WoT: Mumbai 08

The events in Mumbai are winding down. Bill Roggio has an excellent analysis of the tactical aspect of the terrorist attacks.

What is unclear to me is what was the goal of the attack? Possibilities:

1. The attack was to force India to withdraw from Kashmir. I am skeptical of this one for several reasons. Firstly India has suffered several terrorist attacks before over Kashmir without a change to the status of Kashmir, why would the terrorists expect a different outcome this time? Secondly, the tactical play of this attack appears different. While possible, I do not believe it is probable that this is about Kashmir.

2. The attack was to distrupt and weaken India's center of commerce. This certainly will be a result to some degree but what exactly would be the gain for the terrorists? Only if this would benefit one political party over another. I am skeptical that one political party in India would stoop to such low to gain political power. There was also a possibility that the attack was meant to influence the US election 3 weeks earlier but was post phoned for one reason or another. This one seems least plausible.

3. The attack was to sabotage the warming relationship between India and Pakistan. The Kashmirs would have the most to gain if relationship between India and Pakistan remain contentious. The Pakistani intelligence agency remains implicated in training the Mumbai terrorists. I think this is the most plausible.

4. One step further than thought #3 is that rogue elements of the Pakistani intelligence service are trying to push India and Pakistan toward actual war. Win or lose, and especially a likely stalemate, these elements would then take the opportunity to seize Pakistan, supported by Taliban elements in the Northwest territories of Pakistan and disgruntled elements of the Pakistani army. I would think that even rogue Pakistani intelligence elements would think this is too risky.

5. Conspiracy ideation might run along the line that the entire Mumbai attack was a red-herring. That not even the participating terrorists knew what the real plan was. The real plan could have been to grab something or someone else in Mumbai proper, or even elsewhere in India. By grab it could be grab to take or grab to kill. If the true target was that sensitive, I am uncertain that we would know anytime soon. Since this is already conspiracy laced thoughts, there is no need to further delve deeper into what the true target may have been. Intriguing never the less.

6. A Powerline post suggests another possibility in direct opposition to #3 and #4. That is, the Pakistani intelligence agency is acting in full accordance with the Pakistani government to weaken India, perhaps in continued desire to gain territory like Kashmir, or to see the down fall of India in general. Why are they then also seeking rapproachment with India? To obtain cover for their true goal. Could Pakistan approach be like the Palestinians, that is negotiation with Israel continues while bombing to destroy Israel continues?


2010 Election: Census for 2012

The Republican Party needs to regroup and regroup fast. While there has been an argument to make the party more centrists, I think this argument is lost both on value and sentiments. The Republican Party cannot win more votes if it disenfranchises its most active (in terms of word of mouth support as well as get out the vote effort) faction, the Christian conservatives. Every poll thus far have suggested that the Republican voters want to make the party more conservative, more right leaning rather center leaning. Those who can still remain Republican with this shift should do so, those who cannot should consider whether the Democrats or the Libertarians have what it takes to win their vote, or even whether they should sit out of the next election. Meanwhile the Republicans should proceed with preparations for the 2010 state elections because this election will have at least a decade long consequence.

Why are the 2010 state elections so important? Because the next census will be conducted in 2010, and electoral changes will be reflected in the 2012 election. That means who ever is in charge of the states when the districts are redrawn will be doing so.

From Wikipedia the following states are expected to change:
Probable Gainers:
Texas (4)
Arizona (2)
Florida (2)
Georgia (1)
Nevada (1)
North Carolina (1)
Oregon (1)
South Carolina (1)
Utah (1)

Probable Losers:
New York (2)
Ohio (2)
California (1)
Illinois (1)
Louisiana (1)
Massachusetts (1)
Michigan (1)
Minnesota (1)
Missouri (1)
New Jersey (1)
Pennsylvania (1)
Iowa (1)

Obviously more effort should be placed in states expected to gain, but even effort will be required in states expected to lose as their congressional district map will also be redrawn.

Considerations regarding priority should also weigh which states will Republicans have the best chances. For this I referenced Jay Cost's recent post on 2008 polarization of the PotUS election. I recognize that many states may have voted for Obama that remain in Republican control but Jay's evaluation looks at how far the state population voted away from the national mean, thus providing a window at the trend for these states. From his analysis, I then categorized states as either red or blue, the remainder are listed as neutral leaners.

Thus cross referring the expected 2010 census winners and Jay's analysis i get the following:
1. Neutral states gaining representations: Texas (4), Arizona (2), Florida(2), Georgia (1), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), Oregon (1), and South Carolina (1)
2. Red state gaining representations: Utah (1)
3. Neutral states losing representations: New York (2), Ohio (2), California (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Pennsylvania (1), and Iowa (1)
4. Red state losing representations: Louisiana (1),
5. Blue states gaining representations: none
6. Blue states losing representations: none

I ranked neutral states gaining representations first because these states will also be in play for the Democrats, thus these states are where the Republicans must make the greatest efforts. Second is the state (Utah) where Republican will likely win if sufficient attention and effort is made. Third are neutral states where the Republicans cannot lose if they do not want to be redistricted out of representation. Fourth is the state (Louisiana) where Republicans will likely maintain representations as long as they can maintain control. Note that no solid Blue states are expected to gain or lose representation.

