Rush Is Wrong On This One; Obama Still Heavily Favored For Re-Election

zieglerWow. What a difference a year makes. Just twelve months after Barack Obama became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to win over 50% of the vote since 1964, it appears that conservatives are roaring back and that Obama is destined for the scrapheap of history reserved for one-term Presidents. To hear my fellow conservatives like Rush Limbaugh talk, it sounds like last year at this time America simply got drunk on some media-fed Kool Aide and, now that the effects have worn off, a quick return to power is as inevitable as a soft ball question from Larry King.

Conservatives, I hate to break it to you, but Barack Obama, barring an unforeseen disaster (Afghanistan?), has about as much chance of being a one-term President as Keith Olbermann has of leading the primetime lineup at Fox News Channel.

Why, in the face of so much optimism among conservatives, am I so certain about this (and, yes, just like my $100,000 offer to Keith Olbermann I am willing to put my money where my mouth is)? In short, because the evidence is overwhelmingly on my side of this argument.

First, let’s examine the current conservative “conventional wisdom.” We are told that Obama’s approval ratings have already dropped faster at this point than any president in history. That he has yet to accomplish much of anything. That the economy has not yet improved and in some ways has gotten worse. That much of the media-created illusion of Obama as New Messiah has been proven to be fraudulent. And that the conservative base is as fired up as ever to fight off the evils of socialism. If all of this has happened in just one year, conservatives rationalize, then just think how bad things will get for Obama in three more years!

However, it is in large part because of these apparent realities that Obama is as near a lock for re-election as one could be at this point in a new administration.

Think of it this way: Obama is a like a football team that has turned the ball over three times and had absolutely nothing go right and yet is still somehow up by a touchdown at the end of the first quarter and is facing an opponent with very few viable stars. How often is that team going to lose? Now think about how often that team loses when they have most of the referees (the media) on the take?

Even taking into account his very worst numbers, Obama’s approval ratings are still better than Bush 43’s were when he was re-elected and yet it is difficult to imagine how the past year could have gone worse for him politically. And I am not just talking about zero accomplishments and a lousy economy. Obama has survived several “a-ha!” moments that could have easily (and perhaps to some extent already have) resonated with the all-important “ignorant independent” voter who couldn’t tell you who the Vice President is.

There was the “throw like a girl” first pitch at the all star game followed by the alleged long-time White Sox fan not being able to tell Bob Costas the proper name of their old baseball field. Then, on live national TV in primetime, he called a white police officer “stupid” and implied he was racist without knowing what the heck he was talking about. Similarly, he was forced to get rid of racial radical and 9/11 conspiracy nut Van Jones as his head of green jobs. Then he put the prestige of the Presidency on the line and got humiliated by the International Olympic Committee while badly failing to bring home an Olympics few people seemed to really want.

These are the types of episodes that the “average” American can understand and yet, despite all of them (which, thanks to his allies in the press, I am sure have been fully absorbed by far less than 50% of the adult population), his approval ratings are still well above the critical level. If he isn’t well below 50 percent now, when the heck will he be?!

>>>Next: The most frustrating part of it all…

HBO Premieres Obama Campaign Documentary on Election Day

mainimage_premiere_novideo On Election Day this Tuesday, HBO will premiere By The People, which chronicles Barack Obama’s campaign to win the presidency of the United States.

Ed Norton, who produced the film, called it “a document of what the internal reality of the movement was,” and not so much of a juicy behind-the-scenes exposé. The New York TimesBrian Stelter called the film “One of the most candid reflections yet of what happened to Mr. Obama during the 2008 presidential election campaign and what it signified for the United States.”

And what better time to summon the energy and excitement of last fall than Election Day, one year later, as Obama seems increasingly slow to act and his legislative initiatives are slow and stalling.

In the film, which premieres at 9 pmET on HBO, we meet a whole host of characters, including Edith Childs, the city councilwoman from South Carolina who was the inspiration for Obama’s recurring ‘fired-up, ready-to-go‘ pep talk. From Mediate columnist Katie Baker’s review of By The People:

We meet Tommy Vietor, the baby-faced Iowa press secretary, and Ronnie Cho, the son of Korean immigrants who throughout the course of the film rivaled me in tears shed. We meet the people — David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs — whose names flooded the news and our email inboxes. And we meet, in intimate, backstage detail, Senator Barack Obama.

Read Mediaite columnist Katie Baker’s review A Race Remembered: Obama Doc, By The People [Mediaite]

Watch clips from HBO’s By the People [HBO]
Read Brian Stelter’s review of By the People [NYT]

White House Releases Obama’s Visitor Log (Hello, William Ayers?)

obamafirstday Oprah. Lloyd Blankfein. Serena Williams. Michael Jordan. Vikram Pandit. George Clooney. Al Gore. Al Franken.

