Thursday, January 31, 2008

McCain's Pants are On Fire - The Timetable Issue with Romney

In a previous post I made a comment that John McCain is nothing if not honest. In last night's debate he proved that he can lie as well as anybody. Even when faced with the undeniable truth, he continued the lie in a fashion that would make Bill Clinton proud.

The issue was whether or not Mitt Romney ever favored a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. John McCain cited a part of a sentence from an ABC interview in April of 2007 in which Romney said that President Bush and Maliki would of course discuss timetables and goals in private meetings, but none of that would be for public proclamation. In the following question (which McCain did not mention) Romney was asked specifically if he would support a move by Congress to set a specific timetable for withdrawal, to which he answered absolutely not.

McCain is fully aware of Romney's actual position on the subject and it is identical to McCain's. Yet he repeatedly tried to defend his accusation by simply repeating partial sentences from the interview. Romney sat right next to him and repeated the whole statements in context, yet McCain ignored this. It was almost pathological.

This may seem a trivial argument, but it shows an aspect of McCain's character that I did not previously know was there. This was not a misunderstanding or a result of poor advice or misinformation. He had the transcript. It took place in April and he threw the issue out there three days before the Florida primary...nine months later, giving Romney no time to correct it. It was an out and out, bald faced lie, and when confronted with it, rather than apologize or correct himself, he stuck with it.

McCain has proven that he is not the maverick, brutally honest, independent anomaly of politics. He's just another guy desperately trying to get to the White House by whatever means necessary.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Florida Primary Review

Well, McCain showed that he can win a Republican only primary. Interestingly exit polls showed that Romney actually got more votes from registered Republicans who identify themselves as Republicans. What put McCain over the top was registered Republicans who identify themselves as independents and Democrats. Many chose to register for the Repubican primary, since the Dem primary didn't count. This doesn't diminish the significance of the win, since in a national election one has to draw from all parties to win.

Gulliani's out and endorsing McCain. Romney made essentially the same speech he's made for the last couple of weeks. This is not a good tactic in today's instant media world. Repitition sounds like desperation. A possible positive trend for the Democrats is that the hard core conservative wing of the Republican party is looking far less influential than they'd like to be. When the right wing doesn't get its way, it gets cranky and sometimes chooses not to vote come the general election. This hurt Bush Sr. as well as Bob Dole.

For all the talk of McCain's lack of conservative credentials, he has put together an impressive team, including Jack Kemp and Phil Gramm, a couple of very capitalist foot-soldiers.

On the Democrat side, Hillary pulled a fast one. After avoiding campainging until after the vote, as agreed to by all the candidates due to DNC censure, she showed up in Florida immediately after the results were in to hold a victory rally, then played it up on TV. Ironically, the trend in the final days went to Obama. The race turned out much closer than predicted even though he didn't campaign there.

Edwards dropped out this morning. His endorsement may make news, but I'm not sure how much impact being endorsed by a losing candidate really has. Thompson's exit and endorsement of Romney did not put him over the top, even though the race was tied at the time.

In the end the Democrats will rally around their candidate. They tend to hate Republicans much more than each other. Republicans tend to be more divided. The right has some single issues that they just wont budge on. They'll sit on the sidelines and watch a socialist win before they vote for someone who might lean pro-choice or not be anti-gay marriage enough. If McCain wins the nomination, independents and cross-over Democrats will be a must for him. Where he will have an edge is on national security and budgetary policy. If'n I were advising any Republican I would say give the Dem some rope. Let them propose big spending programs from now until August, then start asking how they're going to pay for it all. If'n I were advising the Democrat, I'd say keep it vague and optimistic.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Obama on Immigration - A land mine?

Barak Obama has been on top of the world. His positions on specific issues haven't been widely publicized but it could be argued that all he had to do was continue with his optimistic and energetic vaguery and the nomination was in the bag. Now he has gone public with a specific position on a controversial issue and it just might be a deal killer.

Obama is going after the Hispanic vote with his declaration of support for drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. It's not a new position for him. He held the same belief when he was a state senator in Illinois. It's new to this campaign though, and it's a position about 2/3 of the American voting public strongly disagrees with him on. What's more it's the kind of issue that will make people vote against you, even if they support the rest of your program.

