Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hillary's supporter speaks out

The new magic number is 2118

And Obama is 45 delegates from that number.

The details are here.

69/59 for MI passes

and the Clintons claim this takes 4 delegates from them.

Mark Murry and Ben Weltman explain the outcome,
By a 19-8 vote, a compromise allocating Michigan's pledged delegates by a 69-59 forumla -- but counting each by just half a vote -- has just passed the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee.

The compromise will give Clinton 34.5 delegates and Obama 29.5 delegates. It would also seat all of Michigan's superdelegates but also give them just half a vote. Moreover, it would make the magic number to clinch the Democratic nomination 2,118.
This post replaced an earlier post by me that was misinformed of the outcome.

The Clintons are going to the Convention

Ickes has just declared that the Clintons not getting everything they want, they intend to take the fight to the convention.

That is there only path to 2012.

The FL delegation has just been restored in full

with each delegate getting 1/2 vote.

This was the easy part.

Now MI.

As an aside,

Do you know anyone who doesn't live in FL or MI who thinks FL or MI got a raw deal?

I don't. The consensus with everyone I know seems to be that rules are rules and they should have known better.

Obama cut a MI deal?

Obama's official position on MI is a 50-50 split, but his campaign had agreed to a deal favoring Clinton. Clinton has been the hold up as they want Obama to get zero delegates.

Obama is headed to MI for a Monday appearance. Speculation is that he agreed to a MI compromise more favorable to the Clintons (presumable the 69/59 delegate split favoring Clinton and put forth today) in exchange for the endorsement of the Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm.

If true (big "if" I think) it would be a huge coup for Obama and real embarrassment to the Clintons.

Andrea Mitchell says,....

that the Clintons are using this process to run up her popular vote totals and make one last pledge to the superdelegates and if they go for Obama anyway -- as literally everyone believes they will -- that the Clintons will wind down their campaign as they have no stomach to go on to the harm of the party.

I'm in no position to disagree with Mitchell, but I don't see it. What I see is a Clinton campaign positioning themselves to declare the results from today to be invalid and paint themselves as victims who have had the nomination taken from them as their justification for keeping a low boil campaign alive to prevent party unity and tank Obama in November.

The whole point of the Ickes position of seating all delegates which cannot legally be done is to justify carrying on. The whole point of Davis' position of no delegate's vote counting until cast is to take this to the convention -- even if they give lip service to lowering the boil on their campaign. The Clintons will continue doing all they can to bully the superdelegates into not taking sides and will keep the party from unifying.

The Rules Committee meeting

is being carried live on MSNBC and CNN.

Congressman Wexler (D -FL) speaking for the Obama campaign has just been holding school on the seating the FL delegation. Wexler just ate Ickes alive, and it appears that Ickes has walked out. Ickes is a member of the rules committee and was an author of the stripping of MI and FL delegates.

The Obama campaign is taking the position that FL delegates should be seated based upon the election results which would give Hillary net 19 delegates which is as much as she won in Ohio and PA alike.

You should be watching this. It's pretty good.

And the MI discussion should be heated.

Friday, May 30, 2008

They don't even try to be reasonable (updated)

Tomorrow the DNC Rules Committee meets in an attempt to resolve the FL and MI delegate issue.

The Clintons have staked out there position which is unconditional surrender.

The MI compromise which everyone but the Clintons have agreed to, is to split the MI delegates with 59% to Hillary and the remaining to Obama.

The Clintons are demanding the Obama get no delegates from MI. The only thing the Committee can do, Harold Ickes explains, is seat all MI delegates for Hillary and none for Obama. The Committee doesn't have the power to award delegates to Obama when voters didn't vote for Obama who wasn't on the MI ballot.

I read this and thought they might have a technically valid point, at least until Lanny Davis chimed in today on behalf of the Clintons. Davis explained that if the Committee were to award all of the delegates which voted for Hillary plus half of the delegates who voted against Hillary, than they would have the power to give the remaining 25% to Obama. How is this consistent with the position outlined by Ickes? There is no legal consistency, but Hillary gets what she wants which is all she cares about.

Objectively, if Ickes is correct than there is nothing the Committee can do tomorrow. The FL and MI delegates cannot be seated. The committee cannot, and will not, change the rules that Hillary agreed to in writing, to now benefit her and harm Obama.

So, either the Clintons agree to a compromise on splitting MI delegates with Obama, or the rules that existed at the time of the voting will remain in effect and MI will have no delegates.

The Clintons have called out the dogs to riot tomorrow, ala Palm Beach county, so it should be interesting.

I've been trying to convince myself that this would all be over by next weekend, but I'm convinced the Clintons will refuse to step aside to prevent party unification and sink Obama in November.

And I've never wanted to be wrong more in my life.

UPDATE: Someone emailed that I didn't mention of the FL delegates. It appears that half the FL delegates will be seated and alloted based upon the actual vote since Clinton and Obama were on the ballot. They may seat all delegates with 1/2 vote each, as this mathematically favors -- somehow -- the Clintons. Hillary received 50% of the vote in FL.

And to be clear, there is no solution or compromise possible that will give the Clintons the delegate lead, as Obama has already won a majority of pledged delegates. What the Clintons really want is the seating of the full delegations (even with 1/2 vote) so they can have the popular vote totals in their column (which they have been claiming anyway).

There are two things certain at this point: Obama will be the Democratic nominee and the Clintons will not make a gracious exit.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Until the votes are cast,...."

Clintons surrogate Lanny Davis was just on MSNBC and signaled that the Clintons are not going to stop their campaign until the convention. Lanny chose his words carefully and said the nomination would not be over, "until the votes are cast" which, of course, will happen in Denver.

The Rules Committee will meet on Saturday (and probably Sunday) and seat a compromise slate of FL and MI delegates which will give Obama nearly as many delegates as the Clintons. After Tuesday, superdelegates will rush to Obama giving him sufficient "pledges" to secure the nomination, but of course, the votes won't be cast until the convention.

Lanny continues to make the Clintons case that they are the most electable. As soon as the Clintons step aside and at least suspend their campaign (ala Edwards and Romney) the party will solidify around Obama and their electablility argument will vanish in the wind. They won't let this happen.

