Saturday, May 31, 2008


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Nothing is more detrimental to the country as a whole than political corruption in any guise. So the statement issued by Barack Obama the other day regarding Florida and Michigan should be seen for what it is: a politician willing to engage in whatever undermining of the democratic process it takes to achieve his political ambition.

In his statement, Obama said that he would support a solution regarding the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegates "as long as it was fair to both sides". This is Obama intentionally ignoring the fact that the elections and the results they produced were already fair to both sides.

The fairness of those elections and their results are not and never have been in dispute.The validity of those elections have never been in doubt. And both have been certified by their respective secretaries of state.

The only issue surrounding those elections, is whether the delegates won by each candidate as a result of those primaries will be seated and allowed to participate in the nomination process. The entire controversy is an internal DNC dispute involving a scheduling conflict that had nothing to do with Barack Obama. No one was put at any disadvantage because of either state's decision to move their primaries up.

The decision as to whether to allow them to be seated relates only to the threatened punishment by the DNC against the state parties for moving the primaries to an earlier date. It had nothing to do with validity of those elections and Obama has no argument regarding the validity of the results. He was at no disadvantage, the results are valid and accurate and everyone including Obama knows it.

The DNC threat to ban the delegates was simply stupid from day one. And for journalists who have been in the tank for Obama and the Obama campaign itself, to say Florida and Michigan broke the rules so they should not count, is simply all of them sticking their noses into DNC business. None of them work for the DNC. it's an interna party matter about scheduling and whether any of them think the DNC rules are good or bad is irrelevant to what the DNC decides to do. Yet Obama and these journalists continue to say that these states broke the rules. As if they have anything to say about the DNC rules with regards to anything.

If the DNC rules were that candidates had to hop on one leg 10 times in that state without losing their balance or they lose their delegates and Clinton didn't do it what would Obama and these journalists say? She should lose her delegates because she broke the rules?

What the DNC threatened is just as stupid and the Obama camp and journalists who insist on talking about "the rules" are just as stupid when they try and justify not seating Florida and Michigan because they broke "the rules".

If the DNC decides on a punishment that is more in keeping with a petty scheduling conflict instead of one that completely subverts the nominating process for President of the United States, there is no reason for both elections not to stand exactly as they are. Its all or nothing. There is no compromise that makes any sense.As soon as you start to compromise the very democratic process itself everyone loses.

So when Obama says he wants a "fair" resolution what he really means in his patented passive aggressive style is that he wants an unfair resolution. Unfair to Clinton, since the only fair resolution is to seat all the delegates as per the results of the elections. The elections were fair. The only additional fairness needed is to count them.

Every decision and statement coming out of a presidential campaign is the product of people sitting in a room discussing and dissecting every possible angle, going through every possible scenario, and parsing every word used in a statement. So, when Obama issues a statement about wanting a resolution to Florida and Michigan "as long as its fair" , we know this is not the wail in the wilderness of a lost and wronged soul staggering through the forest of an unfair world, pleading for fairness as rain pelts his face and tears stream down his cheeks. It's a well thought out deviously political calculation designed, not to be fair but to be unfair to Clinton under the guise of fairness, since the only really fair resolution is obvious: seat all the delegates exactly as dictated by the results of the election.

If the DNC wants to punish anyone let them punish the party leaders and ban them from the convention not delegates representing the 2.7 million who voted.

When it comes to Michigan, Obama still tries to brazenly argue that his name wasn't on the ballot. He tries to get away with this dishonesty only because he knows the news media he has in pocket will let him get away with it.

Here is what happened in Michigan as reported in the Des Moines Register in October of 2007.

Obama's internal polling showed he was going to get get landslided by Clinton in Michigan. His own polling had him behind by 20 points. So as a political calculation and to pander to Iowa voters in the upcoming caucus he made a gratuitous public gesture of taking his name off the ballot in Michigan, both because he knew he was going to lose big and to curry favor with Iowans and their first in the nation status. But at the same time he was making a deal with the Michigan Democratic Party for his name to be represented in the primary by the line "Uncommitted" and to have that publicized.

John Edwards joined the uncommitted line and every single voter in Michigan knew long before election day that to vote for Obama or Edwards you voted the "uncommitted line. It was well publicized and everyone knew it. And the proof that they knew it is that "uncommitted" received 40.7% of the vote, the second highest total, while Clinton received 56%. The rest went to the other candidates on the ballot (uninformed journalists and Obama supporters have often said Clinton was the only name on the ballot. Not so).

But Obama topped that display about six weeks ago when he floated the idea that he and Clinton split the delegate count in Florida and Michigan 50-50 as a way of resolving the problem. In other words he wanted delegates that didn't belong to him. This was an attempt at a political mugging. He wanted delegates that weren't his, delegates the voters clearly said were meant for Clinton and delegates they clearly didn't want him to have. It was about as brazen an attempt to to corrupt the political process by a candidate for high office as has been seen in recent memory.

If Clinton had made such a proposal the likes of Andrew Sullivan, Betsy Reed, Roger Simon, the ethically and racially challenged Richard Kim, Olbermann, Arianna Huffintington and every other journalist who has corrupted every journalistic principle in existence in supporting Obama, perhaps as a way of somehow absolving themselves of their own racial issues, would have accused Clinton of the lowest form of political bottom scraping.

Yet Obama was ready willing and able to do just that, to take delegates he didn't deserve which is nothing short of stealing the voices of the people he pretends to champion except when those voices interfere with his personal ambition. And this coming from the side that has accused Clinton of doing anything to win.

Given everything that has gone on, the cheap shots of the Obama campaign from his hit and run tactics with his foreign policy advisor calling Clinton " a monster" and then quickly resigning ( as if that was a spontaneous outburst), Richardson and Leahy's pathetically transparent and orchestrated good cop/bad cop routine where they call for Clinton to get out of the race and then have Obama come along, knight in shining armour that he is, and proclaim that she "should stay in the race as long as she wants", ( as if he had to anything to say about it), and then playing the race card in South Carolina, there is a case to be made that Barack Obama is the most politically dishonest, corrupt and underhanded politician since Richard Nixon. He even has his own Helen Gahagan Douglas in the person of Alice Palmer.

The joke pinned on Richard Nixon in the Fifties and Sixties for his political underhandedness and dishonesty was "Would you buy a used car from this man"? Well, would you buy a used car from Barack Obama? Not if you lived in Florida or Michigan. Maybe not if you live anywhere.

To contribute to the to the running of a full page ad and a 30 second TV commerical I have written for the seating of Florida and Michigan for the PAC click here: COUNTTHEVOTESCAST.ORG

NOTE: .I was told today that the DNC is in big trouble financially, down to $3.5 million against $35 million for the Republicans. Anyone supporting the full seating of Florida and Michigan can call the DNC and the finance committee in Washington and let them know they will not see another contribution now or in the future unless all the Florida and Michigan delegates are seated.

The main switchboard for the DNC is: 202-863-8000. The number that deals specifically with contributions or questions about contributions is: 877-336-7200

Additionally, anyone making a contribution to the Clinton campaign via the link provided (Hillary Clinton For President), will have the contribution matched by a contributor to the
Count the Votes PAC for the running of the ad and TV commericial. Contributions will be matched from $25 to $5,000. For every contribution sent under $25, $1 will be sent to the Count the Votes Cast PAC. You can also get more information about contributing to the Florida and Michigan seating here:ACTION ALERT FOR FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN

How the GOP Rigged Florida and Michigan

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By Wayne Barrett

Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean came out of hiding last week to announce that there is no reason to rush to resolve the fate of Florida and Michigan. He said he was confident that these delegations, disqualified in 2007 by Dean's own Rules Committee, would be seated at the August convention -- but, apparently, only after a nominee is chosen, which he predicted would occur by July 1. This modern-day Metternich, whose two-fisted handling of this two-state controversy has already had more impact on the 2008 race than his candidacy did on the race in 2004, is promising to mediate the dispute once it's already settled.

The Dean plan is that these two swing states -- big enough to decide the nomination or general election -- will eventually be granted "virtual" seats at the convention because, as Dean imaginatively put it in an AP interview, "the campaigns believe that kind of deal is premature right now." Since one campaign (Hillary Clinton's) was amenable to redoes, even financing Michigan's, and the other campaign (Barack Obama's) opposed every feasible proposition, it is, in a strange way, true that the two sides weren't collectively ready for a deal.

In all the buzz about the media's pro-Obama tilt, its indifference to his resistance to including these states in the "actual" nominating process is its most disturbing favor, especially since this brand of "conventional politics," as Obama would put it, flies in the face of his contention that "the people" should pick the nominee. Obama's only proposal so far has been to split the delegates evenly, just like he and Michelle parcel out Christmas presents to their two daughters.

Of course, the column inches and moments of air time spent on how and why these two states and their 366 delegates have been banished adds up to less than the attention devoted to, say, the Wyoming caucus, where a 2,066-vote Obama margin gave him a big enough delegate boost to virtually cancel out Hillary Clinton's 329,000-vote margin in the five March races.

The body count that the mainstream media has regurgitated out of Florida and Michigan is that 2.3 million Democrats voted in primaries that broke the rules, leaving the DNC with no choice but to level both villages, even if the collateral damage might include the party's prospects of carrying those disenfranchised states in November. The DNC and the MSM appear to have simultaneously concluded that even Clinton's 300,000-vote win in Florida, where both candidates competed on a level playing field, shouldn't be counted in the popular vote tally, a calculation that appears nowhere in DNC rules and turns 1.7 million Democratic voters into ghosts.

