Election 2008: November 2008 Archives

Change? Not so much

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Hot Air has a clip of President-elect Obama's press confference, in which he was asked about the number of retreads from the Clinton administration that he's appointing to his own cabinet:

[Obama] has The Vision. It's just that The Vision happens to involve lots and lots of Clinton appointees, with an occasional Bush appointee and negligent Wall Street supervisor tossed in.

Victor Davis Hanson at NRO:

We should all let President-elect Obama have some honeymoon time, but that said, so far the sudden cessation in 'hope and change' that became part of the American mindset for two years is surreal, and one of the most remarkable developments in recent American political history. Obama's Clintonite appointments, his reliance on those well-known DC fixtures credentialed by Ivy League Law Schools, and his apparent backtracking on radical tax hikes on the "wealthy", instantaneous shut-down of Gitmo, prompt withdrawal from Iraq, and repeal of anti-terror legislation seem to have delighted conservatives, relieved that the Daily Kos and Huffington Post are not calling the shots. But two minor points, it is still November, not late January. So no one knows anything yet and we should suspend judgement, despite the FDR and Lincoln daily comparisons.

Second, if we should see in January that the government really does not want to evict Khalid Sheik Mohammed & co. from Guantanamo, and does want to stay in Iraq until 2011 to finish up, and does want to let the present tax code ride for a bit, and does want to leave most Bush-enacted homeland security measures in place, then Obama has not merely embarrassed his hard-left base, but has terribly humiliated the media as well.

(Via Ace.)

Harry Payne on NRO:

Now we know why Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is on President-elect Barack Obama's economic policy team. Judging by Obama's Saturday economic address, he plans to address the nation's ills with the same inept policies Granholm has championed for the last six years here in Michigan....

The result has been a Michigan economy that has drowned under Granholm's watch, with unemployment tripling to a nation-leading 9.3 percent at the same time that Michigan's debilitating economic fundamentals -- high taxes and overgenerous concessions to organized labor -- have gone unaddressed. Granholm, however, has missed few opportunities for photo ops touting the companies that have benefiited from her tax handouts or her road-construction spending.

And she has landed a key position in Obama's transition team, where she and the president-elect apparently agree that Granholmnomics is America's future.

(Via Ace.)

From the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire:

During an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Obama economic adviser William Daley suggested that the incoming administration would reconsider whether to quickly increase taxes for Americans earning more than $250,000 per year.

Daly, who was commerce secretary under former President Bill Clinton and is the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daly, said it looks "more likely than not" that Obama would not seek legislation to repeal President George W. Bush's cut in the tax rate for the wealthiest Americans before it is scheduled to expire after the 2010 tax year. Bush cut the top rate to 35% from 39.6% in 2001.

Obama had promised to restore the top tax rate to its earlier level, while cutting taxes for the middle class.

Via Drew M. at Ace of Spades HQ, who writes:

Apparently it turns out raising taxes is bad for the economy. Who knew?

...it's funny how the facts of life are slapping The One in the face so soon after the election. It's almost as if a lot of what he said was just crap to get dumb people to vote for him.

Robert Stacy McCain predicts fallout:

Obama gained his margin of victory in large measure by enlisting the support of the disengaged, the disaffected and those too young to know better. Voters under 30 -- who weren't yet in high school when Bill Clinton was elected -- went for Obama by a 2-to-1 margin. Many of these young Obama supporters will be among the first to feel the shock of discovering how wide is the chasm that separates their Hope from any Change that Obama can actually accomplish.

Already, their disillusionment is beginning, the Internet rumbling with discontent as Obama staffs his administration with Washington insiders, Clinton cronies and even, perhaps, Hillary Clinton herself. Many more will be disheartened to discover that there is no magic in Obama's economic plan, a patchwork of warmed-over Keynesian "pump-priming" claptrap as stale as the memory of Hubert Humphrey.

Exactly how soon will the disappointments become sufficient to begin turning former believers into ex-Democrats? It's hard to tell. But it is nonetheless certain that many who voted for Obama will either stay home on Election Day 2010 or vote Republican, and still more will defect by 2012. And unless Obama starts making Peggy Joseph's mortgage and car payments, even she may eventually abandon Hope.