When you only listen to what the Clintons and their surrogates are saying, their goal is really clear. They are setting up the 'we told you so argument' which only works if Obama loses in November. How else to run as the nominee in 2012?

The Clintons are tanking Obama.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The day the music died,...

at least for Scott McClellan.

It seems that this was his tipping point,

Saturday's DNC Rules Committee meeting (updated)

Politico's Roger Simon has an excellent primer on Saturday’s committee meeting, including a quote from ex-DNC Chair and Clintonista Don Fowler indicating support for a 50% cut. "I would listen very carefully to what the Clinton campaign wants, but I do not turn over my heart and soul to them. I observe some limitations." If only the Clintons observed some limitations.

Meanwhile, The DNC's lawyers say FL and MI must lose at least half their convention delegates under DNC rules.

My guess is that a full slate of delegates from each state, waited in favor Clinton 59%, will be seated with each delegate having a half vote. Such a compromise would allow the Clintons to save face and claim victory having forced the seating of "all the delegates". Nothing the committee could ever do will deny Hillary the right to claim victimization at the hands of her enemies, so that item has been removed from the agenda.

UPDATE: Two things.

First, there is much less a case to give the Clintons more FL delegates than Obama in FL because she only got 50% of the vote.

Second, Chuck Todd has said that under DNC rules Hillary gets twice as many total delegate votes if each delegate gets half a vote versus seating half the delegates. He did not explain the math, but Chuck knows what he's saying.

Webb backlash?

James Joyner documents the Webb for VP backlash.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Et tu Scott McClellan?

McClellan doesn't pull any punches in his new book.

The Politico has the first look and it's brutal.

Here's a taste,
"If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq."

"The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. … In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Obama wins weekend series 6 - 1

Via First Read,
Obama picked up six delegates to Clinton’s one over the weekend. He got one from Alaska (former Gov. Tony Knowles 5/25), Wyoming (W. Patrick Goggles 5/24) and Georgia (Stephen Leeds) and three from Hawaii Brian Schatz -- new HI party chairman 5/25; Kari Luna -- new HI party vice chairwoman, and James Burns -- add on) after state conventions this weekend. Clinton also got one – add-on Verna Cleveland from Georgia.

Andrew gets surly

Andrew Sullivan's quote of the day,
"On April 7, we also won in Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. On April 9, Paul Tsongas announced that he would not reenter the race. The fight for the nomination was effectively over," - Bill Clinton in his autobiography.

So much for the June bullshit. They're congenital liars, these two, but I'm not the first one to point that out, am I?

Olbermann blows a gasket

He doesn't want to forgive Hillary for her suggestion that she's staying in the race in case someone shoots Obama. I know, I know, I've taken her at her word that she didn't mean what she said.

The best part of this rant comes near the end as Olbermann goes through a list of Clinton statements for which they have been forgiven.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Obama Veepstakes: the Ward Report short list

See below for who won't be Obama's VP. And to be clear, I'm terrible at such predictions so all of this is worth exactly what you paid for it.

In choosing a VP, Obama will seek to balance his ticket looking for someone who has what he doesn't, ie executive experience, military/foreign policy experience and add geographic balance.

Remember that a primary job of the VP candidate is to be the attack dog so the candidate can rise above the fray.

Any VP will have to be safely pro-choice. This is always important but never more than when HRC has just been eliminated from the race.

And finally, It's possible (likely) that a part of any deal for the Clintons to leave the campaign will include their influence on the VP slot. In other words, Obama says I won't pick you but will pick someone from your camp.

First, let's run through the names of those who come up the most in no particular order.

Gov. Tim Kaine (VA) executive, southern.
Sen. Jim Webb (jr. sen of VA) Navy Sec for Reagan - military and bulldog fighter.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (KS) executive, geographic and supposedly Obama darling.
Gov. Bill Richardson (NM) executive, foreign policy, geographic plus.
Gov. Ted Strickland (OH) executive, geographic, Clinton surrogate and substitute.
Gov. Ed Rendell (PA) same as Strickland.
Gov. Janet Napolitano (AZ) executive, geographic.
Sen. Joe Bidden (Del) foreign policy.
Sen. Evan Bayh (IN) executive (former gov) and HRC stand in, geographic.
Gen. Wesley Clark (AR) military, Clintonista.

I've limited the list to 10 all of which I believe would/could be considered by Obama. There are other names that come up, but which I have not included for any number of reasons that made me conclude they would not seriously be considered and / or interested (ie Chuck Hagel, Russ Feingold, Mark Warner) or because I just forgot about them. Feel free to make the case for anyone in comments.

This is a conservative list. It's interesting that no real liberals come up much at all (except Sen. Feingold who I don't think would be interested and doesn't bring anything to the ticket that Obama needs).

Now to par down the list with some quick eliminations. Gov. Kaine and Gov. Strickland are too conservative on abortion. Obama did very well in VA with all groups so it's hard to see what Kaine brings that Obama needs. Stickland would be very appealing but for his abortion stance. Women's groups would be extremely offended.

Joe Biden is a party star but he's had some issues in the past and can be a real gasbag prone to foot-in-mouth disease. Delaware's 3 electoral votes are irrelevant. I am convinced Biden will be Obama's Sec of State.

It's hard to imagine Gov. Napolitano putting AZ in play so she really doesn't bring anything to the ticket that Obama needs.

Of those remaining, here are my top 4:

1. Sen. Jim Webb. Senator Webb has been a key attack dog fighting McCain on military and Veterans issues and is immune to attacks for lack of military service. He's very bright, and very popular among Appalachian / Southern voters. He provides real balance to Obama geographically and with military credibility. Webb is a passionate critical of the Iraq debacle that would give McCain real fits. It's not unreasonable to think that Webb could cause McCain to come unglued.

2. Gov. Bill Richardson. Richardson seems to have it all. Executive experience, former UN Ambassador, and major geographic appeal. Some very serious Dems have suggested Richardson has a problem with marital fidelity (but ubiquitous whispers aside, nothing so far as come up). Others have raised concerns about his work ethic and inability to organize his own presidential campaign. Is it appropriate when considering a VP to think about his/her ability to run in 8 years? Would choosing Richardson enrage HRC who has apparently declared him dead and ruined -- much like Kerry -- and should we care?