The irony is that the drumbeat for Clinton's withdrawal -- coming on the heels of her recent wins and right before what may be her biggest in Pennsylvania -- is rooted in the collapse of the effort to redo Michigan and Florida. The theory is that she should quit because there is no way she can win, and that there is no way she can win because two states she could win, at least one of which she actually did win, will not be counted until she gets out. Barack Obama would thus become the nominee -- not because of an honestly earned if precariously narrow lead in the final national vote, but because of two elections he would not let happen.

If that sounds like a curious way to end a nominating contest that 30 million to 33 million voters will participate in before it's done, even stranger is that the DNC is following only some of its rules -- and that the real culprits who caused this debacle are Republicans, who are now relishing the catfight they provoked.

Dems Take the Hit for the GOP

The Republican role is not some irrelevant anecdote. The DNC is charged, under its rules, to determine whether the Democrats in a noncompliant state made a "good faith" effort to abide by the party's electoral calendar, and to impose the full weight of its available penalties, namely a 100 percent takedown of a state's delegation, only if Democratic leaders in that state misbehaved. So the fact that it was Republicans who fomented the move-up of primaries in both these states to dates out-of-line with the DNC calendar is at the heart of the matter.

The rules also demand that the DNC's 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee conduct "an investigation, including hearings if necessary" into these matters. The purpose of such a probe is to figure out if Democratic leaders in a state that did move up "took all provable, positive steps and acted in good faith" to either "achieve legislative changes" to bring a state into compliance or to "prevent legislative changes" that took a state out of compliance. A DNC spokesman could not point to any real "investigation" the party conducted of the actions of "relevant Democratic party leaders or elected officials," as the rules put it. All that happened with Florida, for example, was that two representatives of the state party made a pitch for leniency immediately before the Rules Committee voted for sanctions.

What a probe might have discovered was a rationale for doing, at worst, what the RNC did to its own overeager primary schedulers in the same two states -- cutting the delegations by half. That's precisely the penalty specified in DNC rules, but the committee, exercising powers it certainly had the legal discretion to exercise, upped the ante as far as it could. In a bizarre reversal of public policy, the RNC, surely aware that the principal miscreants in both states were Republicans, applied a sane yet severe sanction. The Democrats opted for decapitation.

The presumption of much of the national coverage about Michigan, to start with, has been that the Dems did this one to themselves -- a presumption based, in large part, on Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm's endorsement of a January 15 vote, a date far ahead of the anticipated February 9 primary. All Clinton-backer Granholm did, however, was a sign a bill. The bill originated in a Republican-controlled Senate and passed by a 21-to-17 straight party-line vote -- with every Democrat casting a no vote.

Florida's Republican governor, Charlie Crist, is, like Granholm, seen as a prime player behind the state's acceleration of the primary calendar. But Crist isn't half the Florida story; Marco Rubio, a Jeb Bush protégé who runs the nearly 2-to-1 Republican Florida House, drove that bill through the legislature like it was a tax cut limited by law to top GOP donors.

Indeed, the tracks under this train wreck trace back, in each case, to Republican maneuvers in state legislatures, political no- man's-lands for all who've blithely dismissed the disenfranchisement of the millions of registered Florida and Michigan Democrats.

Michigan: Republicans on the Bench and in the Statehouse

Let's start with Michigan, whose Democratic chair Mark Brewer is a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the national party and in that capacity voted to sanction Florida -- a pretty good indication that he wasn't a great champion of challenging the DNC calendar in his own state. Brewer in fact declared the Republican-sponsored move-up bill unacceptable from the start.

When it weaved its way through the divided Michigan legislature last August, only 29 of the state's 75 Democratic legislators (in the House and Senate) supported it. A week after the bill cleared the Senate over unified Democratic objections, these 29 Democrats in the House voted for it, precisely the same number that voted against it or abstained (22 and seven). It was 38 Republican yes votes in the House that made it law. While Democrats like the governor, U.S. Senator Carl Levin, and DNC committeewoman Debbie Dingell favored moving the primary date up, it was a Republican state senator, Cameron Brown, who proposed the January 15 date. Levin and Dingell only supported that date when they concluded that the DNC was allowing other states, like New Hampshire, to defy the party's prescribed schedule while threatening Michigan with sanctions if it shifted its date.

And Levin and Dingell certainly weren't calling the shots for the Democrats in the legislature. Andy Dillon, the Democratic House speaker who'd voted for the move-up initially, walked away from the early primary in November, almost a month before the DNC voted to strip the state of its delegation. When two court rulings found the move-up bill unconstitutional for technical reasons, giving Democratic state legislators who initially voted for it a chance to reconsider, they took it. Dillon and his House Democrats refused to support a bill that would've protected the January 15 date from threatened judicial cancellation by correcting the technical deficiency. The Senate, again voting along party lines, quickly adjusted the bill to the court decisions, but Dillon refused to allow a vote in the House. All of this suggests a "good faith" effort to block an early primary -- as required by DNC rules.

Had not the state's highest court overturned the earlier decisions by a 4-to-3 vote just days before absentee ballots had to be mailed out, the early primary would not have been held. Significantly, all four of the judges who voted to allow the election were Republicans, and two of the judges who voted against it were Democrats.

In fact, it was a Democratic political consultant who brought the lawsuit that almost killed the primary. While the Republican state party filed an amicus brief in support of the bill, the Democrats took a barrage of editorial potshots in the Detroit Free Press, the Detroit News, the Flint Journal, and other papers for refusing to stand up for the state's interest. Salivating over all the attention and revenue that would come with an early primary, the papers accused Democrats of "withering," "carrying water for presidential candidates," and "blocking a bill to rescue the election." State GOP chair Saul Anuzis declared: "The Michigan Democrats and the House Democrats in particular appear willing to blow up the primary for petty, political, selfish, self-preservationist motives, to protect their hides."

Even before the court rulings, 19 Democrats in the House co-sponsored an October bill to repeal the one that authorized the election, including eight members who'd initially voted for the January 15 date. That bill was doomed from the outset since the Senate would never agree, but it was a measure of how fiercely Democrats had come to oppose the early primary. The ultimate result in Michigan, with a triumphant Clinton the only major candidate on the ballot, is, without a doubt, a Republican result.

In Florida, Crushed by a Republican Supermajority

The Republicans don't just control both houses of the Florida legislature. Their combined 103-to-57 majority allowed them to dictate the terms of the bill that moved the primary to January 29. It is true that all but one of the state's Democratic legislators supported the bill. But a closer look reveals that vote to be more an indication of a realistic and productive compromise with the ruling Republicans than any intent to breach Democratic rules.

Florida's leading news outlets, just like Michigan's, converted an early primary into a matter of state patriotism, and that point of view, coupled with the mathematical inability to even slow the Republican push, forced Democrats to roll over.

Another factor attracting Democratic votes in the legislature for the bill was one the DNC should certainly appreciate. Governor Crist threw a reform long sought by Florida Democrats into the bill: a mandatory paper trail for all votes cast in future elections. "The Democrats have been fighting for a paper trail bill since 2000," said State Senator Nan Rich, "and Governor Bush never would support it. So finally we got a governor who was willing to support it and it ended up connected to the early primary bill. That was unfortunate. If the paper trail hadn't been there, I believe we Democrats would've all voted no. Still, if all the Republicans had voted one way and all the Democrats had voted another way, the bill would've passed." (This Christmas tree bill -- whose title alone was 154 lines long -- had something special for everyone. It would even enable Crist to run as John McCain's vice presidential candidate, revoking a ban against state officials running for federal office.)

But "the driving force behind the move," as the Tampa Tribune put it, was 36-year-old House speaker Marco Rubio, who announced that pushing the primary up was a top goal before he took over the House at the start of 2006. Branded a "Jeb acolyte" by the Florida press, Rubio, a Cuban from West Miami married to a former Miami Dolphins cheerleader, was given a gold samurai sword by Bush in a passing-of-the-conservative-mantle gesture in 2005. Rubio is a member of a wired Florida law firm whose chairman is so close to Bush that he rushed down to the county jail when the governor's daughter Noelle was arrested on a drug-related charge. When Rubio's term as speaker ends later this year, he is slated to go to work for a think tank headed by a Jeb Bush business associate. The primary bill originated with Rubio and ultimately passed the House unanimously -- but only after Democrats made what they knew would be a losing effort to alter it.

Martin Kiar and Mary Brandenburg, House Democrats who were cosponsors of the bill, tried to amend it. "We offered an amendment on the floor shifting the date to one within the Democratic party rules," said Brandenburg. "The Democrats all voted for it, and Republicans all voted against it." Actually, the Kiar/Brandenburg proposal did not completely comply with DNC directives, but it was a signal of the concerns Florida Dems had about the move-up legislation. Said Kiar: "No matter what, whether we supported it or cosponsored it, the Republican majority was going to push it through."

When the DNC sanctioned Florida, it critiqued the efforts of the Democratic leaders in both houses, suggesting that they'd merely gone through the motions of feigned opposition. But the House cosponsor of the bill, David Rivera, literally laughed on the floor at the Democratic amendment, according to the House Democrats. Going through the motions was all the outgunned Democrats could do. A DNC critic of Florida Democrats was reduced in a recent New York Times op-ed to citing remarks supporting the early primary made by state leaders after it was a fait accompli, likely because she couldn't make a case about their conduct before the Republican legislature set the date.

