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The Collective
Tuesday, September 9, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Sean Quinn at 538 has rundown on the Road to 270: Alabama.

He concludes that Bama will go red again this cycle.

Shocking, I know, but he actually has some interesting data that are worth a looksee.

Really, the only drama here is the aforementioned AL02 race.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Ballot Access News: Montana Constitution Party Submits Presidential Electors Pledged to Ron Paul and Michael Peroutka

The party informed the Secretary of State that its electors are pledged to Ron Paul for president and Michael Peroutka for vice-president.

According to the post, Paul is aware and does not object, as long he can remain uninvolved in the process.

h/t: 538

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via Foreign Policy:

  • The List: McCain’s 10 Worst Ideas
  • The List: Obama’s 10 Worst Ideas

Which ideas are worse, I will leave up to the reader.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

I have made it clear that I find the selection of Sarah Paling to be questionable from a resume perspective and risky from a political one. Having said that, I have to say that WaPo’s story on Sarah Palin’s per diem payments and travel reimbursements strike me as barely newsworthy, and certainly nothing scandalous: Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home.

In reading the story it is clear that she broke no laws and didn’t even take the maximum allowed amount under state law. It seems to me that if one draws a salary and one also is allowed to draw a per diem under specified circumstances, then the per diem is part of one’s compensation package. And the big “scandal” that she drew per diem while staying at her own home, it should be noted that she didn’t take money for lodgings, but for only expenses.

Even if one wants to attack on the fiscal responsibility angle, one has to give her credit for not maintaining a personal chef and for selling the private jet (even if it ultimately didn’t sell on eBay). Indeed, one suspects that she saved the state more money in those actions than she cost them in per diem.

What this story will do is add to the McCain campaign’s narrative that the press is out to get them.

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Monday, September 8, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: MSNBC Takes Incendiary Hosts From Anchor Seat

MSNBC tried a bold experiment this year by putting two politically incendiary hosts, Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews, in the anchor chair to lead the cable news channel’s coverage of the election.

That experiment appears to be over.

I know why MSNBC tried it, as the name of the game is ratings, and being different sometimes gets ratings. In truth, MSNBC was clearly trying to replicate Fox News’ formula, which is to appeal to a specific ideological block in the viewing audience. However, I think they miscalculated in two ways. First, Fox News came into the mix to target a demographic that was not represented in the coverage of news (and one that was rather self-conscious about its exclusion-a perception that has not gone away, if one notes the current McCain strategy vis-à-vis the media). Second, it is one thing so have hosts who are thought (or known) to have partisan preferences and then again another to have known commentators in charge of anchoring a news event.

One wonders, too, if the loss of Tim Russert didn’t exacerbate the situation, as he lent a certain gravitas to the MSNBC broadcasts that have been missing since his death, and one presumes he asserted significant influence behind the cameras as well. The MSNBC coverage (and I tend to flip among the three cable new providers during events) has seemed to become more childish at times in Russert’s absence, with the well-publicized sniping event between Olbermann and Jor Scaraborough being a prime example.1

What’s especially interesting is that the situation appears to be creating tension between NBC and MSNBC, even though the on-air distinction between the two have been steadily blurring for some time.

Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams, the past and present anchors of “NBC Nightly News,” have told friends and colleagues that they are finding it tougher and tougher to defend the cable arm of the news division, even while they anchored daytime hours of convention coverage on MSNBC and contributed commentary each evening.

If anything, this is an interesting turn of events, given the role that The Media was accorded by the RNC last week and that will be amplified by the McCain campaign going forward.

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  1. If you are unfamiliar, it is mentioned in the article. []
Filed under: Cable News, MSM, US Politics | Comments/Trackbacks (4) | | Show Comments here
Sunday, September 7, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Palin offers first TV interview to ABC News

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin plans to sit down later this week for her first television interview since John McCain chose her as his running mate more than a week ago.

Good deal.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Jake Tapper at ABC’s Political Punch, blogs the comments of McCain campaign manager Rick Davis on Fox News Sunday that I noted in a comment this morning:

So when will she subject herself to questions?

“When we think it’s time and when she feels comfortable doing it,” Davis said, praising a Fox News Channel profile of Palin that ran last night.

Why is she scared of answering questions? Wallace asked.

“She’s not scared to answer questions,” Davis said, “but you know what? We run our campaign not the news media.”

Wallace said inappropriate intrusions into Palin’s family and personal life aside, there are legitimate questions about whether she is prepared to be vice president.

“Sarah Palin will have the opportinity (sic) to speak to the American people,” Davis said. “She will do interviews, but she’ll do them on the terms and conditions” the campaign decides.