3. Sen. Evan Bayh. A safe choice and Clintonista that could please the Clintons and their camp. Bayh wants the job. A little conservative on choice issues, but by most people's standards, pro-choice. If Hillary supported Bayh's pick she could prevent oppo from NARAL, etc. He's a model of moderacy but what does he really bring to the ticket? He has executive experience, would probably deliver Indiana (red since 68?) and play reasonably well in the South, but he doesn't bring any foreign policy / military gravitas -- although Obama may feel he doesn't need those things. The Obama campaign's now famous state map has been amazingly accurate at what states Obama would win versus the Clintons. If their electoral map says they win the WH with IN, that could be all they care about.

4. Wesley Clark. Gen Clark has the military cajones to take on McCain just like Sen. Webb and could just as easily be my third choice. He's from Arkansas and would bring some geographic balance playing very well in the South and Appalachia. At 63 he's not likely to run in 8 years. He too wants the job. As a confirmed Clintonista his choice should please both Clintons. I've just never had a feel for how well he runs as a candidate.

This post is long enough so I won't get into why Gov. Rendell or Sebelius didn't make my short list except to say I don't feel strongly about either one. Gov. Rendell is a Clintonista (but Obama doesn't need him on the ticket to win PA) and Gov. Sebelius is said to be a faovrite of the Obamas which matters for something as does Kansas.

Obama Veepstakes: who it won't be

While Obama's VP choice is all the buzz we could be months away from the actual choice. Nevertheless, it's time I joined the wild-ass speculation party.

First, who it won't be. It won't be the Clintons and it won't be John Edwards.

People are so caught up in the current Obama vs. Clinton fight that they can't see beyond to the general election. The Obama team, however, doesn't suffer from that myopia.

The fact is that Hillary is not that strong a general election partner. 60% of Americans think HRC is dishonest and untrustworthy according to the recent WaPo ABC poll. And while Democratic women love Hillary, when all women are polled, Hillary has a net negative of 2% (net negitive among all voters of -11). Obama himself has positive numbers in all these categories. And while Democratic women are not happy right now, does anyone seriously think Democratic women will sacrifice Roe in protest of HRC's failed campaign?

Bill.

The central premise of Obama's campaign is to break from the old Washington establishment and way of doing business,...doing business by voting for the Iraqi war for political expediency and even years later as the full disaster of that war was clear, voting again to give Bush the power to attack Iran. That shameless and soul-less triangulation is exactly what Obama is running against.

Bill.

If HRC really and truly believes that Obama can't win the general election -- as she and Bill have been telling anyone who will listen (Bill again today) -- why on earth would she tie her boat to a sinking ship?

No president wants to be upstaged or overshadowed by their VP choice and HRC is a nightmare in this category in her own right, much less adding Bill to the mix. Obama wouldn't be able to control either one.

And again, while in the narrow context of the Democratic nomination race, HRC may come off as an old foreign policy hand, she is nothing of the sort. She's an 8 year Senator whose other claims to fame involve being the wife of the POTUS who spent a lot of time on good-will tours not dodging sniper fire. There are much better choices on foreign policy which I will get to next.

As for the pluses of Bill, does anyone actually believe that Bill Clinton would not be available to President Obama if Hillary was not VP? Wouldn't Bill actually be more useful as an ad hoc diplomat if Hillary had no official role in the administration?

I'm sure I'm forgetting some good reasons why HRC won't be on the ticket, but will close with this. There is much wisdom in the old saying that you catch more flies with honey. The Clintons toxic campaign and relentless race baiting really makes it extremely unlikely that Obama would ever consider bringing both of them into his camp or that Michelle Obama would ever stand for it. Hillary will want to be co-president and that is just not going to happen.

I'm not going to spend any time on John Edwards except to say that he has repeatedly said he doesn't want the job, and I think he is very sincere. Edwards doesn't really bring anything to the ticket that Obama can't get elsewhere (Kerry / Edwards didn't carry NC) and a whole lot more. And finally, it's widely believed that Elizabeth Edwards doesn't like Obama which is just icing on the cake.

Barr wins the Libertarian nomination

Dave Weigel has been covering the convention at Reason.

This could be very bad news for McCain. A good many hard core conservatives have never liked McCain but have adored Bob Barr for many years. I'm not sure how the new, libertarian Barr plays with them, but he gives them a place to park a protest vote. And he opens up a second front that McCain must defend.

And given how testy McCain has been recently with the campaign only just beginning, imagine how he will be with attacks from the left and right.

This is going to be the most interesting election in a generation.

Cuban hardliners heart Obama

I quite frankly find this hard to believe.

On Friday, Obama addressed the hard-core Cuban American National Foundation which has famously been a staunch right-wing bastion for decades.

According to the Miami Herald, "the prominent Cuban-American organization that Republican President Ronald Reagan once counted on to secure victory in Florida was electrified by Obama's speech.
"I know what the easy thing is to do for American politicians. . . . Every four years, they come down to Miami, they talk tough, they go back to Washington, and nothing changes in Cuba," said Obama, who was greeted by a standing ovation and scattered chanting of his campaign slogan "Yes We Can." "After eight years of the disastrous policies of George Bush, it is time, I believe, to pursue direct diplomacy, with friend and foe alike, without preconditions."
Needless to say, not all Cuban American groups are on board.

Fox News contributor wishes for Obama assassination

Fox News contributor Liz Trotta was talking about Hillary's recent comments that the RFK assassination as one of the reasons she is remaining in the race (I take her at her word that she has been misunderstood). After mistakenly calling Obama "Osama," Trotta joked that it would be nice to see them both killed:

TROTTA: And now we have what some are reading as a suggestion that sombody knock off Osama — Obama. Well, both, if we could.

HOST: Talk about how you really feel.



Will anyone be asking this horrible person to apoligize? Will Fox continue to warmly welcome her on their broadcasts?

I think we all know the answers to these questions but they should be asked.