Some Democrats Are More Equal Than Others

The Democratic national committeeman who introduced the motion on the party's Rules Committee to deprive Florida of all its delegates -- a precursor to the Michigan decision a few months later -- was Ralph Dawson, a New York lawyer who was Howard Dean's Yale roommate and an advisor to Dean's 2004 campaign. Dawson's role was seen as a signal of Dean's appetite for a kick-ass rebuke.

As much as the DNC tries to pretend otherwise, it had choices. In fact, it later showed understandable leniency to three other states who changed their primary dates--New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina -- seating all their delegates. The tough love treatment was reserved for Michigan and Florida.

The national party had tried -- before New Hampshire's case wound up on its docket -- to leave the impression that zero tolerance was automatic once violations of the schedule occur. Back in June, a DNC spokeswoman, for example, told the Associated Press that neither Dean nor the Rules Committee "has the power to waive the rules for any state," explaining that "these rules can be changed only by the full DNC." Yet a few months later, on the same day that the Rules Committee stripped Michigan of its delegates, it waived the rules for New Hampshire, Iowa, and South Carolina, each of which had also moved up their primaries.

Though Dawson and others on Rules now say, as they did in recent interviews, that states whose contests were always scheduled before February 5 were free to shift dates without sanction, that's not what the delegate selection rules adopted in 2006 say. Those rules provided an automatic 50 percent loss of delegates for any state party that moved its contest to any day "prior to or after the dates" spelled out by the DNC.

That's why Rules powerhouse Donna Brazile said she would "grudgingly support the waiver," warning New Hampshire shortly before the December committee vote that "the days of 'privilege' may end soon."

Not only did "first-primary-or-die" New Hampshire switch from January 22 to January 8, it moved ahead of Nevada, whose January 19 caucus had been deliberately scheduled by the DNC to precede New Hampshire's. But New Hampshire's Democrats got a DNC waiver because their back was up against the wall, due to a decision by the South Carolina Republican Party to move its primary up to January 19. That unilateral decision -- which the Carolina Democrats declined to join in -- forced New Hampshire's hand. The waiver was, in other words, a reasonable response to a Republican provocation. What's unclear is why one Republican provocation is more equal than another. (Once New Hampshire moved, Iowa had to adjust as well. South Carolina Democrats ultimately made a minor switch for other reasons.)

While the DNC implicitly challenged the "good faith" of the Democratic opposition to the Republican moves in Florida and Michigan, it seemed far less interested in gauging what New Hampshire Democrats were doing. The head of the South Carolina GOP actually traveled to Concord, New Hampshire, to announce the decision to move his state's primary up. He stood in the Executive Council chambers of the statehouse with Secretary of State William Gardner and Representative James Splaine, a Democrat who led the legislative efforts to protect the state's first-primary tradition.

Democratic governor John Lynch was at a funeral when the press conference occurred, but his spokesman said Lynch "has faith in Bill Gardner" and "supports whatever Bill decides." And Lynch, who had already derided the DNC decision to put Nevada ahead of New Hampshire, was clearly pleased that the acceleration of the South Carolina Republican primary date was giving Gardner all the justification he needed to squeeze back ahead of Nevada. New Hampshire officials even called the maneuver an "alliance" with South Carolina Republicans. Gardner promptly chose a new date 11 days before Nevada, defying the schedule that the DNC had issued.

The RNC, a veritable model of consistency in these matters, stripped New Hampshire of half its delegates over the date change, even though it was unmistakably prompted by the Republican maneuver in South Carolina. But Howard Dean and company held their fire this time, examining extenuating circumstances with an understanding they refused to extend to Michigan and Florida. In the end, they changed the rules in the middle of the game, throwing the book at some states and discarding it altogether for others.

The inconsistency on New Hampshire aside, DNC officials have come up with one other argument for why they were so tough on Michigan and Florida. Dean's spokesman Damien LaVera said in an email to Huffington Post that, despite the unmistakable references in the rules to testing the "good faith" of a state's "elected officials" and examining a state's "legislative" efforts, the DNC's rules "apply to a state party plan, not state legislatures or elected officials." LaVera insisted that the only standard their Rules Committee judges compliance by is what state parties do, and that the parties in Michigan and Florida had options other than the state-designated primaries. A DNC official claimed that the Michigan party had sponsored so-called "firehouse caucuses" in the past and could have set their own date and done them again, ignoring the state-run January 15 primary. The Florida party, the DNC source added, was "offered $880,000" by the DNC to host their own caucus on a date in compliance with the DNC schedule and chose to participate, instead, in the state-financed primary, a "bad faith" decision.

But Florida party officials said the $880,000 would've only covered the cost of 150 caucus sites, with the capacity to draw a maximum of 150,000 voters out of the state's 4 million Democrats. "It wasn't a real offer," a spokesman said. Michigan's party would have had to self-finance caucuses, which, even with added Internet and mail voting, drew only 165,000 voters in 2004, a fraction of the 600,000 who voted in 2008. Stripping both states of their full delegations because the state parties in each refused to run these limited-participation caucuses--which would have occurred a couple of weeks after an official, state-financed primary -- is a bit like punishing Democrats because they like democracy.

Obama's Backers--and the Road to the Nomination

The DNC critique of Florida's noncompliance included a reference to the fact that a Democratic state senator was the initial sponsor of the move-up bill in that house, which was seen as a sign of eagerness on the part of some Democratic leaders to break the rules. That senator was Jeremy Ring, an Obama supporter. Obama even named Ring's 2006 campaign manager to run his statewide Florida effort. Ring was such a champion of the early primary that when Obama, like all the other candidates, supported the sanctions and agreed not to campaign in the state, Ring withdrew his endorsement.

When Governor Crist signed the bill at a ceremony in West Palm Beach, the man at his side was Bob Wexler, the chair of Obama's Florida campaign. Wexler wasn't there because he wanted to defy Howard Dean. He was there for the same reason that almost all the Democrats in the legislature voted for the bill. He is the state's leading foe of paperless voting systems and filed two suits against them. He saw the bill as the governor's fulfillment of a campaign pledge "to make Florida a model state for the nation in terms of our election system."

Similarly, all three of the House Democrats who endorsed Obama -- Coleman Young II, Bert Johnson, and Aldo Vagnozzi -- voted in favor of the bill to push the Michigan date forward. When Obama later took his name off the Michigan ballot, Young and Johnson became sponsors of the bill to cancel the election they had just voted to authorize.

The support of Obama's principal backers in both states for the move-up bills was hardly consequential, but it does raise questions about his current opposition to any counting or recounting of these states. If bad faith is the DNC's standard, Obama doesn't have to look too far to find alleged examples of it, and to recognize that the national party might be unfairly characterizing what the leaders in these states did.

Imagining a convention without delegations from these large and politically volatile states has become the nightmare of every thinking Democrat. Polls indicate that a nominee who refuses to count the 1.7 million Floridians who voted in a level-playing field primary, or to find a way for them to vote again, will wind up wasting whatever time and money he or she spends there in the general election campaign. As close as the general election vote in Michigan has been in recent years, even a small margin of voters disgruntled by the state's Democratic lockout could push it into the GOP column. Obama's stonewalling about both states may offer short-term advantages, but two delegations denied seating because of his maneuvers may well be seen as contrary to his populist rationale now -- and crippling to his candidacy in November.

Ed Pozzuoli, the Republican chair of Broward County, recalls the Florida showdown of 2000, when he says Democrats taunted Republicans, insisting that they should "let every vote count." He gloats now: "I guess that's changed in eight years." He's hardly the only one chortling over the likely consequence of what he calls the "draconian" Democratic spiking of his state's delegation.

What started out years ago as Howard Dean's 50-state organizing strategy for the national party now looks like a 48-state electoral one. Michigan and Florida could become the Ralph Nader of 2000, the great regret that delivers the country once again to four years of darkness.

Obama exploits racial divisions for political gain

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No one since white segregationist George Wallace has done more to stir up racial hatred in this country than Barack Obama and his “posse.” The fact that Obama has been reluctant to disown these racial fear-mongers goes beyond disturbing. It is an indication of his complicity in their strategy of mobilizing black voters by attacking “whitey.”

In just a few short months, we’ve had videos of Michelle Obama attacking whites and admitting her shame about being an American, and Rev. Wright with his now infamous black supremacist comments.

The latest anti-white video making the rounds shows Father Pfleger, a long-time Obama contributor, ranting against Hillary Clinton and white people. Like the other comments, this took place in Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ.

The Clinton campaign has called on Obama to repudiate Father Pfleger’s “divisive, despicable comments.”

White women cold toward Obama

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Barack Obama’s favorability ratings among white women has declined significantly in recent months, particularly among Democrats and independents, presenting an immediate obstacle for the likely Democratic nominee as he moves to shore up his party’s base.
According to a new report by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, half of white women now have a negative perception of Obama.

Forty-nine percent of white women view Obama unfavorably, while only 43 percent hold a favorable opinion. In February, 36 percent of these women viewed Obama unfavorably, while 56 percent had a positive perception of the likely Democratic nominee.

Over the same period, Democratic white women’s negative view of Obama increased from 21 percent to 35 percent, while their positive view decreased from 72 percent to 60 percent — roughly the same rate as white women overall.

White men, in general and among Democrats, have shown only a slight drop-off in their perception of Obama — one-third of the shift seen in white women. About 20 percent of Democratic white men have an unfavorable view of Obama, a figure which has remained stable since February.

Pew also found that among self-described Clinton supporters, the negative shift against Obama is more severe among women than among men.

The Pew findings come as Obama’s campaign struggles to close up the primary race while also attempting to avoid the perception of pushing Hillary Rodham Clinton out, for fear of offending her most loyal supporters — the largest bloc of which are white women.

