Obamamania and the bursting bubble

In my previous diary, I examined two questions:

(1)    Did Rev. Wright's YouTube sermons damage Sen. Obama, and did his "A more perfect union" speech stop/reverse that damage ?
(2)    What is the explanation for the Hillary hatred ?

I tried to show that the damage from Rev. Wright's YouTube sermon is ongoing, and that Hillary hatred (or at least portions of it) is somewhat illogical.
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/25/1749 44/913

In this diary, I will examine two other question: :
(1)    What is the explanation behind Sen. Obama's meteoric rise in the polls ?
(2)    What is the explanation for the ongoing damage to Sen. Obama inspite of the well received speech he delivered. ?

First, a preamble:  I am not supporting Sen. Obama in this race.  Initially, I was supporting Sen. Biden; when it became apparent that he was not going to win, I shifted my support to Sen. Clinton.  However, I do think that Sen. Obama has run a BRILLIANT campaign.  He has pushed all the right buttons, and said the right things to get to where he is.  So, take my analysis with that disclosure warning.

Next, some other working assumptions:  
(1)    People are foolish
(and will make foolish decisions).   Yes, I know that sounds controversial (did I hear anyone say "elisist").  Allow me to explain:  suppose you are faced with a decision wherein you have incomplete information.  You have to choose between two options, and you have mixed feelings about both.  Suppose you are "leaning" towards Option A (or Candidate A), but you are 60:40.  If, at this point, you are told that your neighbor (or friend, or coworker, or someone you know from a blog, or an editorial writer..anyone else, really) has also chosen Option A, then you are that much more likely to discount your own 40% negative feelings about Option A.  If OTOH, your friend chooses Option B, you are somewhat likely to discount your own 60% positive feelings about Option A, and go with Option B.  If you extend this process to a whole lot of people who get influenced by other people's decisions, then pretty soon you have a lot of people going with Option A (or Option B, depending on which way the dam breaks), inspite of the mixed feelings they all have for Option A (or Option B). This is the classic mode of bubble formation in every market (housing, stocks, options, and even politics).  This is normally a random process ~ sometime Option A gets runup to bubble like levels, and sometime Option B gets runup to bubble like levels. And so what do you do if you are a "marketing officer" that wants Option A to be runup to bubble like levels.  The answer is quite simple, really: you suppress any news of anyone ever choosing Option B from reaching anyone who is undecided between Option A and Option B.
(2)     People are more foolish
  (and will make more foolish decisions)  when they are emotional  This is an obvious one.  The previous point belabors the fact that people do not always make "rational" decisions.  Here, I am merely pointing out that the more emotional we are, the less rational we become in decision making.  You might have wondered why Republicans push "hot-button" issues like gay-marriage, or right to life, or patriotism etc... this is why !  If you can invoke "negative emotions" (fear, anger, loathing, despair etc.) in someone, you are that much more likely to have him make irrational decisions.  The same goes for "positive emotions" (hope, aspirations, victory, etc.).  In general, successful Democratic campaigns have pushed positive emotions, and successful Republican campaigns have pushed negative ones.  There have been quite a few exceptions, such as Reagan's morning in America, and JFK's missile gap; and there have been instances where the same campaign has invoked both positive and negative emotions (George Bush with Willie Horton, and a thousand points of light).
(3)    By combining points (1) and (2), a clever tactician can create a bubble.
 You do not think this can ever happen, eh ?  I can assure you that it happens all the time.  Successful companies have marketing department who do nothing but combine points (1) and (2).   Think Apple, Steve Jobs, the IPod and the IPhone... think of the "emotional" aspects of owning the IPhone (which I do not), and how much hoopla is generated around each product launched by Apple.  How many of you had to get an IPhone because your friend had one ?  You drive an emotional response in people by pushing the appropriate emotional buttons ~ this is point (2).  And you drive the decision making process from point (1) (the Option A vs Option B choice) to one that favors your company (or candidate) by controlling the dialogue between Person A and Person B ~ by controlling the blogs, and the mainstream press..

Now, let us examine Sen. Obama's campaign.  You definitely had all the emotional triggers being pushed.  In late 2007, he was the candidate of hope, and of the future vs the past, and of transcending all kinds of divisions that we yearned to transcend.  More recently, he has also become a symbol of "black pride", while attempting to remain the candidate of transcending divisions. (Ever wondered why "the MLK/LBJ flap was an insult to all black people"?)  And they also had substantial control over the Person A to Person B dialogue ~ most of the "progressive blogs" are supporting Sen. Obama.  Like I said, it was (and is) a brilliant campaign.  Sen. Clinton, by comparison has run a wonkish (read: dull, inispiring, and devoid of any emotion) campaign, and she quickly ceded the progressive blogs to Sen. Obama: Sen. Clinton's campaign has been the opposite of brilliant, although to her credit, she has rectified most of those mistakes recently.  

I knew that Sen. Obama was forming a bubble from my analysis of the Favorable-Unfavorable numbers (which I have diaried on before) and from anecdotal evidence gleaned from this blog, and specially from DailyKos.  It seemed that, during the months of Nov 2007 through Feb 2008, there were quite a few diary entries that stated something like "I just called my Aunt in Kansas, and convinced her to support Obama", or something to that effect.  This bubble was formed with the "transcending divisions" emotion ~ it appealed to people across all kinds of divisions (here, I am using the moniker "transcending divisions" to also include other positive emotions being pushed by the campaign).   You could tell because those were the emotions being pushed by the campaign, and those were the words being used by the bloggers.

Sometimes, a bubble will burst for reasons that do not become apparent until well after the fact.  Othertimes, a bubble bursting event is apparent as soon as it happens.  It appears (see the chart below) that bursting of the "transcending race" bubble approximately corresponds to the Michelle Obama gaffe ("for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country").  Was this a coincidence ?  I do not know.  In any case, the significance of a bubble bursting event is less than most people assume: all that is accomplished by a bubble bursting event is that people are reminded of the original doubts they had about this particular decision.  If those doubts had been assuaged by other means, then the bubble bursting event (Michelle Obama's gaffe, in this case; perhaps) would have been insignificant.  It is not that Sen. Obama suddenly becomes unpatriotic just because his wife is proud of her country for the first time, it is just that those comments remind people of their original doubts about Sen. Obama.

But Sen. Obama's campaign is not stupid by any means ~ they are a brilliant operation.  They know that bubbles will burst, and so they had another one in anticipation.  I call this the "racial pride" bubble.  As Bill Clinton put it, once Sen. Obama got enough white support, his black support went through the roof.  This was done with subtle and not so subtle appeals to black racial pride.  I suspect this is one bubble that will not burst anytime soon (i.e., unless he throws Rev. Wright "under the bus", I suppose).  And with sufficient black support, you can even prolong the original bubble (or reverse the bursting of the original bubble).  This can be accomplished by appealing to what people have already invested in the campaign, and by showing some promise of those concerns being assuaged.  Someone who has been donating to the campaign every paycheck is less likely to abandon the candidate; just like someone who has a lot of equity in a house is less likely to "foreclose.  This, I think, is what happened from March 4 (i.e., the OH/TX primary; followed by the MS and  WY caucus) until March 13 (the Rev. Wright sermons).