Barack Obama at Wesleyan Commencement Ceremony

Friday, May 23, 2008

Norquist on foreign policy

Wow, Matt's right, the GOP should be listening to Grover on foreign policy.

"...keep your enimies closer"

CNN reports today that the Obama campaign is in talks with the Clintons to place Hillary on the ticket.

That both campaigns categorically deny the story suggest that it's true. I'm not especially a CNN fan, but they didn't just make the story up, they're not Fox.

Imagine the prayers from the Obama camp hoping Hillary turns them down, but I'm guessing that won't happen.

Right about now she's demanding a co-presidency and threatening to sink Obama in November if he doesn't agree. Such is the way with toxic people.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Unceremoniously dumped

McCain rejects Hagees endorsement.

And after he worked so hard to get the endorsement in the first place.

Can Clinton muscle to a VP nod?

Roger Simon has a good piece up at Politico discussing some pros and cons of the Clintons as VP.

Typhoid Hillary's negatives are real and don't get a lot of play right now.

The comments of Clintons surrogate Bruce Morrison suggest that the recent talk of the working class white vote has been a very calculated effort on the part the Clintons to divide the party on race to gain leverage.

And does anyone actually believe that Bill Clinton would not be available to President Obama if Hillary was not VP? Wouldn't Bill actually be more useful as an ad hoc diplomat if Hillary had no official role in the administration?

Obama's worst nightmare

Typhoid Hillary on his ticket.

Bill wouldn't be pushing it, if Hillary didn't want it.

If I was Obama my response would be a flat "no".

Why would he ever trust them? The Clintons race baiting and toxic campaign should disqualify her from consideration.

Hillary's toxic campaign

Josh calls Hillary out on the toxic nature of her campaign by convincing her supporters the nomination was stolen from her.

Josh makes the important point that her and her top advisers supported barring the delegates of FL and MI until she was losing the nomination and needed a rational to remain in the campaign.

Hillary is clearly at this point attempting to sink the Obama campaign to open 2012 for her and it's naive for anyone to continue to give her a free pass on this.

If your own senator or house member is backing her or on the fence, you need to contact them and make your feelings know.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Syrian Israeli talks

Adding to Josh's post today on Israeli talks with Syria, what would happen to those talks if the US launched a military strike on Iran?

(Posted from the Airport Holiday Inn Select, Albuquerque NM)

KY and WV

It was a mistake for Obama not to have campaigned in both states. He didn't want to dignify the Clintons wins in those states, but still. He should have gone to support his supporters and to speak to the Democratic voters who don't support him with the message that he will be their champion as president and cares about their issues.

While it true that many of the Clintons voters in Appalachia will never vote for Obama, a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step,....

(Posted from the Albuquerque Hilton)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Warren Buffett endorses Obama

US billionaire Buffett backs Obama for president and he may have just called Bush 'an idiot'.

Bush intent on attacking Iran

The Jerusalem Post reports that a 'senior Israeli official' said that Bush and Cheney are eager to attach Iran but SecDef Gates and Condi are holding them back,
The official claimed that a senior member of the president’s entourage, which concluded a trip to Israel last week, said during a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action was called for.

However, the official continued, “the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice” was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic, for the time being.
This explains Gates many public and not so public comments seeking a way out of direct military confrontation.

McCain is now the Christ

Georgia GOP chairwoman Sue Everhart made it official Saturday. The Lord and Savior, George W. Bush, has now been replaced with the Lord and Savior, John McCain:
"John McCain is kind of like Jesus Christ on the cross," Everhart said as she began the second day of the state GOP convention. "He never denounced God, either."

Everhart was praising McCain for never denouncing the United States while he was being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
What is it with Republicans deifying their nominees? I was taught that such things are called sacrilege, but I guess I'm just old fashioned.

If I were a practicing Christian, I might be offended.

By the way, if you are wondering WWJMD if his wife teased him about his hair, the answer is here and it's not very Christ like.

YDA superdelegates turn down $1M from Clinton surogate

The Huffington Post reports that the Young Democrats of America turned down an offer of $1M to pledged their superdelegates to Hillary.

Monday, May 19, 2008

John McCain: Of, by and for lobbyists

Maverick John McCain's entire campaign is literally run by lobbyists many of whom continue to lobby for clients, even from the Straight Talk My Ass bus.

Or they used to. After a series of embarrassing disclosures of McCain's top campaign advisers lobbying for the global criminals McCain has cracked the whip. Five of his top campaign staffers have resigned, most recently his national finance co-chair who resigned rather than give up his lobbying business.

Just imagine what a McCain WH would look like.

Hillary's commie past

A day late and a dollar short, the WaPo documents Hillary's radical past and hypocritical criticism of Obama.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Clintons fundraisers looking for the life boat

From the WaPo: Rival Camps Plan Inevitable Merger

As the Clintons fundraisers maneuver to join the Obama team, the Clintons have made it be known they will never play nice,
That outreach has been complicated by leading voices in the Clinton campaign having made clear that any defection at this point would be regarded as a betrayal of the former first couple. "Some [Clinton] people have said, 'If you publicly defect, that's the end of our relationship,' " said the Obama fundraiser. "Like, if we live to be 170, we're never going to speak to each other again."

Clinton supporters interviewed for this article all said they think that the senator from New York remains a viable candidate. But several also said they see the wisdom of beginning the conversation about fundraising for the general election.

75,000 in Portland

Via MSNBC 75,000 attend Obama rally in Portland OR.

There has never been anything like this in politics.

Looks like a big win on Tuesday.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Keeping it classy, Rev Huckabee

The Reverend Huckabee, speaking to the NRA today responded to a loud noise offstage by making a joke about Barack Obama trying to evade a gunman.
“That was Barack Obama, he just tripped off a chair, he's getting ready to speak,” said the former Arkansas governor, to audience laughter. “Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.”

Charlie Black's friends

McCain's top advisor, Charlie Black, keeps company with some really creepy people. Moveon has a new web video out today calling on McCain to fire Black.

Sowing salt,....

Bill keeps up Florida, Michigan talk

Obama response to Bush



Evidently, McCain has described this has an "hysterical diatribe".

Let's go to the video

John McCain advocating negotiating with Hamas.

