Sunday, December 30, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
So here it goes:
Iowa: Hillary 36%, Edwards 31%, Obama 29% followed by Biden and Richardson in that order
New Hampshire: Hillary 45%, Obama 22%, Edwards 18%
South Carolina: Hillary 36%, Obama 34%, Edwards 22%
Out after SC: Edwards, out after Feb 5: Obama
Hillary wins the nomination
As for the Republicans:
Iowa: Huckabee 37%, Romney 31%, McCain 22%
New Hampshire: McCain 38%, Romney 27%, Huckabee 19%, Giuliani 15%
Out after NH: Romney
Out after Feb. 5: Giuliani and Huckabee
McCain wins the nomination
Friday, December 28, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
But Mike Allen says it looks like the race will "freeze" for the holidays and that that's good for Obama and "nerve-wracking" for Hillary. With only the Strategic Vision poll showing an Obama lead over the last few days in Iowa I'm not so sure it shouldn't be the other way around. But if political reporters want to play dumb, fine.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Not that this is all bad. For one thing, if the mainstream press continue to think Obama is ahead in Iowa and then he loses that only helps Hillary gain momentum ahead of New Hampshire. But I just find it annoying that in the face of overwhelming evidence not a single commentator or major political reporter would think to examine exactly how it was that Hillary's "troubled" campaign has managed to turn things around. It's reminiscent of the almost complete lack of attention reporters paid to Kerry's improving numbers preceding the last Iowa caucus - they then acted shocked SHOCKED that he'd won while the reality was his numbers had been moving up strongly in the state for weeks before caucus night.
Is this not newsworthy? If not, why not?
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
- EC: But should his conciliatory tone really be the basis to this extent of our evaluation of him? Some, including Matthew Yglesias, have argued that this focus on Obama's conciliatory rhetoric obscures the fact that Obama would still more likely prove a genuinely progressive president than Hillary would be.
PK: What evidence is there that she would be especially bad for the progressive movement? For what it's worth, Hillary's actual policy proposals are more aggressive than Obama's.
EC: What about on foreign policy? You could argue that Hillary is less willing to challenge old rhetorical frames on foreign policy, and that with her rhetoric and stuff like her Kyl-Lieberman vote, she's ceding turf at the outset on foreign policy the same way Obama is on health care.
PK: I guess I've been going on the view that no Democrat is not going to end this war, and no Democrat is going to start another war. I have not felt that foreign policy is the defining issue in the race to the nomination. Whether we're going to get universal health care is much more of a question.
To have Obama sort of sounding like the Washington Post editorial page really said among other things that he just hasn't been listening to progressives, for whom the fight against Bush's Social Security scare tactics was really a defining moment. Among the Dems he seems to be the least attuned to what progressives think.
It's a tone thing. I find it a little bit worrisome if we have a candidate who basically starts compromising before the struggle has even begun.
EC: But surely there's something to the argument that the skills to build coalitions, to win over moderates on the other side, aren't without any importance. Should we really take tone and rhetorical skills out of the equation entirely?
PK: No, but there aren't any moderates on the other side. And as far as sounding moderate goes, the reality is that if the Democrats nominated Joe Lieberman, a month into the general election Republicans would be portraying him as Josef Stalin. Obama's actually been positioning himself to the right of both Clinton and Edwards on domestic policy and has been attacking them from the right.
The Democratic nominee is still going to be running on a platform that is substantially to the left of how Bill Clinton governed, and the Republican is going to nominate someone to the right of Attila the Hun. You want the Dem who's going to make that difference clear and not say things that will be used by Republicans to say, "Well, even their candidate says..."
And after the election, if you come in after having opposed mandates and having said Social Security is in a crisis, then you're going to have some problems fending off Republican attacks on health care and The Washington Post's demands that you make Social Security a top priority. Mostly it's a question of what happens after the election.
- It’s way too early for New York Senator Hillary Clinton and her team to celebrate, but the former First Lady has gained back some lost ground in the state of New Hampshire.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone poll in the state finds Clinton with support from 31% of Likely Primary Voters while Barack Obama has earned the vote from 28%. Those figures are the reverse of last week’s total and reflect a net six point gain for Clinton.
