Obama's Energy Speech: A Winning Issue

(Cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama)

On Monday, Barack Obama delivered a well-received speech on energy policy in Lansing, Michigan - a speech that was so ambitious and on-point that it could singlehandedly put Michigan in the Obama column in November, in the opinion of this Michigander.  

Yet for the most part, people aren't hearing about this speech.  They're hearing about tire gauges and whether Obama flip-flopped on this or that, but they're not hearing about his 21st-century Manhattan Project to invest in the energy sector and solve the current crisis while strengthening our economy at the same time.

That needs to change.  Let's talk about it.

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What Does Good Press Look Like?

Cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama

If you, like myself, supported John Edwards and then Hillary Clinton during this year's primaries, the question posed by this diary may be a bit of a head-scratcher.  What, indeed, does good press look like?  How would I know?

While Barack Obama has hardly escaped unfair treatment at the hands of the media, at least he's gotten a little love here and there.  The $64,000 question was always going to be, once we got into the general election, would Obama continue to get a decent amount of positive treatment or would the media rush to embrace its one true love, John McCain?

Savvy observers have noted that as McCain has gone sharply, crassly negative against Obama in recent weeks, the media has shown signs of starting to turn on him, perhaps realizing that he's not actually the honorable straight shooter they've been telling us about all these years.  Let's take a look at an example that supports this thesis - yes, a case of the media actually doing its job!

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An Interesting Photo From Last Night's Obama Rally

At this link, courtesy of the Detroit Free Press, you can see a panning 360-degree crowd shot from last night's Obama rally at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

Something that's neat about a panoramic view is that it cuts through all the stage management.  No one can say well, they arranged the cameras to avoid all the empty seats.  No one can say well, they strategically positioned the crowd to make it look more diverse in terms of race, age, or gender.  What you get is simple reality.

So you can draw your own conclusions.  For my part, I thought it was a pretty impressive turnout, the kind of numbers it usually takes a world-renowned megaband like the Decembrists to generate.  Truth be told, I barely noticed the crowd as I was too focused on all those beautiful Stanley Cup banners.

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A Party Looking To Self-Destruct

I have never seen such a self-destructive display in politics as what I saw today from the Obama campaign and the members of the RBC.

After all the self-righteous preening about "the rules," after Donna Brazile invoked her mother's lessons about how you have to play by the rules and how people who don't play by the rules are cheaters, she and the other members of the RBC proceeded to ignore every rule in the book.

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Obama/Hagel '08

Let me get some disclaimers out of the way up front.  First, I am a Clinton supporter.  Second, unless a comet strikes, I expect to be voting for Barack Obama in November.  Third, who Obama chooses as VP does not affect my vote; I plan to be blindly loyal to the Democratic Party regardless.

Fourth, this diary is not a joke.  I can already hear people saying, "Don't you realize Hagel votes with the Bush agenda 95% of the time???" Yes, of course I do.  Let me explain why I don't think it matters, and why I believe Hagel would be Obama's smartest choice for a running mate.

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Does McCain Know What al-Qaeda Is?

Josh Marshall flags this eyebrow-raiser from John McCain's trip to the Middle East...

Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate."

Did you know al-Qaeda is training in Iran?  Me neither!  In fact, I would have thought it highly unlikely that an extremist Sunni group like al-Qaeda would get much help from a Shiite nation like Iran, but what do I know.

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Why Did Obama Attend TUCC?

Obama supporter Matthew Yglesias writes:

[Wright will] hurt him electorally because Obama's going to have a hard time explaining what I take to be the truth, namely that his relationship with Trinity has been a bit cynical from the beginning. After all, before Obama was a half-black guy running in a mostly white country he was a half-white guy running in a mostly black neighborhood. At that time, associating with a very large, influential, local church with black nationalist overtones was a clear political asset (it's also clear in his book that it made him, personally, feel "blacker" to belong to a slightly kitschy black church). Since emerging onto a larger stage, it's been the reverse and Obama's consistently sought to distance himself from Wright, disinviting him from his campaign's launch, analogizing him to a crazy uncle who you love but don't listen to, etc. The closest analogy would probably be to Hillary Clinton's inconsistent accounting of where she's from (bragging about midwestern roots when trying to win in Iowa, promptly forgetting those roots when explaining away a loss in Illinois, developing a sporadic affection for New York sports teams) -- banal, mildly cynical shifts of association as context changes.

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Obama's Huge Cash Advantage

It seems to have become accepted wisdom that, thanks to his spectacular $32 million month in January, Obama has a massive cash advantage over Clinton as we move into the post-Super Tuesday stage.

Today alone, I've seen numerous comments to the effect that Hillary has serious money problems, that she didn't compete in as many Super Tuesday states as Obama because she didn't have the cash, that she's challenging Obama to debates because free media is her only chance.

Let's see how the conventional wisdom measures up against reality.

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A Different Kind of Politics

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I don't think this requires any comment from me, but the Clinton campaign makes its case here, here, and here.

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Two Candidates, Two Visions of Government

On the blogs, the difference between our two candidates is generally obvious: one is good and the other evil.  But out in the real world, the difference doesn't look so clear to everyone.  In the debates, when the candidates are asked to talk about their differences, it's about the finer points of health care mandates and driver's licenses.  It's about a vote on the war from 2002 or a vote on credit card interest from 2005.

And certainly, there is no disagreement between the candidates as to the fundamental precepts of the Democratic Party: a belief in the common good and a belief in government as a positive force in people's lives.  Despite all the chatter about which of them loves Reagan more, obviously neither of our candidates would agree with Reagan's claim that government is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

But I think there is a fundamental, philosophical difference between our candidates, that was crystallized at one point in tonight's debate:

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