As is clear from the chart, the Rev. Wright sermon has caused (and is causing) significant damage to Sen. Obama.   For instance, today, his favorable-unfavorable numbers are identical to Sen. Clintons ~ this is the first time this has happened since Nov 2007. He has been unable to stop this damage with his well-received speech.  Once again, as with other bubble bursting events, the damage caused by the YouTube sermons is not that people are suddenly questioning Sen. Obama's patriotism (well, outside of the chattering classes, that is), but that the bubble bursting event brings forth original doubts about Sen. Obama that had been put aside during the bubble formation.   Is he an angry black man ?  Is he going to be the first President who happens to be black, or the first black President ? etc. Given that, it is easy to understand why his well received speech did not work: His numbers are falling not because we need a "conversation on race", but because people have genuine doubts about him which he has not tried to address.

So where does that leave us ?  I do not know the answer to this.  But I can bet you my detached garage (I never bet my house on anything!) that Sen. Obama's campaign is hard at work, trying to figure out how to reverse the current bubble burst, and how to create new bubbles.  They have been brilliant so far, so I would not put it past them.  They are, no doubt, analyzing why the speech did not work; and trying to figure out the best response.

Tags: bubble, campaign, obama (all tags)



Good diary

Very interesting and thoughtful analysis.  Tipped and recc'd!

by aurelius 2008-03-25 09:36PM | 0 recs
A tip jar...

which I am always very slow to create.

But since I am reminded by the famous Roman King Aurelio, I had to create one =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 09:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

You know what's perfect for bursting bubbles?

Heavy sniper fire!

by lockewasright 2008-03-25 09:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Mojo for being funny...even though I disagree with what you are trying to say =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 09:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble


I'll be here all week.  Try the veal.

by lockewasright 2008-03-25 09:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

I don't eat veal...Doctor ordered me to stay away from red meat =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 09:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Yes, but only because it's bad for you.

by lockewasright 2008-03-26 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Uhh, so I'm a hyper-emotional person who voted for Obama out of some sort of marketing scheme?

Yikes. Dude. Seriously, this isn't real research, this is pseudoscientific junk. If I'd posted a pro-Obama version of this, even somewhere like Kos, I'd have been lambasted.

Let me explain something to you. Trying to explain away "Obamamania" won't make it go away; it'll only further serve to divide our party and drive the people who's support, I assume, you're trying to gain. That is why you're here, right? To try and convince everyone Senator Clinton is the right candidate? Not just to be in an echo chamber, right?

This isn't the way to do it.

by ragekage 2008-03-25 09:45PM | 0 recs
I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water
and have never worked anywhere near professional marketing/ad/pr. I could be wrong, maybe you are working in some sort marketing field. I would guess you are not very good at it, if it is the case. What the diarist is describing is classic marketing approach- it gets people in this country all of the time and they are never the wiser. Part of the reason people don't see it is exactly your point- they would be too offended if it were true.
by linc 2008-03-25 09:52PM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

Thank you, I did not even know where to begin...in addressing her comments !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 09:54PM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

I am a single dad working full-time AND going to school full-time, raising my infant daughter ALONE, trying to make ends meet and just barely hanging on. Even more interestingly enough, I do happen to work in-depth with marketing a merchandising for a Fortune 15 company.

Congratulations, though, your post just made you look like a complete ass.

by ragekage 2008-03-25 09:56PM | 0 recs
by linc 2008-03-25 09:58PM | 0 recs
wow, that had to hurt

by kindthoughts 2008-03-26 01:26AM | 0 recs
are you a vindictive person?

just curious.  It seems like you follow me around to poke at me... maybe you do it to everyone.

by linc 2008-03-26 07:11AM | 0 recs
no one

is following you around. Sheesh you are paranoid

I just happen to read the mydd diaries and stories and make comments. This is not a large side, user baewise.

Check out my comments page. I reply to a lot of peoples comments.

by kindthoughts 2008-03-26 08:54AM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

Well, good luck to you and to your infant daughter.  I have 2 myself, but I am not single, and I am not a student...and I do not have to worry about money !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:03PM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

Yeah? I get the feeling your goodwill is real well intended, since you just gave that jerk mojo for his response to me. But at least you both avoided the point I was trying to make.

by ragekage 2008-03-25 10:06PM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

well, I happen to agree with "that jerk" ~ I do not think you know much about marketing etc.

But that does not mean I cannot wish you well with your infant daughter... I know how hard it must be.

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:08PM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

Oh ho, but you're wrong. In my heyday, I ran district and regional wide marketing and merchandising efforts for, as I said, a Fortune 15 company. I still work for them, but in an operational capacity now, as I am in school full-time to get my BSN.

Trying to paint Obama's campaign as an exercise in marketing is a failing premise. If you continue to view it as that, it only works against you- as an Obama supporter, I guess I should be okay with that, but I'm not, because I want us all to be a unified party this fall and get a Democrat in the White House.

by ragekage 2008-03-25 10:14PM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

"they would be too offended if it were true. "

Exactly, they would have to acknowlege that they are suckers being taken in by mere marketing strategies.

I read that the Obama campaign has spent 52,000,000.00 on PR and marketing, and counting. I guess they are buying a country.

by 07rescue 2008-03-26 02:19AM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

where did you read that ? it is an interesting number!!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 02:28AM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

I'll do my best to go find it, might have to wait until after work.

by 07rescue 2008-03-26 05:35AM | 0 recs
Re: I bet you drink bottled and 'filtered' water

Here is the outstanding, "must read" article where I found the amount Obama has spent on marketing, it is from the Black Agenda Report. The article talks at length about the dicey way Obama escapes admitting that he accepts lobbyists' money, $2,650,000.00 in February alone, and $11,246,596.00 at last count. They also go into what Wall Street expects back for this largesse.

http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.p hp?option=com_content&task=view& id=548&Itemid=34

Here is the excerpt where the figure is cited:

Those critical thinkers over at the Black Agenda Report have zeroed in on the making of the Obama bubble:

"The 2008 Obama presidential run may be the most slickly orchestrated marketing machine in memory. That's not a good thing. Marketing is not even distantly related to democracy or civic empowerment. Marketing is about creating emotional, even irrational bonds between your product and your target audience."

And slick it is. According to the Obama campaign's financial filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and aggregated at the Center for Responsive Politics, the Obama campaign has spent over $52 million on media, strategy consultants, image building, marketing research and telemarketing.

The money has gone to firms like GMMB, whose website says its "goal is to change minds and change hearts, win in the court of public opinion and win votes" using "the power of branding - with principles rooted in commercial marketing", and Elevation Ltd., which targets the Hispanic population and has "a combined experience well over 50 years in developing and implementing advertising and marketing solutions for Fortune 500 companies, political candidates, government agencies". Their client list includes the Department of Homeland Security. There's also the Birmingham, Alabama- based Parker Group which promises: "Valid research results are assured given our extensive experience with testing, scripting, skip logic, question rotation and quota control ... In-house list management and maintenance services encompass sophisticated geo-coding, mapping and scrubbing applications." Is it any wonder America's brains are scrambled?

by 07rescue 2008-03-26 06:05AM | 0 recs
I apologize for being so rude
but you were also a bit harsh by call the the diarist's piece junk science. It is not. The 'water' question is an often cited marketing case that specifically exemplifies what this diary is specifically getting at. Most modern viral marketing is based on similar concepts, as are most social marketing campaigns. Good luck with your studies and the family- both are great blessings in life.
by linc 2008-03-25 10:10PM | 0 recs
Re: I apologize for being so rude

mojo for the apology!!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:11PM | 0 recs
Your apology is accepted...

But my point still stands; marketing is not junk science, but trying to apply it to explain Obama's appeal because you don't understand why his support has bounced back is a concept fraught with problems, to say the least.