For Democrats, they too will focus on the neutral states expected to gain or lose. But because none of the Blue states are expected to gain or lose, they will be able to place resources to win in Red states changing.

Neutral states that leaned red expecting to gain representations are Texas (4), Arizona (2), Georgia (1), South Carolina (1), and Utah (1) for a total of 9. Neutral states that leaned blue expecting to gain representation are Florida (2), Nevada (1), North Carolina (1), and Oregon (1) for a total of 5. For the moment if we assume that the new district goes along with the color of the states, this would mean a net gain of 4 for Republicans.

Neutral states that leaned red expecting to lose representations are Louisiana (1), and Missouri (1) for a total 2. Neutral states that leaned blue expecting to lose representations are New York (2), Ohio (2), California (1), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), and Pennsylvania (1) for a total of 11. Assuming that the party in power based on the state leaning redraws the map to exclude their political opponent, this means a potential net loss of up to 9 congressional seats for the Republicans.

If the Republicans cannot control the redrawing of the congressional district, they could lose an upward of 5 seats before 2012 election season even roll around.


Victory in Iraq

In the days leading up to the Iraq invasion in 2003, I was against the invasion. I was against it because I could not understand what would have been the gain for the US. Like most others, I thought we should first finish our effort in Afghanistan.

But instead of believing the MSM, or even the Bush administration, I sought to figure it out for myself. These were still times when 911 felt fresh. I started out asking why we were attacked. Did US involvement (our purchase of Middle Eastern oil) not bring wealth to an area not seen good times since the fall of the Ottoman Empire? Many ideas were proposed. I quickly rejected the idea that as victim we were responsible or deserved to be attacked. I also rejected the premise that poverty and ignorance led the terrorists to attack us. No, they were mostly middle class or higher, and for the most part college educated. Why then did these men not made a success of themselves in their own town and nations? As I looked deeper, it became clear that despite the veneer of civility, the people of the Middle East, Arabs in particular, were an oppressed bunch. Politically, all the nation states of the Middle East were authoritarian.

At the same time, the few voices opposing the war suggested that the Iraqis could not possibly govern themselves should we liberated them, that we cannot and should not "impose" democracy on Iraqis. I was struck by how elitist and even racists these Western voices were. Were the Germans not similarly disposed as unfit for democracy as evidence by their actions during WW2? Same with Japan? And are these not among the stalwarts of Democracy in the 21st century?

Sometimes an idea is so obvious and commonplace that it is taken for granted, and not even register or appreciated. That idea is that all men crave self-determination once the basic securities of food and shelter are obtained. That like the Germans, the Japanese, and even the Vietnamese, when given the opportunity and freedom for self-determination over their lives, most will gladly do so. A people's political voices cannot be suppressed for long. This came to me like an epiphany.

The Arab voices had been muffled in the Middle East for a long time. It is one thing to speak up in dissent and ask for change away from oppression, taking great personal risk of liberty and life to do so, it is another to do the same and take great risk of liberty and life of your family and friend. When people cannot speak out directly at home, in one's community, one's nation, then people finds alternative outlet. For most Arabs, it became easier to accept the harsh reality of the present and work toward a better afterlife as promised in Islam. For small few, having moved through Islam, the choice was to strike back at their own government. It isn't Islam per se, but politics in the name of Islam. For these Arabs, these would be terrorists, they sought change not for greater liberty, they sought change to empower their own politicalization of Islam. They are Islamofascists.

How would the Islamofascist strike back at their own government, weaken their government and empower themselves while keeping friends and family relatively safe? By only indirectly attacking their own government, and do it away from their own nations. How would these few act against their government indirectly? By attacking what keep their government going and in power. And thus it became obvious to me that when the terrorists attacked us on 911, it was to force us to reconfigure our support for Middle Eastern regimes, perhaps even withdraw from the region entirely.

Given our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, nay, given the whole world's economy reliance on Middle Eastern oil, the US cannot withdraw from the Middle East. Could we then reconfigure our relationship with these authoritarian regimes and push for greater liberty and democracy? We have been for quite some times without much success. Never the less, this could never be the solution because no nation state ever want to be told how to be by a foreign power. But there was an alternative. Iraq was technically in a state of war, with a ceasefire intermittently broken.