Still unknown is whether white women’s support for Clinton would translate into problems for Obama in the general election.

Intraparty divisions that arise during the primary season are typically mended over the course of the general election. Bill Clinton struggled with college-educated Democrats in the 1992 primary, as John F. Kerry did with young Democratic voters in the early stages of the 2004 race. Both candidates won back these blocs in the general election.

But the Democratic primary race of 2008 is without modern precedent, insofar as black support for Obama and white female support for Clinton are tied up in the symbolism of each candidate’s historic presidential bid.

“There is some sense of the visceral investment with Clinton,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic strategist. Lake believes once the general election is under way, these same white women will gradually move away from McCain over issues, with the expectation that Clinton will campaign on Obama’s behalf if he is the nominee.

“In the long run, women will watch Hillary Clinton’s reaction, how she’s treated by Barack Obama,” Lake added.

White women as a whole now prefer John McCain over Obama, by 49 percent to 41 percent. Last month, Obama was ahead of McCain among white women, 49 percent to 46 percent. The head-to-head matchup between McCain and Obama has not significantly shifted among white men.

“There is no question that white women were — especially older women, not young women — Hillary Clinton’s base in the primary, and there is going to be some repair work that has to be done,” Democratic analyst Anna Greenberg said. “There is no reason to believe that these Democratic white women are not pursuable.

“The priority is going to be to bring back these voters,” Greenberg added.

Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who has worked with Lake on surveys of women, said that “the steady shift of white women away from Barack Obama” could prove “enduring heading into November.”

“These women have two issues at the top of their agenda that require experience and reasonableness — war and economy,” Conway said. “For many of these women, when they hear Barack Obama talk about change they hear revolution, not incrementalism."

Conway believes that McCain has particular strengths with these women that allow him to be viewed as independent of the Republican brand.

“Those women will likely vote Democratic down ballot,” she added. “This race is now Barack Obama vs. John McCain.”

Democrats have come closest to capturing the White House by winning minorities by large margins and nearly splitting white women, as they did in 2000. Republicans have generally relied on their dominance with white men to put them in the White House, while winning at least half the vote among white women.

On Policy, Obama Breaks Little New Ground

Original Link:

By Perry Bacon Jr.

Already famous for his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama entered the Senate with more than the usual aspirations about the impact he could have.

So in 2005, he had his office arrange informal seminars so that experts on health care, the economy, energy and education could brief him. "I'm not running for president," he told a group of experts at his Capitol Hill office in the spring of 2006. But he said he had a "national voice" and wanted to use it.

When Obama changed his mind and decided to run for president after only two years in the Senate, however, he effectively dismissed the importance of policy proposals, declaring in one speech in early 2007, "We've had plenty of plans, Democrats," and in another: "Every four years, somebody trots out a white paper, they post it on the Web." He cast his "new kind of politics" in terms of his ability to transcend divisions and his unique biography and offered few differences on issues from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates.

But now this approach faces a new test from Sen. John McCain. The GOP candidate is making an aggressive appeal to independents by emphasizing his past and present stances against party orthodoxy, particularly his proposals to combat global warming.

Obama has not emphasized any signature domestic issue, or signaled that he would take his party in a specific direction on policy, as Bill Clinton did with his "New Democrat" proposals in 1992 that emphasized welfare reform or as George W. Bush did with his "compassionate conservatism" in 2000, when he called on Republicans to focus more on issues such as education.

Obama's campaign is "clearly politically transformative, it's clearly from a policy standpoint been cautious," said James K. Galbraith, a liberal activist and economist at the University of Texas at Austin who had backed former senator John Edwards in the early primaries.

"The change that Senator Obama has promised is one of tone and leadership style," said William A. Galston, who was a domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton and is backing Sen. Clinton but who said he would enthusiastically support Obama if he is the party's nominee. "He has not dissented from party orthodoxy in the way Bill Clinton did on the way to the presidency in 1992," Galston added.

Heather Higginbottom, who runs Obama's policy office at the campaign's Chicago headquarters, cited education as one area in which Obama offers ideas that are not traditionally Democratic, arguing that the problem is not all about schools or funding, but about parents who let their children watch too much television. She said his proposal to give teachers bonus pay if they receive special training or if their students score high on standardized tests is an idea that some liberal-leaning teachers unions oppose. And she said the campaign has brought "fresh thinking" on many issues, particularly on one of Obama's favorites: increased government transparency.

But Higginbottom said the campaign's emphasis is on practical solutions, not ideological points. "I know it's interesting from a political perspective to look left, right and center, but we want to put forward ideas that will move forward in Congress," she said. "And we have the potential to engage people in a way they haven't been engaged recently and give them the tools to participate."

David Axelrod, Obama's top political adviser, said that the campaign will devote more staff members to policy (there are now seven) and that the senator's speeches will increasingly highlight his proposals.

"The next six months is going to be about competing visions for this country," he said. "Obama is looking forward, and his policies will reflect that."

Obama's domestic policy proposals, including expanding health care to all Americans and offering tax cuts for the middle class while raising taxes for those who make more than $250,000 a year, differ little from those that Clinton and other Democrats have proposed during the primaries. His ideas for solving the nation's housing crisis are similar to those of congressional Democrats, offering aid to people who cannot pay their mortgages and proposing a second economic stimulus package.

Obama, like many congressional Democrats, has pushed for more education funding, a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and immigration legislation that would create a path to citizenship for people who are now in the United States illegally.

In part, Obama's approach reflects the broad consensus that has developed during the Democratic primaries. Unlike Republicans -- many of whom disagree with McCain on issues such as global warming and immigration -- Democratic presidential candidates, the party's leaders in Congress and Democratic voters largely agree on an agenda. There is little of the left-center divide of the Bill Clinton era. Self-identified independent voters broadly favored the Democrats' approach over that of the GOP on Iraq, health care, the economy and dealing with the federal budget deficit, according to a recent Washington Post poll.

Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist at the Economic Policy Institute, praised him for offering a more progressive agenda than the past two Democratic presidential nominees, former vice president Al Gore and Sen. John F. Kerry, neither of whom proposed a universal health-care plan, as Obama has. "There's a recognition that small-bore approaches to solving the big challenges is not sufficient," Bernstein said.

Obama's policy ideas reflect the group of mainstream Democratic advisers he has surrounded himself with, many of them younger colleagues of experts who had held top-level positions in the Clinton administration and ended up working for the former first lady's campaign.

Jeffrey B. Liebman, a Harvard economist who advises Obama on budget issues, had been a top aide to Gene Sperling, President Clinton's top economics adviser, who now works for Sen. Clinton's campaign; Michael Froman, a Citigroup executive who advises Obama on Wall Street issues, was a top aide to former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, another Clinton backer.

Obama also brought in people who were not in the Clinton orbit, but most of them are not new to Washington. The advisers say that what drew them to Obama was not his embrace of their policy views but rather his potential appeal for getting things done.

"His message of uniting people and trying to do something new was apparent from the beginning, and so he sort of had me at hello," said University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee, Obama's top economic adviser.

The campaign, however, has distanced itself from more controversial views, such as Goolsbee's description of Obama's opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement as political rhetoric. Goolsbee denied the account of what he said at a meeting at the Canadian consulate in Chicago, and Obama has kept his anti-NAFTA rhetoric.

Looking forward, Galston said that while Obama and McCain would each seek to emphasize independence from their parties on "second-tier" issues such as teacher pay or global warming, on the big issues, such as the Iraq war and the economy, they would hew to party orthodoxy while at the same time arguing that the other is even more tied to his own party.

"The Obama campaign will argue on those issues McCain is, if anything, more conservative than Bush," Galston said. "The McCain campaign will argue although Senator Obama has campaigned on a promise to bring us back together, that in fact he is not a moderate, despite his tone, but is a liberal."

Bruce Reed, who also was a policy adviser to President Clinton and now supports Sen. Clinton, said it is important for the eventual Democratic nominee to show some break from the party, to burnish centrist credentials. "Our candidate will need as many proof points as possible that we're not the weak-on-defense, big-spending liberal the Republicans always say they are," he said.

Obama aides, however, say their approach will work because most voters are looking not for a new vision for expanding health care but rather for a reformed political system such as the one Obama calls for, one that would solve problems rather than resort to bickering.

Galston said Obama's approach could succeed in a general-election campaign as long as the candidate made sure voters were more familiar with his plans, but he was more skeptical about the approach working if Obama is elected president. "There are many scholars . . . who believe that polarization in the country between the parties is pretty thorough and that a change in tone may not be sufficient," he said.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

If The DNC Strictly Applies The Rules, Obama Will Lose

Original Link:

Big Tent Democrat (Obama supporter) has the must read post on the upcoming DNC Judgment Day:

To recapitulate, a strict interpretation of the DNC Rules that follows the reasoning of the DNC Memo circulated today would require the following results:

A. The stripping of 50% of the delegates of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Michigan.

B. The full seating of the Florida delegation.

C. Should the DNC RBC reject the safe harbor provision for Florida, then Florida would have 50% of its delegations stripped, but Barack Obama would be entitled to no delegates from Florida due to his violation of Rule 20c.1.b. .

By my math, a strict interpretation of the DNC rules would result in a net gain of 80 or 89 pledged delegates for Clinton.

Read the whole thing. .

The May 31st DNC meeting will be broadcast on C-SPAN. Chris "Ugh" Matthews will actually be at the meeting.

