Sen. John McCain bade a fond farewell to his Democrat partner in crime Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) who lost his reelection bid last month on Tuesday.

Together the two Senators sponsored the campaign finance law known as McCain-Feingold in 2002 which has been the target of much scorn by conservatives ever since it was passed.

In the tradition of the clubby nature of the Senate where politics often does make for strange bedfellows McCain told his colleagues that the “The Senate will be a much poorer place without Russ Feingold in it.” despite they often disagreed with each other on policy matters.

McCain went on heaping praise on the three term Democrat by saying “In his time in the Senate, Russ Feingold every day and in every way had the courage of his convictions,” adding, “I think he is one of the most admirable people I have ever met in my entire life. … I don’t think he is replaceable.”

It was an emotional moment for McCain seeing the co-architect of one of the most sweeping campaign finance laws ever enacted now leaving the Senate after having been swept away in the anti-Democrat fever of the November elections.  And to further pour salt in the wounds watching earlier this year when the Supreme Court wiped out large portions of the law and rendering it largely ineffective.

For McCain he will just have to soldier on without his liberal buddy and in a Senate that has turned more conservative to boot which will make him even more uncomfortable in the days and years ahead.

The votes are mostly in and Barack Obama has decisively defeated John McCain to become the first black president of the United States.

Based on the wide array of candidates that initially ran for president this year from both parties I think it was only a matter of time before a black person or a woman would have been elected to either or both of our country’s highest offices. Prior to 2008 I certainly didn’t think this would be that year.

There will be plenty of what I will call Wednesday morning quarterbacking by pundits and others as to how Obama won or more likely why McCain lost.

Obama won because he had a consistent message of change and he successfully tied McCain to President Bush who isn’t likely to win any awards for good governance.

He also used his incredible charisma to spread his message and gave hope to millions of Americans who wanted to be inspired and uplifted. As Hillary Clinton learned it didn’t matter that there was a severe lack of substance in the message, it sounded great and that’s all that mattered. Also despite associations with dubious characters like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers Obama managed to put on a Teflon shield and watch the criticisms just bounce off without putting any real chinks in the armor. The overwhelming support of the news media helped in this regard as they saw the attacks on Obama using Wright and Ayers as either racist or old news and gave them short shrift by relegating them to the back pages of the newspaper if they covered them at all. But the biggest factor may have been Obama’s ground game. It was crucial in defeating Hillary and proved to be extremely effective as the campaign registered millions of new voters and managed to increase voter turnout in areas that had been long ignored by both parties.

For McCain, the loss can be generally summed up by one word, confusion. After being given up for dead early in the campaign he raced back, snatched the nomination from frontrunner Mitt Romney and began to plot his strategy. The Straight Talk Express of 2000 that so enamored the media when McCain was attacking the Republican establishment all but disappeared as he moderated his views to appeal to conservatives and wound up turning off his former media allies. As for a cohesive campaign strategy I certainly didn’t see one. McCain tried several different tactics but by not sticking to a central theme he couldn’t get any traction. Then there was the general distrust from the conservative base of the GOP that he tried to mollify by selecting Sarah Palin. The selection of Palin while energizing conservatives also set the McCain camp up as an object of ridicule as Palin’s initial media appearances made her look more like a deer caught in the headlights.  Yet despite all the fumbles of the McCain campaign he probably would have one if not for the economic crisis and the blame voters pinned on the GOP for the mess.  This despite the fact the Democrats have controlled congress for two years and many leading Democrats turned a blind eye to the problems because they were receiving campaign donations from these institutions or that they were being run by Democratic sympathizers.  

Now that Obama has won he must get to work quickly. In the next few weeks he will likely select his staff and name his cabinet. By inauguration day he will need to hone his message and add some substance to it. He won’t be able to ride the hope and change message without action for very long.

For conservatives and others who fear a new socialism that remains to be seen. Obama will have large majorities in the House and Senate though not as large as they had hoped so he won’t get everything he wants as long as the Republicans can effectively filibuster in the Senate. With higher taxes, more regulation, and possibly more government control of once private industries the country is certainly headed in that direction.

Voters have purchased the Democratic mansion with a huge mortgage in the sense of entitlements yet to come. The question is can we afford it, and is this new Messiah (as many have compared Obama to) leading us to an Obamageddon?

At a debate sponsored by BGR Holding, Inc.  Republican strategist Ed Rogers faced off against fellow BGR associate and Democratic strategist Michael Meehan to discuss their views on the election.

Rogers started off by saying that as far as the elction goes “It’s not good for McCain but it’s not over” a statement that he repeated often during the hour long session today in Washington, D.C.  In looking at the difficulties that McCain faces Rogers said that he is facing three big hurdles.  The first is that only twice since 1850 has a two-term president (excluding FDR) been succeeded by a member of his own party.  Second, he is saddled with an unpopular president whose approval ratings are at 17% lower than Richard Nixon’s when he resigned.  Third and maybe most important of all is the fact that campaign with the most money has the advantage.  Considering that Obama has just announced raking in $150 million in September and is buying ads everywhere he will have maximum exposure during the last 2 weeks of the campaign while McCain struggles to match him.

