Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Final Stand

March 4th looks to be it. While I'm disappointed in Hillary's poor showing of late, at least we got a real primary this time around and we can all hope it's made whoever should win a better general election candidate that Walnuts McCain.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


It's certainly true that at this moment Obama does better than Hillary vs. McCain. But the Obama campaign is kidding themselves if they think electability is one of Hillary's strong suits. For a lot of Democrats that normally might be inclined to support Hillary, the fear is she will unite the Republicans against her if she gets the nomination - including a number of Republicans who aren't so excited about voting for McCain. The reason Hillary is still standing, despite Obama's cash advantage and the press being passionately on his side, is that she clearly is more experienced and people believe that she'd make a good president while some worry the same may not be true for Obama. Electability is really a small issue that cuts both ways. The central dynamic is still inspiration vs. experience.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Roaming the blogosphere tonight I see that everyone is once again starry eyed by the amount of money that can be raised online. Look - I realize it's symbolic of a wealth of support if a candidate can pull in the kind of small dollar contributions Obama has managed to pull in. But what matters at the end of the day are votes cast. And recent history (*cough John Kerry vs. Howard Dean *cough or even, dare I say it, Ron Paul) tends to suggest that an ability to take in small dollar contributions online has almost no connection to vote getting power.

Simple answers to simple questions

Atrios wonders:
    The question really is about why Obama can raise $5 million in a day and (presumably) Clinton can't.
Because the media has portrayed Obama as the winner in every contest since New Hampshire.

Going forward

The big states yet to vote are Ohio and Texas (Mar. 4) and Pennsylvania (Apr. 22). Hillary has the support of both governors Strickland (OH) and Rendell (PA). What should be news right now is that despite his huge victory in South Carolina, Obama was only able to fight Hillary to a draw. Now the race heads to states far more friendly to Hillary: Texas with it's large number of hispanic voters, and Pennsylvania and Ohio with their large numbers of white, middle class, blue collar voters.

Point is, Obama was at his peak heading into Super Tuesday after a big win in South Carolina and a lot of negative press surrounding the Clintons. Yet, couldn't win a single large state. This isn't to suggest he can't go on to win, but the media might, for once try analyzing this race from some place other than David Axlerod's mustache.

...I just realized that I pretty much echo a Mark Penn press release from earlier today. But what he says is true. Despite the enormous media hoopla after both Obama's Iowa win and South Carolina victory, he simply hasn't lived up to the hype when the actual voting takes place.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A vote for universal health care

If you want it, you'll vote for Hillary. If you don't, you'll vote for Obama.

    If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance — nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


McCain will win big clinching the nomination. Hillary will win a majority of Super-Tuesday delegates, but Obama will do well enough to continue the campaign into March.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Hillary was again sharper and more succinct on policy and on how to affect the changes needed to take the country forward again. And we all know Obama is the more inspirational speaker. So the choice is clear - inspiration or experience?

After Bush, I'll take experience.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who would have thought?

It's the week before Super Tuesday and the Republicans have their presumptive nominee while the Democratic Party is in turmoil.

Count me less than thrilled at this turn of events.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Go Mitt GO!

Florida votes tomorrow.

Endorsements mean nothing

Remember Howard Dean? Jimmy Carter essentially endorsed him on the even of the Iowa caucus, Gore and Bradley (together!) several weeks before that. What did it do?


Every Obama victory will be played back as an exciting, historic moment, every Hillary victory as some kind of abberration. And so it goes.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Ultimate Foil

Could Mitt win Florida?? Rasmussen has him beating McCain 27-23 with Giuliani at 20.

Go Mittens!

Friday, January 25, 2008

MoDo to the rescue

Of course we should all read and believe what she says! is so seemy about B. Clinton raising questions about Obama's opposition to the war? Most columns from Maureen Dowd are far worse.