And if your intent is to try and convince Obama supporters of that, in order to support your candidate in the fall, it will only serve the opposite effect. If you conceded they had a good reason to support Obama, he's a great candidate, but here's why you support Clinton and XYZ is why she's a great candidate for America, you'd force the Obama people to at least consider your argument. They might continue to disagree, but if you conceded there were differences in your views but you wished them well nonetheless, and for a successful general election no matter who won, it would leave most flabbergasted.

You'd have the moral high ground- and you, again, would make them at least go "Huh. That was totally well-reasoned and sincere...", so that at the worst, if their candidate lost, they could think "But those Hillary supporters are good people, I can join in with them no problem."

by ragekage 2008-03-25 10:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

A big part of Obama's success is the combination of a dynamic candidate, viral marketing and the best-run online campaign ever. The online component really can't be overstated, because it has been a huge competitive advantage.

I was watching CNN the other day and they had a panel discussing Obama's online strategy. One person said that Obama was the first to really harness the power of the Web, more so than Dean or others ever did. The panel moderator then said something like, "doesn't that amount to cheating? If he's using the Internet as a tool in a way that nobody has used it before, is that really fair?"

And he was serious.

by jdusek 2008-03-25 10:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

Thank you, I agree with that !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

There is some level of emotional/psychological attachment going on though. Before the campaigns both got mired in these ridiculous distractions, I watched progressives who have screamed for universal health care all their adult lives rationalize Obama's opposition to universal healthcare as the best possible solution. I am convinced that a lot of them did not support Obama because his healthcare plan was better, but rather convinced themselves his plan was better because they supported Obama.

Not one took the rational approach you recommend for Clinton supporters. Not one Obama person (as far as I can recall) actually said anything like "OK, I admit that Obama's health care plan is not as good as Edwards' or Clinton's, but I am still supporting him because of XYZ." Instead, we were treated to up-is-down arguments that very few of the Obama supporters would have made had Obama offerred an actual universal health care plan.

by itsthemedia 2008-03-26 12:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

Or perhaps they realized that a candidate is more than just one plan offered on an important issue.  I know of many Obama supporters still interested in mandates (it's not like either of their goals are different on achieving universal healthcare and this canard is really irritating), but able to accept this flaw in his plan to embrace all the policies that he has put forward and his means of achieving them.  For example on healthcare, Hillary approached this issue in the past by holding closed very selective meetings over a year.  This approach led to suspicion and is partially responsible for the ultimate collapse of her effort.  Obama has called for transparent negotiations on a final healthcare package (he said he wants to broadcast them on C-Span).  This may allow for more public input that would allow for mandates, but even if it does not I like many others believe that an open discussion of the issue is more important than mandates.

by nklein 2008-03-26 12:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

But that's my point. None (or very few) of the Obama people tried to make the process argument you just mentioned, or said that they did not fully support his plan for health care, but still thought he was the best candidate to move the issue, or the best candidate overall. The vast majority of them pivoted to vehemently arguing that health care mandates were obviously a horrid thing, that only an idiot would propose (I'm dramatizing a little, but not a lot).

I like to think I am rational enough to disagree with some of Clinton's positions, personnel choices, etc., while still supporting her overall as the best candidate still in the race. Maybe I am not as emotionally invested because she was not my first choice. But (I am talking trends here, not individuals, so please don't take offense), as a rule I see many more Clinton supporters like me, and many more Obama supporters who will gladly support whatever Barack decides is best.

If someone says he is vague on an issue, 100 replies will point you to the Obama web site, but none of the respondents will appear to have gone there themselves. Positions on issues are just not as important to Obama supporters, maybe for multiple reasons. Your process argument is surely one of them. If you are convinced Obama will set up the right process to address a problem, then his stated position is almost like a place-holder for the process you expect him to implement.

by itsthemedia 2008-03-26 01:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

Some of Obama's support is based on the argument that he will win such a large majority that he will be able to negotiate with the large drug companies, and not be bullied over.

This argument has merit.  If he can win a large majority, then his health care plan is better than Clinton's (because she is going for a 50%+1 majority), even though her plan is better on paper.

This argument swayed a lot of Obama supporters initially.  They don't talk about that anymore, now that it has become apparent that his majority will not be all that big either!!!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 02:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

Except with Obama and Clinton working together, we can eke out that supermajority. Easily.

by ragekage 2008-03-26 08:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

For Sen. Obama to work with Sen. Clinton now (I assume you mean with Sen. Obama as the Presidential nominee) would require a skill set in Sen. Obama that he, frankly, does not possess.

If he did, this race would have been over in late Febuary.

There is not going to be a democratic supermajority.  There may not be a majority of any kind, actually !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

This is where things like a talented cabinet, the DNC, Senator Clinton, et all, come in handy. He doesn't need to posses every single skill necessary to be President to be an effective one, or to win.

Besides, both candidates face this dilemma.

by ragekage 2008-03-26 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

If Sen. Obama is the nominee, then the talented cabinet etc., that you talk about will not help him win a supermajority.  That, he will have to do on his own!!

And the skill set that I was talking about is the one that you need to work with people you do not agree with ~ he talks much of this (sitting down with enemies, etc.), but does not possess any of it.. or at least, he has not displayed any of this so far.

Sen. Clinton, in my opinion, has displayed this skill set in abundance.  And so has John McCain, by the way !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

I've seen no evidence of what you're saying.  I've Obama people defend his policy (even if they did not support).  But I've never seen an Obama supporter who was a fan mandates suddenly switch positions to opposing mandates.  Perhaps you're remembering something in the heat of a primary (and this is also going into the weeds of a policy issue) that would seem different outside the framework of a primary.

by nklein 2008-03-26 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

Good luck on your upcoming race, btw.

I work in Drier's district, and I am not a big fan =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 05:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

Thanks, I should change that, but I've busy with other things.  Hilsman's out of the race now.  The Dem candidate should be Russ Warner.  I've moved on to other things recently, but I think we have a good shot to get Dreier's seat.  DCCC is going to invest in the 26th and hopefully we'll turn it blue.

by nklein 2008-03-26 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

"For example on healthcare, Hillary approached this issue in the past by holding closed very selective meetings over a year.  This approach led to suspicion and is partially responsible for the ultimate collapse of her effort."

Actually that is simply the myth that Hillary's detractors made up about her health care plan. It was derailed by conservative, corporate Democrats, lead by Jim Cooper (now Obama's health care advisor and surrogate) who attacked her universal health care plan as "too leftist". The business about it being "secretive" is simply that they felt left out when she didn't invite the enemies of the plan to sit in on developing it (who does invites their enemies to derail a project at it's development stage?). Obam's right center economic advisors do not believe in universal health care, Jim Cooper has made that clear for years. Obama and his advisors prefer free market solutions to problems, regardless of how they adversely impact the public good.

by 07rescue 2008-03-26 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

07rescue, where is the transcript of the public meetings before Clinton unveiled a plan to the public?  Oh they don't exist, b/c there were no public meetings.  Ask anybody who was in the Congress in 1993-1994 about whether they were involved in the developement of the Clinton healthcare plan and they will tell no.  Or was Moynihan just another conservative who was hating on Hillary's heatlhcare plan b/c it was too lefty?  Your comment is silly on its face.  You have to be completely ignorant of this period in U.S. history to believe that Clinton held even a somewhat open discussion of how to improve U.S. healthcare.

by nklein 2008-03-26 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Your apology is accepted...