Obama argues that issuing licenses to illegals is a safety issue. The roads would be safer if these people were properly trained and insured. The public sees it as institutionalizing the neglect of our borders. Americans don't want to make illegals better drivers or "easier to track". They want them to get back in line and come here lawfully. The drivers license policy is seen as surrender and will not sell.

This is not good news for Republicans. Obama has charm and stage presence and charisma, but is very beatable on the issues. That's because he has convictions. He really believes in what he says he believes in. He can be challenged on the merits of his ideas. Hillary is grounded only in the firm belief that she should be president. You can't nail her down to a specific position because she'll change it when and if necessary. The Clintons run on emotion and remember, they don't have to manage emotion throughout the whole campaign. They just have to hit the right note on the right day. They are very aware of this and very good at it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Florida Primary Preview - Could Thompson put Romney over the top?

It looks like a dead heat between McCain and Romney for tomorrow's Florida primary. Recently Fred Thompson pulled out of the race and top advisor Lynn Cheney moved over to the Romney camp, which has been endorsed by Thompson.

Before pulling out Thompson had some die hard supporters to the tune of about 7-8%. If 40-50% of those go for Romney (It's not likely many will go for McCain) that could be enough to break the tie. That's critical in this winner-take-all state.

As I pointed out earlier, absentee ballots are going to be a big factor. But Rudy's so far behind I no longer think they will help him, and McCain wasn't scoring bit in the polls when most of those votes were cast.

Also, it's a Republican only primary. No independents allowed in this one. Many Republicans are still not confident that McCain has sincere convictions on issues like lower taxes and less regulation. He has a tendancy to comprimise on things the party faithful would rather not comprimise on.

It could be a very big day for the Romney campaign and the final day for the Guilliani campaign.

Don't Drop the Soap - New Board Game

John Sebelius, 23, son of Kansas state Governor Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Magistrate Judge Gary Sebelius has created a new board game as part of a class project at Rhode Island School of Design.

It's called "Don't Drop the Soap" and is on sale now, although production wont begin until the end of January. From the site:

"Don't Drop the Soap™ * * * $34.99 * * *
Fight your way through 6 different exciting locations in hopes of being granted parole. Escape prison riots in The Yard, slip glass into a mob boss' lasagna in the Cafeteria, steal painkillers from the nurse's desk in the Infirmary, avoid being cornered by the Aryans in the Shower Room, fight off Latin Kings in Gang War, and try not to smoke your entire stash in The Hole."

The game is intended for mature audiences and is strictly for entertainment according to Sebelius. As for his parents, they say they are very proud of their talented and creative son.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Carolina Dem Primary Review

Wow! The Clinton gameplan couldn't have failed more miserably. Obama was shown to be up by 10% in polls leading up to the primary and pulled off a stunning 27% trouncing of Hillary. Even if Hillary had gotten all of Edwards' votes she would have lost by a 10% margin.

The Clinton's blew it on two fronts. First, their efforts to make Obama the "black candidate" backfired. Obama didn't take the bait, and voters didn't respond well to the Clintons trying to put him in that box. Secondly, Hillary is supposed to be among the smartest, strongest women in America. So why does she need Bill to take center stage for her? Her heavy reliance on her husband in this campaign has turned out to be a big negative.

Now the Glenn Beck declarations that you'd have to be a racist to be a Democrat and vote against Obama, actually have merit. Obama and Hillary don't differ substantially on their publicly stated positions on issues, neither has any executive experience, and all other things being equal, there's no denying that Obama is the more appealing candidate. He beats Hillary on the charisma, the energy, the camera presence, the salemanship and the delivery. The only thing Hillary currently beats him on is whiteness.

It's an amazing turn of fortunes for the Clintons and their crew.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Clinton, Rezko photo - The fun never ends when you're running with the Clintons

At Monday night's SC debate Hillary chided Barak Obama for having defended the "slumlord Rezko". Rezko has supported Obama's campaign and is now facing a number of criminal charges. Obama has returned about 40K in funds donated by the man.

Today a picture surfaced of Mr. Rezko's smiling face between Bill and Hillary Clinton in what looks to be one of the photos you get to take after making a big contribution or attending a $5,000 a plate hot dog roast. Good stuff.