Count Every Vote Rally in DC May 31

"Nominating Obama is like watching HBO's recount and reliving the nightmares that were the Kerry and Dukakis campaigns, and watching the DNC in 2000 make every boneheaded move that led to Bush's win in the recount battle. If the Democrats make the wrong choice again in 2008, we just don't know who's going to want to remain in this party, and suffer through these ridiculously shortsighted and foolish moves again and again." -- HillBuzz

Hillary Clinton’s Swing-State Advantage

Original Link:

PRINCETON, NJ -- In the 20 states where Hillary Clinton has claimed victory in the 2008 Democratic primary and caucus elections (winning the popular vote), she has led John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily trial heats for the general election over the past two weeks of Gallup Poll Daily tracking by 50% to 43%. In those same states, Barack Obama is about tied with McCain among national registered voters, 45% to 46%.

In contrast, in the 28 states and the District of Columbia where Obama has won a higher share of the popular vote against Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries and caucuses, there is essentially no difference in how Obama and Clinton each fare against McCain. Both Democrats are statistically tied with him for the fall election.

All of this speaks to Sen. Clinton's claim that her primary-state victories over Obama indicate her potential superiority in the general election.

The results are based on aggregated data from Gallup Poll Daily tracking from May 12-25, including interviews with more than 11,000 registered voters nationwide (including Alaska and Hawaii). Across this period, Gallup has found Clinton performing marginally better than Obama in separate trial heats for the general election against McCain. Clinton has led McCain by an average of three percentage points, 48% vs. 45%. Obama has trailed McCain by an average of one point, 45% vs. 46%.

Clinton's popular-vote victories thus far include the three biggest Electoral College prizes: California (a solid Democratic state), New York (another sure bet for the Democrats), and Texas (a solid Republican state). (Although Obama won more delegates in Texas, Clinton's vote total exceeded Obama's by nearly 100,000 votes.) However, her victories also include several of the largest swing states that both parties will be battling to win in November: Pennsylvania and Ohio, as well as wins in the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries. As a result, Clinton's 20 states represent more than 300 Electoral College votes while Obama's 28 states and the District of Columbia represent only 224 Electoral College votes.

(Note that the findings with Michigan and Florida data removed are virtually identical to those shown above. Clinton performs five percentage points better than Obama versus McCain in the states she has won (51% vs. 46%), excluding Michigan and Florida; Obama has virtually no advantage over Clinton versus McCain in the states he has won.)

The question is, do Clinton's popular victories over Obama in states that encompass three-fifths of national voters mean Clinton has a better chance than Obama of winning electoral votes this fall? That's the argument she and her campaign have been making, including at a campaign stop in Kentucky 10 days ago (prior to the Kentucky and Oregon primaries), where she was quoted as saying:

"The states I've won total 300 electoral votes. If we had the same rules as the Republicans, I would be the nominee right now. We have different rules, so what we've got to figure out is who can win 270 electoral votes. My opponent has won states totaling 217 electoral votes."

As the Gallup analysis shows, Clinton is currently running ahead of McCain in the 20 states where she has prevailed in the popular vote, while Obama is tied with McCain in those same states. Thus, at this stage in the race (before the general-election campaigns have fully engaged), there is some support for her argument that her primary states indicate she would be stronger than Obama in the general election.

The same cannot be said for Obama in the 28 states and D.C. where he prevailed in the popular vote. As of now, in those states, he is performing no better than Clinton is in general-election trial heats versus McCain. Thus, the principle of greater primary strength translating into greater general-election strength -- while apparently operative for the states Clinton has won -- does not seem to apply at the moment to states Obama has won.

Red States, Blue States, Swing States

The picture described above is somewhat muddied by the fact that the sets of states Clinton and Obama have each won include reliably "red" (solid Republican) and "blue" (solid Democratic) states. A relative advantage for either Democratic contender in the primaries in such states won't matter come the fall, under the assumption that the general-election outcome in these states is almost a foregone conclusion.

Removing red and blue states from the analysis leaves just the swing or "purple" states that could be competitive for both parties. Gallup defines these as states that favored neither George W. Bush nor John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election by more than five percentage points. Additionally, Arkansas -- one of Clinton's home states -- is considered a potential swing state should she become the nominee. And Missouri is considered swing because although Bush beat Kerry in that state by seven points in 2004, Missouri has switched sides in the three most recent national elections, voting Democratic in 1996, and Republican in 2000 and 2004. (Other states have also switched sides in the last three elections, but the 2004 vote margins in these were well beyond 10 points for either Bush or Kerry.)

Clinton's 2008 swing-state victories include Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Arkansas, and -- based solely on popular vote (not delegates) -- Florida and Michigan (her swing states total 105 electoral votes). Thus far in May, Gallup has found Clinton leading McCain in these states by six percentage points, 49% to 43%. McCain holds the slight edge over Obama in these states, 46% to 43%. Thus, as of today, Clinton is clearly the stronger Democratic candidate in this cluster of states where she beat Obama in the popular vote.

With Florida and Michigan removed from the group of purple states where Clinton has won the popular vote, her relative advantage over Obama expands slightly. (This leaves Arkansas, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, and New Mexico, totaling 61 electoral votes.) Clinton beats McCain in this group of states by 10 percentage points, 51% to 41%, whereas McCain leads Obama by three points, 46% to 43%.

Obama's swing-state victories include Colorado, Oregon, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri (totaling 54 electoral votes). Obama leads McCain in these states by eight percentage points, while Clinton falls one point behind McCain -- a pattern similar to that in Clinton's swing states.

The only other difference seen in the two candidates' general-election performances is in the seven safe (and mostly Southern) Republican states won by Clinton in the primaries. Clinton loses to McCain by four points in these states, while Obama loses to McCain by 14 points. The two candidates fare equally well in the red states Obama won, as well as in the blue states each candidate won. Of course, as noted, relative advantages in the blue states are less important to the presidential election, assuming the outcome is assured regardless of which Democratic candidate is nominated.

Bottom Line

According to Gallup's May 12-25 tracking polling, Clinton is running stronger against McCain than is Obama in the 20 states where Clinton can claim popular-vote victory in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. By contrast, Obama runs no better against McCain than does Clinton in the 28 states plus the District of Columbia where he has prevailed. On this basis, Clinton appears to have the stronger chance of capitalizing on her primary strengths in the general election.

However, just focusing on the swing states in Clinton's and Obama's respective win columns, the two are fairly similar. Clinton beats McCain in her purple states (including Florida and Michigan) by 49% to 43%, while Obama slightly trails McCain (43% to 46%) in these states -- a nine-point swing in the gap in Clinton's favor. Conversely, Obama beats McCain in his purple states (49% to 41%), while Clinton trails McCain by one point, 45% to 46%, in the same states -- also a nine-point swing in the gap in Obama's favor.

Clinton's main advantage is that her states -- including Florida and Michigan -- represent nearly twice as many Electoral College votes as Obama's. However, removing Florida and Michigan from the equation, her purple states are about comparable to Obama's in electoral vote size, and thus the two appear more evenly situated.

What gives Clinton an additional boost in national support -- but is not likely to increase her chances of winning Electoral College votes in November -- is her superior performance over Obama in the red states where she has captured the popular vote in the primaries. These include such typically safe Republican states as Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, and Arizona.

Survey Methods

Results are based on aggregated telephone interviews with 11,491 registered voters, aged 18 and older, conducted May 12-25, 2008, as part of Gallup Poll Daily tracking. For results based on the total sample of registered voters, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

For results based on the sample of 2,753 registered voters residing in "purple" states in which Hillary Clinton won a majority of the popular vote in the 2008 Democratic primaries and/or caucuses, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 1,695 registered voters residing in "purple" states excluding Florida and Michigan in which Hillary Clinton won a majority of the popular vote in the 2008 Democratic primaries and/or caucuses, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 1,353 registered voters residing in "purple" states in which Barack Obama won a majority of the popular vote in the 2008 Democratic primaries and/or caucuses, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Clinton, Coattails, Kentucky

Original Link:

By Truthteller

Clinton can win Kentucky, while Barack Obama cannot and will not. View the results of this poll conducted by Rasmussen on 22 MAY 2008:

Clinton: 51%
McCain: 42%
Obama: 32%
McCain: 57%

And compare it to the results of this poll Rasmussen released today on Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) reelection prospects:

Lunsford (D): 49%
McConnell (R): 44%

Not only can Hillary win Kentucky, a state former President Bill Clinton won both in 1992 and in 1996; she can generate the coattails required to catapult Democrat Bruce Lunsford to victory over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in what will be one of the most competitive US Senate races this election cycle. Because McCain outperforms Obama by a staggering 25 points in KY, one can assume Obama will complicate and even undermine Lunsford’s election bid. Some would say Obama is a drag for Lunsford.

Everyone remembers how the coattails of Bush II enabled Republican Senator John Thune to oust Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle during the South Dakota Senate race in 2004. If superdelegates think in the interests of the Party and not in the interests of David Axelrod and other corrupting elements within the Democratic Party, we can both win the Presidency and humiliate Senate Republicans. Do we want to make it impossible for Republicans to mount filibusters in the Senate during a Hillary Presidency, or do we desire a McCain Presidency with a Democratic majority in the Senate that cannot derail Republican filibusters? The choice is that of the superdelegates and of those who are charged with determining whether or not the Michigan and Florida delegations will be seated. I hope they are listening.

Obama's Assassination of the Truth

Original Link:

by Marc Rubin

Politics is a dirty business. Everybody knows that. But the other day thanks to Barack Obama, his campaign manager, The Axelrod of Evil, and the mainstream news media it just got dirtier. A lot dirtier. In fact it got dirtier than anything politics has seen since the days of Richard Nixon. And that's not being fair to Nixon because I doubt even he would have ever stooped as low as Obama did in his response to Clinton's remarks.