"If you conceded they had a good reason to support Obama, he's a great candidate, but here's why you support Clinton and XYZ is why she's a great candidate for America, you'd force the Obama people to at least consider your argument. "

Been there and done that. All it nets is foul and derisive mockery against Clinton, ad hominem attacks, and accusations of racism (nuclear option). Speaking positively about Clinton is a sure fire way to have your character and status as a Democrat attacked.  I have never seen it work. No one feels "forced" to consider the arguments. At a certain point, you have to fight fire with fire.

by 07rescue 2008-03-26 02:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

well, this might be my last one for a while...my wife tells me I have been neglecting my other chores =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 09:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Here's my armchair analysis of why the speech won praise from the media but failed to resonate with many voters.

It was uncomfortable. People don't like to think about these issues.

It was complicated. It required people to have empathy for those we disagree with and to place ourselves in their shoes.

It was not sound bite friendly. In order to appreciate Obama's argument, you have to hear the entire speech. Most people only caught glimpses, and it was difficult to extract meaningful 10-second moments. Those that were extracted and repeated tended to emphasize the Wright controversy, which was not the core of his speech.

I thought the speech was brilliant, but I also thought it was incredibly risky and potentially damaging to his bid. That's why I find it odd that some people are suggesting the speech was a convenient way to avoid the Wright issue. If Obama wanted to put Wright behind him, the easy solution would have been to disclaim and disown him. Obama took a more difficult path with this speech.

by jdusek 2008-03-25 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

You sound somewhat like William Kristol (from his NYT editorial yesterday)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Ha, that's not a comparison I'm proud of!

Kristol wrote, "the last thing we need now is a heated conversation about race."

I disagree. I think it's an important conversation to have.

Unfortunately, our media isn't really conducive to meaningful discussion, and I think the need for soundbites undercut the greatness of Obama's speech.

by jdusek 2008-03-25 10:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

I didnt think you would be proud of that comparison =)

You should diary your thoughts on why his speech did not work.  

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Dude, what are you on? This is like the 4th time you've posted this same diary or a variation thereof. If you think HRC's polling will suddenly skyrocket and Obama's will suddenly crash while SHE HERSELF is embroiled in a feisty media scandal you are simply deluding yourself. The total fallout from the Wright/speech episode may never truly be known, especially since it's being clouded by Tarmac-gate, which reinforces it's own neat little poll from Gallup saying 53% of Americans find Hillary untrustworthy. I'm not trying to be overtly offensive here (I believe we had a bit of an impassioned tiff before), it just is what it is. I don't think any amount of reading the tea leaves is going to provide anything but frustrations and vagaries. We'll (maybe) have some real answers as to what is devastating to whom come PA, IN, and NC. Maybe beyond.

by TheSilverMonkey 2008-03-25 10:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

I hate to tell you this, but I stopped being a "dude" a long time back!!  As to the rest


by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

My apologies on the, "Dude." I was just watching The Big Lebowski. I'll stick to ,"Sir or Madam," from now on, whichever you'd prefer.

by TheSilverMonkey 2008-03-25 10:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Actually, I don't really care what you call me, as long as you make some sense in what you say after you call me whatever you call me.

Your post was just a rant...

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

The Dude abides.

by thatpurplestuff 2008-03-25 10:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

good analysis, I liked it, but that still bothers me about this marketing of O and his supporters who bully when they can't convince people they are right.  (not Wright).. I wonder if the O wave as I have called it, will remain or will subside?  I happen to think that it will subside later this year, it may be too late for Clinton, I hope not, however the SDs are seeming to buy this hype, and that bodes badly for the democratic party.  The far left elites always try to drag this party too far left to actually win national elections and hot button things always take hold in October.  I am worried though because hate is such a great seller.  It seems the hard slow work is not appreciated at all.  What a shame that is, your work here is very interesting.

by democrat voter 2008-03-25 10:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

It will subside if Sen. Obama cannot assuage those doubts that people have.

It will not subside if he can assuage those doubts.

It may already have subsided, for all we know !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Not just identical favorables, but also identical favorable - unfavorable.

From Rasmussen.com

O is at 46(F) and 52(UnF), C is at 45(F) and 52(UnF).

This is the first time that they have been within the MOE since Nov 2007.

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:34PM | 0 recs
by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:48PM | 0 recs

His numbers have been crashing sicne Rev. Wright...did you not see any of my charts =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-25 10:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Well I liked the diary. But I decided to support Clinton over Obama mostly because of health care and Social Security, so I am some kind of weird issues freak I guess.

Did you ever notice that the people who say the two candidates are basically identical on the issues are inariably Obama supporters? If product O works just as well as product C, but O has a shiny chrome finish, why not choose O? But if in reality, C has some useful features that O can't match, the chrome finish is not not as alluring.

by itsthemedia 2008-03-25 11:59PM | 0 recs
invariably == inariably

by itsthemedia 2008-03-26 12:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

I never get any replies when I ask any one about issues =)

There are quite a few legit reasons to vote against Obama (even other than health care )

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 12:33AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

See my discussion with nklein above. For a significant portion of Obama supporters, his issue positions are just place holders for a decision process they expect to be implemented after he is elected. That makes it pretty hard to argue issues, as they are happy to defend whatever position he takes, whether they agree with it or not. As Goolsbee told the Canadians, don't worry too much about the campaign rhetoric.

by itsthemedia 2008-03-26 01:35AM | 0 recs

You're arguments would be that much more convincing, if you provided the source for those fav/unfav ratings.

by nklein 2008-03-26 12:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Source?

http://rasmussenreports.com/public_conte nt/politics/election_20082/2008_presiden tial_election/overall_favorable_ratings_ for_presidential_candidates

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 12:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Source?

fix that link by removing the space in "presidential"

and then click on detailed information !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 12:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Source?

I believe Rasmussen is his source.h

by freemansfarm 2008-03-26 12:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

There is a loose correlation.

Generally speaking, if Candidate A has better Fav-unFav  numbers than Candidate B, then Candidate A will do better.

However, exceptions to this are: if the underlying reasons for the negatives, or for the positives for either candidate does not correspond to an issue of importance to the voters, then the Fav-unFav analysis does not hold.

It is not hard to imagine what voters care about while voting (these are usually break and  butter issues) and what they do not care about (some "character" issues such as honesty).

So, with all that said...Sen Obama was a significant frontrunner in Jan and Feb ~ his Fav - unFav numbers were much better than Sen Clinton. It is no surprise that he won all those delegates. She has the advantage now !!

I have not tried to correlate this years results with the Fav un Fav numbers...perhaps I should (or someone should =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 12:31AM | 0 recs
May be too early to judge?

Going to the source you cited in the above comment, I noticed it was a tracking poll that you received from which you received this information.  Tracking polls, especially ones like Rasmussen (which use automated system rather than a live person) are not the most reliable judge of where things are.  They used more often as a reflection of a trend.  Thus it is very possible that Obama's favorables are dropping like a lead balloon, but to say that they are even w/ Clinton is not yet established.

Take a look at Obama's favorables (44 fav- 28 unfav) from the latest CBS poll (March 15-18, the latest non-tracking favorability poll I have found).  Now look at Clinton's (39 fav - 41 unfav).  I'm not saying that you're wrong, just that I don't think you provided the evidence to prove your point.

by nklein 2008-03-26 12:51AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

please see my diary from earlier yesterday (link is at the top of this diary) for an explanation as to how we can use tracking polls...

