Sunday, December 30, 2007

Obama in third

It's hard not to read into this that the Obama people believe they are in third and at risk of losing to both Edwards and Hillary. Frankly I had higher hopes for Obama when he announced and I think I'm not alone in feeling he's really disappointed.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


If you're going to advocate for one particular candidate over all the others, than the least you can do is put your credibility on the line and make a few predictions and let people judge whether your outlook is based more on wishful thinking or actual insight.

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

Concord Monitor Endorses Hillary

In the print edition tomorrow. Excerpt here.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Media Hardest on Hillary

So claims a new study by CMPA. No surprise, really.

Washington Times for Obama

Obama can add the editorial board of the Washington Times to his long list of conservative endorsers. Apparently oblivious to recent polling trends in Iowa, they claim Obama is ahead and argue against a Hillary candidacy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hillary continues Iowa surge

LA Times Bloomberg has her up by 6, that's one point better than their last poll in September. Despite whatever protestations Obama and his supporters offer defending his foreign policy judgement as superior to Hillary's, the Bhutto assassination can only help Clinton and that point will be made again and again today in the coverage. The fact is, Bush has put us in a dangerously close alliance with a despot in Pakistan and we need a president with the stature to deal with a complex world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

ARG: Clinton 14 points ahead in Iowa

Imagine if, 10 days before the Iowa caucuses, there had been a highly reputable poll showing Obama ahead by 14 points in Iowa and imagine if the same poll had shown him growing his lead from only 4 points the week before. Think we would have heard about it?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ignoring 100% of the recent polling... could write an article describing Obama's continued climb in Iowa. Of course it would have little basis in fact. But when has that ever stopped the Washington Post?

Friday, December 21, 2007

More Iowa Surge

Strategic Vision, which 10 days ago had Obama with an 8 point lead over Hillary in Iowa, now puts his lead at only 3.

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


If even Hillary supporters want to righteously proclaim that she may be down but not out, fine. But any idiot with a brain and a pair of eyes armed with the slew of recent polls out of Iowa and New Hampshire would only see one thing: a marked, dramatic and strong shift in favor of the former front-runner in New Hampshire and Iowa.

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.

When you have Lugar, Ahhhnold and Hagel

Who needs the Democratic Party at all?

...and oh yea, Tom Coburn.

Hillary continues surge in Iowa

I haven't seen a single story about Hillary's dramatic turnaround in the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa. But, as if we needed more proof, two more polls out today show a Hillary lead in Iowa. An ARG poll shows a net 6 point swing in favor of Hillary - she goes from having been behind Obama by 2 points three weeks ago to being ahead by 4. (According to ARG Hillary now registers her highest level of support in the state in a year and the "surging" John Edwards has dropped precipitously). Almost a month ago the entire political press gasped when an ABC/WaPo poll with know previous track record in the state showed Obama leading Hillary by 4 points. Now in the space of just a few days, several pollsters who've been active in the state for weeks show a sharp Hillary turnaround.

Is this not newsworthy? If not, why not?


In fact Messrs. Politics of Hope and Son of a Millworker have run campaigns full of politics as usual.

America's Mayor

I just hope we get an accounting at some point from the press as to how it was Mr. 9/11- America's Mayor, national GOP front-runner for most of the year, etc. failed to win a single primary. At the very least, perhaps the Giuliani mirage will teach the national press once and for all that nationwide primary polls are meaningless and simply reflect name ID.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Politics of Present

From the NY Times. Can we at least agree that Obama is not the liberal savior some of his more devout supporters think he is?

Krugman slams Obama

From an interview with TPM:
    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.
As I've said here before, when Krugman takes a candidate to the woodshed over a particular policy issue (i.e. Bush in 2000 and his "1+1=4" Social Security plan) he's usually right.

More Hillary New Hampshire surge

From a new poll of the state by Rasmussen.
    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.

Clinton improving in Iowa

Now leads by 4 points in latest Rasmussen survey of the state.


Apparently Matt Drudge rules her world too.

Teresa Vilmain

Hillary's Michael Whouley in Iowa.

Hillary surge in New Hampshire

Pundits love to bring up polls that offer unexpected results and claim that they mean something fundamental has changed in the dynamics of the race. The problem is those polls are frequently one shot deals taken by pollsters that only infrequently poll a certain state and so can offer no proof of a trend.

