Tag Archives: Palin

Don’t Take What You See Face Value

Map of early voting states
Map of early voting states

 

In the final weekend before the election, presidential candidates, vice-presidential candidates, politicians, celebrities and others on the campaign trail doing everything they can to make their respective campaign successful.  After a number of states opened polls early for early voting, many are closing Sunday and Monday in lieu of Tuesday’s Election Day. 

Over 30 states allow their voters to vote early.  In a few of them you need an excuse to vote early, but in most early voting at polls has seen record numbers.  Over 20 million people have cast their vote before election day.  And we’ve also seen widely reported that most of those cast have been democratic, but don’t get too excited.  While a large share of those cast were by democrats, the voters are only registered democrats, but are still free to vote which ever way they want.  In many cases that wouldn’t be a problem, we can all assume that registered democrats will vote for the democratic candidate and registered republicans will vote for the republican candidate, but assumption can be the base of many mistakes.

As we all know this is quite the historic election that divides the population as any election, but this one has to potential to polarize the American public like none before.  Primarily because of what has been represented from the two campaigns.  Many democratic voters are not voting for Barack Obama for various reasons, still bitter from Hillary loss, don’t feel comfortable with him, or just do not want to vote for an African-American.  That’s similar to republican voters do not want to vote for McCain because they feel he doesn’t represent the party fully, no confidence in his VP candidate, or actually feel he isn’t the best candidate.

And as an added bonus some thought has to be put on the “Southern Democrat” population.  Close to a third of early voting states are southern states.  As many of us know, several years ago the republican party were liberal and the democratic party were more conservative.  With Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal administration came an actual new deal in American political structure.  After the impact his administration had on American politics, the party values essentially switched making republicans more conservative and democrats more liberal as we see it today.  While many politicians since the start of the 1960s began to switch parties to align more with their values, many democratic voters in the south did not get that memo.  That’s why you’d see civil rights leaders in the republican party in the south because they were in direct contrast to Southern Democrats who opposed the civil rights movement.  And that’s why to this day many old school southern democrats, while still registered as democrats, vote conservative and for republican candidates.

Not for nothin’, but these are just two of the reasons why we can be misled by polls.  Unless you see an actual number of how many people are voting for which candidate, we’re not going to know officially who’s in the lead.  No matter how much you think or are told that the Obama campaign is ahead, no pundit, analyst, or strategist has a crystal ball, nor can they see the future. 

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The President That Never Was

Josiah Bartlett at the top of the list?
Josiah Bartlett at the top of the list?

Which fictional president from your favorite movie or television show would you vote for?  We’re about a week left until the nation chooses either a African-American as president or a female as vice-president for the first time in history.  That’s something we’re actually accustomed to seeing on screen.  So in honor of our historic moment, here’s a nice tongue and cheek way of looking at the so called “leader of the free world.”  Who is your favorite?

Several actors, some to include some of the best actors (and actresses) have graced performances of playing the President of the United States.  Dozens of movies have had a part of a fictional president nearly since the start of the film era.  Many times directors, producers, etc look to cast the best actor to play president, specifically when its in a lead role.  But many other times they look to cast someone who would be able to look presidential and fill the mold.  To decide which one of them did the best job, that might depend on the type of genre you pick. 

Presidents in a comedic role are always fun.  Their easy to like primarily because the movie they’re portrayed in are funny and light-hearted.  President James Dale (Jack Nicholson) from Mars Attacks and President Harris (Leslie Nielsen) in the Scary Movie series had great roles in their movies.  But as for the funniest fictional president, just a notch above Lloyd Bridges’ Tug Benson in Hot Shots! Part Deux I’m going to have to go with President Mays Gilliam (Chris Rock) in Head of State.  It’s a movie written specifically for Rock as president meant to be funny, which all adds up to the top of the heap.

The action-packed presidency role hands down has to go with President James Marshall from Air Force One.  Bill Pullman did a good job as well as the alien fighting Thomas Whitmore in Independence Day, but there’s something about a president that takes fighting terrorist in his own hands, literally.