Today however brings news of a new CNN/WMUR poll out of New Hampshire showing Hillary Clinton with a whopping 12 point lead in the state. A week ago she lead by only one point over Obama in the same poll and three weeks before that lead by 14 points. While one can't know for sure, it's clear that this poll illustrates (rather dramatically) that Clinton's campaign, at least in New Hampshire, is back on track.
Another recent poll from ABC/WaPo of Iowa shows Hillary continuing to trail Obama by 4 points, unchanged from a month ago. This may seem not particularly notable, except that in the last month the media has been full of stories of an Obama surge in the state. While it's clear from looking at other polls that Obama's numbers did improve throughout November and early December in Iowa, considering that the only previous ABC/WaPo poll from Iowa (taken the week before Thanksgiving) showed the race essentially unchanged, it doesn't take Mark Penn to suggest that while Obama may have "surged" in the state, it's clear from this poll that his "surge" has subsided.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
- Shorter Candidates
Obama: The system sucks, but I'm so awesome that it'll melt away before me.
Edwards: The system sucks, and we're gonna have to fight like hell to destroy it.
Clinton: The system sucks, and I know how to work within it more than anyone.
The problem with Krugman's criticism is it's a little complex, and difficult to fit into the bumper sticker slogans of the primaries. People tend to think of Obama as more progressive than Hillary and don't realize that on a number of issues he's in fact articulated a more conservative, almost Lieberman-esque view - the "can't we all just get along argument" which has basically killed the chances of any real progressive agenda in this country.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
- The job requires a president who not only understands the changes needed to move the country forward but also possesses the discipline and skill to navigate the reality of the resistant Washington power structure to get things done.
That candidate is New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.
From working for children’s rights as a young lawyer, to meeting with leaders around the world as first lady, to emerging as an effective legislator in her service as a senator, every stage of her life has prepared her for the presidency.
That readiness to lead sets her apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president. When Obama speaks before a crowd, he can be more inspirational than Clinton. Yet, with his relative inexperience, it’s hard to feel as confident he could accomplish the daunting agenda that lies ahead.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
- I have objections to the dynasty issue, not so much because I mind another Clinton in office, but because I think it's time to move on from the vast political-industrial machine known as the Clintonites.
Besides, Obama's campaign is full of Clintonites too. They aren't going anywhere. They're young, talented and will likely be involved in presidential level politics for the next several cycles.
Friday, December 14, 2007
- “I’ve been tested. I’ve been vetted. There are no surprises.”
“Whoever we nominate is going to be subjected to the full force of the Republican attack machine.”
- Axelrod said Obama "takes her at her word" but said Obama "also made it clear that campaigns have to send a message from the top down that negative campaigning...is not something to be celebrated and embraced."
- "Every Democratic candidate in Wyoming will be painted with that same liberal, big-government brush. We will also be the target of the locker room jokes that rightfully belong to Bill Clinton," John Millin [Wyo. Dem. Chair and Obama backer] wrote in a letter to The Denver Post.
"While I don't agree with this view of Mrs. Clinton, I have to accept that this is the truth. It has become the dirty little secret in the Democratic Party," he wrote.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
- The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of the Iowa Democratic Caucus finds that Hillary Clinton is supported by 29% of Likely Caucus Participants. That’s up two points from two weeks ago and identical to her level of support a month ago.
Barack Obama enjoys 26% support in the most recent poll. He was at 25% two weeks ago and 24% a month ago.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone poll finds John Edwards at 22%, down a bit from 24% two weeks ago and from 25% a month ago. Edwards now trails Clinton by seven percentage points. He trailed by three to four points in the earlier Rasmussen Reports surveys.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
More recently, we learn that he once hedged on the issue of a woman's right to choose but, in what could come back to haunt him next fall, at the outset of his political career (barely 12 years ago), he outlined a host of very liberal positions on guns and the death penalty.
All this speaks less to political principal than it does to political confusion. Afterall, on the issue that got Obama elected to the U.S. Senate- his early opposition to the Iraq War - he's been nearly silent which has made even some of his strongest supporters doubt his conviction to ending the war.
So who is Obama really? After the initial excitement of his candidacy has worn off, are we left with someone who at once wants us to believe he's principled and above the current political divide, or are we left with a potential nominee who just doesn't quite get it?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Saturday, December 8, 2007
- “We welcome Oprah to South Carolina, but people in South Carolina are dealing with real issues, like poverty, lack of health care, mill closings, a 50-percent high school dropout rate, and we think people will vote for John Edwards’s policies over Barack Obama’s friends,” Ms. Wells said.