Bill Burton from the Obama campaign and Barack Obama himself responding to Clinton's remarks about RFK immediately issued a statement that Clinton's remarks "were unfortunate and had no place in the campaign". Just in case the idiots in the news media didn't get the point Burton included a link to a NY Post story referencing Obama's early secret service protection and that he had been the recipient of threats.

The implication that the Obama campaign was trying to convey and which many in the media swallowed like trained seals catching a fish, was that her remarks implied that she was staying in the race just in case someone knocked off Obama. The press dutifully behaved like the trained seals they have been since the beginning and swallowed the fish that was thrown to them, then blew their horns.

Keith Olbermann,who tries every night to be the Value Meal version of Edward R. Murrow, swallowed the fish, and did some of the biggest tricks, throwing his head around with the fish in his mouth, eating it, then blowing the horn the loudest as he joined the growing list of pro Obama journalists making total fools out of themselves, shredding their credibility worse than it was before. Anyone who watched Olbermann give you your Value Meal dollar's worth saw that he had his knee jerking uncontrollably while he spat out the the word "assassination".
(Maybe we should get him a horn to blow to put on his desk).

Less than 24 hours later, Olbermann and the NY Post, and other main stream news outlets looked like their jerking knees knocked out their front teeth since Robert Kennedy Jr and the board of the newspaper to whom Clinton made the remarks came to her defense and anyone with 2c for a brain which seems to exclude Olbermann and the NY Post and as usual, Andrea Mitchell, knew that Clinton had not been referencing Obama or assassinations but that Kennedy had been campaigning into June when he had been assassinated.

Yes a clumsy remark and not the best reference she could have used, but that was more the fault of her campaign than anything else, for not having a prepared and well thought out answer for a question they had to know was coming. And given all the good answers she has to that question it makes you wonder what these people behind the scenes are doing.

But when Obama issued his statement he and his campaign hit new lows when they twisted her response so that Obama could play something he loves to play-- the victim.The passive - aggressive victim.

It's not the first time The day after the ABC debate when Obama was nailed consistently and hammered with questions he couldnt adequately answer, he accused Clinton in a speech the very next day, of "sticking in the knife and twisting it". And this is what Obama has been doing from the beginning while the news media aids and abetts his political muggings. He sucker punches Clinton then hits the deck and acts the victim so if Clinton hits back he cries victimhood.

Obama then went into Act Two of his passive/aggressive dirty politics drama when he accepted an apology from Clinton that she didnt give him and that he didn't have coming. Again the equivalent of hitting the ground after you sucker punch someone so the person cant hit back and if they do you scream that you re being attacked. Another cute little trick from Mr. Rejecting the Politics of the Past.

First he and the Axelrod of Evil put out this nonsense in much the same way Bush accused Kerry of "insulting the troops" (Obama has learned his Karl Rove lessons well), hoping to stir up a media frenzy which it did, and then Obama hits the pavement before she can swing back, say he accepts her apology (when she wasn't even apologizing to him) and then The Axelrod of Evil goes on television and says after the sucker punch does as much damage as it can, that, as far as he is concerned the incident is over. That is Obama once again hitting the deck.

It's probably time for Clinton supporters to let them know its not over. Maybe its time to let them know that after this it's never going to be over.

If this isn't the last straw for Clinton voters it probably should be. Clinton voters and everyone connected to her campaign should let it be known publicly and to Obama personally that after this, there will be no reconciliation, no unity, no coming together IF super delegates are stupid enough and corrupt enough to subvert the democratic system and give the nomination to the person the majority of Democrats have voted against . They should let everyone know there will be no reconciliaton. In fact if Obama gets the nomination the winds are already blowing for a huge democratic defeat in the fall.

And then the Democrats responsible will once again wonder why Democrats lose elections.

The Democratic party cannot afford to send out a candidate the majority of voters voted against. They cant afford to send out a candidate just to fullfill a false and corrupt media agenda. And the Democrats cant afford to send out a dirty politician as their presidential candidate. The country will not elect a dirty politician. Not one who has shown the capacity to be as dirty as Obama.

What Obama did with Clinton's remarks would have been too low even for Nixon. To exploit one of the country's greatest tragedies for his own political gain would have been beneath Nixon. But not Obama.

Whatever ones wants to say about McCain, however much one wants to disagree with him (and I do about almost everything) he is a clean politician. There is nothing dirty about him or his politics. On the other hand, Obama is not only unprepared for the job he wants, he is not only not qualified for the job he wants, he is unfit for the job he wants. His lack of character has been apparent for a long time.What he and Axelrod did with Clinton's remarks speaks for itself. Obama would lose in a landslide to John McCain and he would deserve to. He has nothing to run on.

It will be up to the remaining super delegates,even the ones Obama is trying to bribe with campaigin contributions (more on that in another peice), to decide if the country is going to be more important than their campaign chests. If they do Clinton wins the nomination because when the primary process is over she will be the choice of the majority of democrats and will beat Obama handily in every metric available. It already obvious that the delegate apportionment system is corrupt and in no way a reliable indicator of the will of the people.

If super delegates corrupt the democratic process and send out a dishonest and dirty politician like Obama, one that the majority of Democrats voted against, the Democrats are assured of losing in November.

Super delegates have only one decision to make now. Do they want a Democrat in the White House come January or not. Because any vote for Obama is going to be a vote for John McCain. And in the fall. 17 million Clinton voters are going to make sure of that. And no one can blame them.

Caucuses vs. Primaries : A Report

Original Link:

What has 2008 shown us in terms of the fairness of the Democratic nomination process? That the caucus system is neither fair nor representative.

Here's an interesting report on the differences between primaries and caucuses and the impact in the 2008 Presidential nomination. I am reprinting it with the permission of its author, P. Cronin. It addresses:

Voter Suppression in Caucuses
Disenfranchised Voter Groups & Statistics
Differential in Voter Turnout Rates
Popular Vote Disparity
Estimated Voter Suppression in 2008 Caucuses
Caucus Systems Distort Election Results
Vote-spread Differences
Disproportionate Votes-to-Delegates Ratio
More Math of Electability
Other Primary versus Caucus Considerations
2008 Democratic Election Snapshot
What IF: Florida & Michigan
Some highlights are below, but I recommend reading the entire report. [More....]

Here are some stats:

By the numbers, in 2008 primaries have averaged 400% greater voter turnout in eligible voters than caucuses.
Of the 33.5 million popular votes in the 2008 Democratic Primaries, caucus voters have
collectively cast only 3.2% of the total or 1.1 million votes.
the 13 caucus states have 23.2 million eligible voters. The average Democratic voter turnout in 2008 caucuses has been 4.5% versus 19.92% in primaries.
42% of Obama’s wins are caucus states, 95% of Clinton’s wins are primary states.
Three states have both caucuses and primaries. Take a look at the different results as to voter turnout and preference in the Democratic race:

Washington: On February 9, Washington held its statewide caucus and an estimated 245,000 caucus-goers – 5.3% of eligible voters – chose Obama over Clinton by 67.5% to 31.2%, a whopping 36-point margin. Ten days later, WA held a primary attended by 691,381 [15% of eligible voters, ie, almost 3 times the caucus turnout] and Obama won by 51.2% to 45.7%. [Citizens of WA voted-in a State-run Primary. However, the Party-run caucus results are still the legal results.]
The impact:

Washington allocated its 78 pledged delegates at a ratio of 2:1 [67% to 33%] and Obama got 52 versus Clinton’s 26. He gained 26 delegates. If the pledged delegates had been allocated according to the primary results, Obama would have won roughly 41 delegates compared to Clinton’s 37. He would be gained only 4 delegates. Bottom line: The caucus vs. primary election benefited Obama by a net 22 delegates – 14.5% of the 152 pledged delegates separating the two.

Nebraska: On February 9, Nebraska held a caucus and only 3.04% of the 1.3 million eligible voters participated. Those 38,571 caucus-goers chose Obama over Clinton 68% to 32% and he won 16 of the 24 pledged delegates. In stark contrast, on May 13th, Nebraska held a primary where nearly 94,000 voters [7.5% of eligible voters] chose Obama by 49.4% to 46.6% ,– only 2.8% instead of the 36% vote-spread recorded in the caucus. If delegates were allocated on the results of the primary instead of the caucus, Obama and Clinton would have received 12 pledged delegates each.
Bottom line: Obama’s 13,700 vote victory in the red-state Nebraska caucus netted him 8 pledged delegates. Compare that to Clinton’s 204,000 vote victory in the battleground state of Ohio which netted her only 9 pledged delegates.

The third state is Texas, and the report has a section on that aw well.

The report asks, "which states are more important to win in the General Election? Which are a stronger indicator of candidate strength and offer a better barometer for voter preference for the Democratic nominee?"

Obama’s 138 pledged delegates lead derived from the 12 caucus states he won is only 18 less than Clinton’s 156 pledged delegates won from all of these hard-fought, primary states: California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

These Clinton-won states have a combined 220 electoral votes, 87.2 million eligible voters and cast a total of 18,400,000 votes in these primaries. Compare that with the Obama-won caucus states with a combined 69 electoral votes, 21.5 million eligible voters and only 944,000 total votes cast.

The stats show what happens when all states are weighted equally:

42% of Obama’s wins have been in caucus states wherein one-half have not voted Democratic since 1964, 70% voted Republican in 2004, 8 out of the 13 states had only 8,700 to 43,900 voters each and there is a total of 74 electoral votes for all caucus states.