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.

Iowa race unchanged

I think Edwards support is routinely overstated. Basically few people believe he has a serious shot at the presidency and come Iowa caucus night I think a lot of his supporters will choose between either Obama or Clinton. In this way the recent spat between Edwards and Obama could be quite damaging to Obama's chances in Iowa.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In China

Contrary to popular opinion, I'm sitting in my parents apartment in China reading all the major American news sites, including the New York Times, Atlantic, Drudge, CNN, etc. But blogger is exceptionally slow and I'll be out sightseeing so posting will be irregular. In any case, the news that Obama has begun to engage Edwards on the campaign trail is indeed interesting...Iowa is one hell of a toss up at this point.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Hillary I know

This is pretty extraordinary.

From Atrios

Honestly, the "system" isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
    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.

Finally, a turning point

The DMR endorsement is indeed an important page turning moment in Hillary's campaign. But perhaps even more significant is the criticism of Obama today by Paul Krugman. Say what you will about the guy, but when he decides to take a candidate to the woodshed over a particular issue he is often right (remember his frequent attacks on Bush in 2000 over his social security privatization scheme?).

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

More Cognitive Dissonance

Obama's holier than though approach doesn't always have the results he thinks it might.

Well I'm happy to be wrong

Clinton wins Des Moines Register endorsement. And they find a nut:
    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

Des Moines Register

Apparently we'll know who they intend to endorse by midnight tonight. My spider sense tells me it's likely to be Obama but I'm happy to be wrong.

Big Dog

He seems basically irritated at the press coverage not the Hillary campaign. Can you really blame him? Edwards and Obama spent the first 6 months of the campaign calling Hillary everything from a corporate shill to a liar to a warmongerer. She dares to suggest that Obama is running simply on hope and a broken health care plan and suddenly she's the one running a negative campaign.

Puppy see, Puppy do

Obama to hold his own Iowa presser today...

I don't get this

Atrios says:
    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.
Sorry Atrios, but only the second two-term Democratic president in the last 100 years just may have had some people advising him who, you know, kind of knew what they were doing.

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

Is It The End?

    Diageo/Hotline poll: Clinton 27, Obama 27, Edwards 22.

New Hampshire
    Fox News/Opinion Dynamics: Clinton 34, Obama 25, Edwards 15.

More Closing Argument

Hillary today in Iowa:
    “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.”
If Obama manages to win the nomination he'll have done so having received only the slightest scrutiny. He's basically been given a free pass the last two months.

He's back!

The legendary Michael Whouley is working for Hillary. He was a chief field operative for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, widely considered the architect of Kerry's come from behind Iowa victory. Yesterday brought news of a major Clinton tour of some 16 Iowa counties aboard a "Hill-copter." The use of a helicopter to quickly shuttle around Iowa was a technique used by Kerry late in the last caucus campaign.

On negative campaigning

Team Obama yesterday:
    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 not something to be celebrated and embraced."
Team Obama today:
    "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.

More Chelsea Factor

...Markie-Mark brings word
of a major Iowa endorsement for Hillary to be announced today.

...It's Leonard Boswell who remained neutral in 2004.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Closing Argument

The video linked below is likely to be the essence of Hillary's closing argument as it neatly and nicely draws the distinction between her two chief rivals for the nomination. The emphasis on "working hard" to better peoples' lives is the one thing that more than anything else sets Hillary apart from her rivals. Edwards and Obama are relatively new to politics - Edwards has spent about half his political life campaigning for president and Obama, with even less experience, has mainly spent his time posing for magazine covers and toiling quietly in the Senate. Hillary has spent 35 years working hard for what she believes in and Iowa voters would do well to remember that.

Working Hard

Hillary speaks to those who want change.

...Ambinder believes Edwards and Clinton came off particularly well. It would have been nice if Obama at some point had taken the time to prepare for one of these debates.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Obama's past drug use

Not sure this is the issue the Clinton folks think it might be. But still, at times in his life Obama has admitted he was unfocused. Consequently, one sometimes wonders if politics is really a sustained interest or a passing fancy for him. His recent confusion on the nature of our politics makes me wonder how long he's really been paying attention.

