed to be a great, big bi-partisan family who was very happy. Well, until last week when I posted (I admit) a rant that was clearly labeled an opinion piece. Apparently, I am not allowed to express an opinion on my blog because now I will be incapable of ever providing another believable, non-partisan word.

I find that logic interesting since one of the big stories this year has been how Sen. Obama has the media eating out of his hand. This was made perfectly clear not in their treatment of Sen. McCain, but of Sen. Clinton. For months, Sen. Clinton had to endure the media fawning over Obama and throwing him softball questions during debates. As funny as the SNL skits were about this subject, they weren't too far from the truth.

So I guess some of you are saying that it's okay for the "non-partisan" media to give your candidate preferential treatment but not okay for this "non-partisan" blogger to question some campaign choices he made.

Final Word? I still stand by this blog and its intent to not "endorse candidates, parties or ideology." Not one time in that post did I endorse a candidate or party or ideology. I merely stated (with an admitted edge) why I thought Sen. Obama had used poor judgment in planning that trip.

I'd also like to believe that you are all smart, thinking women (and men) who don't judge a person's entire party affiliation and voting record on one written piece. Face it. After 8 months, you don't know if I have blond hair, green eyes, 4 kids, or a dog. You don't know if I drive a Hummer, own a business or if I'm an African-American woman. And I bet you can't tell if I believe in global warming, tax cuts or school vouchers.

So what makes you think you know who I'm going to vote for in November?

But what if I told you I was voting for Obama---would that suddenly change your mind about my ability to provide posts rooted in fact? Would all be forgiven with you Obama supporters and now I'd find myself on the outs with the McCain supporters?

I'd like to believe you don't care who I'm going to vote for and you just want to continue to read the same non-partisan posts I've been doing for 8 months.

Will I do more opinion pieces? Well, I still owe the Obama people a McCain rant...and it's coming.

After that? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out.

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