Change You Can Revise

Last week, Slate.com reported that there have been quite a few position changes on Barack Obama’s website.  Deleted from his position on Social Security is this sentence: “[Obama] does not believe it is necessary or fair to hardworking seniors to raise the retirement age.”

Slate noted, “[F]or those who pay attention to such things, what the new page leaves out is as important as what it puts in.”  Other changes reported include:

— “On education, now Obama apparently expects those who qualify for college tax credits to join jailbirds picking up trash for 100 hours on the freeway (or whatever else "community service" entails these days). Meanwhile, his position on charter schools has gotten both more pro and more con: Under the section headlined (in bold) "Close Low-Performing Charter Schools," it notes that he wants to double federal funding for them.

— On the rural-issues page, he has removed the mention of pollution from industrial agriculture.

— His technology page sees a drastic edit of his position on Internet privacy. He still wants to "protect the openness of the Internet," just not in such detail.

— On family issues, the detail that Obama "strongly opposed" the 2005 bankruptcy bill has been removed. But there’s still a lot of language in there about the "dangerous and sometimes unscrupulous business practices" of the subprime mortgage industry!”

Provisional Pandemonium

In addition to changing their positions, the Obama website is also encouraging voters to change their precincts.  The Hill reported:

“Barack Obama’s campaign website is recommending that voters remain registered in battleground states even though they may not be living there on Nov. 4… The Obama voter registration website asks people where they will be living on Election Day and makes a recommendation of whether they should switch their registration upon moving or whether they should remain registered at their old address and vote via absentee ballot.”  

Since states have different deadlines for registering and submitting absentee ballots, it’s likely that there will be many more provisional ballots in the 2008 election.  Provisional ballots are cast by those who aren’t listed as a registered voter for a particular precinct.   In his updated version of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy, John Fund noted that in 2004, nearly 2 million people submitted provisional votes and about 64.5% of them were counted.  

Fund wrote:

“[P]rovisional ballots remain one of the most likely issues to spur lawsuits in the next election.

A tug of war over provisional ballots may be inevitable in key states where the margin of victory is no greater than the number of provisional ballots cast.  Both campaigns would once again send squadrons of lawyers to any closely contests state to watch and argue as every single provisional ballot in every election jurisdiction in the state is reviewed and determination is made by local election officials as to whether it should be counted.  Results could once again be delayed for weeks if not months after Election Day.”

At a recent meeting for conservative bloggers, Fund said that the Obama campaign has more than 9,000 lawyers at their disposal for this purpose.  The McCain campaign has about 5,000 lawyers.  

Going Negative

Last week, Obama Watch reported a rare moment of unintentional honesty from Obama.  He was, unfortunately, later corrected by ABC News.  On ABC’s Good Morning America, Obama said, “If we’re going to ask questions about, you know, who has been promulgating negative ads that are completely unrelated to the issues at hand, I think I win that contest pretty handily.”

Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic reported that both the Obama and McCain campaigns are spending about $15 million per week on ads.  Despite the Left’s whining that Republicans go negative, The Atlantic reported that 77% of Obama’s ads were considered “negative” and 56% of McCain’s ads were “negative.”

Hollow Symbolism

At a campaign stop in Springfield, Mo., Obama told the crowd,  “So one of the things that we’ve got to do is not just change the health-care system, but we’ve also got to change our political system. And that’s why I don’t take PAC money. I don’t take money from federal registered lobbyists, because I want to answer to you when I’m in the White House. I don’t want to answer to all these fat-cat lobbyists!”

Matthew Cooper of Portfolio magazine reported:

“The campaign has no problem accepting money from the spouses of Washington lobbyists. A database search conducted for this column by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign-finance issues, found that more than 20 spouses of prominent Washington lobbyists have donated to the Obama campaign, including the wives of Dan Glickman, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America; Norman Brownstein, a prominent Denver-based lawyer who has lobbied for Oracle, Toshiba, and Comcast; and Stuart Pape of Patton Boggs, Washington’s foremost lobbying firm, who has lobbied for Bristol-Meyers Squibb , Pfizer, and the Smokeless Tobacco Council.

The campaign accepts money from lobbyists registered in state capitals. It accepts money from partners at law firms that engage in lobbying. It accepts money from the C.E.O.’s, chairs, and officers of corporations, but not their lobbyists… Aren’t such policies a little inconsistent with the ban? ‘Maybe,’ said the senior Obama official. ‘But it’s important symbolism.’”

Celebrity Quote of the Week

Since the Left is so enamored with their celebrity supporters, Obama Watch will highlight one each week.  

Filmmaker Woody Allen recently told Spanish journalists:

“It would be a disgrace and a humiliation if Barack Obama does not win.  Obama is so much better than McCain, represents a huge step upward from the incompetence and misjudgment of the Bush administration. It would be a terrible thing if the American public was not moved to vote for him, if they actually preferred more of the same.  It would be a very, very terrible thing for the United States in many, many ways.”

No word on whom his wife, Soon-Yi, will support since she is now old enough to vote.


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