Um, no

Sorry, but this guy is an idiot:
    “Bill Clinton seems to not be in his traditional mode,” said Jack Bass, an authority on Southern politics at the College of Charleston, who has observed Mr. Clinton for more than 30 years. “I’ve just never seen these negative emotions in public before. I know he has a temper, but this confrontational attitude with journalists, and the anger itself, is surprising to me.”
Do I really need to refute this? What about Big Dog's interview on Fox early last year where he excoriated Chris Wallace? Or there were his numerous run-ins with the media and Ken Starr during the Lewinsky scandal. It's hardly a secret that Bill Clinton has strong emotions and isn't afraid to air them out in public. If we're going to waste all this ink and spend all this oxygen demanding that our politicians tell us what they really think then let's not bash a guy who gets a little hot under the collar while defending his wife, mmmk?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The Grey Lady comes out in favor of the Senator from New York.

News Flash

Bill Clinton cares about his wife and wants her to win.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Going Negative

I gather from recent press coverage that Hillary going after Obama for things he actually said means she's nasty whereas Bush in 2000 - whose campaign claimed McCain had an illegitimate child on the eve of the South Carolina primary - simply proved he was a nice guy.

Um, Barack?

    “In Obama’s twenty-five years of public service, his positions haven’t changed when the politics got hard, and neither will the policies he pursues as President. The same can’t be said about Senator Clinton.”

Obama in 2003:
    “So the challenge is, how do we get federal government to take care of this business? I happen to be a proponent of a single payer health care program. I see no reason why the United States of America the wealthiest country in the history of the world, spending 14% of its Gross National Product on health care cannot provide basic health insurance to everybody. And that’s what Jim is talking about when he says everybody in, nobody out.

    "A single payer health care plan, a universal health care plan. And that’s what I’d like to see. And as all of you know, we may not get their immediately. Because first we have to take back the White House, we have to take back the Senate, we have to take back the House.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Washington Democrats are the problem and he's going to bring back our core values but only if he can remember what those core values are.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Questions to be raised this week by the punditocracy as to how it is Obama has so far failed to capitalize on his stunning Iowa win.

State of the race

I think Halperin's take is pretty good here. But make no mistake - Hillary has come full circle from being essentially written off by people like me after Iowa to being in a position of strength heading into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Clinton Wins

Time for Edwards to go.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The sound of one hand clapping

The Giuliani campaign.

Random Question

What did Ron Paul do with all his millions raised?


Political pundits must be really bored to be dissecting the results of a Democratic primary that didn't count.

Monday, January 14, 2008


On Obama's selling out before the battle has even begun:
    The Obama campaign’s initial response to the latest wave of bad economic news was, I’m sorry to say, disreputable: Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser claimed that the long-term tax-cut plan the candidate announced months ago is just what we need to keep the slump from “morphing into a drastic decline in consumer spending.” Hmm: claiming that the candidate is all-seeing, and that a tax cut originally proposed for other reasons is also a recession-fighting measure — doesn’t that sound familiar?

    Anyway, on Sunday Mr. Obama came out with a real stimulus plan. As was the case with his health care plan, which fell short of universal coverage, his stimulus proposal is similar to those of the other Democratic candidates, but tilted to the right.

    For example, the Obama plan appears to contain none of the alternative energy initiatives that are in both the Edwards and Clinton proposals, and emphasizes across-the-board tax cuts over both aid to the hardest-hit families and help for state and local governments. I know that Mr. Obama’s supporters hate to hear this, but he really is less progressive than his rivals on matters of domestic policy.


Obama attempts to inject racism into the campaign and then arrogantly announces he's for an end to the "tit-for-tat."

Presumably he thinks the same things will work with the Republicans if he's lucky enough to win the nomination.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hillary's challenge

For months the press has treated the Democratic primary as a referendum on Hillary Clinton. She's explained herself, defended herself and hit back at her opponents more times than anyone can count - and we know about all of it because the press reports her every utterance, Bill's every utterance, her campaign's every move and even most stray words uttered by campaign surrogates. But you can't win the nomination simply on a referendum going up against someone as personally appealing as Barack Obama.