It's amusing because those of us who remember Bill's reign know they took money from anyone and everyone. They had the best fundraisers in the business. The Clintons don't ask questions. They just deposit checks. What's also amusing is that anyone who thinks this kind of thing will torpedo the Clinton campaign will be severely disappointed.

The Clintons enjoy a strong core of support and run an election winning machine that wouldn't care if a picture surfaced of Bill and Hillary holding dripping bloody knives along with Charles Manson. The only way you beat the Clintons is to turn out more of your voters than they can turn out of theirs. That's not an easy task, as their voters often include people who don't exist or who died decades ago. If you get caught up in attacking the Clintons instead of selling your game plan to your people, you'll be singing the blues on election day.

I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out that the Clinton campaign leaked this photo.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tom Cruise and Scientology

A lot has been made of Tom Cruise and his passion for Scientology. Yeah, I find the religion or whatever they call it, kind of goofy. But I find a lot of religions goofy. What has Tom Cruise actually done to deserve the scorn of the media and the public? As far as I know he hasn't killed anyone or attacked anyone or committed any haneous crime against humanity. He seems like a nice enough guy.

Before you jump on the "bash Cruise" bandwagon think about some of the particulars of your own religion. I wont single any out. There's plenty of silliness in all of them. It often baffles me how grown, intelligent human beings can believe in some of the things they believe, including my best friends and close associates. But, they remain my best friends and close associates because I'm not nearly as concerned with what they believe as with how they behave.

Don't hurt anybody, don't break anything. I don't care what planet, universe or dimension you think your soul came from.

Tax Rebate - Great News for Apple

The White House and congress have agreed to issue tax rebate checks to people who earned less than $75,000 as individuals or $150,000 as couples. Individual filers will get up to $600 and couples $1200. The checks could go out beginning in June.

Will this extra cash have a big impact on the economy? Probably not. More likely people will have a kind of Christmas in June attitude toward the windfall and buy goodies like iPods, iPhones, video games and the like. New homes and cars probably wont be on the wish list.

So was it a good idea or is it a waste of time? I think it was a good thing on two fronts. One, any time the government gives individuals their money back it's going to go to better use than if they had kept it. An iPod is a better purchase than a $400 toilet seat or a $3500 office chair. Second, it may keep the government from doing something far more damaging. Big spending programs and new legislation as a kneejerk reaction to an economic slowdown could hurt the economy for years or decades. If Congress and the White House can now feel like they've done something and let the market work this out, so much the better.

Florida Primary Preview - Rudy's Ace in the hole

Mitt Romney is picking up steam going into Tuesday's Republican primary in Florida. He may well win among votes cast on Tuesday. But there's a wild card out there. A huge number of absentee ballots have already been cast. Some estimates say 40% or more of the vote is already in. Many of these people voted weeks ago, when polls showed Giulliani ahead and Romney down by about 10 points.

Could we have a situation where the Romney camp celebrates Tuesday night only to find out later that Giulliani wins in the end? Election confusion in Florida? What are the odds?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spaceship 2 Unveiled

Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic unveiled the design for Spaceship 2. The craft was designed by Burt Rutan whos ship, Spaceship 1 was awarded the ten million dollar Ansari X Prize for privately funded space travel.

100 people have already signed up for a ride on Spaceship 2 at $200,000 a trip. Commercial flights will likely not begin until 2011 or 2012.

Branson and Rutan deserve great credit for pioneering the commercial space travel industry, but kudos are also due to the X Prize Foundation for demonstrating the power of the private sector, when properly motivated.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Obama gets Gingriched

The Clinton machine is back to their winning ways. As Newt Gingrich correctly pointed out Obama is being dragged into the political mud, which is a place where the Clintons are very comfortable and can win.

When Newt Gingrich was a very successful and popular speaker of the House, he was brought down with similar tactics. It's very simple. You get your opponent to spend all of their time responding to attacks rather than espousing their ideas. Gingrich fell for it hook, line and sinker. It got to the point where he was actually having daily press briefings in which he spent the entire time denying the constant barrage of criticisms and accusations. If you can get your opponent to spend an entire debate explaining and re-explaining what they meant by a single sentance, you've got 'em.