Friday, December 7, 2007
- the debate over mandates has reinforced the uncomfortable sense among some health reformers that Mr. Obama just isn’t that serious about achieving universal care — that he introduced a plan because he had to, but that every time there’s a hard choice to be made he comes down on the side of doing less.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
- "Sixty-seven percent of the coverage is pure politics. That stuff has a half life of about 15 seconds. It won't matter tomorrow. It is very vulnerable to being slanted and rude. And it won't affect your life," Clinton said.
Monday, December 3, 2007
The anti-Hillary bandwagon rolls on yet somehow she's still tied for first in Iowa and leads in every other state AND beats every Republican in head-to-head matchups. Strange, isn't it?
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
- Mrs. Clinton has spent much of her life in campaigns. She obviously identifies with the young idealists who attend to the small and unglamorous details that keep a campaign alive, even in remote towns and villages.
So perhaps it was no surprise that tonight, Mrs. Clinton struck just the right grace notes.
Friday, November 30, 2007
- What seems to have happened is that Mr. Obama’s caution, his reluctance to stake out a clearly partisan position, led him to propose a relatively weak, incomplete health care plan. Although he declared, in his speech announcing the plan, that “my plan begins by covering every American,” it didn’t — and he shied away from doing what was necessary to make his claim true.
Now, in the effort to defend his plan’s weakness, he’s attacking his Democratic opponents from the right — and in so doing giving aid and comfort to the enemies of reform.
...Oh and please Obama, do announce that Bloomy is your running mate. The presumptuousness of such an announcement would almost surely doom your candidacy. So go ahead, be my guest!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
...although I'd like to see Huckabee repeat his crack about sending Hillary to Mars to her face. Cowardly little prick.
...the Rude Pundit has even more post-debate reaction (full of his distinctive "color").
- “I don’t feel as if any of the differences that have been raised on my end have been gratuitous, and frankly, I don’t feel that any of the differences that Senator Clinton has been pointing out have been gratuitous. It’s perfectly legitimate for her to suggest that I don’t have enough experience to be President.”
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Besides, coming up with some way to compel people to get health care is ultimately the only thing that can make universal coverage work. You can't just have the very sick enrolling in government sponsored plans or the system will go bankrupt. It's like a home insurance company who only insures people who's houses are burning down and tells everyone else they don't have to get home insurance unless they want to. Furthermore, by Obama's own backwards reasoning (see post below) parents only need to be compelled to get health care for their kids, not for themselves.
- In a conference call to announce the personal endorsement of Linda Nelson, president of the Iowa State Education Association, Obama said that he would “fine parents” in order to enforce the mandate in his health insurance plan that all children be covered.
“I would sign them up in school in the same way they would get inoculated. I would fine parents if form some reason they refused.
Says Obama's lack of an individual mandate to attain universal coverage is a "betrayal of Democratic Party principles."
Hitting him again, comparing the health care fight, to the creation of social security and medicare. Says Obama is "giving up the fight" before it's even begun.
Mentions the point made here several days ago that even "Governor Shwarzenegger has a mandate in his health care plan."
Hillary recounts a recent interview when she was asked what, other than her family, does she most fear losing. She replied, "her health"...explains how precious our personal health is.
Is now introducing several guests who have been unable to attain coverage for pre-existing health care conditions.
...Radio Iowa has a more complete transcript of Hillary's remarks.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Bill Clinton, less then a week before invasion.
Do you believe this matters? If you believe it matters—as I do—then you have to decide if it matters whether we bend over backwards to try to disarm him in a way that strengthens rather than divides the world community. If you don’t think it matters, then you’re with a lot of the people in the current administration who think that we’ll just go over there and this will take a few days, after we win—victors always get to write history—everybody will get over this and we’ll get everybody back together and they’ll be glad he’s gone because he’s a thug and a murderer. That’s what they think. If you believe it matters to keep them together, then you’ve got to support some version of what Prime Minister Blair’s doing now, which is to say, okay, he’s finally destroying his missiles. And the administration, to be fair, is nominally in favor of what Blair’s trying to do.