There’s a hail of presidents that have been in dramatic roles.  One of my personal favorites is President William Mitchell from Dave.  There’s also John Travolta of Primary Colors, Ronny Cox in both Murder at 1600 and Captain America, Mark Harmon in Chasing Liberty, William Hurt in Vantage Point, and Billy Bob Thorton in Love Actually.  Other actors include Sam Waterson, Jeff Bridges, Gene Hackman, and many others make it hard to pick just one.  Generally considered to be at the top of the list by many are President Andrew Shephard (Michael Douglas) from The American President and the West Wing‘s Josiah Bartlett (Martin Sheen).  Douglas had an excellent performance, but some say he took advantage of a good script.  Meanwhile Josiah Bartlett, made famous by seven years on television, was extremely popular with the public being fair, balanced, and well liked.  Hard to find fault. 

Maybe President Palmer?
Maybe President Palmer?

On a side note, since this is a historic election we have on our hands, lets take a look at which presidents have already set their own historic president.  A number of people have played either an African-American president or a female president, one of those options we could be looking at soon.  Gina Davis’ Mackenzie Allen from Commander in Chief  was a big hit among many in the television realm with ABC, but Fox on the other hand has seemingly been making it a point to feature female presidents, and two of their hit shows Prison Break and 24 are both seeing females in the highest position in the country.  But speaking of Fox, they may have the best candidate of any genre, race, or gender.  Black presidents are not unheard of, we’ve been seeing them for years in fictional work with people like James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman, and even Sammy Davis Jr, but one black president stands above them all.  President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) from 24 has created an excitement among many fans and followers.  There been a few articles making comparisons between him and perhaps our very own first African-American president Barack Obama.  But the widely popular President Palmer is still being told how much he was loved and how he should run for president himself.

Not for nothin’, but there is one actor that stands out above all others, simply because he’s played the presidential role several times throughout his career.  Whether coincidental or not, James Cromwell has been cast in the role five different times, more than anyone else.  Even if its hard to believe he could be the best in that position, someone must have thought differently.  That doesn’t mean he’ll get my vote, but the filmmakers who have voted, already voted him in.

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Now Those Are Fighting Words

Inciting McCain crowds heat up
Inciting McCain crowds heat up

This election season of 2008 between Senator John McCain and rival Senator Barack Obama is not getting easier for either candidate, nor anyone else involved.  We’ve seen these two campaigns reach different levels that no other campaign has reached before, and now they are diving further into uncharted territory.

Recent comments that have been made on behalf of several people over the last couple of days have turned up the heat.  It can be attributed to the fact that as the days started to number for the McCain campaign and he was still down in the polls, he turned to a more aggressive strategy.  This was questionable to many, but led to personal attacks, malicious characterizations, accusations and insults.  Recently John McCain and his runningmate Sarah Palin have been making public appearances campaigning together.  It’s traditional that political rallies around this time of year tend to get rather rambunctious, so as we have seen the aggressiveness of the McCain campaign increased, so have the feelings from spectators.

The anti-Obama taunts and jeers have been getting louder and louder.  Last week Governor Palin accused Obama of “palling around with terrorists,” and McCain has also been trying to bring more light on Obama’s relationship with William Ayers.  Apparently the crowd is sucking up every minute of it.  In some places cheers are being replaced with rage, and we’ve heard shouts of “traitor,” “terrorist,” “treason,” “liar,” “Obama’s an Arab,” “off with his head,” and even “kill him,” by one participant.

The rhetoric has even made the party’s candidate McCain make statements to try and settle down the crowds, telling people to be respectful.  But the comments by McCain weren’t good enough for some, such as Representative John Lewis, who condemned the tone of the McCain rallies.  Lewis, an active member of our nation’s civil rights movement said, “I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign.  What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American History,” referring to the civil rights movement.  He continued, “Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.”  There was further mention of a comparison to the divisive Governor George Wallace.

Naturally Senator McCain fired back in opposition and is now wanting Barack Obama to “immediately and personally repudiate these outrageous and devisive comments,” he said in a statement Saturday afternoon.  Not doing exactly that, the Obama Campaign released a statement in return saying, “Senator Obama does not believe John McCain or his policy criticism is in any way comparable to George Wallace or his segregationist policies.  But John Lewis was right to condemn some of the hateful rhetoric that John McCain himself personally rebuked just last night, as well as the baseless and profoundly irresponsible charges from his own runningmate that the Democratic nominee for President of the United States “pals around with terrorists.”

Not for nothin’, but this race is becoming a ruthless struggle by some and a desparate gamble by others.  It’s inciting other people to become involved where they would have never imagined themselves.  This is when we see simple fans become excessive fanatics.