Hillary stable in Iowa

The most damaging thing to confront the Hillary campaign over the last month was the perception her numbers had sagged in Iowa. In truth, she'd never been ahead by more than a few points. Rasmussen is one of the most reliable independent pollsters and has conducted a number of recent polls in the state and finds Hillary's numbers virtually unchanged over the last month.
    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

The Politics of Confusion

In the "Audacity of Hope," Obama seems most interested in battling the Great Partisan Straw Man, but in fact, since his campaign began, he's swung blindly at times, knocking down would be supporters without thinking. He gets all holier than thou when referring to social security as being in "crisis" and oddly believes he's speaking truth to the likes of Paul Krugman who because he disagrees with Obama is then subjected to a Robert Gibbs authored oppo-attack. Yet, he's afraid of running on a truly universal health care plan that includes a mandate (something nearly all experts agree is necessary for universal coverage) and instead decides he wants to seem politically courageous on the wildly unpopular notion of giving drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants. Although his muddled response to the question in a debate could set the stage for a general election battle on immigration he'd probably rather avoid if he wins the nomination.

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

Frank Rich

Why doesn't he just grab a pair of pom-poms and don a sweater with a big "O" on the front. He claims the press "failed to anticipate the polling surge" of Barack Obama. Puhleaze, they worked for a month straight to get Obama's numbers up a couple ticks. He still is behind in many polls in the early states. His rise hasn't been nearly as quick or as sudden as Huckabee's. To make the comparison simply serves Rich's goal of deflating Hillary's chances. I hope she wins and I hope he suffers and I look forward to ignoring any further commentary he offers on the race.


    IA– Clinton 27, Obama 25, Edwards 21
    NH– Clinton 30, Obama 27, Edwards 10
    SC– Clinton 28, Obama 25, Edwards 18
    NV– Clinton 34, Obama 26, Edwards 9

The Chelsea Factor

Hell yea!
    “Oh, Chelsea, you’ve grown up,” one woman wearing a Hillary button exclaimed. “You’re so beautiful.”

    “Oh, thank you very much,” she replied softly. Asked how long she would be in the state, she said: “Just with my mom today, then I’ll be back.”

Saturday, December 8, 2007

More turning point?

Obama releases oppo hit on Krugman.

A misfire if ever there was one.

Turning point?

Barack-Oprah '08 takes some heat.
    “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

Krugman vs. Obama

    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


Spending 12 hours a day doing stuff so little time for blogging, but will return shortly.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

More on the Politics of "Present"

Odd that this hasn't garnered more coverage lest the "Obama is surging" storyline be interrupted. Still at least another week or two on that by my clock.

Majority for Change

Obama here makes the argument that basically every primary challenger makes - that somehow they will be better able to attract a wider swath of voters in the general election. The question, I suppose, then becomes what change does he foresee offering and how does that differ from the various things Hillary has proposed doing if she wins the White House? Right now, the only things I can think of that Obama has argued for is a broken health care plan and for a renewed focus on "fixing" social security. It seems more and more with Obama, that there is very little substance to his campaign.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Sadly, one gets the feeling that there is a lot of truth to this.

Big Dogs speaks some truth

Sure he's biased, but you'd be hard pressed to come up with an argument to refute what he said today in New Hampshire:
    "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.
The point really is that quite a bit has been made of what amounts to rather small movements in polls coming out of Iowa for the Democrats (certainly when compared to Huckabee's quick rise on the GOP side). And for Obama, he's essentially had a press honey-moon of sorts since polls started moving slightly in his favor. But, Obama has moved up so slightly that it's difficult for the press to find some explanation for it, instead they simply focus on whatever they consider to be small mistakes made by the Hillary campaign and so the whole thing rings rather hallow.

The Politics of Now

For Obama, that apparently means taking no side at all on a host of issues, including a woman's right to choose and gun violence.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Silly Season

Right. Of course what's really laughable is that millions were spent marketing a book which made the wholly unfounded claim that Bill and Hillary had made a "secret pact" to both win the presidency years ago. Obama has duly repeated the rumor (courtesy of the NY Times reporters who originally brought us the Whitewater scandal) in nearly every attack he's made on Hillary in the last month and also claims he has never harbored any plans to be president (apparently it's not cool to actually want the job).

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

Black and Brown Forum

How refreshing for a political candidate: given the opportunity to blatantly pander to a friendly audience one of them was actually honest even though it earned her a few boos.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

"Calm in the face of crisis"

Poetry from the AP.