"It's over"

Andrea Mitchell is reporting this morning on MSNBC that for the first time, the Clintons "closest advisers" now privately acknowledge that the race is over.

UPDATE: Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's First Read,
Asked if there had been a change in message, a top Clinton aide told NBC News, "People understand the reality, but they are still loyal to her."

Asked again about the softened message, the aide replied: "This is what she has been doing" for more than a week -- an indication that this reality set in after Clinton's less-than-stellar performances in North Carolina and Indiana.

McCain's hypocrisy of Hamas

In today's WaPo Jamie Rubin calls McCain out on this hypocrisy.

Two years ago Rubin interviewed McCain and asked if US diplomats should be working with the Hamas as the Palestinian government,
McCain answered: "They're the government; sooner or later we are going to have to deal with them, one way or another, and I understand why this administration and previous administrations had such antipathy towards Hamas because of their dedication to violence and the things that they not only espouse but practice, so . . . but it's a new reality in the Middle East. I think the lesson is people want security and a decent life and decent future, that they want democracy. Fatah was not giving them that."

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tweety smack down

This is painful to watch.

Snarky

Evidently, Josh has missed the gravity of the Clintons win in WV.
We seem to have arrived at an equitable compromise: Sen. Clinton is staying in the nomination race while Sen. Obama drops out to move on to the general.

Equal Protection Under the Law

California Supreme Court overturns gay marriage ban.
In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation, and, more generally, that an individual's sexual orientation -- like a person's race or gender -- does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights.
Supporters of the ban have already gathered the signatures for an amendment to the California constitution to ban gay marriage. Such measures are a favorite from the Rove play book to bring out GOP voters.

I predict right here and right now that the California amendment will fail in November.

SecDef Gates: Appeaser!

Holy crap. I can't believe I've missed this

Neville Chamberlain SecDef Robert Gates in a speech yesterday to the Academy of American Diplomacy, a group of retired U.S. diplomats, that was closed off to cameras and the media, urged more unofficial contacts between US citizens and Iran in hopes of opening up a dialog.
"My own view, just my personal view, would be we ought to look for ways outside of government to open up the channels and get more of a flow of people back and forth,...There are actually a fair number of Iranians that come to the United States to visit. We ought to increase the flow going the other way," he said. "I think that may be one opening that creates space, perhaps, over some period of time."
Gates went on to say that the US must be prepared to offer the Iran's something in exchange for giving up their nuclear program, much like the example of North Korea which conservatives are still furious over -- their own policy having worked so well.

Perhaps Bush was referring to Gates today in his speech to the Israeli Knesset.

Given the drumbeat for attacking Iran coming out of the WH and among many conservative groups here and in Israel (see here) it's seems hard to make too much of Gates remarks. I think they are stunning.

Obama picks up the steelworkers

The United Steelworkers had endorsed Edwards and have now used the occasion of Edwards endorsement to formally endorse Obama.

Evidently, they missed the gravity of the Clintons win in WV.

Obama's Flag pin

Jay Newton-Small quotes Obama from his plan last night on his flag pin stance (he's wearing one again,
“You know I started wearing it again at that veteran’s event because once again I had been handed the flag by a veteran who said it was important. This is an issue that is a phony issue because I have never been opposed to a flag pin. I have worn flag pins in the past. When I was asked about it, I had worn flag pins after 9/11, and I have chosen not to wear one because I didn’t want to be perceived as wearing my patriotism on my chest but not promoting or advocating on behalf of veterans in a patriotic way. Some people took that as a slight against people who wore flag pins, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a commentary on politicians and folks in Washington who sometimes are pretty good about saluting our soldiers when they come home but then don’t follow up with budgets that make sure their getting treatment for post traumatic stress disorder. So it’s a commentary about our politics, not about individuals who wear the flag with pride."
Of course the flag pin is a phony issue and I tend not to pay much attention to this stuff because I'm on the same page with Obama. I wore a flag pin on my label for a couple years following September 11, but as patriotism became co-opted (much like Christianity actually) as a political sword and used to silence very patriotic debate, I stopped wearing the pin.

But if a veteran approached me and gave me a flag pin asked me to wear it I would, not because I felt that I was required to prove my loyalty or that love of country could be so cheaply established, but because someone who has earned my respect by his sacrifice asked me to.

Of note, McCain hasn't worn a flag pin in nearly 3 months. Why does John McCain hate America?

'Zell Lieberman'

Joe Klein finally writes off Lieberman.

2013

McCain hasn't even been elected and he's passing the buck.

Bush swats at Obama from Israel (Updated)

My guess is that John McCain will be much more upset about Bush's speech than Obama.

Obama fire's back here.

So who will be the first reporter to ask Bush or more likely Dana Perino to explain how Bush's talks and diplomatic settlements with Qaddafi and the North Koreans were not appeasement?

The families of the victims on Pan Am flight 103 which Qaddafi blew over Scotland killing all on board certainly consider Qaddafi to be a terrorist as do a good many others.

UPDATE: Many Dems weigh in. MSNBC's Mark Murray and Mike Viqueira assume that Speaker Polesi was referring to McCain when she hoped that, "any serious person would disassociate themselves" from Bush's remarks. I think she may have also been speaking to the Clintons, who so far remain silent.

And Rahm Emanuel echoes the comments of others, including Pat Buchanan, when he pointed out, “The tradition has always been that when a US president is overseas, partisan politics stops at the water's edge. President Bush has now taken that principle and turned it on its head: For this White House, partisan politics now begins at the water’s edge, no matter the seriousness and gravity of the occasion. Does the president have no shame?”

One can only imagine the outrage of the GOP had a Dem taken such a solemn occasion addressing the government of another nation to take such cheap political swipes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Todd Gitlin is worried

While attending Shimon Peres' President's Conference on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel professor Gitlin is concerned by the drumbeat for striking Iran.

After reading his account, I'm concerned too.

"I can tell"

Tweety on Hardball regarding Emily's List: "You say something they don't like, they let you know. I can tell."

I'm guessing he found out here.

It was my assumption at the time that it was Emily's List who got the apology from Tweety and I'm not sure he has recovered from the flap in the eyes of his bosses. The gang at Emily's List includes very powerful people who's phone calls are returned.