The Clintons on the other hand, don't fall into that trap. When they are accused of wrong doing, even when it's undeniable, they spend just a few words, if any on denial and then go right into their pitch.

Obama has spent the past week or so trying to explain what he meant when he seemed to compliment Ronald Reagan and the Republican Congress. He could easily just have said, "It's true, not everything the Republicans do is wrong" and then got back on his own message. Instead he has gotten involved in revisiting every word he's said and trying to make it palatable to Hillary supporters (which is never going to happen). What the public sees is not a new vision of hope, but just another politician trying to take back his words.

Some day someone will figure out that trying to convince your sworn enemy that you're right and they're wrong is a complete waste of time and a sure way to lose an election. Until then, Viva la Clintons?

Monday, January 21, 2008

UFO's over Texas

The reports are streaming in. It can't be denied. It appears we have been visited by beings from another planet. Over 50 people in Stephenville, Texas have reported seeing the strange craft. What's even stranger is that out of those 50 people, none of them had a video camera, a still camera or even a camera phone. This has got to be the only place in America where you can find a random sample of 50 people without the capability of taking a picture.

Fox News did show some viewer submitted stills from just outside Austin. They show undeniable proof that we have been visited by very tiny aliens with advanced blurring technology. One of the specks was white, the other black (good aliens and bad aliens?)

The craft had the abiility to hover silently and also to attract throngs of reporters, curiosity seekers and UFO enthusiasts to the small town providing a much needed boost to the local economy.

Obama get Aggressive, Huckabee gets desparate

Barak Obama pretty much called Bill Clinton a liar today in response to Clinton's attacks on Obama's record. Newsweek also reports that Democratic party leaders like Ted Kennedy have personally asked the former president to tone it down for the good of the party.

Obama made the right move. Whether he winds up winning or losing, you can't win if you don't play. He can't sit back and let Bill take shots at him and not hit back. By directly confronting the Clinton machine he's showing leadership and intestinal fortitude. Kennedy and other leaders are barking up the wrong tree. The Clinton's don't do anything for the "good of the party". Remember Bill Clinton presided over the Republican revolution of '94. During all the Clinton scandals the idea of stepping down to save the party public disgrace never even occured to him. It always was, and always is about what's best for Bill.

Huckabee, through surragate Chuck Norris has implied that John McCain is too old to be the president, saying that presidents age at a 3-1 rate during their terms in office, which would make McCain 84 (in president years) after his first term. Clearly Huckabee is going for the Hail Mary here. He doesn't have the money to compete in Florida and is reeling from his loss in South Carolina where he expected to win. The "he's too old" message may have worked elsewhere, but it's not going to play well in the retirement capital of the nation, Florida. Huckabee's 15 minutes are coming to a close.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Daily Show et al, Political Comics that aren't funny

I really enjoyed Jon Stewart's daily show when it first came on the air. He and his comrades Lewis Black and Steve Colbert made jokes about current events and people recently in the news and it was funny. Somewhere along the line they all turned into tools.

Instead of focussing on making people laugh, the emphasis turned to making people Democrats. Every joke has the same punchline "We hate Republicans." OK, we get it, say something funny. For all you aspiring entertainers out there, let's do some math. About 30 percent of the general public is enthusiastically in favor of one political party or another. When you choose to tailor your act to cater to just one, you take 70% of your potential audience out of the equation, no matter which party you choose. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make political jokes. It just means that I shouldn't be able to determine what party you belong to by watching your act.

When I tune in to comedy, or music or movies, I'm not looking for political guidance. I'm looking for entertainment. I don't go to the hardware store looking for oranges or the grocery store looking for lumber. If you're a comic, make me laugh. If you're a musician, get my adrenaline flowing. If you're a director, give me suspense, action, excitement. If I want to know how you feel about the war or universal health care, I'll go to your blog, but frankly Scarlet....

So why would a talented entertainer intentionally sell their soul to a political party? I can only surmise that although the niche may be smaller, they have more money. Look at Barbara Striesand for example. Most people wouldn't sit through one of her concerts if you paid them, yet she can sell out venues all over the world at thousands of dollars per seat. Of course you can make good money without being a trained monkey for the establishment, but it's more work. You have to sell more for less.

