11:23 CST: Kasson:  Wow what a great speech by Obama.

10:56 CST: Kasson:  Even better if it was Tancredo

10:32 CST: Cessna: McCain’s speech was definitely a great one. It is truly a shame that he had to be the Republican candidate in this election. I would have felt better had it been Huckabee or Romney.

10:12 CST: Cessna: I am proud to say I was a part of this, I canvassed for Barack in Iowa and Nebraska, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Even when those to UP trains tried to slow us down.

10:04 CST: Ike: It is now official. Senator Barack Obama is officially the next President of the United States.

10:02 CST: Kasson: CNN now projects victory for Obama.

9:50 CST: Cessna: Check out WGN, I love looking at the Barack party in Chicago.

9:36 CST: Cessna: Obama currently leads 207-135 on MSNBC, 207-135 on CNN, and its apparently a dead heat according to FOX News at 0-0. This may be the only time I ever say this, but I prefer FOX News in this instance.

9:31 CST: Kasson: The senate race is interesting in Minnesota between Franken and Coleman.  So far Franken is up, but neither has 50% of the vote.

9:09 CST: Cessna: McCain is up in Nebraska by 1%, how much money do you want to bet that only 3 cities are currently reporting?

9:00 CST: Kasson: Time for some real news, Indecision 2008.

8:39 CST: Cessna: Obama is only up by 1% in popular vote and is (projected) up 110 electoral votes. Something might be wrong with the electoral college.

8:34 CST: Ike: At this rate, McCain might not even win 211.

8:30 CST: Kasson: I had a dream McCain won 411 electoral votes. I’m glad that wont happen.

8:19 CST: Kasson: Ohio goes to Obama. As you have heard 30 times now, no Republican has won without Ohio.

8:06 CST: Ike: The Senate has officially gone Democrat, with the latest count at 51-33. This will be the third year in a row that the U.S. has a Democratic Senate!

8:04 CST: Kasson: Hey I’m back and ready to catch up.

8:00 CST: Ike: McCain has picked up two more states, Wyoming and North Dakota, giving him a shocking jump of 6 electoral votes.

7:36 CST: Wink: Current election tally is 103-58 electoral votes in Obama’s favor. MSNBC has called Georgia for McCain. On that subject, McCain has been quoted saying, “That’s just peachy.”

7:01 CST: Wink: The newest tally is 77-34 in Obama’s favor. This is without California, mind you, but does include the majority of New England.

6:54 CST: Ike: As poor as things are going for him right now, Obama should be able to count on some electoral votes from his home states of Hawaii and Illinois, but probably will not pick up any votes in his home states of Kansas and Kenya.

6:47 CST: Wink: Electoral vote is 16-3 in McCain’s favor. If only Vermont votes for Obama, this could be the biggest upset in U.S. history!

6:30 CST: Ike: Early in Florida, Obama has a lead on McCain. However, the older people are still trying to get to the booth, so take this with a grain of salt.

6:02 CST: Ike: Senator McCain has jumped out to an early 8-3 lead in electoral votes. An upset in the making?

5:36 CST: Kasson: I will have to leave you with Ike and Wink for the next couple hours, as I have to go.

5:28 CST: Kasson: Welcome to the Winkest Link Liveblog of the action

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These are my predictions for the outcome of tonights election:

Obama – 354

McCain – 184

We’ll se how I did tomorrow.

My prediction for the Senate is this:

Democrats – 56

Republicans – 42

Independents – 2 (siding with Democrats)

And for the house:

Democrats – 261

Republicans – 174

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The American political spectrum is an endless pendulum, steadily swinging back and forth from left to right, and back again. The swings usually follow a few election cycles. Why ‘only’ a few election cycles?

Hubris.

You get in office, your party takes control. You get re-elected a few times and you begin to think YOU are bigger than the office.

Hubris. 

Controlling Congress is fun while it lasts. You get all your pet projects approved. You get to jerk around all those smug (liberals/conservatives), and they just have to sit there and TAKE IT. The power-rush is exhilarating.

Just ask Newt Gingrich.

Newt is a fairly smart man who thinks he is supremely intellectual. (Now THAT is hubris.) I will not list here the many character flaws that completely destroy his morally superior posturing. Suffice it to say he hasn’t always been the perfect spouse.

The Gingrich-led Republicans turned the Congress upside-down in 1994.

Democrats had run the House & Senate a long time. Many members felt ‘entitled’ to their seats and did not take the challenge seriously. This hubris allowed Republicans to say “Congress is not listening to you and does not share your values”.

Frankly, the Dems deserved the thumping they got. They needed to review their REAL purpose for wanting to lead, and find a better way to deliver that message to the people. (In the animal world this is called ‘licking your wounds’.)