He’s finally destroying his missiles, so let’s give him a certain date in which, in this time, he has to destroy the missiles, reconcile the discrepancies in what we believe is the truth on chemical weapons, reconcile the discrepancies on biological weapons, reconcile the issue of the Drones, and offer up 150 scientists who can travel outside of Iraq with their families for interviews. If you do that, then we’ll say this is really good-faith disarmament, and we’ll go on without a conflict. Now if that passes, however, then you have to be willing to take yes for an answer. You see what I mean? I’m for regime change too, but there’s more than one way to do it. We don’t invade everybody whose regime we want to change. There’s more than one way to do this, but if that passes and he actually disarms, then we have to be willing to take it, and then work for regime change by supporting the opposition to Saddam Hussein within and outside Iraq, and doing other things.
I mean, are we seriously going to have to put up with every decision Bill Clinton made while president 8 years ago being held up to Hillary's current stances on issues and being told she's flip-flopped?
“Madame President of the United States…it’s an extraordinary thought. We truly are in a momentous time, where a woman’s potential has no limitations,” said Streisand. “Hillary Clinton has already proven to a generation of women that there are no limits for success. She is driven by her passion for public service and her belief in the enormous potential of our country. Smart, capable and strong in her convictions, Hillary has transcended the dictates of what is thought to be possible for our time.
“Hillary is a powerful voice for change as we find our country at an important crossroads. Under her leadership, our country will regain its respect within the global community. She will prioritize issues of global climate change, universal health care and rebuilding a strong economy. After 8 long years, the public will once again have faith in their government.
“Another former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, ‘In government, in business, and in the professions there may be a day when women will be looked upon as persons. We are, however, far from that day as yet.’ More than 50 years later ‘that day’ is now upon us…and Hillary Clinton is ready to shatter through that glass ceiling for all women.”
I just find it so odd that reporters are constantly asking some of the GOP's most disgraced politicians and political hacks about the Democratic race and then pretending like their opinion somehow matters.
The fact is, the entire national political press is flying blind. Leading up to Thanksgiving there were numerous polls political reporters could refer to in gaging the effect of past debates and high profile speeches. Now, with only the ABC poll out early last week (a poll which had actually been taken the week before but embargoed for a Monday release to attain maximum coverage for it's results) the political press has had no other public polls out of early key states to indicate in what direction things are moving. Until several polls suggest otherwise they will continue to run with the Obama as Iowa front runner story which isn't all bad for Hillary.
Monday, November 26, 2007
- Guaranteed eligibility. No American will be turned away FROM ANY INSURANCE PLAN because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
- When Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) launched his presidential campaign in January, he stopped raising money for his Hopefund, the political action committee he used to raise millions for fellow Democrats in previous campaigns. But in recent months, Obama has handed out more than $180,000 from the nearly dormant PAC to local Democratic groups and candidates in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, campaign reports show.
Some of the recipients of Hopefund's largess are state and local politicians who have recently endorsed Obama's presidential bid. Obama's PAC reported giving a $1,000 contribution, for instance, to New Hampshire state Sen. Jacalyn Cilley on July 25, six days before she announced she was endorsing Obama for president.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
...case in point, his obsession with Karl Rove who was featured prominently on The Page today. Or perhaps the current "POW!!!BAM!!!BOP!!!" headline. Or perhaps even the Drudge-like structure of The Page which is even more annoyingly scattered, with stories being moved around throughout the day to make room for giant type face, red and green headlines that trumpet the daily back-and-forth attack and response from the campaigns.
...more on Halperin's column here and here and here.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Boston Globe: Blue-collar women see hope in Clinton
WaPo: Clinton Team Is Quick to Bat Down Rumors
And over at The Page, Markie-Mark continues to describe Hillary as the most likely next president and wishes her a "suit of armor" to withstand the continued onslaught from Republicans and her Democratic opponents alike.
...adding, it also seems like the political media has finally woken up to the fact that the fluidity of the Republican race is more interesting to cover right now than the Democratic race (the sudden Huckabee rise, Ron Paul's internet boom, Mittman's Metrics, Giuliani's weak support in early states, etc.).