Perhaps activist entertainment is just the new way. But it has created a vacuum. There is plenty of room in the market for entertainers with mass appeal. If you'd like to step into it, you don't necessarily need to shy away from offending anyone, just be sure to offend everyone. People don't mind laughing at themselves. They do mind relentless attacks that aren't even funny.

Are you an entertainer or a spokesmodel? Choose wisely grasshopper.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Gene Simmons Fired! Celebrity Apprentice Review

The challenge was to come up with a promotional campaign for Kodak's (symbol EK) new all in one printer. The company, which was very late to the game in going digital, is now trying the old "razor and blade" strategy. They hope that their new lower priced inks (allegedly half the price of competitors) will revitalize the company.

Simmon's chose to ignore the input of the company executives in devising his campaign. If he were himself a major shareholder or top exec with Kodak, going with his own vision might have been a good idea. When you're hired help, the customer has the last word. When it was announced that Simmon's team lost the challenge, he boldly proclaimed that the company was wrong, long story short: he was fired.

Simmon's was wrong from the perspective of employee/employer relations, but he was dead on in his approach to revitalizing Kodak. His campaign "It's a Kodak world" was about promoting the brand, not so much the new product or the ink. Kodak went with the much sloppier presentation by the other team because it did what they asked for. It promoted cheap ink.

Kodak is not going to become the world leader in image capture and reproduction by becoming a commodities broker. That's what ink is, a commodity. Their new cheaper cartridges will be driving down the price of ink cartridges across the board. If Kodak relies on "we're cheaper" to drive sales, what are they going to do when Canon and HP match or beat their price?

Kodak needs to realize it's in the image business; capture, storage, reproduction, display, transfer, manipulation. They don't need to develop the latest technologies in any of these areas in-house. They need to reestablish their brand and attach it to the latest developments. They still have global brand recognition. Their strength going forward could be in marketing and distribution of image related products and services, even those they don't develop themselves. I don't believe they are going to recognize this any time soon, and their stock price chart reflects that.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Energy Saving Trick - The Hybrid Refrigerator

So I was chopping a big chunk of ice away from the side of my house the other day (I forgot to disconnect and fully turn off the hose) and an idea suddenly occured to me. Why not put some of that ice to good use? The result? The hybrid refrigerator. OK it's about as high tech as a pointy stick, but still a good idea. I got a fairly large sized metal bowl, put a couple big chunks of ice in it, covered it in aluminum foil and stuck it in the back of the fridge. Now I have a refrigerator/ice-box hybrid.

Granted it now takes up the space that we used to use for allowing left over soup to turn into unrecognizable goo, but I have noticed the motor doesn't kick on nearly as often. At least during the winter months, for those of you who live in colder climates, it could save you a couple of bucks in electricity and you get to feel all warm and fuzzy about being a little more "green". It costs nothing and takes about 5 minutes. I put the bowl of ice in there four days ago and there's still about 90% of it left.

For those of you in warmer climates, or during the summer, don't throw that leftover cooler ice out. Stick it in the back of the fridge, next to the baking soda.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Brittany Spears Solution - The "CelebriBuddy"

The continued fascination with the antics of Brittany Spears, Lindey Lohan and others is tragic, pathetic and shameful. Young people often go through wild stages, but they usually grow out of it. What's different about celebrities?

Most of us have someone around to tell us when we're doing, or are about to do something stupid. Your wife, co-worker, friend or acquaintace might tell you "Hey, put that cigarette out while your pumping gas." or "Hey, don't put your kid on your lap when you're driving". Many celebrities are surrounded by people who are so afraid of being kept out of the loop, they wont point out the dumb things you do. In fact, most of the "hangers on" are waiting for you to do something outrageous so they can get and sell the picture or the story. They may give you a ride home afterwards, but they wont stop you.