A difficult day for the Senator and her campaign staff to be sure, but perhaps the country got a taste of a what a president Hillary might be like. This has to be just about the most complimentary thing Kit Seeyle has written about Hillary in some time (note the use of Mrs. Clinton no "Senator" or "Hillary"):
    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


Tight as a drum. At this point it's pretty safe to say that in Iowa Clinton and Obama are tied with one slightly ahead of the other depending on the methodology used. Still, it's important to remember that even at her peak, Hillary was rarely ahead by more than the margin of error in Iowa polling so this is hardly the collapse some in the political media seem to be pining for.

Oh My...

The Krug-Man hits Obama hard on his deficient health care plan.
    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.
For the first time in weeks it looks like the Obama camp is taking some incoming fire from the media at large. Although the Halperins and Drudges of the world will all have their panties in a bunch waiting for some word on the Obama-Bloomberg meeting tomorrow this is still an important development. Anything that would put the brakes on Obama now could likely be fatal to his campaign. (Why this is eyebrow raising is hard to figure. Even if Obama won the nomination, would he really seriously consider asking a liberal from New York City to be his running mate? Me thinks not...)

...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!

The Politics of Bribery

I spent most of the day on a long and also delayed flight to the west coast so am just catching up on the day's political developments. But this seems to be, um, likely to cause a ripple or two. Certainly Hillary was smart to shut her PAC before the campaign got going. I can only imagine the reaction if this sort of story broke right now and it was about her campaign.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Debate Hate

Yea, it was pretty much a victory for the Democrats. The only two that look ready for prime time are Huckabee and Romney. And it's probably true that Huckabee is too much the good minister (and no joke - he's one smooth talker) and Romney too much the calculating flip-flopper.

...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").

There you have it

Obama to Time:
    “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.”
The media frame hasn't changed much on the Democratic side. The political press is still very much focused on exposing chinks in Hillary's armor and propping up Obama. But quotes like these make you wonder if Obama really understands the game.

YouTube Debate

I didn't watch. But I gather from this that the Republicans basically spent the night fighting about stuff that doesn't matter to most Americans.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


The Obama camp responded to Hillary today saying that her plan was based largely on the Massachusetts plan and that the failure of some 20% of the state's uninsured to yet enroll is somehow proof a mandate doesn't work. Well, they should fact check their own facts. The deadline for enrollment in the Massachusetts plan is still several weeks off and like anything, lots of people wait until the last minute.

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.

Um, Barack?

So you apparently need a fine to make sure parents get health care for their kids but nothing to force parents to get health care 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.

Hillary Clinton Live in Iowa

Listening in now to her health care speech. She is hitting Obama VERY hard on the lack of an individual mandate, calling it essential to universal healthcare coverage.

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.

New poll shows Huckabee over Romney in Iowa

If he can expand his campaign quickly enough and raise enough money to compete across the country, Mike Huckabee just might have a shot at this thing.

...ahhh, but Huckabee has a dark-side.

Clinton vs. Giuliani

Great story in today's Times about the 2000 Senate race that almost was. we're to get a rematch, Giuliani might consider trying to win an early state or two, or three.

Foreign Policy

Sounds like Obama's event today was pretty vapid and eerily like some Bush "roundtables" from campaign 2000.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Still dividing Democrats and uniting Republicans. Karl Rove's legacy lives on...

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.

The politics of wankery

Barack Obama

...Jane Hamsher has more Obama wankery.

Um, Ben?

Defending her husband, the former president, for the decisions he made while in office doesn't mean she can't decide - months later - when announcing a policy on HIV/AIDS that she wants to pursue a different policy regarding needle exchange. Use your brain Ben, perhaps Hillary has decided a federal needle exchange can be sustained politically and more importantly, is worth it in the lives it would save.

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?


Streisand endorses...Hillary!

    “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.”

New Iowa Poll

Confirms dead heat and ZERO Clinton slide. From Strategic Vision (R)

    Dems: Clinton– 29(29), Obama– 29(27), Edwards– 23(20)

    GOP: Romney– 26, Huckabee– 24, Giuliani– 14

    Margin of error 4.5 percent

Parenthesis are from their last poll, taken 11/9-11/12.

Random Question

Since when did Newt Gingrich become the oracle of Democratic primary politics?