In other words, a comparison of the two systems shows:

suppressed voter turnout in caucus vs. primary states
lopsided vote-spread differential between Obama and Clinton in the caucus vs. primary states
relative impact of caucus elections on the allocation of pledged delegates to each candidate
disproportionate impact of caucus votes in relation to convention delegates
On the lopsided vote apread differential:

In 2008, the 34 primaries [excluding MI & FL] have produced an average .8 percent vote-difference between Obama and Clinton. By contrast, the 13 caucuses have had a 28 percent vote-spread.


Because of the restrictions inherent in the caucusing process, participants traditionally include the most motivated voters, party partisans & loyalists and voters strongly committed to a candidate and/or the voting process itself. Since this is generally a relatively small subset of all voters, true voter preferences can be skewed.

The result is "a disproportionate allocation per candidate of the 498 pledged delegates allotted to the caucus states [including TX caucus]".

35 Primaries w/FL :
33,832,107 total votes
Clinton + 35,387
Clinton + 62 delegates

13 Caucuses + TX :
1,057,137 total votes
Obama + 299,768
Obama + 193 delegates

In other words:

35 Primaries with 33.8 million voters have Clinton leading in both votes and delegates.

Caucuses with 1.1 million voters gave Obama 300,000 more votes and 193 more delegates.

....After 47 state elections to date, Obama leads Clinton by 152 pledged delegates. 97% of the difference – 148 delegates – is directly attributable to lopsided victories in caucus contests.

As to the disproportionate impact of the caucus results:

Though voters in all 13 caucus states have cast only 3.2% of the total 33.5 million votes so far – those votes control 15.3% of the pledged delegates and 16.4% of the Super delegates sent to the DNC Convention – average 15.5% of the total delegates [626 caucus / 4047 total]. After all remaining primaries the total votes could easily top 36 million, dropping the caucus vote to 2.9% of the total. In that event, 1 out of every 34 votes will determine and control 1 of every 6.5 delegates.

Bottom line: caucus voters will have a grossly disproportionate role in determining the 2008 Democratic nominee.

Put another way:

34 Primary States -32.4 Million Votes
13 Caucus States -1.1 Million Votes
3.2% of the vote controls 15.5% of the delegate selection for the 2008 Democratic Convention.
Still More:

97% of pledged delegate difference between Obama and Clinton is directly related to the caucus victories, caucus delegates’ account for 1 in every 6.5 DNC delegates and nearly 2/3 of those delegates will vote pro-Obama essentially giving them substantially more clout in determining the 2008 Democratic nominee.

On the impact on the electoral math and map:

21 of Obama’s 29 states won are either caucus states or Red states – including 80% of the deepest Red that have not voted Democratic since 1964 to 1976. With a win in SD and MT, he will finish with 230 Electoral Votes –121 of those from Red states.

Notably, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, he will start the race for the Presidency with 109 Electoral Votes from blue or purple states. That’s 40% of what he’ll need to win in November.

For Hillary:

In contrast, only one of Clinton’s 20 states won is a caucus and only 26% of her total Electoral Votes are from Red states. Further, 227 of Clinton’s 308 EV are from blue and purple states meaning that she would start the Presidential race having won states that account for 84% of the EV needed to win the White House.

Consider this:

The 13 Caucus states comprise 26% of all states voting in the 2008 Democratic Preference Election but account for only 74 of the total 538 Electoral Votes in the General Election.

....70% of the caucus states -- – 9 of 13 -- – voted Republican in the 2004 General Election. Those states held 45 of the 74 total electoral votes for all caucus states. In 2000, 8 of the 13 states [62%] voted for Bush.

....There are 185.7 million total eligible voters [VEP] in the 47 state contests held so far. Clinton has won states with 104.9 million eligible voters and Obama has won states with 80.8 million. Moreover, based on VEP, the average Democratic voter turnout in Clinton’s states was 20.1% compared to 15.4% turnout in Obama’s states [17 primaries @ 19.4% turnout and 12 caucuses @ 4.4% turnout]. MI & FL are excluded.

....The United States has a total of 538 electoral votes and 270 are needed to win the Presidency. Clinton has won 18 states with 264 electoral votes versus Obama’s 29 states with 224 electoral votes. MI & FL are excluded.

Page 11 lists a host of reasons caucuses are less representative and fair than primaries. It then finds:

When the results of all 34 primaries are totaled and averaged there is only a .8% vote differential and .8% difference in total delegates –Obama is ahead by 259,000 votes out of 32.4 million and Clinton is ahead by 24 delegates out of 3,114.

When Florida is added in, Clinton leads by 62 delegates and 35,387 votes. These dead-heat Primary results closely parallel national polls in the two candidate match-up since Super Tuesday.

On Florida and Michigan:

Since the DNC stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates, results from these primaries have purposely been omitted from most discussion till now. No Democratic candidate campaigned or ran political ads in either state. However, since both states conducted a legitimate Primary election and posted certified results and since the states have a combined 44 electoral votes and nearly 20 million eligible voters that cast a cumulative 2,345,000 votes [twice the number of all caucus votes and roughly 7% of total votes] readers may want to consider the voter preferences expressed in order to assess candidate electability for the General Election.

After several graphs of number-crunching, the report finds:

If Florida and Michigan are added to all election results, Clinton would gain another 27 and 17 electoral votes respectively and would have a total of 308 – 38 more than the 270 needed to win the Presidency in the General Election. Obama’'s 29 states won have 224 electoral votes which would be 46 short of the 270 needed to win.

Finally, if Florida and Michigan are added to the 47 state elections already concluded [34 primaries + 13 caucus states] there are 205.5 million total eligible voters [VEP]. Clinton has won states with 124.7 million eligible voters and Obama has won states with 80.8 million. In this instance, Clinton would have won 19 primaries versus 17 for Obama.

On the topic of built-in voter suppression, the report explains how and why these groups are not fairly represented:

Elderly / hospitalized / ill health
Military oversees or on out-of-state assignment
Voters out of state
Voters with kids – especially small children – who can’t get or afford a babysitter
Workers who can not get time off work, or who can’t afford the time off
Citizens with limited English proficiency [estimated at 8 to 10 Million voters nationwide]
In conclusion, the report quotes "“Has America Outgrown the Caucus?”" by Tova Wang, a Democracy Fellow at The Century Foundation:

Caucuses, as opposed to primaries, by their very structure violate fundamental principles of voting rights. Their time-consuming, inflexible, Byzantine procedures discourage broad participation, presenting substantial barriers to the right to vote. It is not that the caucuses violate the Constitution—they are run by the parties, not the states, and do not violate voting rights as a matter of law. Rather, because of their exclusionary nature, they go against some of the core values we express when we talk about voting rights, such as the fundamental nature of the right, equality of opportunity to participate in the process, and fair access to the ballot.

Regardless of what reforms are considered, it is clear that the caucus is a deeply flawed method for selecting a nominee, and this problem can no longer be shunted aside.

.... Caucuses, as they are currently conducted, do not respect those rights and should not continue in their current form going forward.

The report concludes:

[I]t'’s been shown that caucus elections not only suppress voter participation but also literally systemically disenfranchise voters such as people with disabilities, military personnel on assignment, those physically incapable of participation and all other would-be voters who can not meet the “exact time and place” physical
attendance requirement. Likewise, it’s clear that caucus elections skew overall voting results and have a disproportionate impact on selection of the Democratic nominee for President at the DNC convention.

From a voting rights standpoint the questions become: When millions of Americans are filtered-out or systemically lockedout of the caucusing process, how can we say we have a nominee who is chosen democratically, by the will of the people? When so many citizens are excluded from the voting process how can we trust the outcome of elections?

....[I]t seems clear that the voter preference of the 34 million citizens who have voted through the open, inclusive Primary system should receive the more serious consideration. Their voices have shown a near-tie race between Clinton and Obama, with Clinton having an edge in both delegates and votes.

While this is the system we have, and in 2008 it's not possible to change the rules in hindsight, we have more than 800 superdelegates who can change their mind up until the convention. The questions they need to ask themselves before making a final commitment:

Which candidate has the best overall education, experience and skill-set to prepare them for the Presidency? Which candidate is better suited to withstand the Republican attacks and unrelenting scrutiny? What core constituencies does each candidate draw? What is the size and voting record of those groups? How marginalized would each group’s vote become in their state’s overall election results in the General Election? How many voters will be lost if “their” candidate is
not nominated, ie, will not vote at all or will cross-over and become the 2008 Reagan Democrats? Which future, powerful voting blocks are at stake, eg, Latinos and youth and would they vote for McCain? Which states are “must wins” for the needed electoral votes? In this Democratic Preference Election, which candidate emerges having won most of those “must win” states?

The superdelegates can decide that all delegates and states won should not be weighted equally in selecting the Democratic nominee. Will they? Probably not. But the system does need to change for 2012 so we don't go through this again.

Update: Several commenters have asked for more information about the author of the report, P. Cronin. Here it is:

Peniel Cronin is the President & CEO of Global Basics and Cronin holds a B.S. in Accounting from Arizona State University and has 16 years experience as an accountant and Director of Marketing for several SMEs.

Cronin directs all strategic development and product/market research and developed the algorithms and database that power the eNameWiz multilingual domain creation and search system.

Representative clients through Global Basics have included the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Nevada Commission on Tourism, the Arizona Shopping Consortium, Shop America Alliance, America West Airlines, Southwest Airlines, AeroMexico and numerous other travel and domain industry organizations. Cronin holds three US & German Patents, several trademarks and numerous copyrights.