From Mark Evanier:

Didn't some of us vote for Barack Obama in the primaries because we didn't want Hillary Clinton managing U.S. foreign affairs?

Today at 11:30, at the Summit Club in the Bank of America Building downtown (6th and Boulder -- the Fourth National Bank building for us old-timers), pollster Pat McFerron, Matt Pinnell of the Oklahoma Republican Party, and I will discuss the election results.

Lunch is $18.00 for members and $20 for non-members. Membership is $25 for the year. Free parking in the Bank of America building garage.

Catching up with links -- I had two pieces in last week's Urban Tulsa Weekly.

My Cityscope column dealt with E-Tickets -- why the Tulsa Police Department needs the electronic citation system advocated by Councilor John Eagleton, and what's the hold up to getting it funded.

Here are some earlier stories about E-Tickets:

Also in last week's issue was a feature story with my post-election analysis, covering the Tulsa County Commission District 2 race, the Republican successes in the State Legislature and Corporation Commission, and the re-election of Sen. Jim Inhofe (while noting the strange undervote in the U. S. Senate race) and Congressman John Sullivan. I took a look at the swath of counties, stretching from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma, that gave more votes to the Republican presidential nominee this year than in 2004, and noted the connection to the lands of Ulster-Americans, aka the Scotch-Irish. I closed by suggesting that Republicans may want to adapt the British Conservative Party's Campaign North, their successful effort to rebuild their party in the north of England, where they had been nearly wiped out by the Labour Party.

A few links related to that last point:

On election day, a documentary crew interviewed people who had just voted for Barack Obama to get a sense of what messages about the candidates had reached them. The video revealed that these voters had heard plenty about Sarah Palin's wardrobe and her daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy, but they were unaware of even more embarrassing or damaging information about Obama or running mate Joe Biden. The voters, who were "chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience," were read statements and asked to identify to which one of the four presidential and vice-presidential nominees the statement pertained.

The video quiz was followed up with a scientific poll by the Zogby organization, asking the same questions of 512 Obama voters nationwide. Only 2.4% correctly answered at least 11 of the 12 multiple choice questions.

The interviews and polling data are research for a documentary, "How Obama Got Elected." Click that link to learn more and keep track of the project's progress.

(Via Wizbang.)

My election day

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In case you were wondering:

6:00 am -- Up after a night of tossing and turning, during which I dream of total on-air collapse: I don't get my database stuff finished, I can't keep up with the precincts as they come in, I have nothing coherent to say.

6:20 am -- I call in to the KRMG Morning News for a preview of election night coverage. Not one of my better interviews. As soon as I hang up, I notice that I'm sitting slumped over -- not good. I guess I've lost the knack of being "up" and "on," as I used to have to be every Tuesday morning on KFAQ.

8:00 am -- I deliver my daughter to school. I scratch my neck and discover that, although I put on Lectric Shave before I left, I had forgotten to shave. I head home to get my electric razor, use it, and take it with me for a touch up in the late afternoon.

8:15 am -- Work. Try, try, try to focus, focus, focus. Fail.

12:50 pm -- I take the afternoon off, leave work, and head to my precinct to vote.

1:05 pm -- No line at the polls as such. Three people are already voting, another one or two come in behind me. My two ballots are counted as numbers 1085 and 1086, cast just after the midpoint of election day.

1:20 pm -- Drop off watch at the On the Spot shop in Promenade; have lunch in the food court while they put in a new battery. For the first time since I used to sing with Coventry Chorale, I have to think: What can I eat that will (1) not come back to haunt me five hours from now, (2) not gum up my voice, and (3) give me enough energy to get through the day? I opt for kung pao and bourbon chicken over noodles.