Iraq was an opportunity to directly transform a political process of a nation toward democracy. There is hopeful reason to believe that a free and democratic Iraq could transform the entirety of the Middle East, just as a democratic Japan has done for the Far East and Germany had done for Central Europe. It was a huge gambit that would take years to accomplish and decades to take effect. Victory in Iraq and transformation of the Middle East certainly not guaranteed. I saw the Iraq war as an opportunity of great transformational and historical power. A gambit that earned my awe and respect for the strategic thinking involved.

I understood that the hunt for Osama bin Laden would be a dead end. As soon as we kill him, another would rise in his place, declare bin Laden a Martyr, and continue their Islamofascist plans without him. Only through culture and political transformation can we eliminate their raison d'etre and limit their appeal and recruitment power (financially or manpower wise). I also understood immediately that Iraq as the transforming nidus of the Middle East policy could never openly be declared as our reason, motive, or goal in resuming military action against Sadam Hussein's regime. The world will not tolerate the arrogance of the US stepping into the Middle East with the strategic goal of transforming the regional governments. They did not even want the US to remove the homicidal dictator of Iraq!

I thus tolerated the pretext of weapons of mass destruction on Iraq's part to nullify the ceasefire. I also tolerated the apparent meme of war for oil, because it really wasn't for oil but about oil. Such fine but important difference would not be appreciated.

After the Iraq invasion started March of 2003, I understood that the success or failure of the endeavor to transform the Middle East via democratization of Iraq cannot be known until at least five years have passed. A few months over the five-year mark, I believe Iraq should now be seen as a success for Democracy. Today, November 22, 2008 is Victory in Iraq. Does this mean that a Democratic Iraq will transform the region? I hope so, but I doubt we will understand whether this happen or not for at least a decade.


Republican Party: Abandon the Evangelical and Shift to Center?

The point of a political party should not be about winning elections, nor should it be about pandering to the voters. The point of a political party is to enact positive change to our nation, and that means moving the middle away from the middle. The left understood this very well, why do we not? By moving toward the middle and abandoning out core principles we deserve to lose each and every time.

I am not religious. I do not see the evangelical faction of the Republican party pushing God onto the agenda. I see them as pushing a pro-life and pro-family agenda and i have no problem with either of these. Even as a libertarian the government still has to protect its weakest members and maintain the most basic unit of our society and community.

Having said this, I think the party should push these on the State level. Abortion is not and should not be a federal issue. It has no place in our constitution and all powers not explicitly given to the feds in the constitution belongs to the state. We should leave it there.

I would say the same of marriage. Having said that, I also think marriage should be a church issue and make civil unions a legal issue. I personally think civil union legal rights should only be given to families (i.e. couples with kids), whether the couple is heterosexual or homosexual).

The party should continue to push for strong nation defense primarily on the national level. Other aspects of the Republican principles like small government, fiscal responsibility, economic opportunity, and personal responsibility apply equally to State and Federal levels.


Internet Boycott

I have decided to boycott some of the more liberally biased media. I will no longer post any link or follow any link to the NYT, LAT, or CNBC/NBC. I am contemplating CNN, FN, and WaPo as well. Everytime anyone goes to one of their web page, they gain in ad revenues. I cannot support that. I encourage all of you to boycott them as well.

Since they have no idea whether I am watching their TV network, this naturally does not affect that medium.


Emotional Thoughts

I think the intolerance of the left is due to two factors. Probably not limited to the left but currently surprisingly common on the left. Firstly is the idea that what they think reality is is what reality is, rather than matching reality to thought. Some of this is pure hubris of course. (The opposite of course has its flaws as well, as what we see isn't always what it is either), Secondly is the tendency for those on the left to respond emotionally. This certainly is not limited to the left but definitely some people are more emotional than others.

Naturally the adage "moderation in all things" should be considered. A healthy skepticism should always be maintained, that what you think may or may not be true and what you see may be all that is, or not. Only with skepticism can critical analysis be conducted. And the greatest enemy to skepticism is bias.

Regarding emotion, it adds value and quality to life. Like flavor and color. But it should not and cannot not replace what it is tied to, is not in itself value. And thus when one's idea is challenged, the idea has to be allowed to defend itself unarmored by emotions. Because emotion binds and bias the idea from truth.

Surprising though how some can imbue abstract thoughts with emotional values. Perhaps the surprise is really I, being able to compartmentalize and keep the two separate.

Thought for the post: when Descartes say "I think therefore I am" how can he be certain this is not just a close loop process of his programmed computer head rather him as a sentient and independent entity?


Palin: Energy Conservation & Independence

To Governor Sarah Palin,

Now that you have returned to Alaska and resume work as Governor, I thank you for all the hard work and resilience you have demonstrated as our VP candidate. Please take the next few months off to relax, unwind, and enjoy the holidays. But come the New Year I hope you will take some time to consider whether you want to return to national politics. I like millions others hope you will. Toward this hope I have a few thoughts to share should you are interested.

