accountabilitybloke (old blog)

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Tid Bits….

Some tidbits as I continue to make my move from PC to Mac….

-In the midst of reading two recent books on US post-9/11 debacles, Standard Operation Procedure by Gourevitch and Morris (meant to accompany the documentary by that name, but actually quite a bit different in presentation and details) and Janet Mayer’s The Dark Side. Looking to use one or both in class this fall, and so far they exceed expectations as solid works. Thus far one conclusion and prediction: at some point after we have pulled out of Iraq and after the tone of US politics changes there are likely to be — and ought to be — criminal prosecutions against some of the top officials of the Bush Administration….

-Nice job by On the Media Folks in their “Dress to Repress” segment that integrated the popular Project Runway show…..

-The Biden choice was obviously a good one for all practical purposes, although I still think Obama would have been better served by a Wesley Clark type. But Biden has the right “personality” as a campaigner — and a pretty nice touch with those he deals with. A year ago, when he was still campaigning for president in New Hampshire, he had to cancel an appearance in my undergraduate class because of a vote on Iraq war funding. His staff person dropped me an email, which was good enough; but he followed with a phone call, leaving a very nice voice mail expressing disappointment that he was not able to make the date. The approach was personal and impressive. No wonder the media loves him!

-Poll results that are the center of much of the punditry rambling of late have been used as a substitute for real news on the campaign. One interesting question is: what is the definition of “likely voters” which seems so central to most of the results. A Slate.com Explainer from 2004 provides an answer.

Back to the operating system transtiion….

August 24th, 2008 Posted by | accountabilitybloke | no comments

Webb or Clark….

Now that Clinton has done what’s expected, we are back to speculating about the VP with a clear slate of options.

That was a very good speech on Saturday, and as the pundits on at least one panel note (we tend to favor MSBC these days; if you are going to have to endure that crap it might as well be moderated well) she has come along way as a speaker and campaigner. One has to think that is due in large part to the opposition she faced — Obama is pretty hard act to go up against if you can’t do the rally speech. (In this case, McCain is in fact too long in the tooth  to catch up….) If campaign speaking and dynamics matter, then she might be the one to go for.

Electoral College wise, however, she really brings nothing much to the table. Even if you approached this election as a traditional battle for the same old swing states (and I think that is not the case here), the fact that she did well against Obama in places like Ohio and West Virginia and Florida does not mean she can deliver them in November against McCain….

With one exception all the Senators and Governors speculated about bring little or nothing complementary to the Obama ticket, and some would be so boring as to threaten to take the steam out of the movement.

The one exception seems to be Senator Jim Webb from Virginia, and my son makes a pretty convincing argument that he is the one. He is certainly able to shake things up with the media (e.g., where are those tattoos that everyone asks about?), and he brings a heck of a resume and personal story to the ticket as well — including a biography as compelling as McCain’s (see Nightingale’s Song). Since I think Obama needs to go for someone to offset his vulnerability in military and national security, I think my son may be right.

But if Webb is not the one, then there is also Wesley Clark who has already tried a run for president (in 2004, with very little success) and comes from the Clinton camp. His low visibility and lack of public persona in recent years means very few are paying attention to him now, but the name will surface along with Webb because of his military credentials (top of his class at West Point, 4-star general) as well as his qualities as intellect (Rhodes Scholar), diplomat and someone who has proven really comfortable with operating in the public sphere (that is, on the media hot seat).

My bet is on either one….

June 7th, 2008 Posted by | accountabilitybloke | no comments