The one reason that Rogers thinks that McCain is still in the race is that Obama has not been able to get above 50% in the polls and said that a front runner loses by staying below 50% and allowing his opponent to hang around.  Add in the fact that the last Democratic presidential candidate to get 50% was Jimmy Carter and you can see why he is still somewhat optimistic.

For Meehan’s part he was confident but cautiously optimistic.  After having worked on the Kerry campaign he know how quickly predictions of victory can turn sour and stopped short of calling for an Obama victory.

On the other hand he did point out that the Democrats are in great shape.  They have added over 300,000 voters to the rolls in North Carolina and another 687,000 Democrats in Florida giving them the possibility in a close race of winning both states.  Meehan added that traditionally 85& of newly registered voters do vote and those numbers alone in Florida could be enough to tilt the state to Obama.

Meehan mentioned that after being on the short-end of taxes for 25 years , McCain gave that issue back to the Democrats with his healthcare proposal that would tax benefits and for which Obama has been hammering him on in a countless number of ads.  Now the Democrats can play offense for a change on this issue and it is working.

While Meehan mentioned that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright scares the living daylights out of him he is grateful that McCain didn’t use this against Obama as in polling earlier in the year he discovered that this was a key issue with voters.

And yet despite all the stumbles in the debates, in defections from some conservatives in the media and outright policy fumbles McCain is still within striking distance.  This has led to a strange declaration by Obama on the campaign trail telling supporters that he could still lose while the polls show he is gaining momentum at precisely the right time.

The truth of the matter is that no one really knows how the election will turn out.  Polls are based on sample of about 1,000 people and there is no lie detector hooked up to them when they answer questions.  So while the outlook for the GOP seems bleak there is still a glimmer of hope that voters will wake up and smell the coffee and vote for a divided government in November.

The liberal media is all agog over the endorsement yesterday by Colin Powell of Democrat Barack Obama.  They saw it as a some type of historic shift when a black Republican and I use that term loosely endorses a candidate from the other party. But this is a superficial analysis.  Yes Colin Powell had an R by his name but it should be accompanied by a few more letters I-N-0 to reflect that he is truly a Republican In Name Only and has nothing in common with conservatives and their values.

For a long time conservatives have been suspicious of Powell given his pro-choice views and backtracking on the Iraq War claiming he too was misled by the Bush administration.

Now comes the black “Messiah” as he has been labeled and he has excited the masses without being held accountable for his ties to Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers and ACORN.  Obama issues a statement distancing himself from these individuals or denying that he did business with them and all is well.  If this had been a Republican we would never hear the end of it.

Just like the liberal media Powell is giving Obama a pass and has thrown his support behind a man whose politics are even more liberal than his own.  For someone who has served his country so admirably this is a disturbing trend when otherwise smart people can be so easily duped by a candidate of the far left.

In the end the Powell endorsement won’t be a game changer.  While he is still a prominent and respected figure his previous public political pronouncements make this endorsement more of a yawn for conservatives who won’t lose any sleep over it.

The final presidential debate Wednesday night turned out to be the debate conservatives had been waiting for almost.  John McCain who had spent the first two debates being overly polite to Barack Obama and enmeshed in talking points finally showed a little fire in the belly.

McCain spent most of the evening on the attack and looking rather confident as he hammered Obama on economic policy, Bill Ayers and health care.  Obama fr his part also appeared very confident but his goal during the debate was to hold steady and try not to lose any ground to McCain and he succeeded by reframing the questions rather than giving direct answers.

Overall McCain did win the debate though not by a large margin.  Yet when watching the television pundits or reading the newspapers yesterday it was as if the mainstream media had been watching a different debate.  I was tweeting  (www.search.twitter.com #debate08) the debate and there was an overwhelming number of Obama supporters on the site and maybe the media was taking their cue from them rather than objectively analyzing the debate.

There is no doubt that McCain could have done a better job particularly when the abortion and Supreme Court question came up.  He had an opportunity to make a definitive statement in support of the sanctity of life and how important it was to have Supreme Court justices who understood this and would apply the constitution rather than liberally interpret it.  Instead McCain talks about how proud he was to have put partisanship aside when he voted to confrim Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court.  I could sense the pro-life vote slipping away.

I am just glad that the debates are over and hope that McCain will spend the next 18 days hammering Obama for his liberal policies, his relationships with characters like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and his economic plan that would give people who don’t pay taxes a refund.  How responsible is that?

Obama is now trying to tell supporters not to get too confident and lower their expectations, but thanks to the media the Democrats have regained their momentum and if you thought the 2006 elections were a disaster then you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.