So if the press isn't going to step up and make this - at least to an extent - a referendum on Obama then Hillary has to do it for them. That means everything is on the table. Is Barack Obama Martin Luther King? Is he JFK? No. And Hillary needs to contest those comparisons. Despite his early war opposition, has he followed that up with any meaningful action in the Senate? Does his message have any meat to it? For voters to decide, clearly, but Hillary should be expected to fight on all of it.

Still, the question needs to be asked, where is the press in this process? Where is their examination of Obama and his message and his language and his tactics? Where?

More Hillary on Meet

    Tim, I was fourteen years old when I heard Dr. King speak in person. He is one of the people that I admire most in the world. And the point that I was responding to from Senator Obama himself in a number of speeches he was making, is his comparison of himself to President Kennedy and Dr. King. And there is no doubt that the inspiration offered by all three of them is essential. It is critical to who we are as a nation, what we believe in, the dreams and aspirations that we all have. But I also said that, you know, Dr. King did not just give speeches. He marched. He organized. He protested. He was beaten. He was jailed. He understood that he had to move the political process and bring in those who were in political power, and he campaigned for political leaders; including Lyndon B. Johnson because he wanted somebody in the White House who would act on what he had devoted his life to achieving.

    So I think it's important to set the record straight. Clearly, we know from media reports that the Obama campaign is deliberately distorting this. And you know, I think we should just take a step out here for a minute. This is the most exciting election we've had in such a long time because, you have an African-American, an extraordinary man, a person of tremendous talents and abilities, running to become our president. You have a woman running to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling. I don't think either of us want to inject race or gender in this campaign. We are running as individuals, we are making our cases to the American people, and it's imperative that we get the record and the facts straight because people are entitled to have that information. But I have no intention of either, you know, doing something that would move this race in a wrong way or, frankly, set standing by when I think tactics are being employed that are not in the best interest of our country.

Obama Coverage

One thing that's struck me the past few days - and perhaps it's partially due to Hillary winning New Hampshire - but much of the coverage is still directed at Hillary and the Clintons. Even after an 8 point Iowa win and a very close second in New Hampshire and a string of prominent endorsements this week, Obama does not receive nearly the attention that Hillary does. Early in the campaign cycle that clearly hurt him, but now, I think it clearly helps. We're constantly being forced to have an opinion on the last thing Hillary did or said, whereas Obama flys by, under the radar. A great example is in today's New York Times in an article detailing Hillary's new campaign finance structure. Buried at the end of the seventh paragraph is this line:
    Mr. Obama has similar efforts underway as well.

Why is Hillary's campaign finance efforts more newsworthy? Even if, as I suspect, Hillary's people are feeding this information about a long, post Feb.5 primary fight in an effort to game expectations, it's still curious as to why the New York Times would consider its readers so much more interested in her new finance operation as opposed to Obama's. Why not make an effort to balance the story with details from the Obama campaign about what they're up to?

Hillary on Meet

I was out for a run, but Drudgico has a decent write-up here. Sounds like she did well and was suitably pissed off at the faux controversy concerning her remarks in New Hampshire last week.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kerry did live abroad

Fuck you Marc Ambinder.

On Race

It seems to me it's Obama supporters who are trying to inject race into the campaign. The suggestion that Martin Luther King didn't simply descend from the heavens and ordain the Voting Rights Act - that it actually had to be pushed through congress by a big dominating white guy - Lyndon Baines Johnson - shouldn't offend anyone. It's what actually happened.

If Hillary wants to be Johnson to Obama's MLK, fine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Was in Jerusalem on NH primary night.

With all due respect

Wasn't Kerry persona non grata two years ago after flubbing a joke at a midterm campaign rally?

I doubt his endorsement means much.

Um, Karl?

I noticed this too. Rove mentions that Michigan was blocked from awarding delegates for the Dem winner but seems unaware that the DNC has also censured Florida for moving up its primary and blocked it from awarding delegates until the convention.

Odd that the boy genius wouldn't know that.