The solution? The CelebriBuddy. Celebrities could hire a professional "nag". Someone who's job is to travel with you and point out when your behavior is inappropriate, dangerous or just plain dumb. This is not the same as a "handler" in that a handler normally is concerned with your public image. A CelebriBuddy would be primarily concerned with your personal growth and welfare. This would also not be a therapist, just someone with common sense and discipline. The employment contract would have to include a clause that states the CelebriBuddy can not profit from public exploitation of the relationship. No books, blogs, TV interviews and such for a specified time period during and after their employment. The CelebriBuddy is not to become a Celebrity.

The toughest part would be convincing the celebrity that the people around them are not their friends and that they need to hire one. They may see this as degrading and sad, but it's reality.

If the managers, parents, friends and family of these celebrity basket cases really want to help them, they need to either treat them like normal human beings or hire someone who can.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Republican Debate

Analysis of the South Carolina Debate:

Fred Thompson had an excellent showing. He went directly after Mike Huckabee and made some very good points while doing so. Huckabee didn't do terrible, but I'd have to rate his performance as "adequate" at best, same with Rudy and Mitt. McCain looked strong and really played up the fact that he was pushing for and supported the "Surge" long before it was popular. Ron Paul was Ron Paul. While his view that we should pretty much abandon defending our interests overseas is a total deal-breaker in my eyes, I do wish at least one of the other candidates would acknowledge that he makes some very good points in other areas. He correctly points out that the Republican party used to stand for smaller, less intrusive, less expensive government and has definitely lost its way in those regards in recent years.

I could vote for any of these guys, except Ron Paul. I think a lot of Republicans may feel the same way, and that may hurt some as the vote is split 3 or 4 ways. History says you must win South Carolina if you're going to be the nominee. Rudy and Mitt are abandoning that strategy in favor of other states. Mitt has put all his chips on Michigan, while Rudy is making his stand in Florida.

The most recent polls have it a horse race between Huckabee and McCain in SC. Should be fun to watch.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New Hampshire Primary Results

Surprise wins (they surprised me anyway) for McCain and Clinton.

Romney may have hurt himself by trying to connect John McCain to corruption and back door dealing in Washington DC. If you know McCain, even if you don't agree with him on issues, you know he should not be lumped in with corrupt politicians. He's nothing if not honest.

The Hillary victory may have been due to Democrats selecting the candidate they felt had a better chance of winning a general election. It does seem odd though that, while the exit polls on the Republican side were dead on, the exit polls on the Democrat side were off by 6-8 percent. I'm not saying there was any cheating going on, but this is the Clintons.

The Democratic race is down to two. Now we'll see if Obama can stand up to the Clinton machine. The establishment, even the power brokers that fly the "black leader" banner, believes the Clintons are better able to deliver on favors owed. We'll see if that wins out over grass roots enthusiasm.

The Republican race is down to four? Romney has pretty much said that if he loses Michigan, he's through. That's interesting since Guilliani doesn't even plan to start trying until after Michigan. One leading contender may be calling it quits during the contests that another has deemed insignificant. Of course, when Rudy devised his strategy I don't believe he thought McCain and Huckabee would be serious opponents this late in the game. Huckabee is still very much a contender. The religious right loves him and he may sweep the south. It's still a horse race.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Hope for Politics in the Future?

I couldn't help but notice the past couple of primary debates, and the punditry afterwards were the most civil and intelligent conversations I've heard on a national political level in my memory.

Maybe after 8 years of hounding Clinton, followed by 8 years of shrill attacks on Bush, the major parties have decided to call it even and move on. Maybe it's just that the "shock jock" period of politics is finally coming to an end. Maybe candidates can actually promote and debate ideas and agendas.

This would be good news on a number of fronts. First we could actually hear ideas and agendas coming out of the mouths of the current batch of politico's. We also could see more quality candidates step forward as the waters become less poisoned.

Another factor that may lead to more intelligent and civil political discourse is the much wider range of career opportunities open to former candidates. The explosion of media outlets means that "also rans" no longer have to simply retire and exit the stage. They can become pundits, bloggers, public speakers, news "contributors", anchors, advisors, etc. It's no longer a do or die proposition. Often the most vile and ignorant moves are made out of desperation. The cause of that desperation, the thought of being removed from the public eye, is waning.

New Hampshire Primary Predictions

The Obama surge helps both Obama and Romney, as did a good showing in Sunday's debate. Republicans, contrary to my earlier prediction, go for the newer, younger guy. Romney wins, McCain second, Huckabee third.