So, the ‘new breed’ Republicans took control with their “Contract with America”. This contract, which every Republican congressman signed, promised to clean up congress with a series of reforms.

Republicans hated how long the Dems controlled Congress, and felt the long tenures led to corruption, so one reform was a promise to limit terms to 6 years.

Not a single one stepped down after six years, essentially proving that power can indeed corrupt. Republicans fell into the trap.

Hubris.

The Bush election in 2000 gave the GOP control of the House, Senate & White House.  BONUS: An extremely conservative Supreme Court.

Democrats were virtually powerless to stop what happened next…

–         Huge tax breaks for the most wealthy,

–         A war with a country that did not attack us

–         So much money spent on pork projects that it made traditional liberals blush

–         Spying on U.S. citizens (under the guise of ‘protecting’ us).

–         Pushing thru a Medicare-drug program that wouldn’t allow Medicare to negotiate for the best drug prices, which…

–         Guaranteed the highest imaginable drug costs be dumped right onto the taxpayer.

–         To rebuild Iraq, giving friendly ‘no-bid’ contracts to corporations who are buddies of the top White House hierarchy.

–         Etc, etc, etc (this list is virtually endless)

Eventually you will need help from people on the other side of the aisle. This is much harder to get if you have been jerking them around for years. Getting kicked in the teeth makes one reluctant to cooperate. Eventually the public gets tired of your posturing and/or the disastrous consequences of unchecked power.

Republicans relinquished their majority, by a very small margin, in 2006.  This year the Democratic majority will be made huge, as the Republicans reap the full vengeance of what they have sewn.

And then the pendulum swings back……

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We have photographic proof that FDR met with Stalin and Nixon met with Mao. Two murderous communists!  Good thing that both FDR & Nixon are dead, or we would feel obligated to destroy their reputations.

J Edgar Hoover called Martin Luther King a “terrorist”.

All other details being identical, how close would this presidential race be if both candidates were white? (Hint: Not close)

The apartheid government in South Africa called Nelson Mandela a “terrorist”.

Undeniably, Keith Olbermann delivers a left-leaning perspective on current events. His “Countdown” show differs from Fox ‘News’ programming in two ways: (a) his show is actually funny and (b) he doesn’t have to lie to make his points.

King George III called our nation’s Founding Fathers “terrorists”.

 

Winning campaign slogan: “America is Good, America is Great, America is Wonderful”.

Losing campaign slogan: “America is Great, but can be improved”

 

How did ‘liberal’ become a swear word? Does Rush get ALL the credit for that?

We will admit that those on the far left are ‘crazies’ if you will admit those on the far right are ‘crazies’.  Which crazies, right or left, are scarier?

Tolerance, many theocrats say, is a vice! 

 

The British called Gandhi a “terrorist”.

To consolidate power, dictators will try to scare the populous, often through the use of the word “terrorist”.  Where have I heard this before?

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So last night Barack Obama aired his 30 minute “infomercial” making one last case to vote for him.  Personally I was worried that this might draw criticism.  The most attackable thing I saw was Obama sitting in a ‘rustic’ Oval Office.

Obama's Oval Office

But I think Obama and his campaign were trying to make lots of subtle hints that Obama is ready.  And that scene is one way to make him look like he belongs in the oval office.  The message was all positive and optimistic. His goal was to block off any potential run by McCain and I think he did.  There are so many other factors that affect the polls in the days leading up to the election that it will be difficult to definitively say how much this helped him.  

Down the road will this be a “defining moment?”

No.

Will this help shore up the victory?

Yes.

After tonight I think Obama can go sit in a room and wait this one out and still be able to pick up the win.  McCain Desparately needs Obama to do something stupid, dig up some deep cutting info, or make up something that sticks.

I dont think any of that is going to happen in  the next five days (this has been both the fastest and the slowest year/month/week in my life).  McCain is currently trying to tie Obama to a Columbia professor, Rashid Khalidi. This is a weak tie, even if they were best friends, the “dirt” is pretty clean.  I guess while I can see why his positions are unpopular, and unfavorable to the Jewish population.  I don’t see, while I dont hold the same views, why a person couldn’t hold those views.

Also ABC reports that McCain’s International Republican Institute, that he is chairman of, helped fund Khalidi’s Center for Palestine Research and Studies.

So if this is all they’ve got left it’s obvious they have nothing left to throw at Obama. Obama just needs to ride the status quo to next Tuesday.