Not sure the Obama as JFK vs. Hillary as Nixon comparison is quite apt.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The shadow side of this is to point out that Obama's "change" rhetoric is fairly empty. Other then being of a different generation, his ideas are quite similar to Hillary's and the argument that she is a more skillful politician who will be better able to bring about the change the country wants has some resonance.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
- And now Clinton has decided to try to break the glass ceiling and go for the brass ring - and she's being told that HER experience doesn't count. That only CERTAIN kinds of experience qualifies someone to be president. But funny thing, it just so happens that this CERTAIN kind of experience is experience that until very recently, ONLY MEN WERE ALLOWED TO OBTAIN!
Still, as Markie-Mark rather presumptously reminds us:
- Make no mistake, however: we now have on our hands two very competitive presidential nomination battles.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Being able to do the right thing on foreign policy as president has a lot to do with the political support you have back at home. On the question of which candidate can win the support in the Congress and the support of the American people to pursue their policies I think it's almost impossible to say Obama would come in and do a better job than Hillary. In fact, to his opponents he'll present an easy mark - a young, inexperienced one term senator with a narrow base of political support among the liberal elite of the northeast and west without the combined skills and 35 year experience of the Clintons. As Hillary says, we can't afford that.
“Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next President will face. I think we need a President with more experience than that. Someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to, and has confidence in. I don’t think this is the time for on the job training on our economy or on foreign policy.
“I offer my credentials, my experience, and qualifications which I think uniquely equip me to be prepared to hit the ground running on Day One. And I offer the experience of being battle tested in the political wars here at home. For 15 years, I have been the object of the Republican attack machine and I’m still here.”
The Obama response is a good one, but it's a line of attack that didn't resonate in '04 and hasn't shown much resonance this cycle either. The fact is, voters, especially Democratic voters, blame Bush for Iraq and not the Senators who voted for the IWR.
...Halperin says Obama uses his spokesman's line "I wonder which world leader told her we needed to invade Iraq." And the audience reaction is muted.
We're now at the point where a single outlying poll showing a small Obama lead (numerous other polls taken last week showed a Hillary lead) can be used to drive the political discussion about Hillary's troubles for another week. Whether other polls out this week from Iowa show a Hillary lead or not, the basic storyline is likely to remain the same for the foreseeable future - Hillary's once high-flying campaign is now locked in a battle for survival in Iowa.
Yet, six weeks out from the Iowa caucuses this is in many ways a desirable spot for Hillary to be in. If this sustained media/rival campaign attack does not succeed in putting her out of the running (which if the last 3 weeks are any proof, it certainly won't) the storyline will inevitably shift to Hillary's staying power, her strength in the face of a daily barrage of attacks from not only Obama and Edwards, but the Republicans. Further questions will be raised of her opponents and if either come to be perceived as narrowly ahead that shifts some pressure off Hillary as well, allowing her to reduce expectations. One can imagine Hillary surviving an early loss in Iowa, but it's difficult to imagine how Obama or Edwards could.
Monday, November 19, 2007
- There seems to be a pattern here. It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush.
To answer this question, first take a look at the results of an ABC News/Washington Post poll in the field towards the end of September. According to the survey, just 16 percent of American adults said they thought Congress had achieved a great deal or good amount this year while a whopping 82 percent said that they thought Congress had achieved little or nothing. However, when those who rated Congress negatively in this regard were asked who was to blame for this situation, fully 51 percent said that either George W. Bush or the Republicans in Congress were to blame, compared to the 25 percent who blamed the Democrats in Congress and the 20 percent who blamed both sides equally.
More recently, a Gallup poll released this past week found that the Democratic Party's favorability rating among the American people was significantly higher than that of the GOP's favorability rating. Specifically the Democrats' 54 percent positive/37 percent negative spread, which is actually slightly better than its rating the month before the 2006 midterm elections, compares quite favorably with the 40 percent positive/50 percent negative spread enjoyed by the Republican Party.
Other then on issues like Iraq however, I'm not sure how it helps a candidate to be specific on exactly what they would do with countries like Iran. Until they are elected, making commitments to behave a certain way towards other countries only reduces their options once they're in the White House. While Obama's rhetoric on the subject might sound appealing, there's over a year to go before he or anyone else would be in a position to do anything. Unlike large domestic initiatives and policy debates that play out sometimes over decades, foreign policy is a rather fluid, fast moving set of changing circumstances and power plays. Besides, with parts of the Middle East as unsettled as they are now, telegraphing anything beyond the commitment to end the war just doesn't make a lot of sense.
