From the Gut

Op-Ed Columnist

From the Gut


Published: September 9, 2008

If John McCain can win this election race with a 50-pound ball called “George W. Bush” wrapped around one ankle and a 50-pound ball called “The U.S. Economy” wrapped around the other, then he deserves to represent America in the next Olympics in any race he wants — swimming, cycling or track — I don’t care how old he is. He would be the Michael Phelps of politics.


Somebody needs to tell Obama that if he wants the chance to calmly answer the phone at 3 a.m. in the White House, he is going to need to start slamming down some phones at 3 p.m. along the campaign trail. I like much of what he has to say, especially about energy, but I don’t think people are feeling it in their guts, and I am a big believer that voters don’t listen through their ears. They listen through their stomachs...

Interesting article about Obama's strategy. What do you think?


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I don't understand one sentence.

HS's picture

Maybe I'm just tired (I was, after all, at the casino until almost 3 am last night), but I don't understand what they mean that Obama needs to start slamming down phones at 3 pm.

What does that mean?


didn't know you were a gambler

Critico's picture

what did you play? did you win?

I think what Friedman means ...

MAYORBOB's picture

... is that Obama has to begin spending more time putting lipstick on pigs.

Phew! I thought I was the only one...

scarlet_ohara's picture

I didn't get it either. Why phones are ringing exactly at three along the campaign trail I don't know.

Maybe I'm missing something.

Although, along the same topic I was reading Time magazine today and there was an interesting article from a republican who seriously hopes that McCain looses to Obama.

(Though I can't phrase it as eloquently as he did;) His reasoning was this: The US economy is in such a difficult place right now that either 1- it's going to take severe brutality to bring it back (big budget cuts and tax increases, making everyone pissed off at whichever political party acts or 2- it's not going to be coming back for a while, and inevitably the next guy to sit in the white house is going to be blamed and abused for all of America's problems. His political party thus being doomed with a soiled reputation.

That's why he was hoping Obama would win, to sort of "take" the blame for the state of the union.

The 3 AM phone call

Critico's picture

its a reference to the Hillary ad, about who would you trust more while receiving a 3 am telephone call about a terrorist attack.

OIC. The article said 3 PM, not 3 AM. Hence my confusion.

HS's picture

And Critico, I'm not really a gambler - I'd say once a year I go. This was a spur of the moment thing. Blackjack is usually my game...not that I profess to be any good. The game involves a little strategy and a LOT of luck.

Whoever becomes the next president is going to have a tough time

Rajah's picture

McCain clearly wants to continue the Bush Legacy. He hasn't indecated anything different from what I've heard. If they are going to win they'll have to do something better than sound bites. I wish he would let Bush help him campaign. Yessssssssssss, that would be a good idea!

Nope I don't feel Obama's words in my gut. Hope is a foreign thing to me. I'm will to give him a try though. Right now he's an unknown quantity but he seems to be the type to get down to work. It would be nice to have a president that the rest of the world doesn't hate and actually listens to people.

We all know who to blame for the way things are >



michael3b's picture

But I disagree (with the GOP dude). If McCain wins, it will make no difference if he starts a bestiality porn section on the white house web page, because we will have proved once and for all that Americans can rationalize anything to support their ownspiteful self-righteousness. And the GOP will win the executive office forever thereafter.

I mean, SARAH PALIN?!?!

yeah, they can't stop talking about her...

TMundo's picture

...and she's not the one running for president, and she's not the one laying down the policies.

She is the one...

michael3b's picture

...whose most-often-cited accomplishment (bridge to anywhere) is a lie.

That was supposed to be in response to you, mundo.

michael3b's picture

I am sure you figured that out, though.

Yeah, I knew because your's, it's commin' right at us!

TMundo's picture

I picked the wrong week to quite taking amial nitrates.

Divert 'em into Lake Michigan!

michael3b's picture

At least they'll avoid killing innocent civilians.

Been talking to some Mcainiacs and I have to say that their reasoning for voting for him is not, as I portray it, cemented in spite. At least that's what they say. They're really concerned about knowing nothing about obama except this cult of celebrity. That, and his intention to raise cap gains taxes, etc bother them. I can see it. Don't buy it, but I can see it.

Anyhow- SARAH PALIN?!?!?!

How can they know nothing about him?

Xur's picture

He's been on the national stage for years, he's been campaigning forever, and he's written two memoirs! He's web savvy and there is plenty of free, publicly available information on him. His policies are detailed on his web site and analysis of his policies has been carried out by every newspaper, think tank, and blog. He's got a long career as a public servant, records of which are publicly available to all. He's been interviewed by all major news networks and newspapers and has participated in multiple public debates. The only way they could know nothing about him is by purposely ignoring everything to do with him! What the fuck??

Also, ask them how much they make. If they make less than $200k (or $250k if they're married) then their taxes will actually go DOWN, and go down MORE than they would under McCain. Then ask how much they paid in capital gains taxes last year. Do they know? Did they pay anything? What was the dollar amount? How does the increase under Obama correlate to the decrease in income tax under Obama? Are they still coming out behind?

If they don't know, then tell them to kindly STFU until they have a goddamn clue.

He's really not a known commodity

michael3b's picture

in the general sense. This isn't an issue for me, mind you, as he's been fairly eloquent about most of the issues. It's just that they don't see a track record, only a series of plans and a huge cult-like (in their mind) following.

I have no idea, personally, how anyone could vote for McCain or any other republican after the last 10 years.

and, Xur

michael3b's picture

I did tell them that the taxes for 95% of Americans would go down. When I did, they said something like "well he wants to raise cap gains taxes and reinstate the inheritance tax". this started another argument altogether.

Also, keep in mind that these were ex-miltary folk.

OK then...

Xur's picture

start asking them about the specific numbers. Ask how much, in dollars, their tax burden will change under McCain, and how much it will change under Obama. If they don't know, gently suggest that they are not informed enough yet and need to do more research on the respective plans of each candidate.

This argument is more impressive if you can throw out how much your own tax burden will change, of course. I should really figure out the numbers for myself...

Hey Mikey

Xur's picture

Point your friends this a-way:

Shows how the tax burden would change, assuming each candidates' tax plan gets implemented in full. Turns out my taxes would increase slightly under Obama, not that I'm complaining. I still make more than enough for myself to live as I want to.

You could also point them here:

which reminds us of this:

"This speculation is interesting but mostly academic. These figures are not absolutes for three reasons. First, we’re dealing with politicians, so their proposals might change as they hammer out details, talk to advisers, and determine what strategy will get them into office. Second, their opinions may change once the winning nominee is sworn in to office. Third, any policy changes have to find their way through Congress first, where compromises must be negotiated before anything gets done.

"So take these predictions and studies with a grain of salt."

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