No, not the invite list to the coolest party of all time. Just a few of the characters who have shot the bull (and maybe worked out a few deals) in the Oval Office with President Obama since he took office in January.

According to the White House, no administration has ever released a roster of the president’s visitors until now. The White House posted the list on its ">website after over 100 requests for disclosure, and the administration promises that it will continue to share visitor information regularly beginning in December. Continue reading "White House Releases Obama’s Visitor Log (Hello, William Ayers?)"

White House Now Media Police For The World?

white-house-new-mediaFor the last three weeks or so pretty much the only topic of conversation in media circles has been the White House’s ‘war’ on Fox News. If indeed the goal of the White House was to distract both Fox News, and the media in general, from relentlessly attacking the Health Care Bill than, voila, mission accomplished! We have a health care bill. There has been nary a tea partier, or death paneler on Fox in the interim. Enter, the White House truce with Fox. Maybe. But also enter a much larger problem.

From the beginning, the ultimate danger of allowing the White House to take on a news organization the way it has with Fox, is that it has now set a precedent. One that they apparently have no qualms about extending. Does the public really want its president determining what news is fit to consume?

Earlier this week Valerie Jarret told CNN that the White House’s was not just taking on Fox, but anyone who spreads false news. This week that apparently includes both the AP and the “highly-respected and influential car site” for an analysis piece they did on ‘cash for clunkers.’ You can read the White House blog rebuttal “Busy Covering Car Sales on Mars, Gets It Wrong (Again) on Cash for Clunkers” here. Starting to sound like a bit of a disturbing trend, no?

The White House is on a slippery slope, here. What’s next? A re-edit of the NYT? Perhaps a vetting of the Nightly News? The Internet has certainly made it possible for anyone to become a media watchdog, but it is not the White House’s responsibility to be approving our news for us. Ever. There are a lot of things the White House should be policing, our media is not one of them. Ten Glenn Beck’s will always be preferable to a media comprised of all the news the White House sees fit to print.

Mediaite Presents: Halloween Costumes Ripped From The Headlines

So it’s the day before Halloween, and you don’t have a costume. You were going to be Kanye West, but the friend you were counting on to be your Taylor Swift got swine flu at the last minute. Then, it was going to be Sarah Palin, until you remembered that that’s what you were last year. Then, you were going to dress up as Balloon Boy, but you realized that all of your friends, neighbors, and extended family members were planning to as well. What to do?

Fortunately, Mediaite has come up with some costume suggestions for you. Pulled straight from the headlines, these are guaranteed to be hits:

Barack Obama, According to Glenn Beck’s Imagination


For obvious reasons, the current president of the United States is likely to be a popular Halloween costume this year. But beyond form-fitting Hart Schaffner Marx suits, the challenge remains: How is a trick-or-treater supposed to pull off the look?

Fortunately, cable pundit/voice of reason Glenn Beck is on the case. A well-executed Obama according to Glenn Beck’s imagination should wear a Che Guevara t-shirt, a Hitler mustache, and a Soviet-style ushanka, preferably bearing a red hammer-and-sickle. Gasoline can for torching the Average American optional.

Barack Obama, According to Keith Olbermann’s Imagination

barack-obama angel

Cable pundit/voice of reason Keith Olbermann, on the other hand, might have slightly different ideas about what constitutes a good Obama costume. Olbermann’s Obama should have billowy, flowing wings, a resplendent halo, and, if budget allows, a heavenly host of sanctified Cabinet appointees carrying blazing swords and playing gleaming trumpets, singing the praise of the anointed one, and also mentioning offhandedly that Bush kind of sucked.

Summer of Death


Year-by-year, the Grim Reaper is always a popular Halloween costume, particularly among people who don’t have any costume ideas when they go to Party City on October 30th and kind of just phone it in. But coming off the Summer of Death, the costume has a special resonance this year. A (sexy) black hood, (sexy) black robe, and (sexy) blood-dripping scythe are of course mandatory, but how to work in the contemporary angle? It would probably be in poor taste to carry photos of Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Farrah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, etc. A safer bet might be to carry around copies of expired mags Gourmet, TrumpVibe, Nickelodeon Magazine, etc.

Levi Johnston


Last year’s Levi costume would have been an awkward suit and a hockey stick, but this year it’s much different — now that he’s an aspiring male model. Sarah Palin’s former-almost-son-in-law is promising to reveal “huge” things about the former VP candidate, but the big news is his upcoming spread in Playgirl. For this popular costume, just wear briefs and bask in your 15 minutes of fame (briefs optional).