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.

Polls Shmolls

Yea, this was to be expected. The negative media frame I wrote about last week has continued to persist, albeit with positive stories about Hillary sprinkled in for good measure and some negative spin on Obama (re: Why Winfrey Won't Help Obama - since removed from The Page) and Edwards (continuing coverage of his "anger").

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

N.H. first lady endorses...


Hillary was just "talking on occasion" with Bill

For better or worse, I think every American realizes Hillary Clinton was a bit more involved with her husband's presidency then that.

Why mandated health insurance is important

Because otherwise only the sick will get coverage. The recently enacted Massachusetts plan and California Gov. Shwarzenegger's plan, announced last January, both insist on a mandate. So long as you can wait until the proverbial house is on fire who among the healthy uninsured would bother getting coverage? And indeed, Obama's plan guarantees eligibility:
    Guaranteed eligibility. No American will be turned away FROM ANY INSURANCE PLAN because of illness or pre-existing conditions.
While there are plenty of ways to work this (witness the current debate going on in the California legislature), I'd be interested in hearing Obama explain exactly how his plan wouldn't only be taken advantage of by those who'd suddenly fallen ill thereby raising costs and covering even fewer people. My sense is he thought it politically smart to leave out the complex and often controversial issue of mandated coverage, but then again, isn't being forthright about the requirements for universal coverage important to the candidate who believes in telling it straight to the American people?

A new kind of politics?

    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

Polls Shmolls

I've been skirting this point for the last week or so. The fact is, ABC/WaPo was significant not for it's result, but because of the time and space within which it was released. It was allowed to dominated the coverage and it was embargoed for a Monday release to have that effect. The actual polling was completed three days earlier on the Friday after the last debate.

The Sorry State of The Huffington Post

Apparently Paul Loeb thinks having the first two-term Democratic President since Roosevelt depressed Democrats and that Hillary would likely bring on only more apathy within the party.

As the kids say, Your Liberal media.


Of course Halperin has done perhaps more than anyone else in the news media to encourage the view that "what it takes" is all that matters. 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

Campaign Wire

For the first time in weeks, several largely positive stories about Hillary are out there today. With more Iowa polling likely being done this weekend, we are perhaps seeing the leading edge of Conventional Wisdom beginning to shift to a narrative that describes why and how Hillary's campaign has remained strong after several weeks of being under sustained attack

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.).

Um, Patrick

JFK was a decorated war veteran and - mindful of the "experience" debate - his campaign went to great lengths to remind voters of Kennedy's heroic deeds aboard PT-109 during WWII in an attempt to blunt Nixon.

Not sure the Obama as JFK vs. Hillary as Nixon comparison is quite apt.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Yea, yea, a campaign of ideas

Except that the national press could care less and only report the one or two lines where one candidate compares themselves to another. The larger question raised here is valid though: How does Hillary appeal to the voters that want change who aren't convinced by the experience argument? At some point Hillary probably needs to address this more directly as it has become a popular dividing line in the race and something the media will likely focus on even more as the early voting draws near.

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

Happy Thanksgiving

And Happy Hunting to all the candidates.

Political Junkies

Can we stop the dumb game of trying to figure out how each Bush/Rove utterance on the democratic primary campaign follows some grand master plan? These people proved their own incompetence long ago, so let's not worry that their public ruminations will upset our little primary race.

Daily Dowd

A good response to Maureen Dowd's latest trash found over at
    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!
Dowd also makes the rather stunning claim that all of Hillary's accomplishments are based on "nepotism." Apparently all you need to be is a former first lady and you can be elected senator and quite possibly president....who knew?

Media Framing

Look, the Halperins of the world want this to be a close race. But it was pretty obvious at the last debate that Hillary wasn't going to simply sit back while the others took swings at her. She's been hitting back for much of the last wek and it's only going to intensify. What Halperin should say, is that a single poll now gives journalists license to interpret every Hillary attack as defensive and not offensive. More and more I get the feeling this sustained negative storyline and framing by the media is going to be around a while longer even if several serious new polls suggest she is in fact still up in Iowa. The narrative is set now for at least another two weeks. This is Hillary's test, to survive these weeks with her campaign on point and in tact and moving back up so that eventually when the Halperins and Russerts reflect on the Conventional Wisdom again they will see a Hillary looking stronger, having weathered a tough portion of the nomination fight in tact and in some ways stronger, etc., etc., etc.