Firstly, govern well. By that I mean take good care of the people of Alaska especially as we as a nation enter difficult times. In doing so, I hope you will be attentive to political principles that work and those that do not. I hope some of the principles you find productive would include principles many conservatives and Republicans are fond of, including conservative fiscal policy, small government footprint in American lives, fair economic opportunities for employers and employees, the promotion of a culture of personal responsibility in and out of government, and the continued recognition that a strong nation requires preservation of traditional families.

Secondly, consider forming a political action committee (or a 527) for Energy Conservation and Independence. On the most basic level, this will allow continued involvement nationally on a topic that touches all American lives. Locally energy conservation means exploring “green” renewable energy sources, thus providing credentials on environmentalism. Such an organization will also provide the opportunity to become an expert on a vital topic that spans and binds the international community. There are global energy exporters who are America’s friends (Canada, Mexico, Norway), foes (Iran, Russia, Venezuela) and associates in between (Africa, Central Asia, the Middle East). How these nations energy income has affected their influence regionally and globally? There are also net energy importers like China, Japan, and India. How will the competition for energy affect their relationship with the US, both as current competitors and as potential collaborators? As part of the organization’s activities, conduct fact-finding trips over sea. Once there see first hand how, in addition to energy economic, nationalism and religious ideologies are driving these nation motives and actions.

Thirdly, with the accumulated experience gained, hone and refine a philosophy of governance and politics. The best philosophy is one easily understood and readily appealing to the public (your base, the independents, as well as the opposition) of Middle America as a whole. It should also be well supported by a record of evidence that the intellectuals would and should appreciate. Maybe write a book providing how your vision and philosophy could positively transform America.

Fourthly, build political alliances. Identify candidates for political offices nationwide, red states and blue states, you respect and agree with. Through you political action committee provide energy expertise, campaign support, or even personal appearances and endorsement. But even more importantly cultivate and maintain contact with the rank and file who remain excited about your potential candidacy. These regular folks, me included, love you because we feel you are one of us and speak for us. We will certainly need to be organized and rallied to provide the ground game for any national campaign for you when the time comes.

Finally, contemplate why and how you appeal to the base as well as why so many on the left have become deranged over you. Accentuate your positives and attenuate your negatives but always remain true to yourself, and those who believe in you.

Best wishes for the future.

Political Party & Elections

With the recent 2008 election losses, some commenter have suggested that the Republican Party become more centrist in order to win. I think this misses the point of political parties in general. If the goal of any political party is to win election, then it is only about empowering some to lead others. Shouldn't we be primarily concerned about where we are being led to? It has to be about ideology first.

And if the party's ideology is in tune with the center, then how can any candidate from that party even possibly be leading rather than just manage the status quo once elected. Now if the status quo is great, then we may not want to expend the effort to make things better. But i assure you that things can be better. And once the premise that things can be better, then you have to ask how can you enact policies to change and make things better. And as soon as you do so, then you are proposing non-centrist ideas.

The goal then of any party is to suggest actionable plan that appeals to the center, to be adopted by the center, to make the party ideals mainstream. When this occur, it is not the party becoming more mainstream, it is actually the center being shifted toward the party's ideology. Thus in order for a party to be successful, it must have non-mainstream non-centrist ideas. However, if the party actionable plan is too extreme, then it will not appeal to the center. Society adopt changes very slowly.

In a previous post i suggested some principles the Republican party should adhere to, cultivate, and build upon.

Strong National Defense
Small Government in Society
Conservative Fiscal Policy
Fair Economic Opportunity
Culture of Personal Responsibility
Traditional Family Value

These may not be new ideas, but they are great ideas have made our nation great and should continue to guide our nation forward. These ideas continue to appeal and resonate with most Americans. Thus the solution for the Republican party to win elections is not to become more centrist. Rather, it is for the Republicans to offer and deliver meaningful changes and improvement to America that remain congruous to these principles.


Rebuild the Party

From Rebuild the Party.com
As Republicans, we face a choice.

Either we can spend the next several months -- or years -- trying to figure out what just happened, excusing our defeat away as a temporary blip or the result of a poor environment, and waiting for Barack Obama to trip up. Or we can refuse to take this defeat lying down, and start building the future of our party now.

2008 made one thing clear: if allowed to go unchecked, the Democrats' structural advantages, including their use of the Internet, their more than 2-to-1 advantage with young voters, their discovery of a better grassroots model -- will be as big a threat to the future of the GOP as the toxic political environment we have faced the last few years.

The time is now to set in motion the changes needed to rebuild our party from the grassroots up, modernize the way we run campaigns, and attract different, energetic, and younger candidates at all levels.

There is much more. Read it all then join in on the effort.