2:00 pm -- At the Coffee House on Cherry Street, I'm working as fast as I can to finish up the Microsoft Access entry form, queries, and reports that I'll use to help me compare precinct results to previous elections. I've already imported results from the 2004 elections, the 2006 Mayor's race, the 2006 Third Penny, and the 2007 River Tax vote. I have three hours to learn and use some unfamiliar Access features. I've used Access plenty in the past to create and query databases, but I usually export the data and parse it through Perl or manipulate it in Excel to see percentages and do comparisons. Tonight I won't have the time for that, so I need reports that will instantly tell me what I need to know.

As I'm testing my queries, it becomes clear that Sen. Tom Coburn's 2004 election will be the clearest benchmark for Sally Bell's chances. Coburn lost County Commission District 2, but not by much, largely because of crossover voters in the Midtown Money Belt, who tend to prefer a Democrat who's one of their own (Brad Carson lived in Maple Ridge before moving to Claremore to run for Congress) over a populist Republican. Bell would need to outperform Coburn, holding on to Republicans outside of Midtown and picking up enough anti-tax Democrats to make up for the loss of the Money Belt Republicans to Karen Keith.

5:30 pm -- A quick stop at the 11th and Utica QT for a bottle of Coke Zero and a couple of pepperoni and sausage stuffed breadsticks, which I fail to notice are behind the "Still cooking" sign. (Ewwww.) My wife happens to be at one of the gas pumps, filling up before she picks up our daughter from her piano lesson. I say hi to her and the two boys. They'll go to the Republican watch party for a couple of hours while I'm broadcasting. (Later in the evening, I'll get a text message from my wife saying that the kids are pretty upset over the election results. The 12-year-old has become a Mark Levin fan -- he downloads his free podcasts to his iPod every night.)

5:45 pm -- After choking down two slightly doughy and lukewarm breadsticks, I arrive in the News on 6 lot. I'm let in along with the Mazzio's delivery guys, which means the breadsticks were totally unnecessary. I find my spot, unpack my laptop, and begin to get situated. Steve Schroeder, the news operations manager for KOTV, gets me set up with their result tracking software and looks for some headphones so I can hear the feed from KRMG. I grab a couple of pieces of pizza.

6:00 pm -- KRMG coverage begins. I open the chatroom. Still no headphones, so I try to listen online. I keep an eye on a couple of news sites for early results from the East Coast.

6:31 pm -- I'm all wired up and ready to go. Spend the rest of the hour in the chat room and watching early returns. I see Terry Hood and Scott Thompson zip by in my peripheral vision as they go to and from the studio to do their local segments.

7:16 pm -- The first batch of precinct results are handed to me. News on 6 staff are taking calls from runners in the field, writing down results on paper, then entering them into the tracking system. Once they're in the tracking system, however, you can't get the individual precinct data back out, and that's what I need. So Gary Kruse collects the processed precinct sheets and brings them to me, where I enter them into my Access database. Last Friday, when I came by to check things out, I got a copy of the precinct sheet from Steve, so I laid out the entry form identically to the sheet to make it easy to enter and doublecheck the data.

Every half hour, after the national segment with ABC Radio, Joe Kelley does a brief segment each with me, Elaine Dodd at the Democratic watch party at the TWU hall, and Don Burdick at the Republican watch party at the Crowne Plaza. I'm impressed with both Don and Elaine, who manage to say something interesting and new during each break. Joe does a great job of directing traffic and keeping the broadcast moving. Never a dull moment.

(I'm still amused to hear Elaine talking up Karen Keith, when you know that Karen will put another county tax on the ballot of the sort Elaine and I have joined together to fight in the past. And if I hear Elaine say that Oklahoma is "ruby red" one more time....)

There's no music in the background at the Democratic party, but when Joe cuts to Don, you can hear the Rockin' Acoustic Circus playing their blend of bluegrass, country, and western swing.

My Access reports work as hoped. Early on I can see that Sally Bell is lagging Coburn's 2004 performance by 5 to 6 percent -- not a good sign. Good numbers for her in Jenks and Glenpool and some Sand Springs precincts, but not good enough. The street tax report shows me that both taxes are passing in every City Council district, a clear sign that both measures will win big. If a tax is passing by a slim margin in east and north Tulsa, it's passing with at least 60% citywide. I'm also watching the result tracking program for the statewide and legislative races.