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 12:54AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

Read & Understood, but aside from saying that this is a negative trend, you say that Hillary & Barack are equally unfavorable.  This has not been established.  I just wanted you to note that.

by nklein 2008-03-26 01:02AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

Thank you, you are correct in that!!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 02:00AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

SevenStrings have you seen this NBC poll.  I think it demonstrates what I was saying above.

by nklein 2008-03-26 04:27PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

Actually, the NBC poll is consistent with what I was saying...numbers are different for Sen. Obama, specially; but the trends in the two polls are almost identical!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

They are no where close to "identical."  Rasmussen shows a distinct negative trend for Obama's favorability and it shows Clinton's favorability staying stable.  On the other hand, the nbc poll shows Obama's favorability staying pretty consistent (a small increase in unfavs and a small decrease in favs; both though are in the MOE).  The nbc poll also shows Clinton's favs declining significantly from two weeks ago.

Your point yesterday (made based on the evidence of Rasmussen) was that Wright had "burst the bubble" on Obamania.  The nbc poll disputes that conclusion.

by nklein 2008-03-26 05:58PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

They are, in fact, identical.

In my plot, you will see that Sen. Obama was on an upswing prior to the YouTube sermons.  The first NBC  poll was conducted 1 week prior to the YouTube sermons.  The recent one was conducted 10 days after after ~ you see no net difference between the two, but you also do not see the peak that was created between the two polls (which you can in the tracking poll).

For comparable dates, Rassmussen also shows nearly unchanged numbers for Sen. Obama.

Likewise for Sen. Clinton (the change in her numbers for the two dates are very similar)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

The Rasmussen poll showed a trend in Obama's favs/unfavs.  This trend was not reflected in the nbc poll.  There's no ambiguity about that there is no question.  It's a fact.  The NBC #s show him at 51 fav/ 28 unfav on March 12 & they show him currently at 49 fav/ 32 unfav.  Does this show a slight decline in Obama's fav ratings? Yes, although it is within the margin of error.  

Moreover, I saw no similar negative trend for Hillary in the Rasmussen poll.  Here favs/unfavs stayed pretty consistent, but the NBC saw a significant decline in her favorability from 40-something to 37.

So explain it to me, b/c I don't understand how you can at these set of facts and say they're similar.

by nklein 2008-03-26 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

I think perhaps you have the dates mixed up.

As per realclearpolitics, the first NBC poll was from Mar 7-Mar 10, and the 2nd one from Mar 24-25.

If you compare Rassmussen from Mar 7 and Mar 24, Sen. Obama lost 9% in the (Fav-unFav) and 4% in the (very Fav - very unFav)

The NBC poll has him losing 5% (51-28)-(49-32).

And I think you have completely misread HRC's charts.  

Look at my earlier diary
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/25/1749 44/913
HRC's chart is the 3rd one...she dropped about 12% between Mar 7 and Mar 24

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 09:24PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?


The Rasmussen tracking poll (as we already discussed less reliable), shows that by 13 - point decline from 3/13/08 and a 10 - point decline from 3/14/08.  Even using the lower number of 10 point difference, this poll supposedly scientifically demonstrate very large mass of people dramatically changing their opinion about Barack Obama.

The NBC poll on the other hand shows a statiscally smaller amount of movement.  5 points of movement is much different than ten points.  It's a question of how many people's opinion's are moving.  Moreover, the NBC poll was able to differentiate about who exactly was it that changed their opinion about Obama.  The poll found that most people who changed their opinion about him were Southern conservative whites.  These people were not likely to vote Obama either way nor were their states likely to be in play.  The poll found that there has been no statistically significant movement in other regions of the country, especially the Midwest.


The Rasmussen poll shows from Feb. 11 to March 26 that HRC's favs/unfavs have been a rollercoaster between 44-48 fav/ 48-54 unfav.  One day she'll be at 44 and then jump 48 and then back down to 45 the next day.  This demonstrates that they are having problems finding a sample that will provide a truly accurate picture of her numbers.  either way it's range that has been remarkably consistent since early Feb.  The only trend I found was that her negatives were peak at higher level in the last week than ever before.

The NBC poll on the other finds statistically significant movement.  Her favs moved from 45 to 37 and her unfavs moved from 43 to 48.  That's a 13 point movement.  Very different than what Rasmussen was showing.  The NBC poll shows that she was decimated in last couple of weeks.  There is nothing like that in the Rasmussen numbers.

Either you're not reading the polls or your rejecting the evidence I'm presenting out of hand, but there is a major difference between the two polls.  The NBC poll completely refutes your entire diary.  Obama's electability has not been significantly damaged.  The only movement in favorability was with people we were not depending on in the GE.  Hillary has been significantly hurt in past couple of weeks.  She is at her lowest favorability since March 2001.  She is not a popular woman and she is the person that you want us to nominate?

If you want to disagree with this poll as being only one poll.  I'll give you that, but to say that the polls are saying the same thing is ridiculous.

by nklein 2008-03-27 01:35AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

Where are you getting the dates ?

The NBC polls are Mar 7-10 and Mar 24-25

by SevenStrings 2008-03-27 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

This has nothing to do with dates, except that the Mar. 7-10 poll was before the Mar. 24-25 poll.  The issue is that between that time period there was a slight trend w/ Obama's favorability & dramatic differende in Clinton's favorability.  

I'm saying that the evolution of the favorability ratings in both candidates in the NBC poll trumps the data we saw in the Rasmussen poll.  The NBC poll shows that during Obama's worst period of his campaign, he was only slightly hurt and his opponent was dramatically hurt.  If that's what's going to happen in the GE, then I'm all for it.

by nklein 2008-03-27 07:28AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

Please think about this some more...it has EVERYTHING to do with dates.  When you are comparing two polls, you have to compare them on similar dates (because public opinion does tend to shift).

There is a huge decrease in Sen. Clinton's numbers between Mar 7-10 and Mar 24, as per the Rasmussen poll, and also as per the NBC poll.

There is a smaller decrease in Sen. Obama's numbers between Mar 7-10 and Mar 24, as per the Rasmussen poll, and also as per the NBC poll.

If read my diaries (on Hillary hatred and Obamamania), you would have seen me making that point before the NBC poll was released.

You really need to think some more !!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-27 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?


You really need to look and compare much better.  Or else I'm going to have to question you're critical thinking skills.

As I said before the dates of the particular poll (whether it is March 13 or March 7-10) does not matter.  As long as the polls were conducted during same time period.  B/c the tracking poll was conducted during the month of March and the NBC polls were at the two time points they were.  You can compare the two polls.  That's is the only reason time is relevant at all, b/c it shows that the NBC polls can be compared and contrasted with the Rasmussen tracking poll.

Furthermore, how does a poll jumping from 44 to 48 the next day to 45 on the third successive day indicate a decrease.  Hillary's numbers in the Rasmussen poll were not a clear trend downwards.  If you cannot see that, then you should not be reading polls, b/c you don't know how to do it.  There is no dramatic decrease in her numbers in the Rasmussen poll.  To say any different is to be completely blind to the facts.

Also, the Rasmussen poll has from either a 10 point or 13 point decline in Obama's favorability over this time period.  This is a huge amount of movement.  The NBC poll showed a much smaller movement of 5 points.  If you cannot recognize the difference between the two, once again you have to examine you're critical thinking skills.

I'm not just magically coming to these numbers 10 points is much different than 5 points.  A 10 point decrease is a huge decrease.  A 5 point decrease is a smaller decrease.  When a poll jumps back and forth between numbers like the Rasmussen poll does for HRC's favorability, then no trend can be discerned.  The NBC poll on the other hand shows a clear trend.