Intellectualism: thinkers vs. doers

The problem with some intellectuals, usually professors and pundits, is that they think being smart and showing how smart they are is enough to change the world. It isn't. To change the world and make life better for your fellow men and women requires a good idea that is actionable, followed by the hard work necessary to act, and the resolve to endure adversities and resistance to the goal. Most elitists do not understand this and thus tend to look down on the doers as being inferior intellectually.

I am reminded of this in medicine. In the field of medicine there are two kinds of doctors, proceduralists (like surgeons) and non-proceduralists (like internists). Internists tend to think they are smarter than surgeons and tend to look down on surgeons as mere technicians. But it is actually harder to become a surgeon (grades and skills) than to become an internist. I am not saying internists aren't smart, just that the impression they hold of their own intellectual superiority is incorrect.

Related post: Political Elitism


Mainstream Media

In the lead up to the invasion of Iraq the MSM was pretty much committed to promoting the invasion. Afterward, they became rather critical of their lack of critical evaluation of the justifications for war. More recently the MSM promoted the candidacy of Obama without much critical evaluation of who he is and where he stands on the issues. I wonder how long it will be before they come the regret their Obama worship.

It is not MSM bias that should concern us all. Everyone has bias. I am certain even they are aware of their bias. What should concern us all is the fact that the MSM are so gullible. Or perhaps even worse, that they know it and still feel compelled to go forward.


My Political Party

As part of my on going “back to the blackboard” rethinking of everything (political), I want to work out some ideas on what and how I want my political party to work. When I say “my” what I mean is the party I want to be a part of rather than having my own political party.

Firstly, I want to know what are our core principles. I want these principles enshrined in the party's charter or its constitution. The principles that matter to me, and ones that I also believe to have broad appeals are:

Strong National Defense
Small Government in Society
Conservative Fiscal Policy
Fair Economic Opportunity
Culture of Personal Responsibility
Traditional Family Value

These may not be new ideas, but they are great ideas have made our nation great and should continue to guide our nation forward. The current issues and challenges should always be considered, referenced and debated on these core principles. While these should be our principles, our actions should remain decisive, ethical and magnanimous. Our means must be compatible with our goals.

Secondly our spending priorities should be:
1. Fund our party organization and groups on all college campus. They will be the future of the party. Even if they don’t, an educated voter is much preferred over an ignorant one.
2. Develop a 50 states effort. If we give up states like California, Washington, and New York we will never win.
3. Fund election campaign. How much funding support should consider the candidate compatibility with party principles, appeal to party members, and electability.
4. Fund charity projects. Our ultimate goal through politics is a stronger and better America, but crisis will develop that will transcend politics. We have to demonstrate we care for more than political power.
5. Fund research projects. We need proof that our principles as applied to the issues are actionable, effective and beneficial.

Thirdly I would like the party to interact more with its members. The party cannot be just about fund raising and votes. I would like to see that every year (or every other year) a convention is held for party members. During this convention current stance in response to current issues and challenges should be addressed. Proponents and opponents should debate where and how the party should respond. Then the members (those present and over the net) votes and thus party positions delineated and updated. Politicians can also make announcement for the upcoming year.

Fourthly political candidates for the party should be judged based on how close they are to the core principles of the party. Their appeals are determined through a series of state level election. The states should be grouped regionally; one state from each region would then hold its primary election each month. Allow a few weeks for the candidates to debate, retool, hold rallies, and then repeat with a new set of states, again one from each region. The states within each regional group can decide among themselves what order they shall hold their primary election. Likely I would prefer that each primary election is limited to party members but at the same time, each primary election should also serve as recruiting opportunity for non-members to join up and thus vote.

What I do not want my party to be a hateful opposition party. When they other party cannot do something, we should take no glee if the America would suffer for it, we should say we can do it. When they do something right, we don’t say that it was no good, we say we can do better. I also do not want my party to be into identity politics. We should court Hispanics because they share many of our principles of small government, conservative fiscal policy, and economic opportunity. We should reach out to African-Americans because only through returning to traditional family value, accepting a culture of personal responsibility, and embracing economic opportunity can they be strong and free. We should stop bashing gays. We should be pro-immigration and come up with a new term for “illegal immigrants.” We cannot be viewed as an anti-minority or anti-immigrant party.

The funny thing is that I have never truly identified myself as a Republican until this election. I voted for W and have been fairly happy with him (I am primarily a Strong National Defense guy) and since he won, I could remain an independent. I was never really all that into McCain until Palin. Now that the Democrats are in power I figure the best way get them out of power is to throw my lot in, for now at least, with the Republicans. And if the Republicans do not offer me participation other than my vote, then I will still judge each candidate based on my party platform and vote appropriately.


Conservatives & Republicans

Conservatives and Republicans are not synonymous. The contentious line between the two will only be highlighted with this election losses. There has been consideration for Republicans to build a bigger tent to get more independent voters. Conservatives have considered moving to form their own party that better represent their thoughts. And then there are the Libertarians, with many similar ideologies.