Next Page: Great newsy group costumes, and a twist on the Andre Agassi look

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan: Swine Flu Part Of Obama Conspiracy

billy-corganIs Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan trying to get into politics or perhaps auditioning for a leadership role in a right-wing conspiracy group? Because judging by the current political temperature his latest blog post might make for a quick entree into the world of birthers and death panelists. That said, one supposes it was only a matter of time before someone made the leap from Glenn Beck’s sort of assertion that the Government is looking to create swine flu concentration camps to the idea that swine flu is part of some Barack Obama conspiracy. This from Corgan’s blog.

I have friends that have gotten the swine flu. All of them told me they felt very, very sick, and that it was awful. So I’m not in any way suggesting that the H1N1 virus is not real…I would suggest however that it is possible the virus is not a naturally occurring virus. I have read reports from people who say (as doctors) that there is evidence to suggest this virus was created by man; to call it Swine Flu is then a misnomer, as it really is Swine Flu plus some other stuff stitched together. These doctors said such genetic mutation was impossible in nature.

Why might a man create a swine flu virus?

I say ‘propaganda’ because, in my heart, there is something mighty suspicious about declaring an emergency for something that has yet to show itself to be a grand pandemic. Our American President Obama has declared a national emergency about this virus, which he in his own words said was, at this point, a preventative measure. So, why declare an emergency if there isn’t one?…in our fear, we attract the worst, and, in conjunction with that, how those fears are used by others without integrity to try to create a power against Us to promote discomfort and dis-ease.

Ah yes, the power of fear in political matters! Also, there is a bunch of stuff about mandatory vaccinations. Not to rain on Corgan’s swine flu truther parade, but so far the vaccine has only been made mandatory for some U.S. health-care workers (who aren’t necessarily happy about it), but not for the general public. Even if it was — and if it was, you would have heard a much louder outcry long before now — there is not enough to go around, meaning that among other things by declaring this a national emergancy Obama may have actually made his life more difficult. In a sort of related side note, some what more grounded in reality, many New York City parents are apparently opting out of swine flu vaccinations.

New Book Reveals: Obama Campaign Thought Sarah Palin ‘Thin On Substance,’ Great ‘Performer’

MCCain Veepstakes PalinSarah Palin’s public will have to wait a few more weeks to discover what the former Governor of Alaska has to say about all things Palin, but in the meantime perhaps they can feast upon a few interesting details from David Plouffe’s new book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory.

Plouffe was Obama’s campaign manager during the 2008 election and judging from the excerpts that have been thus far released, it promises to be an interesting read. One of the tidbits getting a lot of coverage today is the fact that Obama very seriously considered choosing Hillary Clinton for VP before opting for Joe Biden (who apparently launched into a 20 minute monologue during their first meeting).

However, it is this passage about Sarah Palin (in which, Anita Dunn makes a guest appearance!), that caught the eye. Primarily because the Obama team was so silent on the Palin phenomenon while it was happening that it’s fascinating to get a glimpse of what they were thinking at the time, but also because it suggests how they might deal with her going forward as she reinserts herself back in the national conversation. Interestingly, the consensus at the time was that Palin was “clearly not up to this moment…but bound to be a compelling player and a real headliner in the weeks ahead.”

“With the Palin pick, [Senator McCain] had completely undermined his core argument against us. Worse yet for McCain, he would look inherently political in doing so. His strength—and the threat he posed to us—was rooted in the fact that many independent voters believed in his maverick reputation and believed he did not make his decisions by prioritizing politics over what was right. I guessed people would view this choice more as a political stunt than a sound, reasoned call. On our 6:00 a.m. conference call, [campaign adviser] Anita Dunn, who had worked against Palin in Alaska in the 2006 governor’s race, warned us that she was a formidable political talent—clearly not up to this moment, she assured us, but bound to be a compelling player and a real headliner in the weeks ahead. ‘All of you on this call should watch video of her debates and speeches,’ Dunn counseled. ‘The substance is thin, but she’s a very able performer. And her story is out of Hollywood. She’ll be a phenomenon for a while.’ …

“Obama and I had a long talk late that afternoon to evaluate Palin. ‘I just don’t understand how this ends up working out for McCain,’ he said. ‘In the long term, I mean. The short term will be good for them. But when voters step back and analyze how he made this decision, I think he’s going to be in big trouble. You just can’t wing something like this—it’s too important. … I think we just need to sit back and play our game,’ said Obama. ‘It actually won’t be bad to be off-Broadway for a few days. We should just leave her out of the equation. This is a race between John McCain and me. To the extent we talk about Palin, I think it should be about the differences in our selection processes—it illuminates differences in how we’d make decisions in the White House.’”

(h/t Playbook)