Just ask Chris.

Edwards endorses Obama

Edwards gives long-awaited endorsement to Obama and the two are appearing together in Michigan where Obama is campaigning for the general election.

As my father might have said, 'a day late and a dollar short'.

Meanwhile, Hillary is insisting to anyone who will listen that her second place finish makes her the obvious choice for the nomination, much like Bush won the Presidency in 2000.

More good news from the NRCC

In the face of repeated failure and unrelenting voter rejection in even the most conservative Congressional districts in the country, the NRCC has promised more of the same.

Panic time for House Repubs

Rep Tom Cole (R - OK) in the face of mounting losses want to "re-brand" the party in the likeness of McCain.

Needless to say, this is not a universal view.

More here.

As an American

who travels overseas a couple times each year, I am offended, embarrassed and ashamed.

I hope Senator Warner arranges for some Congressional testimony and the US attorney's office investigates for any criminality.

Italian’s Detention Illustrates Dangers Foreign Visitors Face

Andrea Mitchell

Andrea Mitchell has been reporting from Hillaryland for months and had some interesting insights this morning on MSNBC.

Andrea had been dismissing any suggestions that the Clintons would be interested in the VP, but like a lot of us, her view has recently changed.

But here's the interesting part. Andrea claims that Hillary's popularity in the Senate has been suffering for some time (she was very popular in the caucus when she arrived) and most recently has hit rock bottom such that she really doesn't have anything to go back to, and had no practical hope of being majority leader.

So, Andrea now thinks she wants VP.

Of course, Obama wanting Hillary (and Bill) as VP is a completely different matter.

Forget WV, this is a big deal

This will send the House GOP into full blown panic.

Democrat Travis Childers won Mississippi's 1st Congressional district, which was considered one of the safest GOP districts in the country. The Mississippi 1st went for Bush by 10 points in 2004.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What About Missouri?

In response to the Clintons claim that no Dem has won the WH without WV since 1916, David Sirota observes that no Dem has EVER won the WH without winning Missouri. Hillary lost Missouri, although I've heard McAuliffe suggest a couple times recently that the Clintons won Missouri. She did not.

Sirota's point is that such 'statistics' are meaningless.

It's Appalachia

Josh explains that it's Appalachia that gives Obama so much trouble. WV is 100% Appalachian.

Hillary tonight

The only thing interesting tonight will be Hillary's speech. Will she continue to channel George Wallace or essentially concede and / or speak of unity?

My guess is the former.

Bob Barr running for president

This election is getting even more interesting.

Barr launches Libertarian White House bid.

Who's 'yes' and who's 'no'

Via Chris Bowers, The Hill has a cool story up, where they amazingly managed to get 97 of the 100 Senators to say whether they would accept the vice-president spot.

Here is the question all of the Senators were asked:
"If you were asked, would you accept an offer to be the VP nominee?"

Here are the democratic responses:

  • Yes: Bayh (IN), Biden (DE), Cardin (MD), Cantwell (WA), Carper (DE), Dodd (CT), Dorgan (NC), Feinstein (CA), Lautenberg (NJ), Mikulski (MD), Murray (WA), Salazar (CO), Stabenow (MI)

  • Unclear: Bingaman (NM), Casey (PA), Feingold (WI), Kennedy (MA), Kerry (MA), Landrieu (LA), Levin (MI), Lincoln (AR), Menendez (NJ), Nelson (FL), Reid (NV), Tester (MT), Wyden (OR)

  • No: Akaka (HI), Baucus (MT), Boxer (CA), Brown (OH), Byrd (WV), Conrad (ND), Durbin (IL), Harkin (IA), Inoyue (HI), Johnson (SD), Kohl (WI), Leahy (VT), McCaskill (MO), Nelson (NE), Pryor (AR), Reed (RI), Rockerfeller (WV), Schumer (NY), Webb (VA), Whitehouse (RI)
Nobody on the "unclear" or "no" list are on my short list (which I've intended to blog on but haven't gotten to it yet).

Many had assumed Bayh was on the Clintons short list, and I'm a little surprised -- although I don't know why -- to see Salazar on the 'yes' list. I *think* Salazar is in Obama's Senate class. I still have Biden down for SecState or SecDef.

I think Feinstein has zero chance of getting much of anything out of the Obama camp.

Obama in the Big MO

Obama will be in Cape Girardeau Missouri tonight giving a speech in the general election while Hillary and Bill will be tapping out racist code in WV.

Herbert's not buying it

Herbert was on Morning Joe to discuss his scathing column from Saturday. And the last 3 days have not softened him.

On Saturday Herbert wrote,
There was a name for it when the Republicans were using that kind of lousy rhetoric to good effect: it was called the Southern strategy, although it was hardly limited to the South. Now the Clintons, in their desperation to find some way — any way — back to the White House, have leapt aboard that sorry train.

He can’t win! Don’t you understand? He’s black! He’s black!

The Clintons have been trying to embed that gruesomely destructive message in the brains of white voters and superdelegates for the longest time. It’s a grotesque insult to African-Americans, who have given so much support to both Bill and Hillary over the years....

But it’s an insult to white voters as well, including white working-class voters. It’s true that there are some whites who will not vote for a black candidate under any circumstance. But the United States is in a much better place now than it was when people like Richard Nixon, George Wallace and many others could make political hay by appealing to the very worst in people, using the kind of poisonous rhetoric that Senator Clinton is using now....

But it’s one thing to lack class and a sense of grace, quite another to deliberately try and wreck the presidential prospects of your party’s likely nominee — and to do it in a way that has the potential to undermine the substantial racial progress that has been made in this country over many years.

The Clintons should be ashamed of themselves. But they long ago proved to the world that they have no shame.

On Morning Joe Herbert was not walking back. Quick to point out that Hillary's 'send them a message' rhetoric in WV was a George Wallace quote. His parting comment was to say that he did not believe the Clintons would actually work to help Obama win, but merely appear to be doing so.

Sadly, I'm with Herbert on this. The Clintons are running a campaign of tribalism designed to destroy Obama with a constant message of his not being a part of the tribe that includes the Clintons and McCain. It's shameful. Absolutely shameful.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why didn't they object?