I believe the Republicans should continue to be a political machinery to elect candidates. I believe the Republicans should be a party of strong national defense, sound fiscal policies, small government, personal responsibility, economic opportunity, and family value.

I believe if people can identify personally with 3 or 4 of these six platform, then they should be welcomed into the party, as long as there will not be compromises on the other 2 or 3 platforms. Then we can have that big tent without driving away conservatives or independents. I do not believe there needs to be or should be a split between Conservatives and Republicans. I also believe that it would be a good thing for the Republican Party and conservatives to continue to have some differences of opinion as a contest of ideas can only make both stronger.

I believe the party should also reach out to Libertarians for similar reasons.

Nov 5, 2008: The Day After

Well despite my best hope and wishes, my candidate did not win. First thing first, congratulation to Obama for a historic win. I can only hope he will do his best for this country. Now on to the analysis.

Why McCain lost.
1. He could not effectively communicate his hopes and goals for America under his leadership.
2. He ran a bi-partisan campaign in a partisan election.
3. He was a foreign policy expert when the country needed an economic expert (he should have voted against the bail-out bill)
(4. Bush failed to effectively explain his actions and allowed his good work to be misrepresented)

Why Obama won.
1. The country was ready for change, and bought his message.
2. He effectively presented himself as a template for voters to leave their own impression on who he is
3. He had the money to win.

What comes next.
1. The Democrats do not have super majority in the Senate or the House. This is the brightest spot for Republicans and Conservatives.
2. The Republicans will need to regroup for 2010. There will be finger pointing and there will be skirmishes. I will look more into this later.
3. Sarah Palin will have to decide what she wants to do regarding 2012. If she wants to run for the nomination, then she will have to start the preparation now, define her her political philosophy, gather her supporters, build her network, accumulate both foreign policy and economic credentials, and start thinking strategy and tactics for 2012. In many way, as a Palin supporter, I do feel that last night loss will allow Palin to campaign as an outsider running against the DC establishment in 2012. This is a small bright spot. Currently, if she does win the party nomination in 2012, I think she should pick a reform minded congressman or senator from California or Florida, perhaps a Hispanic? I will definitely have more thoughts on Palin in the next 4 years.

Again, last night was a huge disappointment. But there are also opportunities to be grabbed for the future.

Final thought. The biggest problem with racism in the US is not bigotry but the culture of victimhood when you are a minority. i hope that with Obama's win there will be less "woe is me because America is KKK."


2008 Presidential Campaign Analysis

This post from Malstrom is absolutely the best thought out and insightful analysis of this presidential election campaign i have ever read. It is long but all great.

On polls and political analysis:
One thing that is very different about this election is the omnipresence of polls and how polls are the axis around all political analysis is conducted. This has never been the case in previous elections. Real political analysts (meaning not hacks or unprofessional pundits), use historical trends, demagraphical data, and other ‘truths’ of past elections. Much of this cannot be translated into a chart or graph. It is a myth that analysis is done via math or graphs or computer models. The original economists, for example, used only words and essays. Political analysis is not about math. Political analysis is about people. To analyze politics, you must be able to analyze people. In other words, the poet and novelist becomes the political analyst, not the mathematician and software engineer. Politics is all about people.

On what drives conservatives to vote:
One of the reasons why Democrats lost the elections of 2002, 2004, and won in 2006 so handily is the appearance (and disappearance) of the phenomenon I refer to as ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’. Conservatives are generally apathetic and have been lately about their candidates. While Bush was a Republican, he was not a conservative. He was conservative on a few things, the things that mattered most to conservatives (foreign policy, judges, taxes), but Bush has no interest in the conservative movement and doesn’t want to ‘lead’ it unlike Reagan. So conservative support for Republican candidates have been very soft (as illustrated in 2006). But if a Democrat or the legacy media (who conservatives believe are the same) insult or attack conservatives or what they believe, the result is ‘broken glass conservatives’ meaning the apathetic, soft Republican (or Democrat) conservative suddenly turns enraged and will literally walk over ‘broken glass’, if need be, to vote. ‘Broken glass conservatives’ phenomenons are all easily prevented if someone had some sense. An example of a ‘broken class conservative’ scenario would be Congressman Murtha (twice) declaring western Pennslyvania as ‘racists’. Remember, Murth’s district is mostly Democrat, and they know about Murtha’s shenanigans (the idea of ‘he’s a crook, but he is OUR crook’). But conservative Democrats took the insult personally and, out of the blue, Murtha’s safe seat suddenly becomes competitive . In 2004, the ‘broken glass conservatives’ were generated by, what conservatives felt, media bias in that veterans who served with Kerry were never had the spotlight shown (which they resorted to their own ads which became the ‘SwiftBoat Ads’) as well as Dan Rather and the forged memos.

