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.