When I'm not on the air, I'm entering data as fast as I can, using a numeric keypad I bought last week. Sheets are piling up, but I sort them to get the precincts in CCD 2, Senate 37, and the City of Tulsa entered first. (It's quickly apparent that Dan Newberry has blown Nancy Riley clean out of the water.)

At one point (about 9?) the control room calls to ask if I have data on the Rogers County races. There's nothing in the results tracking software, so I call and let them know. A few minutes later I find some results and call back, but I missed the window -- they've gone back to national coverage. I post the results in the chat room -- a good thing, because, when I finally get the chance to talk about the results, I can't find the original webpage among all the tabs I had open, so I have to resort to what I posted. It was my only real bobble of the night, thankfully.

I am rooted to my chair from about 6:30 until about 10:40, either chatting online, entering data, or talking on air. My final slot comes around 10:30, delayed because of McCain's concession speech. I keep entering data while I'm waiting for my turn. The final slot is a chance to mention any story that we've overlooked, so I congratulate Dana Murphy for an apparent and long-overdue victory in her race for Corporation Commission.

Thus ends my first paid radio gig. I stuck around a bit longer to finish entering the last few sheets as I listened to Obama's victory speech. In the end, the KRMG/KOTV team's runners had fetched results from 215 of 267 precincts in Tulsa County -- pretty impressive. I close out the message board -- "Everyone out of the pool!"

11:05 pm -- I'm packed up, and ready to head out the door. I head over to the Crowne Plaza to meet up with the remnants of the Republican watch party. I hang out for a couple of hours, as we rehash the results, swap campaign stories, toast the humiliating defeat of Georgetown Georgianna, and watch anxiously to see if Minnesota really is crazy enough to elect Stuart Smalley to the U. S. Senate.

1:00 am -- Off to the house. Everyone is asleep. I spend another hour checking e-mail and doing a little websurfing. In bed a bit after 2:00 am.

The national outcome and the county commission race were disappointing, but not entirely unexpected. The state results were encouraging. From a personal perspective, as a lifelong news junkie and radio wannabe, I thoroughly enjoyed spending election night in a newsroom with a stack of results to analyze and a chance to talk politics on the radio.

One-man global content provider Mark Steyn says we haven't been fighting the war for hearts and minds:

It was in many ways the final battle in a war the Republican Party didn't even bother fighting -- the "long march through the institutions." While the Senator certainly enjoyed the patronage of the Chicago machine, he is not primarily a political figure.... He emerged rather from all the cultural turf the GOP largely abandoned during its 30-year winning streak at the ballot box, and his victory demonstrates the folly of assuming that folks will continue to pull the lever for guys with an R after their name every other November even as all the other institutions in society become de facto liberal one-party states.

....Go into almost any American grade-school and stroll the corridors: you'll find the walls lined with Sharpie-bright supersized touchy-feely abstractions: "RESPECT," "DREAM," "TOGETHER," "DIVERSITY." By contrast, Mister Maverick talked of "reaching across the aisle" and ending "earmarks," which may sound heroic in Washington but ring shriveled and reductive to anyone who's not obsessed with legislative process. This dead language embodied the narrow sliver of turf on which he was fighting, while Obama was bestriding the broader cultural space. Republicans need to start their own long march back through all the institutions they ceded. Otherwise, the default mode of this society will be liberal, and what's left of the Republican party will be reduced (as in other parts of the west) to begging the electorate for the occasional opportunity to prove it can run the liberal state just as well as liberals can.

The latter being the fate of, e.g., the Conservative Party in the UK.

On The Corner, Steyn raises a related point

Acorn is still a disgusting organization and Obama's fundraising fraud is still outrageous. But nobody wants to hear that now. The problem for us is more basic - the Dems control the language on such issues ("count every vote", etc), and they're much better at demonizing. Why did McCain talk about Ayers but not even mention Wright? Because he was terrified someone would point a finger and cry "Racist!" And in four years' time the Democrats' media-cultural-organizational advantage on such subjects will likely be even greater.