I know what I'm talking about, I've worked in politics for years.  I've taken two different statistics courses.  I understand the critical differences between the two polls and if you're still unwilling to see that either you have no clue what you're talking about or you're just trying to irritate me.  Either way go back to the polls really compare them and find out where you're wrong, b/c (and I'm not saying this out of arrogance)  I am absolutely right.

If you don't believe call up a statistics professor and ask him/her to explain the differences between the polls.

by nklein 2008-03-27 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

I suggest you make an excel plot of the two sets of numbers from Rasmussen for HRC and BHO, and superimpose the numbers from NBC on top.

by SevenStrings 2008-03-27 08:07PM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

Why waste my time?  I can read it.  And clearly states what I've been saying.

by nklein 2008-03-28 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

It clearly states the opposite of what you are saying...

Sorry, I cant help you anymore.

by SevenStrings 2008-03-28 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: May be too early to judge?

You're blind.  Ask any person on the street if they look at the two polls side-by-side they say different things.

by nklein 2008-03-28 01:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

I find it interesting that Obama has been systemically stripped of his reasons for running for the president.

1. Transcend race? Lost

  1. Issues? He never really ran on those anyway
  2. Experience? Never had that one either
  3. Judgement? Shot

I guess his campaign is trying to come up with a current rationale for him running. The only one I see now that he's selling is "I'm not Hillary". LOL.

by Ga6thDem 2008-03-26 02:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

In a nut shell, I think you got it.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-03-26 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

He still has one rationale: racial pride.  That rationale holds for about half of his current support!!

But other than that, you are right

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Neither transcending race nor experience were the reasons I chose him. Issues & Judgement, were reasons I picked him.  Yet he still has an approach to issues that is beyond your comprehension obviously.  A major platform for Barack's campaign is an effort to involve U.S. citizenry in their government.  And the fact that we are able to be significantly involved in his campaign is something convinces us that we will have similar influence in government.

Do you really think that we were duped into supporting this guy?  I spent months going over all candidates: their plans, their campaigns, their history.  And ending up choosing Obama.  For you to dismiss the plurality of your party and 13.5 million of your fellow citizens is foolish to say the least.

by nklein 2008-03-26 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Since you brought up the issues:

(a) Can you tell me why you like the increase in the SS cap

(b) Can you tell me what you think when someone says negotiations without preconditions

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Social Security is an insurance program, as we all know.  Everybody under somewhere around $100,000 pays 15% of their income in FICA tax and everybody over the cap pays some level below 15%.  Despite, this fact every single person receives equal benefits no matter how much they paid.  The FICA tax is therefore regressive and I think that any progressive would like to ameliorate any regressive aspects of this tax.

Though I think if Social Security were projected to be solvent for generations, I would not do anything to upset middle-class voters (teachers, fire fighters and so on) who would be hurt by an increase in the cap.  But its not projected to be solvent.  I'm sure that this comment will receive all types of denunciations for employing right-wing talking points, but it's a fact.  It's not the RNC that's coming out with these projections, but the Social Security Administration that's been projecting this.  And they have been doing so for decades.  This is the reason that I and many others of my generation are just not expecting SS to be there for us.  So since solvency is an issue, increasing the FICA cap is something to consider, not necessarily do, but consider.

Engagement has been an essential element of our foreign policy for generations (until Dickhead).  We spoke with Russia (with no preconditions; I mean were there preconditions to a discussion during the Cuban Missle Crisis).  We spoke with Middle Eastern nations when they were kidnapping our citizens early in our nation's history.  Thus after eight years of our nation being isolated due to GWB, we need exceedingly open with nations to demonstrate that this country is rejecting those policies that have wrecked our foreign policy.

A policy of negotiations without preconditions is needed b/c nothing will be accomplished if we try to limit the areas of discussion.  If we say that we will only talk about Human Rights abuses in Cuba, but not lifting the embargo, then nothing is going to happen.  Moreover, if we are calling for the nation we wish to negotiate with to accomplish some act, like end nuclear testing in Iran, then once again nothing is going to happen.  And we cannot afford to wait to deal with these issues.

This does not mean that Obama is going to call Castro and ask for a meeting a week later.  The normal diplomatic process is going to happen.  Ambassadors or envoys will be sent.  They will negotiate on what will be discussed and where and any other issues that are involved in this diplomacy.  After all the preparatory work, a President Obama would be willing to attend a meeting with any national leader in the world.

What I and (I think) Obama are trying to do is to shift from the Bush's administrations' call for extraordinary actions from nations with which we wish to negotiate (like asking Iran to end its support of terrorists or its nuclear weapons program, which the NIE said does not exist, when this is what we wish to negotiate).

I hope this is a clear explanation on why I have chosen Obama, at least on those specific issues (I'm definitely not in agreement with him on every single issue).

by nklein 2008-03-26 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Your answer is a clear explanation of why you need to go back and think some more. Let me take SS first

(a) SS is a regressive system, the general fund is progressive...as you said.  The SS fund has been running a positive, and subsidizing the general fund for most of the past 50 years.  This should have been a crime (sort of like using SS money to buy AF bombers), except we were told that the general fund would repay the SS fund when the time came (i.e., when the SS fund went into the negative).  Now, along comes Mr Bush and assures us that  the general fund has no capacity to pay back the SS fund...there is no "trust fund".  And so, the logical thing to do... is to further subsidize the general fund by increasing the SS cap some more ?

I think you need to think that through some more.

The SS fund is solvent for at least the next decade; any attempts to make it "more solvent" now only increases the subsidy to the general fund, and makes our overall tax policy that much more regressive.

(2) "Dickhead" has been doing plenty of engagement himself.  There are times when confrontation or containment is more important than engagement.

But, in any case, this was a "trick question", and I do not want to get sidetracked with a discussion of Dickhead.  I noticed that you did not tell me what you mean by negotiations without preconditions, instead you told me why you thought such a policy would be appropriate.

Here is what Sen. Obama (from his website) says about Iran

Obama is the only major candidate who supports tough, direct presidential diplomacy with Iran without preconditions.

This is followed by his definition of negotiating without preconditions

Now is the time to pressure Iran directly to change their troubling behavior. Obama would offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

You seem very involved, so I am sure you will recognize that what he is proposing is in fact identical to current US policy.  How does that jive with your definition of negotiatiosn without preconditions

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

First, I'm pretty knowledgeable about issues, so for to chide me by saying "you need to go back and think some more" is both insulting and counterproductive.  This is a really pathetic way to debate public policy.  My position is not some fantasy pulled out of thin air.  It is consistent with the thinking of many economists who have been studying this issue for a long time.  I'm not some child for you to pat on the head and say "nice try."

Second, Hillary Clinton's wait-and-see approach is a poor way to deal with a serious potential crisis (I say potential, b/c were not there yet, but it's not decades away either).  You're expecting a general fund that is currently and has been in deficit for decades (minus the four years under Clinton) to repay its debts to the SS fund.  If so, you're not dealing with this realistically.  Especially, if you expect it to happen prior to the SS fund becoming insolvent.  The general fund is in debt to the SS fund to the tune of trillions of dollars.  That money does not just magically appear.

Let me state this more clearly, there is no SS "trust fund."  The money that many were to retire on is not there.  It's been spent and it's not likely to be repaid prior to 2018.

Thus we need a solution to deal with the potential insolvency.  If you think I want to pay more in SS taxes, I can tell you you're wrong.  But hoping that we will once again get into the black and be able to repay the trillions of dollars of debt is not a serious policy.  There are too many competing expenditures for the general fund to depend on Congress to be able to dedicate that money for SS.  This, of course, is why we needed Al Gore's lockbox.

The fact is hope is not a policy. (Isn't that supposed to be your line?)

