Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

President Petraeus?

The Republicans’ prospects for 2012 are pretty grim. A new Rasmussen poll shows that 55 percent of them think the party should become more like Sarah Palin. Her star continues to shine brightly in Republican circles, while most of the country doesn't take her seriously.

Someone who may see a 2012 opening is Gen. David Petraeus — who, I've read, sees President Petraeus when he looks in the mirror. Petraeus is reportedly pressuring Obama on his commitment to withdraw troops from Iraq. On Jan. 21, after a meeting with Obama, the general looked "visibly unhappy when he left the Oval Office."

Analyzing North Carolina

Last week, The Washington Times published a piece I wrote after looking at the election returns in all 100 North Carolina counties this cycle and in 2004. (Sorry it took me a few days to post, I was actually in North Carolina catching up on turkey, barbecue and basketball.)

A few stats:

How Fox Helped Elect Barack Obama

Well, Barack Obama has been president-elect for just three weeks, and already something that a few times threatened to dominate the election seems to have been nearly forgotten.

Barack Obama is a black man. Yes, he is. But how quickly we’ve gotten to the place where it’s just not mattering very much. When you saw the president-elect up on the platform introducing his team of economic advisers, did you find yourself thinking, “Hmm, he’s a tad darker than the guy on his left”? Nope, I don’t think you did.

Oh, there’ll be a bit more discussion of race and culture, especially at inauguration time. But don’t expect it to go much beyond the sidebars that accompanied LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton when each of them brought his own culture and personality to the Oval Office. We just don’t have time right now for a lot of that kind of reflection.

Washington's Leak-Prone Culture

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has a piece detailing what has become a new phenomenon for Barack Obama — leaks.

Cillizza writes of the "culture of leaks," which may also be attributed to the culture of Washington. The Obama campaign, rightly, has been noted for being a tight, disciplined unit. This includes the dearth of leaks coming from within the campaign, especially compared to the McCain camp. Part of this comes down to location, location, location. Chicago is far removed from the D.C. chatter-circuit. The campaign's location meant that staffers had to "buy in" completely, creating its own discipline. Similarly, the 1992 Clinton campaign, headquartered in Little Rock, Ark., and the Austin-based Bush/Cheney campaign did not suffer the perennial leaking of Washington-based campaigns.

The American Ideal

I don’t mean to beat this idea into the ground, but I can’t get over how Barack Obama’s election has brought out such tremendous fervency of devotion to American ideals — or, perhaps I should say, to an ideal America — in the Arab world.

I just went to the doctor for a routine checkup here in Casablanca, Morocco. My appointment was with an evidently devout Muslim physician, who, judging by his name, is from a prominent Arab family. I’d never seen him before. After our consultation, he leaned toward me across his desk and asked, “So, how did you feel about the election in the United States?” I confessed that I had been deeply moved by it.

GOP Should Use McCain's Concession Speech

Sen. John McCain's concession speech was well done and showed the true McCain, something that we saw little of during the campaign, Armstrong Williams points out in his video blog.


Obama’s Top 10 Speeches, Part 1 of 2

As Jan. 20 approaches and the anticipation for Obama’s inaugural address rises, it’s easy to lose sight of all the notable speeches Obama has given that led him to the presidency. In a recent New Yorker column, an Obama aide reportedly told Obama that he was a better clutch performer than Michael Jordan, to which Obama is said to have replied, “Just give me the ball.” Over and over again, when his campaign was in danger, he took the ball and delivered some of the great moments in presidential politics. I don’t particularly believe in “clutchness” as a repeatable skill, but it’s obvious that, like Jordan, Obama is simply better at his trade than anyone of his generation.

Which got me thinking: Wouldn’t it be interesting to rank Obama’s top 10 speeches, much like we rank Jordan’s best hard-court performances? Sure, there’s always the risk that the fawning over his speeches will sound like a piece of campaign literature, or an hour of MSNBC, but honestly, who doesn’t love lists? I think it’s worth the risk.

How Sarah's Getting Her Groove Back

In the first 48 hours after Barack Obama won his historic bid for the presidency, I had — like the rest of you — many spontaneous conversations about the ceiling that had just been broken and the joyous reaction around the world.

But within days I was surprised to find that the subject had changed to Sarah Palin. Everywhere I went, from the grocery store to my allergy doctor's office to a reception after a memorial service all the way across the country, people kept bringing up Palin.

Which is funny, because at the very same time, Sarah wanted to start talking. And she hasn't stopped, in nonstop media appearances since just after the polling station lights went off last week. In my column this week — below — I concluded that though she is finally talking and talking and talking, it is becoming clear there are still only a few things Palin really wants to tell us:

They Can’t Blame it All on Palin

She’s a “whack job.” She’s a “diva.” She and husband Todd are like “Wasilla hillbillies, looting Neiman Marcus stores from coast to coast.” She can’t name the countries of North America, and she doesn’t even know that Africa is a continent.

Those are just some of the latest cheap shots about Sarah Palin we’ve heard lately — and they’ve all come from top staffers of the John McCain campaign! These guys are so mean and nasty that, having failed to destroy Barack Obama, they’ve now turned on Sarah Palin. I’m starting to feel sorry for her.