- To be sure, the level of violence in Iraq is still high. Even as military officials announced the figures, Iraq had one of its deadliest days in weeks, with at least 22 people killed. Among the killed were nine civilians in Karada, a mixed neighborhood in central Baghdad, when a car bomber rammed a convoy carrying Iraq’s deputy finance minister. The official was not hurt, but a guard was among the wounded.
Also on Sunday, three children were killed and seven were wounded in Baquba, to the north, in an explosion in a small garden where American soldiers were handing out candy, ballpoint pens and soccer balls. Three American soldiers were also killed. Their names were not released.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
- Robert Novak was once a real journalist but after the events of the past few years, it's safe to say that he no longer can be considered anything but a Republican operative, specifically a Rove acolyte who basically works for him.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
- I was left wondering what happened to the much touted promise of Obama’s Iowa speech. Pundits and supporters have been reading much into the symbolism of his campaign, even to the point of suggesting his election would send a powerful message of possible reconciliation with the Muslim world. Whatever the Obama promise means — and I think its meaning is more in the hopes of his beholders than what he’s actually saying — I couldn’t find it last night.
As to Yepsen's strange point that an Edwards "fade" might boost Obama over her, I'd point him to this graph of polling trends in Iowa. It clearly shows that the candidate who has benefited the most from Edward's slide in Iowa from frontrunner to second or third has been Hillary. It's difficult to get a sense that Edwards might reset in these last weeks and show a side of himself that turns his trend line around - he's been campaigning in Iowa an awfully long time and a lot of voters are familiar with him. My sense is that a Biden or Dodd could prove a late spoiler which would only accelerate Edwards' decline.
- Lately, Barack Obama has been saying that major action is needed to avert what he keeps calling a “crisis” in Social Security — most recently in an interview with The National Journal. Progressives who fought hard and successfully against the Bush administration’s attempt to panic America into privatizing the New Deal’s crown jewel are outraged, and rightly so.
But Mr. Obama’s Social Security mistake was, in fact, exactly what you’d expect from a candidate who promises to transcend partisanship in an age when that’s neither possible nor desirable.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
...Hillary 1, Obama 0.
...Obama: "Illegal immigrants are not here to drive, they're not here to go to the In N' Out Burger." Doh* but now he's backing away from saying yes or no on drivers' licenses. Edwards answers no. Marc Ambinder says Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle couldn't have scripted the exchange better.
...Hillary's answers are laser-like. Informed, interesting to listen to and refreshing compared to care-bare Richardson and the others.
...The Kooch: "HELLO, HELLO, YOU MISSED ME." Hilarious!
...Hillary is the only grown-up on stage. Edwards now having trouble with yes or no questions on China and free-trade, ostensibly his strong suit....hmm. Can we have enough of this gotcha game and just let these guys speak?
...Richardson: "You mentioned all the labs...I was in charge of them." Puhleeeaze, dude. And he lied about his prior opposition to Yucca Mountain.
...Edwards booed loudly when he attacks Hillary again.
...Obama ends an attack on Hillary for voting with Kyle-Lieberman, with saying "I agree with Hillary" on her position to use diplomacy. Wolfe then reminds him he missed the vote on Iran. Not a good exchange for Obama.
...Marc Ambinder's comment filtering is annoying. What's he afraid of?
..."Undecideds" ZZZZzzzz. I'll always remember those "undecideds" with their little Frank Luntz sponsored dials rating Al Gore and George Bush, no offense...
...Hillary on the need for a bi-partisan commission to examine Social Security: "Back in 1983, when we had a real crisis in Social Security."
...Matthew Yglesias makes a good point. When all's said and done, these types of multi-candidate debates just make the media moderators desperate to score headlines. Generally these things are less of an issue in the final handful of debates between the party nominees.
...I should clarify, since I realized I wrote "ZZZZZzzz" above at the time of the "undecideds" questions. The reason their presence annoys me in debates is it's a cheap media stunt to suggest these people are undecided and just need the opportunity to ask a direct question or two. However, while the tenor of the recent Democratic debat moderation has tended to place Democrats on the wrong side of public opinion, there's no perfect way to run a debate like this. Some aspect of the moderation, the setup, the rules or the questions are going to be irritating. There's a good reason they've tried just about every imaginable format for these things and can't seem to find one that works. Also, let's keep in mind, these debates have all been sponsored by the cable news nets who are by their very nature tabloid in their political coverage.
