From The “Not That It Matters Anymore” Dept.

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

Newsweek informs us of things we didn't know before the election:

(1)  Palin's $150,000 spending spree?  It was actually "tens of thousands of dollars" greater than that.  As Newsweek put it:

One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family — clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards.

(2)  At the GOP convention one night, McCain advisors Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said.

(3)  Hackers broke into both the McCain and Obama campaign computers.  Not by their opponents, but by foreign nationals.

And perhaps more disturbing….

(4)  There was, according to the Secret Service, a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied.

The article also mentions this:

The Obama campaign's New Media experts created a computer program that would allow a "flusher"—the term for a volunteer who rounds up nonvoters on Election Day—to know exactly who had, and had not, voted in real time. They dubbed it Project Houdini, because of the way names disappear off the list instantly once people are identified as they wait in line at their local polling station.

I learned about Houdini last week, but was (for obvious reasons) sworn to secrecy.  I can't say whether it was a success on the whole; I was only one kog in the whole Houdini machine.  In case it's not clear, the whole point was to find out who had not voted so that they resources could be directed to reaching these non-voters (by phone, email) and trying to get them to the polls.

I suspect, however, that Houdini's utility was limited in my district, as well as most of North Carolina.  Most people voted early or were already planning to vote.  It may have coaxed a handful more into the ballot box, but I just don't think it would have been that many.