Cronin suffers from a disability resulting from a car accident 40 years ago at age 12 which left her "wheelchair bound" for two years, at a time when there were no curb cuts or ramps and nothing was accessible. This is what fueled her passion about the caucus information. She knows what it's like to be locked-out of the mainstream and to be excluded from full participation in what others take for granted.

Dvided They Stand - Senator Obama so short-sighted, narrow-minded

Original Link:

By Paul Krugman

It is, in a way, almost appropriate that the final days of the struggle for the Democratic nomination have been marked by yet another fake Clinton scandal — the latest in a long line that goes all the way back to Whitewater.

Go to Columnist Page » Blog: The Conscience of a Liberal This one, in case you missed it, involved an interview Hillary Clinton gave the editorial board of South Dakota’s Argus Leader, in which she tried to make a case for her continuing campaign by pointing out that nomination fights have often gone on into the summer. As one of her illustrations, she mentioned that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June.

It wasn’t the best example to use, but it’s absurd to suggest, as some Obama supporters immediately did, that Mrs. Clinton was making some kind of dark hint about Barack Obama’s future.

But then, it was equally absurd to portray Mrs. Clinton’s assertion that it took L.B.J.’s political skills to turn Martin Luther King’s vision into legislation as an example of politicizing race. Yet the claim that Mrs. Clinton was playing the race card, which was promoted by some Obama supporters as well as in a memo by a member of Mr. Obama’s staff, achieved wide currency.

Why does all this matter? Not for the nomination: Mr. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. But he has a problem: many grass-roots Clinton supporters feel that she has received unfair, even grotesque treatment. And the lingering bitterness from the primary campaign could cost Mr. Obama the White House.

To the extent that the general election is about the issues, Mr. Obama should have no trouble winning over former Clinton supporters, especially the white working-class voters he lost in the primaries. His health care plan is seriously deficient, but he will nonetheless be running on a far more worker-friendly platform than his opponent.

Indeed, John McCain has shed whatever maverick tendencies he may once have had, and become almost a caricature conservative — an advocate of lower taxes for the rich and corporations, a privatizer and shredder of the safety net.

But elections always involve emotions as well as issues, and there are some ominous signs in the polling data.

In Florida, in particular, the rolling estimate produced by the professionals at shows Mr. McCain running substantially ahead of Mr. Obama, even as he runs significantly behind Mrs. Clinton. Ohio also looks problematic, and Pennsylvania looks closer than it should. It’s true that head-to-head polls five months before the general election have a poor track record. But they certainly give reason to worry.

The point is that Mr. Obama may need those disgruntled Clinton supporters, lest he manage to lose in what ought to be a banner Democratic year.

So what should Mr. Obama and his supporters do?

Most immediately, they should realize that the continuing demonization of Mrs. Clinton serves nobody except Mr. McCain. One more trumped-up scandal won’t persuade the millions of voters who stuck with Mrs. Clinton despite incessant attacks on her character that she really was evil all along. But it might incline a few more of them to stay home in November.

Nor should Obama supporters dismiss Mrs. Clinton’s strength as a purely Appalachian phenomenon, with the implication that Clinton voters are just a bunch of hicks.

So what comes next?

Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part: she needs to be careful not to act as a spoiler during what’s left of the primary, she needs to bow out gracefully if, as seems almost certain, Mr. Obama receives the nod, and she needs to campaign strongly for the nominee once the convention is over. She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.

But mainly it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised — starting with his own party.

One thing to do would be to make a gesture of respect for Democrats who voted in good faith by recognizing Florida’s primary votes — which at this point wouldn’t change the outcome of the nomination fight.

The only reason I can see for Obama supporters to oppose seating Florida is that it might let Mrs. Clinton claim that she received a majority of the popular vote. But which is more important — denying Mrs. Clinton bragging rights, or possibly forfeiting the general election?

What about offering Mrs. Clinton the vice presidency? If I were Mr. Obama, I’d do it. Adding Mrs. Clinton to the ticket — or at least making the offer — might help heal the wounds of an ugly primary fight.

Here’s the point: the nightmare Mr. Obama and his supporters should fear is that in an election year in which everything favors the Democrats, he will nonetheless manage to lose. He needs to do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hillary Clinton is ready on Day One to solve our urgent problems and stand up for the voiceless

Original Link:

Hillary Clinton is ready on Day One to solve our urgent problems and stand up for the voiceless – ready to be Commander in Chief to end this war, ready to manage the economy to restore our middle class dream, and ready to take on John McCain and take back the White House. She offers real solutions, not speeches and soundbites.

Key Message Points

Ready Day 1: Hillary is ready to solve our urgent problems and improve people’s lives. We face two wars, a growing economic crisis and 47 million people without health insurance -- we need a president with the strength and experience to solve them.

Only Candidate: Hillary is the only candidate whose health care plan will cover all Americans, the only candidate with a plan to freeze foreclosures, the only candidate who is ready to be Commander in Chief and end the Iraq war.

Stand up for People: Hillary is a doer, a fighter and a champion for people -- and you can count on her to stand up for you. She is a lifelong and passionate champion for people who need help. Now she will rein in the special interests and rebuild our middle class.

Solutions not Speeches: Hillary will put us back in the solutions business. That’s the choice in this election: It’s between someone who makes speeches and promises and someone with a record who will deliver real solutions.

Barack Obama does not live up to his Actions:

· Barack Obama is running on Promises and Speeches. He has not kept his promises. And now we are finding out his words are not always his own.

· Barack Obama talks about the Special Interests: But his actions let down the workers of Maytag and the families who live near nuclear power plants.

· Barack Obama talks about Campaign Reform: But he is breaking his first big promise to voters that he would take public financing – his campaign says he never even made it.

· Barack Obama talks about the Importance of his Words: But some of them are borrowed.

· If all you have to go on are Barack Obama’s promises and speeches, how do you know he is ready to be Commander in Chief?

Clinton Stronger in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania

Original Link:
A new set of Quinnipiac polls show Sen. Hillary Clinton is the stronger candidate against Sen. John McCain in the swings states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Florida: Clinton 48%, McCain 41%; McCain 45%, Obama 41%.
Ohio: Clinton 48%, McCain 41%; McCain 44%, Obama 40%.
Pennsylvania: Clinton 50%, McCain 37%; Obama 46%, McCain 40%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: "The numbers for Florida and Ohio are good news for Sen. John McCain and should be worrisome for Sen. Barack Obama. That is especially true about Ohio, which decided the 2004 election. Ohio's economy is worse than the rest of the country and the Republican brand there is in disrepute. McCain's Buckeye lead may be a sign that nationally this may not be the easy Democratic walk to the White House that many expected."

Big caveat: Are these three states really the swing states in an Obama vs. McCain general election?

Incredible Shrinking Talking Point

Original Link:

by Todd Beeton

I wasn't around a television Tuesday night so I didn't get a sense at all of how the speeches played or what the media was obsessing over in its coverage of election night. So it was interesting to read this from Poblano on Wednesday:

Last night, Barack Obama clinched a majority of pledged delegates excluding Florida and Michigan, as well as under certain Florida/Michigan scenarios. But, in spite of a big win in Oregon and a well-executed speech in Iowa, the milestone did not quite produce the sense of euphoria and closure that his campaign might have been after. The circumstances of the day -- Hillary Clinton's overwhelming margin of victory in Kentucky, the late hour at which Oregon ballot boxes closed, the subdued tone of the evening necessitated by Senator Kennedy's diagnosis, and some relatively effective pushback from the Clinton campaign on the pledged delegate metric -- conspired to prevent that.

Notice the loaded language..."clinched"..."conspired"...he sounds like he actually thinks a majority of pledged delegates means something concrete as opposed to merely psychological. I mean, the Obama talking point was successful to a point; it got covered by traditional media as though it meant something real and even confused NPR's Michelle Norris who conveniently left off the word "pledged" when describing the delegate milestone Obama would reach Tuesday night. Mara Liasson had to correct her.

Now, I'm not saying the milestone is entirely meaningless, all I'm saying is let's call it what it is: a meme pushed out by the Obama camp to influence superdelegates and the media and to manipulate public perception. I can see how psychologically it would have some power, but let's not pretend the Obama campaign wasn't being manipulative; clearly they were hoping hearing "majority" and "delegates" in the same sentence would confuse people into thinking the race had been won and thus make it so. Alas, it was not meant to be, but good try. It's about time they started playing on that playing field.

Look, the second it became clear that pledged delegates alone were not going to win the nomination for either Obama or Clinton, the use of psychological warfare was fair game; it's superdelegates' jobs to be influenced by things like popular vote, majority of pledged delegates and electability and as far as I'm concerned it's the campaigns' jobs to try to use any argument at their disposal to make the case to them.

What I find remarkable is that the same people who are brazenly spinning this Obama talking point are ridiculing the Clinton campaign for spinning theirs.

Again Poblano.

Yes, [Byron York] really did make this argument about Hillary Clinton and the primaries:

There have been four quarters in the Democratic presidential nomination battle. We're late in the fourth quarter now, and when it's over, Hillary Clinton will likely have won three of the quarters -- and won the most votes overall -- but lost the game.

Mr. York? Mr. York? There's a Mr. Wolfson for you on line four.

I'm not saying York was entirely artful about expressing it, but that argument is no more absurd or off limits than the majority of pledged delegates thing. The problem for Hillary Clinton, though, is that it's just the latest argument that they've advanced that will fail to sway the superdelegates into shifting her way.