...Rover does make two good points in his op-ed and NPR interview: 1) Obama shouldn't be punished because the pollsters got it wrong in New Hampshire and 2) Obama has been unable to close the argument on Hillary - his soaring rhetoric has left the voters asking "Where's the beef?"

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dorothy Sbornack effect

Marc Ambinder offers another interesting theory as to how the pollsters got it so wrong:
    for some reason, older women voters refused to disclose their preferences to pollsters, or refused to admit that they favored Hillary Clinton.

    Mickey Kaus postulates an application of the reverse Bradley effect -- that Iowa Democrats somehow felt social pressure to stand up in front of their peers and cast a vote for a viable black candidate.

Pre-election polling

The Wilder/Bradley effect, plus nearly equal participation of independents in the GOP and Dem races and the large numbers of undecideds in pre-election polling all seem to be reasonable explanations for why the pollsters got it so wrong.

Still, for idiots like me, it's just one more lesson that writing about the horse race is pointless.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I should probably never write another word about politics again. And every pollster in New Hampshire needs to ask themselves some hard questions.


This is just sad.


One of the points almost sure to be made by Hillary supporters and possibly eventually the Clintons themselves is that the country was simply not ready for a female president. There is probably more truth to that than anyone in the punditocracy would be willing to admit. And of course Hillary isn't just any normal female politician, there is a lot of history and strong feelings about her and a tendency among the commentariot to really pile on when things are bad. Taking all this into account, it's hard to find justification for why the press was so eager to crown her the frontrunner months before the voting started but easy to understand why, once she slipped at that Philly debate, they were so relentless about keeping her down.

Hillary does her best Cheney

I like Hillary. I really hoped she would have done better in Iowa and I don't think she's wrong to suggest she would be a more capable president. But doing her best to channel Dick Cheney is only going to make things worse:
    "'I don’t think it was by accident that Al Qaeda decided to test the new [British] prime minister,' she said. 'They watch our elections as closely as we do, maybe more closely than some of our fellows citizens do…. Let’s not forget you’re hiring a president not just to do what a candidate says during the election, you want a president to be there when the chips are down.'"
The idea that the threat of a terrorist attack should enter into the minds of citizens deciding how to vote is absurd on it's face and unAmerican.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Clinton strategery

Look, I want to be able to vote for Hillary in New York as much as anyone. But losing badly in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina isn't going to get her far. Simply having her spokespeople and strategists insist that they are in this until Feb 5th isn't a strategy. I think we're looking at the final day of the Clintons as a national political brand. Edwards and Hillary can hang around like vultures, waiting for Obama to slip up, but this race is over.

Buh-Bye Mark

I don't know how Hillary can retool after back-to-back Iowa and New Hampshire losses, but is she is going to she'll have to start by firing this idiot:
    A number of Clinton operatives and supporters report privately that her campaign organization is beset with internal turmoil, and that Mark Penn remains in serious danger of losing his position as the senior and dominant strategist. "There are a lot of people saying Mark Penn is going to be thrown under the bus," said one source.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Time for another polling memo

Gallup has Obama up 13 in New Hampshire. What does Mark Penn do again?

Um, Mark?

Still waiting for that next polling memo.

Can Hillary fire this guy already? He's fat and ugly and always wrong.

The Obama appeal

Is pretty simple to understand: attractive young candidate, personally appealing, great speaker, right on Iraq War and a fresh face. Such things have always been hugely important in American politics and Democrats have lacked someone of Obama's appeal for some time. While there's nothing wrong with Clinton's experience/talker vs. doer argument, it was clearly not enough and unfortunately this year, Iowa was everything.

Hillary lands a punch

It took four days but her campaign finally dinged Obama.


Dick Bennet from ARG calls the final DMR polling sample "deeply flawed." ARG's final pre-Iowa poll had Clinton up by 9. DMR predicted the outcome within 1-2 points.