From Sen. Tom Coburn's office today. Pay special attention to the bits I highlighted:

On November 4, the American people had the opportunity to choose between two candidates with the character and temperament to be not just good presidents but great presidents. John McCain ran the best campaign he could in a very difficult environment and he showed the country, once again, with his moving and gracious concession speech, what it means for a statesman and leader to put the interests of America and the next generation ahead of his own self-interest.

Barack Obama's election last night was an historic victory not for any party or ideology but for America's aspiration to be a country where anything is possible, and where all men are created equal. His election also was a victory for democracy. Even if many Americans don't like the electoral results, his campaign proved that when the American people are inspired and mobilize they can seize the reins of government and demand change.

Our president-elect offered an olive branch to Republicans last night to "heal the divides that have held back progress." We would be wise to accept his offer, roll up our sleeves and work together on areas where we can agree. The unmistakable mandate everyone in public office can take from this election is that it's time to define a "new kind of politics" with our actions, not just our words. The space between the parties is a vast frontier of consensus and possibility. The American people have always called this area "common sense." It's time for elected officials to put aside their careerist aspirations in service to this ideal.

Conservatives should be reassured that our president-elect did not seek an ideological mandate in this election, nor did he receive one. The failure of the Republican Party in this election does not represent the failure of conservatism, but of the big government Republicanism that took over our party in 1996. Had the Republican Party not governed as the party of socialism-lite for the past 12 years, our candidates' concerns about the excessive spending on the other side would have had more relevance.

Republican efforts to build a governing majority through spending and earmarks have ended in disgrace. The Republican Party can either restore its identity as the party of limited government or go the way of the Whigs. When Republicans decide to come home to the timeless conservatism present at our founding, the conservatism of Abraham Lincoln - which our president-elect graciously acknowledged last night - and the conservatism of Ronald Reagan that won the Cold War and led to unprecedented prosperity, they know where to find us.

Post-dated to remain at the top through Election Day; revised for the final day of voting. Skip down for new entries.

Even if you live in a solidly Republican or Democrat state, you can still make a difference in the outcome of the presidential race. You can also make a difference in close down-ballot races where you live. Your help is needed anytime today or tomorrow, until the polls close.

You can make phone calls to undecided voters in swing states on behalf of the McCain-Palin campaign. Most mobile phone plans make it as cheap to call cross-country as to call someone in your own hometown. Even taking 20 minutes to call 20 voters can make an impact.

Gabriel Malor has some good, practical advice for callers -- it'll help you be more comfortable, confident, and effective in talking to voters (or their answering machines). The keys: Fit the script to your personality, identify yourself by name and as a volunteer, smile and sit up straight, or better yet stand up, to put energy in your voice.

There's still a need here for helpers in Tulsa County, too. While McCain & Palin, Inhofe, and Sullivan appear to be in good shape (although we'd like to see them win by big margins), Tulsa County will be key to electing the eminently qualified Dana Murphy to the Corporation Commission, giving Republicans control of the State Senate, expanding the GOP majority in the State House, and electing the only candidate for Tulsa County Commission who has promised not to try to raise your taxes, Sally Bell. There's growing enthusiasm for the McCain-Palin ticket, but some Republican voters need to an extra reminder to vote. Here in Tulsa you can call 918-344-6566 to volunteer to help get out the vote.

Election day links

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Tune in tonight to News Talk 740 KRMG starting at 6 to hear my analysis of the precinct-by-precinct results as they come it from across Tulsa County.

Bloggers from coast to coast (and beyond) are writing about the election.

Let's begin with a prayer for the day and for the nation, from the 1928 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, courtesy of see-dubya:

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

see-dubya has further thoughts worth reading about Obama and his vow to "fundamentally transform" the United States of America.

(Silly me, I thought he was supposed to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, not remodel it.)

Michelle Malkin has a list of Senate, House, and Governor races to watch, along with important ballot initiatives dealing with racial preferences, wind power, marriage, and abortion. We'll find out tonight whether Taxachusetts will vote to phase out their personal income tax.

