Saturday, October 18, 2008

McPallin' Around 

Atlanta Journal Constitution endores Obama:
Obama is the choice
Sunday, October 19, 2008

The 44th president of the United States will take office in an uncertain and dangerous time for this country. The challenges we face both overseas and here at home are complex and unfamiliar, and the road ahead is likely to be very different from the road we have traveled to get here.

Leading the country in such a time will require someone of intellect, creativity, honesty and passion for those traits that have made America great. That person is U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.


McCain has yet to explain how most of his proposed policies and approaches differ from those of the current president. From deregulation of Wall Street and tax cuts that favor the richest 5 percent of Americans to a more aggressive foreign policy, McCain’s approach now reflects the same Republican orthodoxy that has governed this country since 2000. Time and again, he has been offered chances to explain how his philosophy differs from that of the current president, and he has not been able to do so.


And it’s not just a matter of policies. A third term under another Republican president would inevitably be populated by much the same cast of GOP staffers, executives and bureaucrats that has run Washington for so long and with such disastrous results. McCain’s campaign staff illustrates that problem perfectly because it is populated by many of the same people who ran previous Bush campaigns. They are also still trying to run the same basic Republican playbook that the party has used since 1980.

In fact, the competence of McCain’s campaign staff is itself cause to question the candidate’s executive abilities. To some degree, the rigors of creating and running a campaign organization can be a test of the skills needed to create and run an administration. And even many Republicans acknowledge that the McCain campaign has been poorly organized and erratic, lurching from one crisis to another without the sense of a strong hand at the tiller.

And of course, the most unfortunate evidence of that “strategic incoherence and operational incompetence” was McCain’s selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a person utterly unprepared for the high post in question.


Different challenges require different strengths. Obama has demonstrated a calm, thoughtful leadership style that fits this time and this challenge well. He has laid out a wiser, more measured approach toward foreign policy that elevates diplomacy and negotiation while reserving the use of force if necessary to protect this country and its allies in a dangerous world. He understands that international respect and admiration can’t be forced at gunpoint.

Economically, Obama is better equipped to deal with a rapidly changing global situation, and his policies focus directly on the problems confronting the American working and middle classes. His tax plan, for example, proposes to cut taxes on 95 percent of American households while raising taxes only on households with an income of more than $250,000. That plan may have to be adjusted in light of a harsh new fiscal reality, but it demonstrates where Obama’s instincts and values lead him.

The same is true of his health-care proposal. It requires a comprehensive approach, including financial assistance to help small businesses buy insurance for their employees. It would also require large employers that do not offer health insurance to help their workers with the cost of buying insurance on their own.

Those are new approaches, crafted by a new generation of leaders drawn to Obama by the chance to write their own chapter in the American story. Their time has come. His time has come. Obama is a leader of rare potential, and that’s precisely what the job of our 44th president demands.

You betcha'!


The Great ACORN Scare of 2008

Seattle Post Intelligencer:
Canvassers, not ACORN, at fault

Last year, a top elections official implicated the community group ACORN in what he called "the worst case of voter-registration fraud in the history of the state of Washington."

Referring to similar shenanigans by ACORN this year in other states, Republican John McCain said in Wednesday's presidential campaign debate that the group is "on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history ... maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." McCain sought to tie his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, to ACORN.

But however deplorable the behavior of ACORN workers in submitting phony registrations for the likes of cartoon characters and sports stars, it seems unlikely that the group's misdeeds will affect many votes in November.

In issuing his dire warning in the debate, McCain apparently conflated voter-registration fraud with voter fraud. Voter-registration fraud -- at least, of the type ACORN workers committed in Seattle last year and allegedly engaged in elsewhere this year -- is annoying, potentially costly to taxpayers and certainly illegal, but not, by itself, a serious threat to democratic foundations.

Voter fraud, on the other hand, can change the outcome of elections.

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, a Republican, said last year that the ACORN case in Seattle had nothing to do with manipulating outcomes and everything to do with the workers' efforts to keep their $8-an-hour jobs. If anyone was defrauded, it was ACORN, an acronym for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

"The defendants ... cheated their employers to get paid for work they did not actually perform," Satterberg said. "The defendants simply realized that making up names was easier than actually canvassing the streets."

In the Seattle case, temporary workers hired by ACORN for a voter registration drive gathered at the downtown Seattle library to fill out bogus registration forms.

They copied names from newspaper stories -- such as those of actress Katie Holmes, New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera and New York Times columnist Frank Rich -- pulled them from baby-name books and telephone directories or just made them up. They wrote in the addresses of homeless shelters for a majority of the 1,762 phony registrations they turned in to elections officials.

But that's as far as it went.


In the case of the fraudulent ACORN registrations, they were cancelled last year as a result of the criminal investigation, which was triggered when elections workers noticed similarities in handwriting for many signatures on the registration forms. No votes were cast based on those registrations.


Proven cases of voter fraud are rare.

Another type of elections fraud involves crimes committed by elections workers, such as creating bogus registrations and then filling out and counting ballots under those entries. McCain has not suggested that might occur in November


ACORN -- a national organization that not only conducts voter registration drives but also advocates on behalf of the poor and working class on housing, credit and education issues --


Obama represented ACORN as an attorney, along with the U.S. Justice Department, in a successful 1995 lawsuit against the state of Illinois that made it easier for people to register at driver's license offices. He has disavowed any connection to ACORN's current voter-registration effort.

Oh, yepper. If I weres a fresh Young College Republican political major or majorette scrubby-dub go-getter just lookin' fer a summer job makin' that 8 dollars per hour takin' a load off at the local cultural marxist air conditioned lie-berry while fillin' out voter registration forms with that liberal anti-murican traitor Frank Rich guys name on em' (it was just a joke!) by jigglin' Jeebis and Jeremiah, I'd be there too. You betcha'. Beats cleanin' hair outta' clogged drains and stuff all summer for $5.25 per hour with some Joe Plumber dood. Doggoneit.

update Help wanted, $12 per hour:
Dozens of newly minted Republican voters say they were duped into joining the party by a GOP contractor with a trail of fraud complaints stretching across the country.

Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed.


It is a bait-and-switch scheme familiar to election experts. The firm hired by the California Republican Party -- a small company called Young Political Majors, or YPM, which operates in several states -- has been accused of using the tactic across the country.


The firm, which a Republican Party spokesman said is paid $7 to $12 for each registration it secures, has denied any wrongdoing and says it has never been charged with a crime. ~ [LA Times, via Hullabaloo]


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