TPM talks to Obama Field Director, Jon Carson (vid)
An interview with Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com. Here's the part that should make us worry:
Silver: If the polls are wrong, then we're going to be wrong too. We can massage the data, but if there is some kind of a Bradley effect, for example, then our numbers are going to be wrong.
But we do emphasize that the actual errors in presidential polls are a lot larger than the reported (margin of error). In the primaries, the average miss was six or seven points. When the polls miss, they all miss in the same direction, so to that extent, averaging them can only do you so much good.
The candidates were on Monday Night Football
Obama on the passing of his grandmother (vid)
Michele Obama on election eve (vid)
As important as this choice has become, the election is just a small first step. What Americans really have to decide is what kind of country they want.
Right now the United States is a country in which wealth is funneled, absurdly, from the bottom to the top. The richest 1 percent of Americans now holds close to 40 percent of all the wealth in the nation and maintains an iron grip on the levers of government power.
This is not only unfair, but self-defeating. The U.S. cannot thrive with its fabulous wealth concentrated at the top and the middle class on its knees. (No one even bothers to talk about the poor anymore.) How to correct this imbalance is one of the biggest questions facing the country.
The U.S. is also a country in which blissful ignorance is celebrated, and intellectual excellence (the key to 21st century advancement) is not just given short shrift, but is ridiculed. Paris Hilton and Britney Spears are cultural icons. The average American watches television a mind-numbing 4 1/2 hours a day.
At the same time, our public school system is plagued with some of the highest dropout rates in the industrialized world. Math and science? Forget about it. Too tough for these TV watchers, or too boring, or whatever.
"When I compare our high schools with what I see when I'm traveling abroad," said Bill Gates, "I am terrified for our work force of tomorrow."
The point here is that as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st century, the United States is in deep, deep trouble. Yet instead of looking for creative, 21st-century solutions to these enormous problems, too many of our so-called leaders are behaving like clowns, or worse — spouting garbage in the public sphere that hearkens back to the 1940s and '50s.
Thoughtful, well-educated men and women are denounced as elites, and thus the enemies of ordinary Americans. Attempts to restore a semblance of fiscal sanity to a government that has been looted with an efficiency that would have been envied by the mob, are derided as subversive — the work of socialists, Marxists, Communists.
In North Carolina, Senator Elizabeth Dole, a conservative Republican, is in a tough fight for re-election against a Democratic state senator, Kay Hagan. So Ms. Dole ran a television ad that showed a close-up of Ms. Hagan's face while the voice of a different woman asserts, "There is no God!"
Americans have to decide if they want a country that tolerates this kind of debased, backward behavior. Or if they want a country that aspires to true greatness — a country that stands for more than the mere rhetoric of equality, freedom, opportunity and justice.
That decision will require more than casting a vote in one presidential election. It will require a great deal of reflective thought and hard work by a committed citizenry. The great promise of America hinges on a government that works, openly and honestly, for the broad interests of the American people, as opposed to the narrow benefit of the favored, wealthy few.By all means, vote today. But that is just the first step toward meaningful change.
the final rally
ELECTION DAY, NOVEMBER, 1884If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
'Twould not be you, Niagara - nor you, ye limitless prairies - nor your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite - nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic geyserloops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon's white cones - nor Huron's belt of mighty lakes - nor Mississippi's stream:
This seething hemisphere's humanity, as now, I'd name - the still small voice vibrating -America's choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen - the act itself the main, the quadrennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous'd - sea-board and inland - Texas to Maine - the Prairie States - Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West - the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling - (a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome's wars of old, or modern Napoleon's): the peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity - welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
- Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify - while the heart pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell'd Washington's, Jefferson's, Lincoln's sails.