Eric G of the Tygrrrr Express has wise words for both nominees in the form of open letters to both John McCain and Barack Obama.

Mark Steyn says to expect dire rumors claiming to be exit poll leaks. Ignore them (and the exit poll results, which in years past have wildly overestimate Democratic support), vote anyway, and wait for the real returns to come in before drawing conclusions. Wizbang supplies a McCain campaign memo about exit poll results in previous elections.

Political numbers-cruncher Sean Malstrom says Obama's late visits to Iowa mean he's toast. The travel patterns of the presidential campaigns reveal a much different view of the race, based on the two campaigns' internal polling, compared to the public polls. Malstrom has some interesting observations on how the Obama campaign has used friendly media to push the inevitability message, going all the way back to the primaries. He also demolishes the core assumptions of the supposedly neutral polling analysis websites. He explains why Pennsylvania is going red and explains why people in that highly unionized state lie to pollsters.

Election Journal is watching voter fraud and irregularity issues across the country. They have this remarkable report that the publisher of the Kansas City Star is registered to vote in Missouri and Kansas.

At Ace's place, Slublog gives the number to report voter fraud, irregularities, or suspicious behavior.


American Thinker has a great analogy piece about a job interview: "Would You Hire This Man?" (Hat tip to Tyson Wynn.)

Tulsa Chiggers sounds the battle cry for the District 2 Tulsa County Commission race: "Remember Bell's!"

Finally, a couple of reminders of God's sovereignty in all things, including elections. From Southern Baptist pastor Tyson Wynn:

What we do know is this: Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords regardless of who resides on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Capitol City. Christianity flourished under Nero, and it can flourish under the worst the world can throw at us now. To be brutally honest, a little persecution can sometimes be good for genuine faith. As Christian citizens, we can never give up the fight for influence in the political realm, but we must recommit ourselves to the personal salvation of lost souls. When God changes hearts, He changes motives and ideals. People with changed hearts, motives, and ideals tend to elect better representatives. We look forward to the Government of Christ, of which there will be no end. And we're thankful that there will always be an end to the government we elect here below.

Steve Kellmeyer has a guest post at Dawn Eden's place titled "Catholics: Be joyful!", but all Christians should take what he says to heart. He begins with the Apostle Paul's command in I Thessalonians:

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."--1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We don't have to be happy, we do have to be joyful.

Being happy is being comfortable, healthy and well-fed.
Being joyful is knowing that God's plan is being worked out,
and our obedience and submission to it contributes to His glory.

He concludes with the ancient hymn, Te Deum laudamus (We praise Thee, O God), an anthem of God's glory and sovereignty which concludes with a prayer for His protection of His people.

People ask me how they should vote tomorrow. Here's the short version:

Vote for all the REPUBLICANS.
Vote FOR all the State Questions.
Vote AGAINST all the judges.

On the street tax, I plan to vote FOR the sales tax extension (Prop. 1) and AGAINST the general obligation bond issue (Prop. 2). The sales tax extension includes money (not as much as I'd like) for paving, and the sales tax allows some flexibility, so that the City Council could (via the Brown Ordinance process) move some non-street projects to a later time while moving paving earlier. This approach also avoids raising overall tax rates and leaves the door open to implement the Yazel plan to reduce the dedicated property taxes for overfunded agencies and make that money available for more immediate public purposes.

Some links to my columns on the candidates and ballot items:

My debate with Elaine Dodd, in which we discuss the races for President, U. S. Senate, the 1st Congressional District, the County Commission race, and the Senate District 27 race (I'm supporting McCain, Inhofe, Sullivan, Bell, and Newberry, respectively.)
Dana Murphy for Corporation Commissioner.
Sally Bell for Tulsa County Commissioner, District 2.
State questions and judicial retention ballot
Street tax (October 15)
Street tax (October 29)

Scroll down the home page for more commentary on the election.

Here's some information about voting, with links to the Tulsa County Election Board website, a precinct locator, sample ballots, and how to do early voting (you have until 6 p.m. Monday for that).