Andrew Sullivan,
When my conservative friends ask me how I came to like Obama, despite his liberal policies, I really only have one response. On spending, war, debt, torture, executive power, federalism, individual liberty and the size of government: how much worse could it get? Would any far left liberal have done the damage that the Bush Republicans have? And with so little conservative resistance?
Why didn't any conservatives object?

I have given this a lot of thought. The only conclusion one can reach is that the Congressional GOP are completely and totally devoid of all principle. How exactly did they imagine it would all end? It was like a mass hypnosis wherein they all started believing their own spin.

Teddy hates Hillary

No love loss here.

Dismissing an Obama / Clinton ticket,
Kennedy...said Obama should pick a running mate who ``is in tune with his appeal for the nobler aspirations of the American people.''

``If we had real leadership -- as we do with Barack Obama -- in the No. 2 spot as well, it'd be enormously helpful,'' Kennedy said.

'Liberty' republican style

What does it mean that government domestic spying is up but counterterrorism prosecutions are down?

Bush vs. Wright

We are going to be completely inundated with polls between now and November. By the time this election is over people will hate pollsters more than lawyers. And I don't think any poll taken today -- before the general election campaign has even began -- means much of anything.

But, this is good news: Gallup: Bush More Damaging To McCain Than Wright Is To Obama

Obama in West Virginia

Although Obama is in WV today, Obama's decision to bypass WV (and KY) was a mistake.

He has no chance to win WV, but he could have used this time, and his considerable resources to begin the healing process in WV (and KY). Make appearances even conceding that he understands Dems are not going to vote for him in large numbers but that he still cares for them and their issues and will work for them. Obama could be shaking hands and getting to know people spending primary money and laying the ground work for the fall election. He could have also been giving support to his volunteers as a thank you.

Obama could have looked big and presidential and by comparison make the Clintons look small and bitter petty.

And NBC makes three

Obama takes superdelegate lead - First Read - msnbc.com

More Moveon winners

Here is the 'people's choice':



Here is the ad voted funniest:



Should this ad run, voted best positive message, who would be the first on the right to accuse it of promoting homosexuality?



More finalist here.

Moveon's Obama ad

Here's the winner of MoveOn's Obama ad contest, chosen by a panel that included Ben Affleck, Moby, Matt Damon, Oliver Stone, and others. The ad, entitled "Obamacan," features a veteran who says, "I'm a lifelong Republican, and I'm voting for Barack Obama."



Donate here to put this ad on TV

Sunday, May 11, 2008

When good men speak out

The Bush administration's plans to run a kangaroo court at Gitmo to the disgrace of all Americans and to the dishonor of everyone who has fought and died for the principles upon which this nation was founded has hit another snag.

The Bushies sent Gen. Thomas Hartmann to Gitmo last summer with the expectation that he get a kangaroo court up and running and summarily convict everyone on the confessions that have been beaten out of them. What the Bush administration didn't expect was that the military prosecutors where honorable people who would not make a mockery of the justice system they served.

Gen Hartmann overstepped his bounds by reviewing files and making trial decisions for the prosecutors even as he was supposed to make objective decisions on both defense and prosecution issues, including whether charges should go to trial, whether plea bargains should be accepted and what resources are made available to defense attorneys.

Col. Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor resigned in protest, and later acted as a defense witness calling attention to the conflict in interest.

And to the great frustration of the Bushies and Pentagon, the judge agreed.
In a 13-page ruling issued late Friday, the military judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, largely agreed, adopting as official findings many of the allegations Col. Davis had made and that Pentagon officials had previously dismissed.

The order removes Gen. Hartmann from any role in the case of bin Laden driver Salim Hamdan, bars the appointment of any of Gen. Hartmann's deputies as his successor and forbids any retaliation against military officers who offered testimony against Gen. Hartmann.
Yet another black eye.

Second McCain aide out

Another McCain aide out over Myanmar ties.

The Upside of Being Knocked Around

Mark Leibovich makes the case that Obama has benefited from the grueling fight for the nomination.

I think there is something to this. As Leibovich points out, Dukakis and Kerry had really easy times during the primaries and seemed unprepared for their respective fall campaigns. The lengthy primary fight has gotten issues out in the open (Wright) which hopefully will be partially neutralized going forward and also have trained Obama and his team on how to respond.

Let's just hope it hasn't been too much of a good thing.

McAuliffe on MTP

The Clintons campaign manager Terry McAuliffe was on Meet the Press today and laid out the Clintons best case to be the nominee.

McAuliffe argued with a straight face that by June 3, if you count the votes of states were Obama was not on the ballot and didn't campaign, Hillary will lose by 100,000 votes, and having lost must be the parties nominee. Delegates, super or othewise, do not count.

When this is the Clintons best case to stay in the race, why shouldn't we believe they are motivated by malice?

Clinton post-mortem

Karen Tumulty at Time does a post-mortem on the Clintons loss and finds the five key mistakes the not-so-ready-for-day-one campaign made.

Here is the condensed version,
1. She misjudged the mood
That was probably her biggest blunder. In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent's strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability — and the power of the strongest brand name in Democratic politics...

2. She didn't master the rules
Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game....chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates....

3. She underestimated the caucus states
...."For all the talent and the money they had over there," says Axelrod, "they — bewilderingly — seemed to have little understanding for the caucuses and how important they would become."

4. She relied on old money
....But something had happened to fund raising that Team Clinton didn't fully grasp: the Internet....

5. She never counted on a long haul
Clinton's strategy had been premised on delivering a knockout blow early....Obama, on the other hand, was a train running hard on two or three tracks....As far back as Feb. 21, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was spotted in Raleigh, N.C. He told the News & Observer that the state's primary, then more than 10 weeks away, "could end up being very important in the nomination fight." At the time, the idea seemed laughable.
The truth is that these mistakes are really blunders, and at the root of each problem is a campaign lost in the past and fighting the last war today.

I already noted Frank Rich's column today about the failure of both team Clinton and McCain to understand the nation's mood.