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

A Kerry shot across the Edwards' bow?

The inside scoop on our '04 team finally gets spilled to the New York Times. Interesting timing to say the least...

The one who will get it right

This business of Obama being superior because he "got it right" on Iraq is pure hog-wash. He was a state legislator at the time from a liberal section of Chicago. He was just beginning to assemble a primary campaign to run for the Senate. There is no comparison between the ease with which he could speak of it being a "dumb war" to the Senators in office facing a president with 85% approval and a country where almost an equal number wanted us to confront Iraq. I'll give Obama props for speaking forthrightly and correctly about the war at the time, but in no way does it tell us what he might do under far different circumstances as President of the United States.

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.


Fog forced her to cancel an event earlier in the day. Kudos to the campaign for still getting this out before the evening news.

    “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.

Expectations Game

The national media clearly relishes the closeness of the Democratic race, perhaps because no one can really figure out what is happening on the Republican side. The concerted attempt after the Philadelphia debate to raise questions about Hillary has worked, to the extent that it's given Edwards and Obama a sustained line of attack on her frontrunning campaign - something they were apparently unable to come up with on their own.

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.

Mark Halperin's bathroom video fetish

It's really weird.

Monday, November 19, 2007

ABC News/WaPo Iowa poll

Obama 30, Hillary 26, Edwards 22. Their only previous poll, back in July also gave Obama a lead, albeit a smaller one (27% for Obama compared to 26% for Hillary and Edwards). The poll offers some evidence to support David Yepsen's point that Edwards' recent decline could help Obama. However, the improved result for Obama is most likely due to the fact that the polling took place Nov. 14-18, meaning two days of polling were concluded before the most recent debate aired at a time when Obama was getting quite a bit of positive press due to his Jefferson-Jackson Day speech. We'll have to wait and see whether any polls out later this week confirm ABC's results.

On Dynastic Politics

Hillary today in Iowa:
    There seems to be a pattern here.  It takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush.
This is smart on several levels, dare we say brilliant.  It came in the middle of a speech largely focused on the economy where Hillary was asserting, once again, that she was the most experienced candidate and best suited to tackle the difficult challenges the next president will inherit. But of course asserting her experience in the White House also reminds voters that we'd be repeating a pattern of Bushs and Clintons.  So this is a clever way of making light of the charge that America would be embarking on some kind of coronation.  Yet highlighting one of Bill Clinton's biggest successes - his stewardship of the economy - has obvious political benefits at a time of heightened economic anxiety.  In fact, it's hard not to think the line was suggested by the former President himself.  He'll be in Iowa a lot these next few weeks so it seems appropriate to remind voters what they liked about his administration.


The View indeed hearts Hillary these days. Not a bad thing for the campaign, considering target demographics and all...

And they figured it out all by themselves

Over the weekend, in his debut Newsweek column, Karl Rove made the claim that negative views of Congress and the President meant neither party nominee stood to gain much from the popularity of their elected leaders. However, recent national polls show that in fact a majority of Americans still hold a favorable view of Democrats while the same can hardly be said for the Republicans.

    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.


Matt sounds like he doesn't quite trust Hillary on foreign policy yet agrees that she is probably the best informed and most capable of dealing with the big domestic issues like healthcare and global warming that need the attention of the next president.

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.

Iowa Scream

I sympathize with the pressure these candidates are under and after a long day when they get an especially annoying question asked by someone unlikely to vote for them anyway. Still, with that said, Obama does seem a bit quick to lose his cool.

Sigh of relief

Markie-Mark says there's finally some good news for Bush on Iraq...of course more American service men have died so far in 2007 than died in 2006 and if you read down a few paragraphs in the article there's this:
    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.
And well, there's still only the skeleton of an Iraqi Army and a barely functioning government and...oh well, best not to burst Mark's bubble.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Politics of Paranoia


On Novakula

Digby writes:
    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.
Obviously this begs the question as to why Obama chose to respond so forcefully although Digby goes on to offer some support for Obama's reaction. Still, we should all probably take a deep breath and realize that Novak clearly relishes dishing out whatever little bit of inside baseball he can in his columns. It's what keeps him in the conversation now that he's (thankfully) off television. My feeling is he just ran with this because he had little else to offer and he's too lazy to do any real reporting so he just regurgitated what he heard at a recent D.C. cocktail party when he wasn't stuffing his mouth with mini-quiches. Still, is this the type of stuff Obama - who is behind, albeit not by much in Iowa - really wants to spend the last five weeks talking about. In that respect this is clearly one more small victory for the Clinton campaign.