Here's the League of Women Voters Tulsa website, with links to voting information and (in PDF format) their voter's guide to the candidates and ballot issues.

Here's the Oklahomans for Life website and their compilation of candidate responses to their survey.

Here's the Oklahoma Family Policy Council website and their compilation of candidate responses to their survey.

Fearing an election-losing gaffe, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama today banned himself from talking to the press about substantive issues until after the election. Previously, his vice presidential running mate Joe Biden and his wife Michelle Obama were muzzled to prevent more campaign damage.

Should I hold my breath waiting for Peggy Noonan, Christopher Buckley, Rod Dreher, Kathleen Parker, et al., to express outrage or "deep concern" at Obama's refusal/inability to face tough questions?

"Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." -- Barack Obama to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, January 2008, at about 40 minutes, 30 seconds into the video.

From a January 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board:

Let me sort of describe my overall policy.

What I've said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else's out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I've said with respect to coal, I haven't been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It's just that it will bankrupt them.

It will also bankrupt the coal mining and processing companies in America and the people who work for them. It will make the United States more dependent on foreign sources of energy, and it will make all energy more expensive. That's already on its way for Oklahoma consumers, since Oklahoma Corporation Commissioners Jim Roth and Jeff Cloud voted to kill the Red Rock coal-fired electricity plant that had been proposed by PSO and OG+E.

One of Roth's supporters, commenting on my UTW column about the Corporation Commission race, wrote that Roth was going to focus on getting Oklahomans to reduce their own usage, rather than making electricity more available and less expensive.

Jim Roth, in his official statement for voting against the Red Rock coal-fired power plant, stated that he deemed it important to first address energy demand before continuing to increase energy supply, especially when in costs billions of rate-payers money. He soon initiated a demand-side management program to help us all lower our energy use.

Oklahoma currently ranks 47th in promoting energy conservation and efficiency. This proves we have much room to progress and improve in our energy use practices and behaviors. The OCC is currently completing their demand-side management (DSM) collaboration. It's main goal is to offset our excessive energy demand by improving efficiency in our homes and businesses, somewhat negating the NEED for another plant, a plant that would be fueled with dirty coal from Wyoming.

Along with cleaner air and water and lower monthly utility bills, these demand-side management programs are a great source of local green-job creation.

In fact, Roth and Cloud's vote against the Red Rock plant will cost ratepayers billions of dollars in the aggregate.

Worse yet, Oklahoma loses a selling point for attracting industry to the state: Plentiful and relatively inexpensive electricity.

"Local green-job creation," which would involve selling energy-saving devices to Oklahomans, and thus sending money from Oklahomans to the out-of-state or out-of-country manufacturers of those devices, can't hold a candle to manufacturing plants or massive server farms providing goods and services to the rest of the world and bringing money to Oklahoma as payroll.

Whatever Obama gives you with his ever-dwindling middle-class tax cut, he will take away through higher energy costs. Whatever Jim Roth is saving you by counting paperclips, he's costing you far more in higher energy costs and lost job opportunities.

Audio of Obama from his January interview, after the jump.

Even if you live in a solidly Republican or Democrat state, you can still make a difference in the outcome of the presidential race. You can also make a difference in close down-ballot races where you live.

Volunteers are still needed to distribute Republican campaign literature around Tulsa County on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. You'll be hanging bags of campaign flyers on doorknobs, so it's great for shy people. Call 918-344-6566 to volunteer.

You can make phone calls to undecided voters in swing states on behalf of the McCain-Palin campaign. Most mobile phone plans make it as cheap to call cross-country as to call someone in your own hometown. Even taking 20 minutes to call 20 voters can make an impact.

Gabriel Malor has been making calls, and he has some good, practical advice to pass along:

Get the names and numbers from the McCain/Palin website. Call in between loads of laundry. Call while you're waiting for dinner to be done. Call after you put the tot down for her afternoon nap. Do what I did and call while you're blogging....

Don't worry about the self-important, low-level RNC dweeb insisting that the script is sacred. It's stilted and unwieldy. Nobody talks like the provided script and people react less warmly if they can hear you reading. Memorize, simplify, don't read it; just talk.