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To see Rep. John Lewis’ comments, click here.

Has McCain’s Fate Been Sealed?

Obama and McCain race for the White House
Obama and McCain race for the White House

The second of three presidential debates is coming up Tuesday evening and it’s becoming quite apparent that John McCain needs to make a dent to regain some ground before the next four weeks are up.  If you are paying attention to polls, Barack Obama is leading in national polls as well as individual state electoral polls. 

While most states are essentially decided, whether it be for republican or democrats, others remain a toss up.  For example, states like California, Illinois, and most of  New England are traditionally democratic strongholds.  But on the other side, states such as Texas, Arizona and many southern states normally vote republican.  If you look at the last election, if everything remained the same then McCain would have to win all the states that George Bush won and all the states that are leaning republican.  As this election season moves along, some of those states are becoming more of a toss up.  Some of the states Bush won are now up for grabs. 

Florida, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, and the list goes on.  Those states were won by republicans in the last election, but if they are not held by that party this time around we’re likely to have Barack Obama as the next president.  And it’s not like he’ll have to win a good lot of those states to win. He’ll probably only have to win only one of them to turn the tide his way.

As the window of the campaign closes, we’ll begin to see the presidential and vice-presidential candidates do everything they can do convince everyone they possibly can that their brand of leadership is the brand of choice.  Lately we’ve had McCain and Palin more on the offensive attack and bringing up questions of judgement, past, relationships, and even questions on personality.  We haven’t seen the Obama campaign in such a mode, but more on the defensive and relying on the fact that the polls speak for themselves.

Not for nothin’, but this debate is crucial for the McCain campaign.  If the best they can do is tie the previous two, then it shows that he has gained no ground and in fact has been losing.  So it’s apparent that if loses the debate, he loses votes; if he ties, he loses votes.  He has to win this one without a doubt or else things will not get any better for his campaign.  And if they don’t, he will lose this election.

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The Power of the Poll

Barack Obama takes the lead
Barack Obama takes the lead

In recent polls, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has retaken the lead over his Republican opponent John McCain.  Every since Obama and McCain have been declared the presumptive nominees for their respective parties, a projected lead has been tossed around to either side.  And of course that’s dependent on which poll you’re reading at the time.  Once you include the selection of the vice-presidential candidates and the party conventions, the lead changes have become more rapid.

CNN’s latest polls have Obama with a one-point lead, while a CBS/New York Times poll has Obama by a larger margin.  Just a couple of weeks ago, after the Democratic Convention, McCain announced his running mate Sarah Palin and an immediate surge happened with his campaign.  Palin, who now being called by some to be more popular than either of the candidates, has indeed created a spark.  But many thought that spark wouldn’t carry, to even have the likes of Republican strategist Karl Rove say the Palin buzz would fade.  So after much other controversy from lipstick on a pig, to troopergate, to earmarks, the post vice-presidential and convention time is the meat of how we’re able to tell what we’re going to get from our two candidates.  The polls have reflected that feeling and change, but how well can we depend on polls?

Well if simply looking at the history of accuracy of what polls normally represent, they should suggest that it’s a good predictor of an outcome.  Polls, such as Gallop or Harris for example, take a scientific and specific selection of people, whereas if you multiplied it you’d essentially get a representation of every demographic of America.  So it’s easy to say that whatever polls show would most likely be correct, but the process is not full-proof.  A couple of the more respected polls totally got it wrong with the election between Thomas Dewey and Harry Truman.  Not only that, but you also have to account for any types of sampling error. 

But to what affect can all of this have on the public.  There is evidence to suggest that polls have a certain influence on people.  When people see the intentions or how the voting will likely go down, they can have an affect of people voting the way the majority will vote, or even create sympathy votes for that matter.  Also, there is another group of people who may feel that because their chosen candidate seems to be a lock, then they don’t have to vote.  But that might not turn out how they’d want it either.

Not for nothin’, but in this hotly contested race the winner will likely be declared in the fashion of the election back in 2000 where George Bush triumphed over Al Gore.  In the current polls over the last couple of months, neither candidate has had a significant lead, no more that five percent in most cases.  But that five percent is all but cancelled out when you factor in the margin of error.  Each campaign has their own base of followers and excitement.  It looks as if an equal amount of our country wants either one to win.  With less than 50 days to go, this election is possibly still at 50-50.