...Um, Howie? You really want to talk about campaign advisors being a lightning rod? I give you The Pod (Rudy's senior foreign policy advisor):
- When, recently, John McCain said that the only thing worse than bombing Iran is allowing Iran to get the bomb, [Giuliani campaign senior advisor] Podhoretz told Giuliani, “I wish you had been the first to say that.”
In any case, Podhoretz said to me, he believes that George W. Bush will settle the matter himself, by bombing Iran before he leaves office. “I’m probably the only person on the face of the earth who thinks that Bush will order air strikes,” Podhoretz says. “But we’ll find out. If Bush doesn’t kick the can down the road, then the issue becomes moot, obviously. But if he fails to do what I think he will do, Rudy seems to me to be the best bet for doing what is necessary.”
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
...will Blitzer ask Obama to restate his position supporting driver's licenses for illegal immigrants tomorrow?
- But Hillary's performance at prior debates was never as deft or "flawless" as the media claimed in the first place. Conventional wisdom has now flipped, and the air-headed lemmings of our free press have turned on a dime and are stampeding in the opposite direction.
- Hillary's stonewalling evasions and mercurial, soulless self-positionings have been going on since her first run for the U.S. Senate from New York, a state she had never lived in and knew virtually nothing about.
- Hillary won her Senate seat because she busted her fucking ass. I know the cocktail party circuit isn't so interested in the problems of rural upstate, but she was. She sat down with factory workers and farmers, she visited small towns and places where the population was hemorrhaging.
When I was a kid, people moved to my town. That may sound like not such a big thing, but between 1990 and 2000, the upstate city I know best, Binghamton, lost 11.8% of its population. Between 2000 and 2006, it lost an additional 2.3%. Still losing, but slowed significantly. She managed to staunch the bleeding of the population and bring two significant employers to this area, at least, something the functionally retarded George Pataki never gave one flying fuck about. And I met a sort of person I haven't met in ages yesterday: people who moved here, one from Colorado, two from Arizona. Suddenly, I believed in my home in a way I hadn't in years.
- Hillary's much-vaunted "experience" has evidently not extended to the dynamic give-and-take of authentic debate. The mild challenges she has faced would be pitiful indeed by British standards, which favor a caustic style of witty put-downs that draw applause and gales of laughter in the House of Commons. Women had better toughen up if they aspire to be commander in chief.
- But I continue to find it hard to believe that my party truly craves that long nightmare of déjà vu -- with scandal after scandal disgorged and an endless train of abused women returning from Bill Clinton's sordid, anti-feminist past.
- But a bland, bumbling Bush may be better for this country than the hysterical chameleon and monstrous panderer that Democratic nominee Al Gore turned into last year.
- ...there's definitely something weird and cultish in the sycophantish cathexis onto Hillary of the many nerds, geeks and vengeful viragos who run her campaign -- sometimes to her detriment, as with the recent ham-handed playing of the clichéd gender card.
- Clinton, speaking to her alma mater, said, "In so many ways, this all-women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics." That's the only invocation of gender since the debate. And to me, it sounds like nothing more interesting than alumni puffery. She didn't say the "boys" were beating up on her for being a woman. She didn't say the questions were unfair or the attacks sexist. She just said that her alma mater helped prepare her to enter this world. That's not making this about gender. It's mentioning gender, and pumping up her college.
- Hillary seems to have acolytes rather than friends -- hardly a reassuring trait for a potential president whose paranoia has already been called Nixonian.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
- Iowa: Clinton– 25, Edwards– 23, Obama– 22
NH: Clinton– 37, Obama– 22, Edwards– 9
Bottom line: the "piling on" charge is sticking.