Tell them your first name and say you are a volunteer.

On demeanor, courtesy of RayJ:

Smile when you talk. Even if they can't see you they can tell.

Several folks also suggested standing up while making the calls.

I had never heard that last idea, but it makes sense. It allows you to put more energy into your voice.

If you can travel to a swing state at your own expense, the McCain-Palin campaign is looking for volunteers to be deployed.

The McCain-Palin campaign is also putting together election monitoring teams to watch for vote fraud:

Citizens from across the nation will join us in ensuring this year's election is conducted fairly and transparently. They will perform critical tasks at the heart of the election process, including serving as election monitors, helping in election response centers, and as members of legal response teams. They will include both lawyers and concerned citizens who want to safeguard the integrity of American elections.

Closer to home, every campaign will be doing last-minute canvassing this weekend, and the Oklahoma Republican Party will be working hard to get every Republican voter to the polls. Here in Tulsa you can call 918-344-6566 to volunteer to help get out the vote.

(Campaigns: If you've got a specific need for help, e-mail me with the details, and I'll add them here.)

In my column endorsing Dana Murphy in the short-term Corporation Commission race, I wrote about the mutual back-scratching relationship between Chesapeake Energy head Aubrey McClendon and Corporation Commission seat-warmer Jim Roth.

1. McClendon helped Roth get elected to the Oklahoma County Commission.

2. Roth built a bridge in the middle of nowhere that boosted the value of McClendon's tree farm land near Arcadia.

3. Not only that, but Roth offered to write a nice letter to the the people of Washington State, to let them know that McClendon and his fellow basketball team owner Clay Bennett were really not mean to gay people, because they were nice to him and his gay partner. And Roth did write that letter, which was published in the Seattle Times.

(Roth wrote that McClendon supported anti-gay-marriage campaign activities not because he had anything against homosexuals, but because he wanted to drive up Republican turnout for the sake of the energy industry.)

4. Then a former Democratic state chairman, Pat Hall, worked to get Gov. Brad Henry to appoint Roth to the Corporation Commission. Pat Hall is now a Chesapeake lobbyist.

5. When Chesapeake wanted to kill plans by PSO and OG+E to build a new coal-fired electric plant at Red Rock, Roth obliged, costing ratepayers billions in higher energy bills.

6. McClendon serves as Roth's campaign chairman and is reported to have raised over $100,000 for Roth's re-election.

KOKH in Oklahoma City has a report (video at link) summarizing most of the above points, but adding a couple of significant details concerning Roth's "Bridge to McClendon's Tree Farm." Roth's predecessor on the Oklahoma County Commission, Beverley Hodges, had been approached about building the bridge over a steak dinner, but she refused, saying it wasn't a priority. (Imagine having a county commissioner with the guts to say no to a guy with deep pockets. Vote for Sally Bell on Tuesday, and we won't have to imagine.) Roth beat Hodges when she ran for re-election in 2002.

And a farmer who owned land adjacent to the bridge said that Roth told him to sell an easement to the county for $200 / acre or else face condemnation.

Mike McCarville has more.

UPDATE: KOKH has part 2 of the story, detailing Jim Roth's hypocrisy on the bridge to nowhere issue. Each of the three Oklahoma County Commissioners -- Roth, Brent Rinehart, and Stan Inman -- had a bridge he wanted to build in a remote area of his district. Roth called Rinehart's bridge unethical, because it was near the property of one of his contributors. At the same time, Roth pushed for his bridge for the benefit of his benefactor, Aubrey McClendon.

By the way, the "commentator" at the end of the story, Bobby Stem, is a lobbyist, so you'd expect him to downplay the impact that a major contributor and fundraiser would have on a public official's decisions.

AND MORE: Jim Roth is downplaying his homosexuality here in Oklahoma, but he's using it to raise money nationwide from gay rights groups. Watch as Roth dodges a college student's question about his out-of-state donors:

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Election 2008 category from November 2008.

Election 2008: October 2008 is the previous archive.

Election 2008: April 2009 is the next archive.

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