And another zombie myth that won't go away

From Media Matters.

Um, Matt

The point of the Adlai Stevenson-Obama comparison is more in the style of both politicians (the way they spoke and campaigned) then whether election '08 has anything in common with circa 1960. In any case, to say that the experience of the Kennedy administration (sans the myth) somehow makes Democrats weary of Hillary Clinton is absurd. While Kennedy was preoccupied by the 'weak on defense' critics, he managed in both the Cuban Missile Crisis and to a certain extent in Vietnam to thread the needle between those who wanted to "bomb, bomb, bomb" and the peaceniks. No less than Robert McNamara has made clear his view that had Kennedy not been assassinated we wouldn't have had the dramatic escalation in Vietnam.

Go read Sean Wilentz

The best case I've seen someone make for why Hillary needs to be our 44th.

Karl Rove

The opiate of the masses.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Obama has some explaining to do.

Whisper campaign

But is Bob Novak really credible?

Yes, it's pathetic

But when they do what they do, they only make Hillary look better. Next to their lameness, Hillary's genius is magnified.

I love it, finally.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kit Seelye

Well, nothing new here. She's long been a hack.

Give it a rest David

Clearly Hillary was laughing at the old memory of that Larry King moderated showdown between Gore and Perot. Judging by her subsequent answer, it's be hard to make the case that she doesn't understand some of NAFTA"s negative effects although you can certainly pretend not to understand that if it serves your purpose.

The Obama Fizzle

Might as well be a metaphor for his entire campaign.
    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.

Yepsen gives the debate to Hillary

The funny things is, the "campaign miscues" from immigration, to the gender card to the "piling on" critique actually all were brought back in this debate and lead to responses from Hillary that worked in her favor. Not sure they qualify as campaign miscues, since they so perfectly set the stage for her comeback tonight.

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.

The Krugster

Tomorrow's Times:
    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

Live Debate Thread

CNN is so weird. Every time they get creative with the debate format it just makes it more of a circus.

...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.

Sidney Blumenthal is working for Hillary

Hell yea! Dude is awesome, loved the book.

...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.”

How to beat the B****

Heh, indeedy.
    Obama and John Edwards (as well as some of the other Democratic candidates) are visibly scrambling to hurl not only hammers but wrenches, screwdrivers, seat cushions, and anything else that isn’t nailed down...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New Position?

This, of course, is the same position she took at the debate when she cut in to explain she did not support licenses. However, out of deference to Spitzer, she spoke broadly at the debate about the pressure he was under to do something. Not sure why this is hard for otherwise intelligent people to understand.

...will Blitzer ask Obama to restate his position supporting driver's licenses for illegal immigrants tomorrow?

Camille Paglia 1/17/2001

Just in case - since it's buried in the post below:
    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.

Camille Paglia needs to go

Nobody likes her. But let's go through this underhanded hit piece point for point:
    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.
It would be nice if Paglia could offer examples where she felt Hillary erred in previous debates, but fair enough - until two weeks ago her debate performances generally garnered positive reviews and I'm certainly not going to defend the air-headed lemmings of our press.
    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.
Here Paglia sounds a lot like Maureen Dowd in her recent columns. Refuting her, Molly Ivors recently wrote:
    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.
The fact is Hillary ran for New York Senate largely at the urging of New York's congressional delegation and other New York and tri-state politicians. Patrick Moynihan was retiring and they obviously felt she would be a good fit here, so who is Camille Paglia to argue?