- it's really not hard to explain why Camp Hillary is so aggressive with the media: The Clintons have been getting slimed by the big news orgs for over 15 years. Just look back over Campaign 2008 alone and ponder all the bogus Hillary stories we've had. Here's a partial list:
* Hillary's alleged failure to tip the Iowa waitress
* Hillary's phony southern drawl
* The supposed 20-year-plan by Hillary and Bill to take over the world, or at least deliver them both the Presidency, as alleged by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta and denied by the one person who supposedly had first-hand knowledge of their dastardly plot
* The baseless claim that Hillary eavesdropped on political opponents in 1992
* The bogus media claim that Bill Clinton accused Hillary's Dem rivals of "swiftboating" her
* The media's hyping of Hillary's supposed refusal to release Presidential records, a tale that was taken apart in today's Washington Post and which wasn't matched by any similar media outrage about Rudy's refusal to release his Mayoral papers
And on and on. Putting aside the Hillary campaign's more routine efforts to spin the press, the real story here is that the Clintons have been swimming against the media slime-tide for far longer than any of her Dem rivals. As a result they have a more immediate grasp of the media echo chamber/Freak Show dynamic at play, which is that once bogus stories are injected into the media bloodstream there's literally nothing that can get pundits and commentators -- and even some self-described journalists -- to stop repeating it.
John Edwards and his hair know this, and Obama the flag-pin-hating Muslim is learning it, but the Clintons have been living and breathing it for years and years.
- Gallo-Chasanoff, whose story was first reported in the campus newspaper, said what happened was really pretty simple: She says a senior Clinton staffer asked if she'd like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech the Democratic presidential hopeful gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6.
"I sort of thought about it, and I said 'Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates' energy plans?'" Gallo-Chasanoff said Monday night.
"'I don't think that's a good idea," the staffer said, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, "because I don't know how familiar she is with their plans."
e then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it.
"The top one was planned specifically for a college student," she added. " It said 'college student' in brackets and then the question."
Topping that sheet of paper was the following: "As a young person, I'm worried about the long-term effects of global warming. How does your plan combat climate change?"
And while she said she would have rather used her own question, Gallo-Chasanoff said she generally didn't have a problem asking the campaign's because she "likes to be agreeable," adding that since she told the staffer she'd ask their pre-typed question she "didn't want to go back on [her] word."
Monday, November 12, 2007
- Is Barack Obama suggesting to voters in Iowa that the major reason the Clintons are seen as “divisive” is that they themselves said and did things that divided the country? That would mean the Republican Party of Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove had nothing to do with that perception.
Obama called on his audience to “stand up” against the politics of the past, and that’s right. But the politics of the past were designed by Newt and Karl and capitalized by Georgy and Dick’s fear mongering. If Obama (or any candidate) wants to be taken seriously, he first needs to convince Americans he understands what the Bush/Cheney regime, its radical followers and a complicit media have done to America and its political discourse and realizes how hard it’s going to be to repair the damage. Blaming the Clintons for everything is not just missing the point; it means you’re not ready.
- ...[J]ust listen to Barack Obama's Meet the Press performance if you'd like to be less clear about how and where he differs from her...Barack Obama's speech at Saturday night's Jefferson-Jackson dinner was the best I've ever seen him give. His interview with Tim Russert the next morning was one of the worst I've seen him give.
...Kos says Obama on MTP "sucked."
- In Sully's case I was talking about this line from his Obama piece:
"With 9/11, Bush had a reset moment—a chance to reunite the country in a way that would marginalize the extreme haters on both sides and forge a national consensus."
In other words, there's a sensible middle just waiting to be united around stuff... stuff Andy Sullivan believes! It's the "extreme haters on both sides" - those who don't agree with Andy Sullivan about stuff - who prevent the national unity torch from growing large. And if only there were a charismatic candidate who Andy could project all his hopes and dreams into then that candidate would be the uniter! Until he disappoints, and Andy gets a new crush.
- What a difference eight hours can make. The next morning, Obama appeared for a full-hour interview in another arena of political combat, facing off against Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." The fiery Obama of Saturday night had been replaced on Sunday morning by a replicant, a tepid candidate mostly concerned with avoiding mistakes rather than winning converts. Early in the interview, Russert ran a clip from Saturday night's speech and challenged Obama to identify precisely who was "talking and acting and voting like George Bush Republicans." This was Obama's moment of decision -- either up the ante by calling out Hillary, or fold.
Look, we know that too many Democrats I believe went along with George Bush when it came to the war in Iraq..." Obama said. "I am concerned about the latest moves the administration has been making with respect to Iran. And when Senator Clinton supported the Kyl-Lieberman amendment that suggests that we structure our forces in Iraq with an eye to blunting the influence of Iran in that country, that is, I think, a wrong message."