Tag Archives: john mccain

Pivotal US healthcare votes swung by ailing Senators

It’s been a disastrous week for Donald Trump’s Presidency. I won’t the list the cataclysms because there are endless articles cataloguing them. This article does a very good job in summing up the situation.

What struck me was that a situation which led to the Affordable Care Act (ACA – “Obamacare”) becoming law was repeated as the Republican “Skinny Repeal” of the ACA failed in the US Senate early on Friday morning.

In the December 2009, the late Senator Robert Byrd, then 92 years-old with fragile health, was instrumental in passing the Affordable Care Act through several late night voting appearances in his wheelchair.

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The USA may face a very dangerous situation on November 9th

P112912PS-0444 - President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the Oval Office - crop
How a Presidential election concession normally looks – Mitt Romney and Barack Obama meet in the Oval Office after the latter’s election

I should declare an interest. I am a great Woody Harrelson fan. He could read out passages from the New York phone directory and I would think it is great.

There’s a scene in the film “Game Change” with our Woody at his best. “Game change” is the film that looks at Sarah Palin’s selection and campaign as Vice Presidential nominee in the US 2008 Presidential election.

The scene in question is after Barack Obama’s election is confirmed, and as John McCain is planning his concession speech. Sarah Palin, played by Julianne Moore, is determined to also make her own speech at the same occasion, praising John McCain.

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A foreign-policy-free election?

RAF lightning II aircraft photo by defence imagesFor all its crudeness, the barrel bomb has to be one of the most brutally effective weapons around. An old oil drum, filled with that now all too familiar combination of explosives and steel detritus, dropped onto its fuse-laden nose from a helicopter, it seems, kills and maims in just the right proportions to terrorise those left behind.

It is little wonder, then, that the barrel bomb is Bashar al-Assad’s weapon of choice in his effort to wear down those parts of Syria with the impudence to have thought they could do better. It tells you all you need to know about the man that, having discovered that the wretched things seem to be particularly effective when aimed at young children, the regime, like so many despots before, has found schools to be an especially desirable target.

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‘It’s not what you say about the issues, it’s what the issues say about you’

I’ve recently stumbled across a piece by Lynne Featherstone MP which I’d forgotten about. Written in 2006, the points it makes about political campaigning still read well:

Vietnam war vet and Republican John McCain and London mayor and former restaurant review Ken Livingstone are probably not often bracketed together politically! But I have been thinking recently about them both and their own rather different political personas.

Both have had periods of great popularity – though McCain still seems to be basking in it whilst Ken’s has well and truly worn off – and it has not been for their stances on particular

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Book review: learning from the Obama and McCain online advertising campaigns

Campaign ’08: A Turning Point For Digital Media is a slim volume by Kate Kaye, senior news editor at ClickZ, taking an in-depth look at the online advertising used in the 2008 Presidential contest for the primaries and then the general election.

Though the book touches on other aspects of internet campaigning, what makes it stand out from the crowd of competing volumes is its focus on advertising.

It starts with a reminder that there is only one John McCain: the McCain mocked in 2008 for not getting online campaigning is the same McCain who was feted in 2000 for getting online campaigning. Indeed, in many ways it was his 2000 campaign that put online political fundraising on the agenda in the US, just as Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign put online organising on the agenda.

Posted in Books, LDVUSA and Online politics | Also tagged , , and | 1 Comment

How good was Obama’s campaign?

Cross-posted from The Wardman Wire:

I’ve blogged before about some of the myths around Obama’s campaign – the exaggerated tales of seas of small donors and soaring turnout. Now it’s time to look at how the votes played out across the country and see what it tells us.

The US Presidential election is (with some minor exceptions) a first past the post election run across each state, with the winner scooping all the spoils. It doesn’t matter whether you win New York state by 1% or 99%; either way the result counts the same in the tally towards winning the Presidency. Therefore, when it comes to targeting campaign activities, there is a strong incentive to ignore states that are likely to be either landslide victories or defeats and instead pour efforts into the marginal areas. These ‘swing states’ in the US political parlance therefore have much the same place in campaign calculations as marginal constituencies have in the UK.

Traditionally, that targeting has primarily involved deciding where to run TV adverts, where to direct direct mail and where to send your campaign’s big names for visits. Plot Obama and McCain’s visits for 2008, for example, and you see a huge cluster in the key swing states.

The broad story of the Obama campaign is that it was well run, highly successful and used the internet in particular to mobilise large amounts of grassroots campaigning. Up against a McCain campaign that had far less money and is seen as having been much weaker, you might therefore have expected to see a fair amount of variation in the swing to Obama between different parts of the country. A good campaign, targeting its efforts well, would garner extra support in key swing areas.

The evidence, however, suggests otherwise.

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David Cameron forgets how many houses he has

Shades of John McCain’s political blunder in this Times piece:

So how many properties do you own? “I own a house in North Kensington which you’ve been to and my house in the constituency in Oxfordshire and that is, as far as I know, all I have.”

A house in Cornwall? “No, that is, Samantha used to have a timeshare in South Devon but she doesn’t any more.” And there isn’t a fourth? “I don’t think so – not that I can think of.” Please don’t say, “Not that I can think of.” “You might

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