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I’ve heard too many people complaining that Barack Obama will raise your taxes. For reference, let me remind you that he only will raise taxes for those who make more than $250,000 every year. So if you don’t realize that you make less than that, I’m just going to call you a moron, because you should really know how much you make in a year. If you do make that much or more, do you really expect people that will be getting a tax break to feel sorry for you? I’m sure there are plenty of minimum-wage earners that are more than willing to trade places with you and get a tax hike if they could make that much in a year.

So let me restate myself: if you make a quarter of a million a year, I DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. Go ahead, call me a socialist.

UPDATE: Since this post was written, the tax base was lowered to those making more than $200,000 a year. I maintain my position.

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When John McCain won the Republican nomination, and Barack Obama won the Democratic side, we at WinkestLink were delighted. We thought the two best candidates had emerged from the muck, and America would be treated to a higher level of political discourse than we had been during the previous two elections.

Obama essentially came from nowhere and, with the strength of a solid candidate and an extraordinary organization, managed to beat the virtual ‘sure-thing’ candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The already-conservative McCain had to fight his way through a blizzard of even more conservative candidates. To defeat them, he adopted more conservative stances than he had ever held in his life, and professed complete allegiance to many far-right ideas. WinkestLink was not bothered by his conversion, assuming it was necessary on a temporary basis to just sew up the Republican nomination. We thought he had only temporarily set aside the ‘maverick’ that we knew and loved. We assumed that, once the nomination was sewn up, he would be smart enough to express his more moderate views in order to gather up the middle of the road voters for the general election.  Any campaign manager with more than two cents worth of brains would have forced him to play to the middle.

     A NOTE TO OUR FRIEND JOHN:

‘Maverick’ means little if you hire lobbyists to run your campaign.  Lobbyists?  C’mon John, what were you thinking? They MUST be great as lobbyists, because they sold you on hiring them.

John, they SUCK at running a campaign.

We used to think you were very smart, and we even bought into the ‘maverick’ thing, but you let the lobbyists pull you further and further right.  They insisted you dwell on the Iraq War, as if that would be a winning strategy.  They talked you into dwelling on terrorists and terrorism, as if this was 2004 all over again. We know it worked for Bush, but that was four years ago….  The country wants to get past (and OUT OF) Iraq. 

You stress your wisdom, but we don’t see evidence of your growth.  You must change and improve John.

You and your VP candidate use the word ‘maverick’ repeatedly in all of your speeches, then you display nothing that shows your crowd you are a maverick. During an economic crisis, with budget deficits at record heights, you promise tax cuts for everybody.  This is not ‘maverick’, this is ‘panderer’.  A maverick would be brave enough to stand up and say “We can’t give tax cuts to everybody because we must pay our bills”.  

Vote-grubbing Pol 1 – Maverick 0.

We are hesitant to discuss age, because we DO value wisdom, but you seem stuck in the past. You are doing your best to distract us by telling us Obama cavorts with terrorists, but this tactic only works with people who scare easily, and you already HAD their votes.

YOU NEEDED THE MIDDLE.     

Your only (sort-of) effort at the middle was to call Obama’s tax program ‘socialist’. We guess it is socialist because it adds a bit of tax to those who struggle to get by on more than $250,000 per year. (Brief lesson John: ALL TAXES are a redistribution of the wealth. Unless you plan to eliminate all taxes, then YOU are a socialist.)

The Republican National Committee is distributing a mail piece with the bold word “Terrorists” on the front, and it opens to a big picture of Obama with the caption “Not Who You Think He Is.”  John, you said you are “absolutely” proud of this ad.  Is this the “respectful campaign” you promised?

We like Cindy, John. We wonder if she too thinks your campaign managers are worthless. We wonder if she sometimes wants to slap you and say … “Snap out of this!  Stop listening to your moronic advisors!  They are killing your one decent shot at the presidency.”

But it all really comes down to you. Not your advisors, not your wife, not George Bush (as much as you would like to blame him), not even to the economy.  

It is YOU.  You make all final decisions. You had the chance to run an uplifting / maverick campaign, and you elected to go hard right.  We believe you could have won this race, but you made the fatal decision to go right – right – right – negative – negative – right – negative – negative – negative – right and negative.

Dividing the country into ‘Real Americans’ versus (fill in the blank…terrorist-lovers, big cities,  Hollywood, the media, educated elite, etc, etc) is also no longer a good strategy. You always talk about Democrats using class-warfare.  Sorry John, “Real Americans vs Whoever” is class warfare. All Americans are real Americans. Stop dividing us into “Us” and “Them”. Smearing/trashing your opponent just doesn’t sell as well in ’08 as it did on 2004.  Using this old tactic is unappealing, and shows a decidedly un-presidential (almost childish) side of you. It also proves that age and maturity do not go hand in hand. You must change and improve John, but it is probably too late for this campaign.