Paging Mark Penn

Time for another polling memo:
    “Make no mistake about it, there is movement here. Only 50% of this sample is after the Iowa caucus results were known and there has been a 5-point swing on the Democratic side. Clinton started out leading 32% to 26% over Obama and now she is in a dead heat at 31% to 30%. Obama has won in that part of the sample taken since Iowa – and just this past one day alone Obama led by 8 points.
Yesterday, Mark Penn smugly asked: "Where's the bounce?" Idiot.




Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mark Penn polling memos

Even he knows that Kerry didn't go from 17 down to 20 ahead in barely 48 hours after Iowa. Kerry's bounce was incremental, increasing as the days passed after Iowa before New Hampshire. Besides, Penn is eating crow after his last polling memo, the one that decried the methodology of the last Des Moines Register poll, 37% Obama, 30% Clinton, 29% Edwards.

Me thinks the Clinton people could use a better and more honest senior strategist.

Recent blogging

I realize a number of my posts prior to Thursday condemned the media for not sufficiently puffing up what looked like a Hillary surge in Iowa. The only poll that really offered any proof that Obama in fact was ahead and by a considerable amount was the final DMR poll. And it proved to be almost perfectly on the mark. Still, it's difficult in close races to know which things to follow, polls or press perception. And had the media been more honest in describing Hillary's strengths (as reflected in the polling) as opposed to her weaknesses in the days and weaks prior to caucus night it's possible the results would have been quite different last Thursday.

Still, the notion emanating from the Clinton campaign, particularly Bill Clinton, is that Hillary's loss it the press' fault. From a campaign that was so adept at managing the media early in the race I find it hard to imagine they've all just decided to blame the press.

Via Marc Ambinder

The Clinton folks have apparently settled on a Giuliani type strategy of relying on the Feb.5 states (in effect a national primary) to stop Obama. They also hope for greater press scrutiny of Obama and a desensitization to the more inspirational aspects of his message in the meantime.

I suppose this might work and Hillary should certainly not be counted out despite the tone of some of my more recent blog posts. Still, she would have to post a strong second in New Hampshire (i.e. within 5 points) and a similarly strong showing in South Carolina. What I find amusing about all this though is the propensity of the press, now that the voting has actually started, to withhold judgement out of some sudden respect for the process. I mean, 2 months ago they acted as if the slightest verbal slip in a debate spelled the end of Hillary Clinton. And now, she's come in 3rd in Iowa and they're pretending there's still a contest.


This is tough to read. I think the premise of Hillary's campaign probably made sense but the reality is Democrats are not in a pragmatic (re: 2004) state of mind. There is no forminable incumbent to beat, no real fear that somehow a Huckabee or McCain with some new version of Turd Blossom in tow will be a real threat. In other words, Democrats are in the mood to try something different. But it was difficult to believe Obama was for real until he won something. The conciliatory rhetoric I've found particularly annoying as I do his tone sometimes (my dad calls it confidence, I call it 'holier than thou') clearly worked in attracting independents who are so important in Iowa and New Hampshire. And when Obama turns it on, as he did Thursday night in Iowa, the logic of his candidacy seems stunningly clear and Hillary's quips about drawing a contrast and being ready to lead on day one just sound like campaign boilerplate.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Atrios finds a nut

    In all my dealings with Obama people, as well as the man himself, there's always been this sense that they're constantly telling people, "Trust us. We've thought this through. We know what we're doing. It'll work. Yes we understand that you're uncomfortable with this, or that you think it's wrong, but really we know what we're doing."

    And then those of us in the cheap seats think that there's no way all of those new/young voters show up to vote in Iowa, that Obama's inclusive rhetoric doesn't have the appeal he imagines, etc.. etc... And then he pulls it off. Maybe he does know what he's doing.

Obama speech

While I personally preferred Hillary in this race, as I wrote last night, the chance of her now stopping Obama in New Hampshire after a weak third place finish in Iowa seems remote. And then there was perhaps one of the great political speeches in recent memory. Obama's last night:

Edwards on CNN

...Spinning the race now as a two way race between him and Obama in an interview with Larry King.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Well, I was completely wrong, except about the Republican race! It's almost impossible to imagine Hillary stopping Obama in New Hampshire.