Going on:
    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.
Right, and Bush would fair how exactly in the House of Commons? Please, at least keep your arguments relevant Camille.
    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.
The "let's not vote for the guy's wife because in the past he cheated on her" argument - makes a lot of sense. The long nightmare of "deja vu" is reading Camille Paglia who has clearly set out to do what she did to Al Gore in 2000. Here's a bit from a Camille Paglia's election 2000 post-mortem written after the Supreme Court had stepped in to assure George Bush's presidency.
    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.
Back to Paglia's most recent:
    ...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.
The thing that started the whole "is Hillary playing the gender card" debate was her appearance the day after at her alma mater, Wellesley College. Over to you Ezra:
    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.
And last but not least:
    Hillary seems to have acolytes rather than friends -- hardly a reassuring trait for a potential president whose paranoia has already been called Nixonian.
She has no friends and she's Nixon (do we even need to bother refuting that?). Paglia goes on to discuss how waterboard defending DiFi should run for president, Nancy Pelosi's "soothing" voice on radio and then to the current events of the day include the recent hurricane that shared her first name. Wouldn't it be wonderful if, having done her damage in election 2000, Camille Paglia had just dissipated somewhere out over the ocean?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mike Huckabee

Recent polls show him shooting up. Mittman has to be scared. Oh well, they're both still batshit crazy.

New CBS/NY Times Poll of IA and NH

From Marky-Mark's The Page (also on Drudge)
    Iowa: Clinton– 25, Edwards– 23, Obama– 22
    NH: Clinton– 37, Obama– 22, Edwards– 9
Decent news for Hillary and Edwards, but perhaps not exactly the numbers Obama would like to see, especially in New Hampshire. This poll throws a bit of cold water on the Obama boomlet and calms all the drama queens in the press. The race is essentially where it's been for the last couple months.

The Real Rudy asks an interesting question.

"What happens to Rudy's hypothetical matchup numbers when he fails to win Iowa and New Hampshire?"

Um, Scott?

Considering most Americans don't follow every up and down of the presidential campaign five weeks before the Iowa caucuses, I'd say if 25% of American voters believe the other candidates are "piling on" Hillary that's a fairly large number. It's also interesting that nearly half of all Democrats who expressed an opinion believe Hillary is being unfairly attacked.

Bottom line: the "piling on" charge is sticking.

The Sad State of the Huffington Post

Dredging up a fake scandal days after its expiration date.

Freak Show Media

Why is Hillary so tough on the media? Well, maybe it's because they keep trying to come up with bogus "scandals" in an attempt to capsize her campaign.
    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.
And yes, we might as well add the issue of "planted" questions to the list since talking to young people and finding out what they'd like to ask the candidate is generally considered good advance work by most campaigns.

Hillary Clinton's conspiracy to destroy America

From CNN:
    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."

Deep Thoughts

You read Obama over the years and he's a clear thinking, articulate guy, but he seems to fundamentally misunderstand the game of politics. He deeply resents the anger many liberals feel over congressman and senators who continually disappoint them on war votes, Supreme Court nominees, wire-tapping and the like. He reads the rhetoric on blogs and thinks the country must be falling apart (nevermind that partisan rhetoric is quite mild compared to what it was 100-150 years ago - but that's a discussion for another time). He didn't understand in his Kos blog from 2005 (linked above) and I fear still doesn't, that liberals still feel very much left out in the cold. What they are looking for is a champion of their views. They want a president who won't feel bad about recent political divisiveness, but will instead be motivated to reduce the right's power through legislation and skillful political maneuvering. They aren't looking for someone who is just a spokesman of loftly goals, but will instead finally provide some relief from Republican rule. Most of all, they're looking for someone who knows how to win.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hillary at JJ dinner

Lost in all the post JJ commentary was this extremely poignant moment in Hillary's speech. You can really feel the passion she has for solving the healthcare crisis in America - a topic which didn't get a lot of attention from the other candidates Saturday night.

Obama in...Oz?

Scarecrow over at Firedoglake expands on Obama's Iowa speech:
    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.

More Obama on MTP reaction

Marc Ambinder:
    ...[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."


No Veteran's Day video from Barack

What gives?

Hillary speaks

Good interview today with AP.

Andrew Sullivan's lament

Is the entire basis for Obama's candidacy. Big Blue speaks:
    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.

The Silly Season Has Begun

New election '08 journamalism rule: Any mention by anyone associated with the Clinton campaign that Hillary's opponents are guys or boys or men means her campaign is attempting to use gender as a political issue.

Shapiro hits Obambi for MTP appearance

    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."
That, apparently, is it - the heart of Obama's "difference" with Hillary. A war authorization bill for which Obama was not yet in the Senate and Kyle-Lieberman, which he chose not to vote on when it was passed two months ago.