On Iran,  just because we want the same things as the current U.S. administration from Iran does not mean that the policies are "identical". Bush's policy is to be open to talks with Iran, if and only if, they stop funding terrorism and stop testing with uranium or accept a framework for such tests developed by some NGO, like IAEA.  Moreover, Bush offers no incentives for Iran to do so, except for perhaps one meeting. (Now there has been a meeting where both Iranian & U.S. officials participated at the same time.  This was some regional function with many different nations and as I understand no Iranian or U.S. talked to each other).  This is a policy created by a government that has no desire to negotiate, b/c nobody gives in on everything before they even negotiate, especially when there is no promise of receiving anything.

The Bush approach is an entirely different approach than Obama wants to take.  Whereas the current administration says you must do this before we negotiate, Obama says we will negotiate on you doing these things.  Whereas the current administration does not offer any incentives to do what the U.S. wants Iran to do, Obama does offer incentives.  If you can't see the difference in that policy, then you are not very well-versed in diplomatic policy.

Now, do I honestly believe that Iran is going to accept what we offer even with the incentives?  No.  The war in Iraq has made Iran a regional superpower by eliminating the major threat to their influence in the region.  I don't think they want to give that up in order to accomodate our reasonable requests even if we offer them incentives.  But to approach the Iranians as if we desire a negotiated settlement give us greater legitimacy when we go to the U.N. and our European allies on issues regarding Iran.  This is 3-D chess and Obama has already demonstrated that he has excellent grasp on that.

by nklein 2008-03-26 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Well, I am sorry...you ARE knowledgeable about the issued, but you still DO need to think some more.

(a) First, the biggest threat to the nation's budget is not social security (which is still in the black), but runaway health care spending.  So...tinkering with the SS cap is misplaced priorities, at it's best.  HRC's "wait and see" attitude for the SS is not a bad idea, actually ~ the SS fund is not a problem that needs tinkering right now, other things do!

But, let us forget about the priorities, and continue

(b) I imagine you are a progressive.  If so, you should be aghast at the idea of raiding a regressive fund to pay for an underfunded progressive program.  I know that the trust fund is broken ~ that is precisely why I am not willing to put any more money into the trust fund than I have to.  What do you think will happen if you raise that cap ?  That trust fund will magically pay the SS system back in 2018 if you put more money into it ??

What you are proposing amounts to raiding the SS fund to buy an AF bomber and a Navy carrier; the current system only allows for the SS fund to be raided to the AF bomber.

(c) On Iran, Bush's policies ARE identical to Obama's proposed policy.  In fact, I sorta remember Secy Rice outlining US policy with almost the same language as Sen Obama's website.  Bush's policy is that he is offering "friendship  to the Iranian people" (which Secy Rice defined as a series of carrots similar to Sen. Obama's website) if they do all the things that the US wants them to do (similar to Sen Obama), and if they do not, then the consequences will be containment ("we will work with countries in the region to contain the threat posed by Iran", or something to that effect).  I vaguely remember Secy Rice also using the term unconditional negotiations for it; and I remember snickering when I heard it.

And Obama's policy is not negotiating without preconditions either.  If you analyze Obama's proposal, it amounts to the following:

(1) we will "negotiate" with Iran, wherein we will ask them to do everything that we want them to do

(2) in return, we will offer them dribs and drabs of things that they probably do not care for (because the Iranians really care about Palestine, US presence in Iraq, an apology for 1953, and a normalization of relations).

(3) If they refuse, we will continue the US policy of containing them via sanctions and via an active  presence in the region.

This is madness !!  

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 09:40PM | 0 recs
In Re the SS problem

You might also want to check out the latest news


by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 09:53PM | 0 recs
Joe Scarborough...

Commented on the Wright situtation this morning.

Scarborough said that he's hearing  Republicans say that they would rather run against Obama due to the "Wright" situation. Initially they wanted to run against Clinton.

The pro-Obama media (for the most part) is going to give a win to John McCain. The media is pro-McCain, it's a win win for the media.

by soyousay 2008-03-26 02:58AM | 0 recs
They want Clinton now

Guilt by association is one thing

Guilt by Lying direct from the Candidates mouth is a whole different ball game. That shows a lack of integrity and character.

Poor John Kerry actually got wounded and they destoryed him. Hillary is a laughing stock of the military right now. She lost that vote completely.

by rockemsockem 2008-03-26 03:06AM | 0 recs
Obama loses

the "integrity" vote. Obama has no integrity. The proof is his actions; going to the same wacko church for 20 year and letting his kids listen to hate speeches is just wrong.

by soyousay 2008-03-26 03:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Joe Scarborough...

I would want to run against Obama tooo...

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 07:20AM | 0 recs
Obama has the "intellectual" vote

and yet his supporters are foolish. but the uneducated and unwashed masses for Clinton are seeing things clearly?

When the "college educated" in America are overwhelming for Obama how can you call them "foolish"?

Laughable at best.

by rockemsockem 2008-03-26 03:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama has the "intellectual" vote

A wise old man once told me that there were 2 kinds of fools:

(a) the worst kind is the one that does not know what he/she does not know
(b) somewhat better are those that know what they do not know.

Educated fools are the worst kind of fools!!

And yes, Don Rumsfeld was not the first one who said that =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 07:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama has the "intellectual" vote

I am college educated. I have interacted with lots of college educated people in my career. And I can state unequivocally that my brother the plumber, who never graduated from college, is smarter and better informed than 80% of college graduates. So was my father, who worked in a boiler room, and my uncle who worked on a road crew his whole working life.

Your statement is the definition of intellectual elitism. When the Republicans want to bash "liberal elites" to get working class voters to vote Republican against their economic interests, all they have to do is point to statements like yours.

"Unwashed masses?" I'm embarrased for you. Your attitude toward the working class is pathetically foolish. This is America, not medieval France.

by itsthemedia 2008-03-27 03:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama has the "intellectual" vote

I agree with you 100%.

From my viewpoint, the only fools I have seen are the ones with college degrees =)

You might be interested in my diary from today "The progressive brain and the regressive heart" which discusses how college educated people are fooled =)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-27 03:57PM | 0 recs
Obamania has yet to begin

The number of claims I've seen this election that the "Obamania bubble has bursted" has risen on par with his delegate advantage.

People are fixated at polls, but look at the realities on the ground and you see Obama won the last two elections, won Texas and Vermong and has expanded his delegate lead, despite the fact that Hillbots have been chanting about a bursting bubble for weeks/months.

I'll tell you something, Obamania hasn't slowed down nor stopped, it has yet to begin. It will start to set in after NC when superdelegates have enough of the bloody battle and start lining up behind Obama, and Clinton starts to realise the only thing in it for her is vice presidency and suddenly starts to compliment Obama on every turn much as Huckabee did to McCain.

by Obamagirl2327 2008-03-26 03:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

The above comment from Obamagirl again reveals just how myopic the Obama forces are.  They again argue for the number of delegates picked up. But Obama lost the Texas primary--the one that truly counts, the one that would mirror the results of a national Electoral College vote.

For those of you not on planet Obama, understanding his people is really quite simple:
It's all about delegates, all about getting a nomination.  

One must not think about the fact that Hillary Clinton was certainly triumphant on March 4--winning three of four primaries, and in key bell-weather Ohio by a huge margin, wherein she prevailed in 83 of 88 counties.  Obama just before that day was considered the "inevitable winner," by virtue of his eleven-state streak.