Your legacy shrinks every day, along with your chances of winning.

You have no one to blame but yourself.

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Many by now heard the story of the woman who was attacked by a “big black man” who carved a backward “B” on the side of her face. Several of the staff here at The Winkest Link had said that this story stank to high heaven long before it was revealed as a hoax Friday. Why was the “B” backwards if he was staring at her face while carving it? How did she know he was exactly 6’4”? But that’s not the point of this post.

 

As soon as the story became public knowledge, the McCain campaign directed as many people to it as they could. All the major news corporations mentioned the story a dozen times through the course of the day. Of course, this story took place in Pennsylvania, a major swing state, so everyone in Pennsylvania got the news that an Obama supporter assaulted a McCain supporter.

 

A day later… Oops! Turns out, she was faking the whole thing. I congratulate Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews (maybe a few others, these are just the ones I saw with my own eyes) for reporting this story as a hoax. Unfortunately, no other news source on television seemed interested in fixing this. CNN and Fox News may have reported it once, but then they dropped it, apparently assuming everybody that would watch their channels would be watching at exactly the right time to hear it. Most people won’t be going online to see the news when there is a perfectly functioning television in their home.

 

Big misconceptions are made – the “I can’t believe somebody would attack her!” misconceptions – when the news sources don’t fix this. These sources are not doing their jobs. Their jobs are to inform the viewer. The viewers are being slighted by this oversight on the part of these sources. I don’t care who you are or who you work for. Fix your mistakes before people get the wrong idea.

 

Unfortunately, for some news sources, the truth isn’t nearly as important as drama.

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Let us focus on November 4, 2008.

This has the chance to be the most significant U.S. election since Abraham Lincoln.

 

A brief list of the most significant U.S. elections, and why…

  • George Washington – Could easily have run America as a dictator. There was no restriction on how many terms a president could serve. By choosing to step down after two terms he relinquished power voluntarily… unheard of anywhere on the planet. Every subsequent president followed the two-term precedent until FDR. His four terms were the motivation needed to inspire an amendment officially limiting presidents to two terms.  Democracy flourishes!!
  • Abraham Lincoln – The right man at the right time in history. Successfully fought the secession of the Confederate States, maintaining our democracy and setting a world-wide example that no human should be reduced to slave status.
  • John Kennedy – Don’t laugh. He only served 1000 days, but his election was historic for our nation. Never before (and never since) have we elected a Catholic. It seems absurd now, but it was a monstrous achievement at the time. 

Nearly fifty years later, are we REALLY past the ‘religion’ litmus test?  So much was made of the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon during his run in the Republican primaries.  Heaven forbid a real Muslim should run for president someday. (Clarification for some still-confused McCain supporters:  Barack Obama is NOT a Muslim.)  

The election of Barack Obama would be an achievement equal to or surpassing the Kennedy election.  Forty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, a man of color has a legitimate chance of becoming our president.  Maybe we have made some progress.  Should Senator Obama win, and nothing is EVER certain, our country will be forever changed, and for the better. 

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Recently Senator John McCain and Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin have been referring to their voters – and their voters alone – as “real” Americans. I’d like to say it’s hard to think that they would say something like this, but truthfully I’m not shocked to have heard them say this. Apparently Senator McCain is not getting any new voters, so he has to do everything he can to keep the voters he already has from slipping away.

Is it helping his case, though, to be doing this? Will keeping the votes he has be enough, even if he takes the swing states? For this, I rely on the website 270towin.com for results. The automatic simulator is based on the probabilities of each state going to each candidate. I’ve run this simulator well over 500 times in the past few weeks. When I first found the website about a month ago, Senator Obama won fairly frequently, though I saw at least ten or so wins by Senator McCain in the times I saw.

In the past few weeks, the simulations have fallen more and more in Senator Obama’s favor. This, coincidentally, has occurred at the same time Senator McCain’s ads started becoming more vicious. “Senator Obama would talk with Ahmadinejad without preconditions!” was heard many times, yet polls still rose in Senator Obama’s favor. Shortly thereafter, “Senator Obama has been palling around with terrorist Bill Ayers!” Still, defying all logic, McCain fell in the polls.

Maybe John McCain and Sarah Palin are right. After all, the people that aren’t voting for Senator McCain are voting for Senator Obama and his terrorist buddies. Maybe the real Americans are the ones supporting Senator McCain in this election, not to be blinded by Senator Obama’s sinister precondition-less campaign.

Or maybe the real Americans are the ones who are sick of listening to obvious and tiresome lies.

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