In 2008, there are more phenomenons of the ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ than I have ever seen…

-Conservatives believe the media has been outrageously fawning over Obama and doing everything it can to protect him. This has enraged them even more than in 2004.

-Obama’s comment of people in rural areas were nothing more than ‘bitter clingers’ who cling to guns and religion have caused lingering outrage at him. This comment, alone, is one reason why Pennslyvania turned on him.

-The Bail-Out Bill enraged many and was when conservatives finally abandoned Bush. But Bush is not on the ticket anymore so that doesn’t matter. Rather, the enragement is aimed at Pelosi and Reid, the leaders of the House and Senate.

-Media treatment of Sarah Palin generated many ‘Broken Glass Conservatives’ and even overlapped to the Hillary Clinton supporters.

-Joe the Plumber. At first, Joe the Plumber recieved much amusement and delight of the electorate since it was funny to watch the presidential candidates refer to some citizen and even talk directly to ‘him’ on the camera. After the debate, naturally the press put up photos of the ‘conversation’ between Joe and Obama in amusement as well (amusement in how this citizen somehow ended up as the topic in the third debate). Then, Obama and Biden mocked joe the Plumber and said plumbers could never earn $250,000, and this followed with news came out about Joe’s salary, his marriage, his driver’s license, his taxes, his lack of a plumber’s license, and him ultimately being fired by the plumbing union. This enraged people like I have never seen before. Joe the Plumber became the ‘John Galt’ icon. I heard stories of visible Obama supporters being rattled by this such as SoCal voters peeling off their bumper stickers and uprooting their Obama signs.

-Socialism. People who are over 50, who either fled a socialist country or was in the military to help liberate socialist countries, find the thought of any presidential candidate, even ‘warm’ on the ideas of socialism, to be deemed ‘unelectable’ and are outraged it took to the Joe the Plumber incident to discover what, they believe, Obama’s true motives are.

On why McCain will win PA:
Pennslyvania has been grossly misreported on this election cycle. During the Democrat primary, union bosses approached Hillary Clinton and said, “Promise us you will not put Obama as your Veep and you will have our support.” The moment Obama become the nominee was when he lost Pennslyvania. Obama has been spending money like a drunken sailor in the state, blasting the state full of advertising, but it isn’t working. The famous Philly machine won’t be at Obama’s disposal as the governor, Rendell, is a Clinton supporter , and he has been hinting at Pennslyvania going red by the mysterious leak of the Obama internal campaign poll of PA being +2 a couple of weeks ago and publicly asking Obama to come back to the state as well as saying that things are ‘tightening’ there. The evidence that PA is going red should be with how the safe Democrat seats are becoming suddenly competitive. Rendell is a Democrat and doesn’t want to lose house seats which is another reason to ask Obama to come back.

Pennslyvania is not a New England state, it is a mid-atlantic state. It is mostly a rural state. Obama likely thought Philly and Pittsburgh would be enough to carry the state (Obama is relying on cities to swing entire states his way). But Kerry could barely hold the state even with the Philly machine and the Democrat base on his side. And McCain and Palin are far more popular, campaign wise, than Bush and Cheney were in 2004.

Obama does not have the Democrat base solidified behind him. In states that massively swung to Clinton, such as Pennslyvania, a sizable number of Hillary Clinton supporters are voting for McCain under the banner of ‘Party Unity My Ass’ or ‘PUMA’s. In McCain Campaign offices throughout Pennslyvania, manning their phone banks, are DEMOCRATS which voted for Hillary Clinton. An unholy alliance has developed between senators McCain and Clinton. Both are friends to one another. Both have a framed picture of the other in their offices. The PUMA story is the biggest one not being told about in this election.

On Palin political appeal.
Palin is appealing to conservatives due to the ‘fire in the belly’ where she is expressing what conservatives want, what they wished their conservative politicians would say and fight back against, in their perception, is a hostile media to them. Palin does not articulate conservative philosophy in her speeches as she appears more populist. Palin is not a female Reagan, but a Truman in a skirt. I’ve been reading much on Truman lately, and I’ve been struck with the similarities. Truman was an ardent outdoorsman, one from a small town and related extremely well with the rural population. Taft, among others, thought Truman was below them and kept referring to him as ‘filth’ and a ‘redneck’. Famously, Truman alone believed he would win his election when everyone else said he wouldn’t and traveled across the country visiting various farms and other small towns. The reporters traveling with Truman noticed that everywhere he went, there were large crowds. The electorate referred to Truman more by his first name, ‘Harry’, with the common phrase of ‘Give em Hell, Harry!’ Truman was not a wordsmith, but he had a fire in his belly and, most of all, his speeches held warmth. At every stop, Truman praised the rural people there and often talked about something in the locality. Truman, by his biographers, is most remembered for his constant energy, how his appearance was always ‘fresh’, how he always looked ‘rested’, and appeared in high spirits most of the time. Truman was constantly made fun of by his rural pronounciation and his non-intellectual demeanor by the press, yet those things endeared him to the rural electorate. In all my life, I have never seen a Vice Presidential nominee out-pull the Presidential nominee or steal his spotlight. Win or lose, Palin will likely have a long shelf life.