Now, the media and Obama "couldn't put Clinton away."  Nor shall they with Pennsylvania, nor with West Virginia and Kentucky.  Nor shall they in winner-take-all Puerto Rico.  Obama is no more popular there than he is with any other aspect of Latino America now, even with a Judas Iscariot like Bill Richardson backing him.  Let the members of Obama world continue to think otherwise.

So, if one lives in Obama world, he was the winner if Texas (those bizarre, unrepresentative caucuses) because he picks up more delegates.  The fact that he lost the Texas popular vote matters nothing.

And if one lives in Obama world, he was the winner of Nevada.  Yes, that's one caucus he actually lost, by some six percent.  But he presumably picked up an additional delegate--although formal delegate selection wouldn't come from that state for months down the road.

In Obama world, the former First Lady of the United States, surviving six years of Ken Starr investigations about her financial, social and sexual life (when not also investigating her husband), and surviving the most vigorous team of Right-wing anti-Clinton pundits and self-proclaimed "investigators for the truth," still hasn't been vetted enough.

Hillary is a lier!  She prevaricated about Bosnia!  Now, there's an attention-grabber for most of America who have already analyzed her to death and who have well considered every one of her negatives.  And wow!  The American media which has spent sixteen years hating all things Clinton points out just how high her negatives are!

But in Obama world, their candidate's "spiritual advisor" and twenty-year associate, the pastor who rendered the Obama book title and campaign theme "The Audacity of Hope," really isn't relevant.  And surely Obama's "awe-inspiring" speech put that issue aside!  Surely those blue-collar folk (those unwashed, uneducated masses, who nevertheless really do vote in presidential elections) wouldn't be stupid enough to consider the Reverend Wright's comments!  Not over the vaulted Barack Obama!

In Obama World, a loss for Barack, whether in New Hampshire or California or Florida or Massachusetts or Ohio can be explained away as thus:

1) the unwashed masses just aren't educated enough about Barack Obama.

2) the Clintons are evil.  They are always evil. Not enough voters yet know how evil they are.  Ken Starr and Karl Rove and Roger Ailes and Russert/Williams/Matthews and Arianna Huffington and Kos and Moveon.org (2007-8 edition) just haven't explained to enough people just how evil they are.  Reagan was a "uniter," George Bush I and George Bush II weren't really all that bad either.  The Clintons are to blame--for the War in Iraq to the economic quagmire--nobody ever was or shall be more to blame.

3) Any loyalty to the Clintons is just silly.  After all, Ted Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, Bill Richardson, Janet Napolitano, John Kerry, Bill Bradley--and so many more--are all singing the praises of Barack Obama.  Now, if their own states stuck with the Clintons (in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Kennedy Country, they stuck big time with the Clintons)--well, just return to point #1 above.

And that is the world of Barack Hussein Obama.  Believing that much of the public has serious doubts about him can be explained away by referring to any of points one to three above.

But Barack Obama himself?  He is blameless.  He is worthy.  He is vaulted.  He is a Freshman Senator from Illinois with all the answers.  He was "right from the start" about Iraq, even if he wasn't in the United States Senate at the time.  He knows all about health care reform; Hillary got that one wrong her first time out, and Obama already has figured out what went wrong.

And if the path to Obama's nomination comes having lost reliably blue America in the primaries, having lost key bell-weathers, and having in fact disenfranchised both Michigan and Florida, well, what of it?

He has won many more states (primaries and/or caucuses)!  He has a popular vote lead (forget about Michigan and Florida!).  He'll do well in those remaining Red States--sure as shootin', even if those wins also involve scores of cross-overs.

But to believe that many of those cross-overs will again cross back over to the GOP in the fall--why, how dare such prognostications be put forward!

Obama World begins and ends with Barack Hussein Obama.

It's a planet my family--sixty years Democrats never having voted any other way--cannot inhabit.

Sorry, Obama World, many Democrats (before their party was hijacked by Howard Dean and Obama World) still love the Clintons.

For which reason, failing to understand why, in Obama World, refer to points one to three outlined above.

by lambros 2008-03-26 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Obama-world, otherwise known as the Daily-Please-Mr.Obama-Can-We Kiss-Your-Ass orange website?

It remains to be seen whether his bubble will burst in June or November.  The "Wright" "issue" will not go away.  More similar themes will emerge, linking Obama to "Anti-American" extremists.

So Hillary just lies, what politician doesn't? But "anti-American extremists"? hell, he's done, sooner or later.

by WolfmanJack 2008-03-26 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

Wow. I had no idea Michelle Obama had such an impact in bursting the bubble. I know we didn't see much of her after that and see the downturn was after Super Tuesday and not before.

There is no doubt you are right that behind every successful product, politition or even an idea or issue there is a successful marketing (lobbying)campaign. IMO the degree of a persons intellegence has very little to do with whether or not they buy into it but desires, wants and dreams play a bigger part.

by Justwords 2008-03-26 07:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

if you look up in the comments, you will see some interesting tidbits by 07rescue about Obama's marketing campaign

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 07:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

An original take on the primaries for sure.  Is it possible though that Obama has run out of bubbles? That the opportunities for creating new bubbles simply does not exist for the remainder of this primary? Electability is a current bubble that the Obama folks keep trying to form, but the perceived reasonableness of McCain, as well as polls placing McCain ahead of Obama makes the inflation required of the electability bubble hard to sustain. One sure sign that the Obama people may have run out of bubbles for now is their overwhelming pressure to shove Hillary Clinton out of the race. As long as she is in the race she presents an alternative critique of Obama and therefore is deflationary to any bubble formation. It may be likely, too, that bubbles get harder to form when they cannot be emotionally sustained in a positive way, which is why the normal cut and thrust of a democratic primary process must be short-circuited--Hillary must not be allowed to "attack" and must be kept on the defensive by charges of racism or destroying the party or dishonesty in Bosnia, taxes, whatever. Only if and when Hillary leaves the race will there be a chance for new bubbles. I can see a new   "pride of America" bubble quietly being constructed partly in answer to Rev. Wright and partly in response to America's longing to be invited back into the global club. It will start with Obama making heavily hyped trips to Europe, and  maybe Jordan (the safe middle east). The images of  a would be black American leader "enthusiastically" received, while presenting a new American image will be broadcast back via CNN, MSNBC etc., in the hopes of equating Obama's success abroad as America's success in the world. Among limousine liberals who long to vacation in Europe's piazza's without hearing how ghastly America is, and to equally pride-starved African Americans, the hot air of a "pride of America" bubble will find its most willing subscribers.

Anyway, much food for thought you have provided. Great article.

by superetendar 2008-03-26 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

I agree with your take that Sen. Obama (or Sen. Clinton) would like some "space" to create new bubbles.

And yes, bubbles do not form easily.  The market (i.e., we) has to forget the last bubble burst before we become truly ready for the next one.

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Obamamania and the bursting bubble

The other thing to notice is that the highest point of the bubble coincided with the Yes We Can videos that went so viral, the two, released on Feb 2nd, combined to over 11M views so far:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjXyqcx-m YY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fZHou18C dk

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-03-26 12:13PM | 0 recs
You have better information than I do

I am just a part time amateur having a little fun on the side.  You are the pro =)

How about if you give this kind of analysis your best shot.  I am sure I missed many things that you will pick up on.

And yes, those viral videos are important aspects (I did not even know about them)

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 12:38PM | 0 recs

those videos are good.  I feel like crying !!

I only saw them now (I try to minimize that when I am at work)

And yes, I definitely feel the urge to vote for Obama!!

by SevenStrings 2008-03-26 06:21PM | 0 recs


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