I think this plays well with the base, who like the lashing out at the media. However, I maintain that the campaign directly stating that she will do interviews when she is “comfortable” undermines the argument that she is ready to be VP. If she isn’t ready to face the press on day one of the campaign, she is not ready to be president on day one.

Palin’s most quoted line from the convention speech was the one that likened a hockey mom to a pit bull, just with lipstick. Hiding from the press until certain “terms and conditions” can be established is not what one expects from a pit bull.

Palin may yet come out and wow us all and she may yet deftly answer all the questions directed at her. However, at this point, all we can do is guess.

And, to those who find the Politico distasteful, these are the words of the McCain campaign itself. I saw Davis say these words myself, and I would post the FNS transcript, but it hasn’t been posted yet.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: US rivals to make 9/11 appearance

The US presidential rivals, Barack Obama and John McCain have said they will appear together on the anniversary of the 11 September 2024 attacks.

The senators said they would take part in the commemorations in New York - the site of two of the attacks.

The two candidates said they would put aside politics to honour the memory of the nearly 3,000 people who died.

Good for them.

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Feds Taking Over Freddie and Fannie
By Dr. Steven Taylor

The “breaking news” alerts are starting to pour in, and has its “Breaking News” banner up, but no story at the moment.

Update: Here’s the story from CNN: Feds unveil rescue plan for Fannie, Freddie

Federal officials unveiled an extraordinary takeover on Sunday of troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, signaling the most dramatic move to date aimed at shoring up the nation’s housing market.

The plan, which was delivered by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and James Lockhart, director of the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise, places the twin mortgage buyers into “conservatorship” to be overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Under conservatorship, the government would temporarily run Fannie and Freddie until they are on stronger footing.

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Filed under: The Economy, US Politics | Comments/Trackbacks (1) | | Show Comments here
Saturday, September 6, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Politico: Sarah Palin has yet to meet the press

When political junkies flip through television stations on Sunday morning, they’ll find policy-driven interviews with three of the four candidates on the presidential tickets — John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. They won’t, though, see Sarah Palin.

Less than two months before voters hit the polls, Palin has yet to sit down for or even schedule an issues-oriented interview with any newspaper, magazine or television network.

Strategically, this is probably a good idea, as keeping her away from reporters diminished the chances of an embarrassing mistake. However, what message is being sent by the McCain campaign by keeping Palin away from the press? If she is supposed to be the person who could be the president in the not too distant future and therefore ready to face off with foreign leaders, yet she can’t talk Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press? Is she not even ready to venture out to the safe environs of Fox News? This is truly remarkable.

It also lends credence to the notion that the selection was a late pick and a roll of the dice. They don’t really know what they are going to get once she starts talking and answering questions in an unscripted environment.

In fact, the McCain campaign has only allowed her access to one media outlet since being named to the ticket: People magazine.

Larry Hackett, managing editor of People, said the McCain campaign offered the magazine an opportunity to photograph McCain and “Nominee TK” at the Aug. 29 event in Dayton.

In addition to a brief Q&A with both Republicans (as well as their spouses and McCain’s daughter Meghan) and an accompanying article that was mostly based on months-old reporting, the magazine also ran a lifestyle feature on Palin’s life as a working mother running a statehouse and her own house.

Well, that will no doubt help us learn more about someone seeking high office.

I know that I have been critical of the selection, and so many may dismiss my criticism here as nothing but piling on. But seriously: doesn’t it say something about the quality of the pick that we, the public, are only allowed to see her in a controlled environment to this point? It isn’t even clear as to how long it will be before she emerges to face the press. Surely if she is the future of the party she should be ready to deal with reporters?

Indeed, if McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace is anything to go by, it would seem that the campaign holds that notion in contempt:

Granted, the new strategy is to paint the media as the enemy, but this is going beyond that. And while a lot of people may hold the media in contempt, the bottom line is that in a democracy the mass media are the main way by which we, the voters, gain information about candidates and government. To withhold Palin from the press isn’t just withholding her from the Liberal MediaTM, it is withholding her from the voters.

Along these same lines, ABC’s Jake Tapper blogged yesterday: Palin Media Avoidance Watch, Day Seven

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was named to the Republican ticket one week ago, and she has yet to answer questions from reporters.

Make it day eight (unless one counts this).

Update: I was watching Fox New Watch this evening and Cal Thomas further confirmed that the campaign is not allowing access to Palin, as her tried to get an interview, and no go. And Thomas is hardly hostile to the McCain campaign.

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