Obama gets support from disillusioned Edwards supporters and trounces Hillary. Edwards takes third.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Celebrity Apprentice, Guilliani Should Watch

I'm not sure how Ommarosa got celebrity status, but nevertheless, she is a contender on the Celebrity Apprentice show. In the first episode we learn that Ommarosa hasn't changed since her last appearance. She's still aggravating, stubborn, annoying and much more consumed by making it to the next round than by accomplishing any task.

She showed her colors as the project manager for the first task. The celebrities had to sell hot dogs for charity. The first decision Ommarosa made was to downplay the celebrity status of her team-mates, and to run the stand as a professinal hot dog stand. Of course she completely missed the point of the excercise. They weren't selling hot dogs, they were raising money for charity. Gene Simmons (KISS), on the other team, recognized this immediately and got on the phone to some of his rich friends, bringing in thousands of dollars per hot dog. By the time a few members of Ommarosa's team thought of doing the same, it was too late. They got trounced.

You would think Ommarosa would have gotten the ax, no contest. However, there was a weaker link. Tiffany, the Playboy model, is a very nice young lady, but she made two mistakes. One, she didn't defend herself well in the board room. Ommarosa was mostly shouting over her, but she couldn't deal with it. She made few points and didn't get her point of view across. The nail in her coffin was that she didn't do everything she could to win the task. She could easily have called Heffner and asked him to fly to New York and hand her a great big check for a hot dog. She admitted she was saving that contact for "a bigger task". As the Donald pointed out, in a single elimination competition, holding back for the next round can be a fatal mistake. Tiffany wont be participating in the next round.

What does this have to do with Rudy? Well, Rudy is playing a similar strategy in the primaries. He's essentially blowing off the first rounds and waiting for the "bigger task". He has also been reluctant to mix it up with the other candidates. This has spared him some retaliation and direct attacks, but it has also kept him out of the news. You can't make your point if nobody's listening.

The funny thing is, before the Celebrity Apprentice show aired I was commenting to my wife that early on I thought this was Rudy's race to lose, and he's doing just that. I told her I'd lost confidence in him myself, not because of any position he's taken or opposed, but because he doesn't seem willing to get aggressive. If you want to be the leader of the free world, you must "have a pair". Then, the Apprentice show came on and illustrated my point.

As far as good judgment and great ideas, Ommarosa scores an F-, but her tenacity and toughness carried her past her rival who was guilty of the bigger sin, complacency.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Iowa Caucus Results vs Predictions

All righty then. How'd I do with my pre-caucus predictions. Nailed one, Missed one.

On the Republican side, I predicted the religious right would turn out big for Huckabee and they did. A whopping 60% of those surveyed entering the caucuses identified themselves at evangelical or born-again Christians. I said Huckabee would run away with it and he did.

Obama was a complete surprise, as was Edwards. Edwards has been campaigning in Iowa for about four years. What he demonstrated in the caucuses was that given several years to build an organization and shake every hand in the state, he can finish in the top three. Hmmmm...., maybe time to make a career path adjustment.

Obama, on the other hand, is a newbie in national presidential politics. He has obviously put together a great organization. Hats off to him for that. I said I wouldn't be surprised to see him come in third. I'm quite surprised, and impressed. Although, in my own defense, the mind of the liberal voter is something I can only speculate about. I'll have to continue my research. Obama may have been helped out by the same voting block as Huckabee, the religious. In my opinion, Obama has been much more up front about his religion and seems comfortable talking about it.

The conclusion: The religious are going to be a major force in this primary and general election. Should be fun to watch.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Iowa Caucus Predictions

...and the winner for the Democrats is....Edwards
Why? The caucus process is long, boring and tedious. You don't have to just get people's support, you have to convince them it's worth spending a whole day showing it. Edwards has been camped out in Iowa since 2004. His people have to much invested in this thing to not turn 'em out. Obama and his organization are newbies. I wouldn't be surprised to see him in third.

...and the Republican....Huckabee
The relgious right will turn out in droves and he'll run away with this one. Side note: McCain takes New Hampshire.