November 3, 2008  ·  Lessig

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I awoke in New Zealand today to an article in the New Zealand Herald, and I had a strange sense of deja vu. It is still Monday in America. And like the Monday before the 2004 election, and the Monday before the 2000 election, there is enormous confidence among Democrats that we are going to win this.

But as with 2000, and 2004, I have become a bit terrified about where we’ll be Tuesday. For as presented by the New Zealand Herald, however optimistic the static view of the swing states is, the dynamic view — what is the trend — is sobering, to say the least. As this graph shows, only Florida is trending in the right direction. Every other critical state is trending away from Obama.

Now of course, maybe not quickly enough. Of course, the advantages are significant, especially relative to 2004. And of course, McCain would have to move mountains to overcome the enormous machine that the Obama campaign has built.

But here’s the weird deja vu I feel. In 2004, I got on a plane Tuesday to fly to London. When I got on the plane, I watched every pundit, as well as Kerry’s daughter, speak about how all the polls were with Kerry. The “exit polls” indicated a clear Kerry victory. But then when I landed, I sat it utter disbelief in the United lounge at Heathrow, watching the Ohio numbers go against us, and therefore, delivering 4 more years to Bush.

We Democrats have trouble closing the deal. We have trouble continuing the push to the very last moment. We have repeatedly been blindsided by the fact that the other side votes regardless of the expected result, while we’re more contingent — making the effort if it seems necessary, relaxing when it doesn’t.

Please, don’t let this happen again. Please, if you’re an Obama supporter, do absolutely everything you can in the next 24 hours to make sure every single possible Obama vote turns out to vote. Volunteer for a phone bank, or use my.barackobama.com to phone bank from home. And beyond this, do the sort of things that too few of us ever have the courage to do: Express to your friends, and anyone you know, why you want them to support your candidate. Send an email with a personal story, or an argument important to you, to as many people as you can. Apologize for the intrusion, but intrude nonetheless. (How weird is it that engaging people about democratic issues in a democracy is generally viewed as inappropriate). And don’t let up until 8pm Pacific time.

I’m doing this. I’m exhorting you. I’m writing to everyone on my twitter/facebook/indenti.ca/flickr lists. If I can find an smtp server that will let me, I’ll dump an email to as many of my friends as I can telling them they this is so important. And when my plane lands in the US Tuesday morning, I will join my wife (who is running a phone bank in San Francisco), spending the day on the phone). I will mark myself as weird in doing all this, no doubt. But we can all afford this, if only just once in our life.

I understand the other side has their reasons. I respect them, even if I disagree with them. But I am genuinely afraid about what happens to our side if we let this slip away. There is enormous energy and passion among young people for Obama. There is a passion and hope that makes me cry each time I think about it among African Americans, and those who think about and live the discrimination of our past, and present. There is an energy I have never imagined could be behind any politician. I have known for more than a decade that this man is the real deal. And it gives me enormous hope for this democracy that we are about to vote to make him President.

Unless we don’t. Unless we let this slip by, again. Unless we sit in our comfortable cubicle, and let politics be run by the other side.

Don’t do this. Do something this time. Please at least help spread this message. Make sure everyone who could matter here knows what you believe. And don’t stop until the clock runs out.

October 11, 2008  ·  Lessig

From CBS:

Some of the questioners said they were scared of an Obama presidency, and one woman said she couldn’t trust Obama because “he’s an Arab.”

McCain shook his head. “No ma’am, he’s a decent family man, a citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign is all about.”

October 7, 2008  ·  Lessig

It has surprised me that this, the tremor before this recent financial disaster, the Keating Five scandal, has not been at the center of this campaign before. But now, apparently in response to Palin’s suggestion that the fact Obama knows Ayers is relevant to whether he should be president, the Obama campaign has released this very strong 15 minute documentary about the Keating scandal.

For those not old enough to remember, here’s the outline: 5 Senators, all of whom had received campaign funding from Charles Keating, intervene with regulators to get them to overlook criminal behavior by Keating, leading to the collapse of Lincoln Savings, leading to a $3.4 billion bill for Americans. The only one of those 5 Senators to receive both personal and political benefits from Keating: McCain.

Fair? Totally relevant to the question whether the judgment of this candidate is the sort that’s needed at this time. Totally relevant to the basic question whether his philosophy — deregulate — is what this sector needs at this time.

Wise? Not sure. I’m not sure Americans distinguish between hard-hitting-and-fair criticism (which this is) and hard-hitting-and-unfair criticism (which Palin’s is). One might worry that they’re “burn[ing] down the house to roast the pig” but I assume they’ve reckoned that.

But ugly? You bet.