On Palin and the Republican Reformation:
McCain’s choice of Palin and push against ‘Socialism’, since the nominee is head of the political party, has swung the party back into the control of the conservatives rather than Republicans. Most of these ‘Republicans’ tend to reside in the Washington loop, and have been there since Reagan, while others are ‘moderates’. The Obama Campaign with its psych-ops of ‘landslide’ polls, have made conservatives giddy in that it is flushing out the Washington Republicans and moderates from the party. For example, Colin Powell, who is pro-choice and for affirmative action, who appeared to be Republican mostly as Reagan made him a four star general, Bush the Elder put him in charge of the Joint Chief, and Bush the Younger put him as Secretary as State, is now forever blacklisted after endorsing Obama. George Will, longtime columnist who has been in Washington for a long time, wrote against the Iraq War (which already put him on thin ice), but now he will be flushed out. Peggy Noonan, long time Washington person since the Reagan years, is now flushed out. Parker, ditto. From the conservative side, they are celebrating as they consider these Republicans to been in Washington too long and are no longer connected to the people. The point is that Palin has become a Conservative Touchstone that, like a wave, has flowed through the party and is revealing who is and who is not a conservative. And these non-conservatives will not be well recieved anymore. (In the case of women, such as Peggy Noonan, I suspect some old fashioned female jealousy going on as well. Remember, Pelosi wanted Hillary Clinton to lose because she wouldn’t be the dominant female in Washington anymore. This might seem strange to guys, but only women exist in women’s world.)

On the campaign.
It is said that at the end of a presidential campaign, the candidate who is campaigning on the enemy’s turf in the final days becomes president. The stories that say “Obama is campaigning in final days in Bush states’ is getting it wrong, of course. Obama has no choice but to campaign in Bush states since there is no other way for him to get to 270. McCain can lose some Bush states and still win. In political analysis, novices measure the election by states. Experts do it by counties. The counties McCain and Palin are visiting, be it Pennslyvania or even Ohio, are democrat counties meaning they went for Kerry the other time. Obama keeps staying in safe urban areas and other Democrat strongholds. Obama’s strategy doesn’t appear aggressive to me (he appears to be getting angry, even emotionally melting down. Such as when he got angry when trick-or-treating. Even today, he gave McCain the middle finger). When we look at the candidates themselves, we see McCain confident and laughing and Obama… being a little theatrical (”I will change the world!”). OK, candidate comparison is a matter of opinion. But there is a tradition that the campaign in the lead tends to share their internal poll numbers in the closing of an election. I’m hearing much about internal McCain polling, however, this might be the campaign’s way to provide an alternative to the way off public polls.

Again, please read it all.

HT: Strata-Sphere

Prediction: McCain wins PotUS

I just voted. Turn out I believe will be high.
I believe McCain will wins for the following reasons.

Major Factors:
1. Obama is a socialist. America will not vote for a socialist.
2. Palin will induce a high turn out for McCain. The base is excited like never before.
3. PUMAs will vote for McCain in substantial numbers, enough to win it for McCain.

Minor Factors:
1. We remain at war against terrorists. McCain will be viewed as better than Obama.
2. Obama's luster will not rub onto the independent.
3. Independence are independent because they do not trust the MSM. The fact that the MSM has been in the tank for Obama will help drive the independent voters toward McCain away from Obama.

Non Factors:
1. Obama's race. Yes most African-Americans will vote for him, but they always vote Democratic anyway. I suspect the increase in turn out for his race will be offset by the increase in turn out against his race.
2. That McCain is defending red states is irrelevant. Because Bush won in 2004, the only way any Democrat can win is to contest enough red states to win. But despite the hype, that will not be as easy as we are led to believe. Not only that, McCain is also contesting blue Pennsylvania.
3. The polls may show that Obama leads, but most of the polls are actually within the margin of error. That means statistically, the race remains a tie.

What Dems say of Obama


Obama contradicts himself

This is why he cannot be trusted. He says whatever it takes to appease his audience. He promises whatever he can to gain votes.

He is a sophist at best, a demagogue at least.

Troopergate: Palin Cleared

from Powerline Blog:
Now, only hours before the election and after endless nonsense in the press, the investigator appointed by the Alaska Personnel Board has cleared Governor Palin, concluding that "there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing." No kidding. Given that the investigator, Timothy Petumenos, is a Democrat who contributed to the campaign of Palin's opponent, Tony Knowles, in 2006, this should finally put the silliness of "Troopergate" to rest.