As we've watched the Clintons latest campaign unravel before our eyes, the Clintons mystique has unraveled with it. Hillary's loyalty to incompetents (how the hell could Penn have not know about proportional delegates) creepily all too Bush like.

Howard Dean in 2004 introduced Internet fundraising which Kerry used to raise money by the boatload so how is it that the Clintons could still be mired in a 1990's model, that I might add, while effective at the time Democratic standards, still always came in second to the GOP, even in 1996.

Halperin -outlines a potential Clinton buyout

According to Mark Halperin the Clintons would drop out of the race if Obama would help payoff the Clintons campaign debt(he doesn't distinguish between the Clintons personal loans and all other debt), Hillary would be given a key role at the convention and lead senate sponsor on any health care reform bill.

The devil, of course, is always in the details. From what others have suggested, "help pay off campaign debt" means host fundraisers to do so as opposed to just writing a check. This is important as many of Obama's 1.5 million small donors have no interest retiring the Clintons debts. Russert, on this mornings Meet The Press claimed that if the personal loans (of $11M plus) are not paid back by the Convention, all but $250,000 of the personal loan evaporates and the Clintons cannot pay themselves back.

Hillary being lead sponsor on any Senate Health Care reform bill seems like a no-brainer to me. I just assumed that would be the case whether Obama liked it or not.

If I were Obama, I would want to make sure I knew exactly what "key role" at the convention entailed. Hillary is the very definition of class-less and making sure she doesn't upstage Obama like Kennedy did Carter in 1980 is important. She is going to get to speak in prime time, but details here are important and this needs to be nailed down before any deal is cut.

Note that there is no mention of Hillary as VP.

It's 2008 stupid

Frank Rich makes the point in his column today that the GOP and Clintons both fail to understand that this is a new day in politics and the scorched earth politics of the past will take them to defeat. In contrast, Obama's success is based upon the fact that he gets it, he understands.
This is not 1968, when the country was so divided over race and war that cities and campuses exploded in violence....

This is not 1988, when a Democratic liberal from Massachusetts of modest political skills could be easily clobbered by racist ads and an incumbent vice president running for the Gipper’s third term. This is not the 1998 midterms, when the Teflon Clintons triumphed over impeachment. This is not 2004, when another Democrat from Massachusetts did for windsurfing what the previous model did for tanks.

Almost every wrong prediction about this election cycle has come from those trying to force the round peg of this year’s campaign into the square holes of past political wars. That’s why race keeps being portrayed as dooming Mr. Obama — surely Jeremiah Wright = Willie Horton! — no matter what the voters say to the contrary. It’s why the Beltway took on faith the Clinton machine’s strategic, organization and fund-raising invincibility. It’s why some prognosticators still imagine that John McCain can spin the Iraq fiasco to his political advantage as Richard Nixon miraculously did Vietnam.
Using both election data and reason, Rich goes to make the case that Obama can win in November.

Now the AP

Obama overtakes lead in superdelegates for first time

Saturday, May 10, 2008

SNL calls Hillary out (Updated with Video)

Wow. In a very funny and really brutal opening sketch, SNL calls Hillary out for staying in the race.
In the sketch, Amy Poehler playing Hillary announces that she's staying in the race because she's "a sore loser". She warns that that her supporters are "racist" and she will make a better candidate for the November election because, unlike her opponent, she has no ethical boundaries and will do anything to be elected.

I wondered if SNL would do such a thing. They've been pretty friendly to Hillary to this point, but of course, Hillary is really begging for it, and SNL, like Colbert and the Daily Show, can be blunt in a way that commentators cannot.

I'll try to post the video as soon as it's available.

UPDATE: Here's the video.

Well, this is embarrassing

Via the AP,
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The man picked by the John McCain campaign to run the 2008 Republican National Convention resigned Saturday after a report that his lobbying firm used to represent the military regime in Myanmar.

Doug Goodyear resigned as convention coordinator and issued a two sentence statement:

"Today I offered the convention my resignation so as not to become a distraction in this campaign. I continue to strongly support John McCain for president, and wish him the best of luck in this campaign."

Obama's lead with independants

Rasmussen shows Obama with a persistent lead over McCain nationally, led by unaffiliated voters:

One key to this changing dynamic is that Obama now leads McCain among unaffiliated voters by nine percentage points. McCain is supported by 81% of Republicans, Obama by 70% of Democrats.

LA Times / Bloomberg poll

LA Times/Bloomberg poll, conducted May 1-8:
Clinton 47, McCain 38, Undecided 11.

Obama 46, McCain 40, Undecided 9.

Margin of error: +/-3%.

Obama ahead in superdelegates

At least according to the New York Times count.

I think the others (AP, NBC, etc) still show him down by a few.



Click on the graphic to enlarge.

Friday, May 09, 2008

30 Rock

30 Rock is arguable the best written sitcom on network TV.

Last night, Matthew Broderick guest starred playing a Bush appointed FEMA official who's Bush given nickname was "Cooter Burger".

Let me know by email if you need a translation.

Andrew takes on Krugman

Adrews points to what he describes as a 'carefully parsed' sentence in Krugman's column today: "There was little in Tuesday’s results to suggest that [Obama]'s problems with working-class whites have significantly diminished."

Andrew sees it differently and responds,
Well there's this: Obama won only 27 percent of white voters without college degrees in Ohio; he won 29 percent in Pennsylvania, and 34 percent of them in Indiana. Krugman seems to miss the fact that Obama is still relatively unknown, especially among people without college degrees, and that he has been up against the most famous and beloved brand in recent Democratic party politics, playing as crudely and as brutally as she can. When a former Democratic president tells white voters that Obama doesn't care about "people like you," it's difficult to make headway. Oh: and he's, er. bi-racial. To have gone from 27 percent to 34 percent in a few weeks is not transformational, but it is progress. To have done so through a blizzard of racially-tinged guilt-by-association attempts to paint him as a commie alien, is not insignificant. To have made any progress while facing the wood-chipper of the Clinton-Rove axis is remarkable.

Hillary's reckless exploitation of racial division...

could split the Democratic Party over race -- a tragic legacy for the Clintons.

Add Joe Conason to the list of those completely dismayed by the Clintons.

Obama's Consolidation of the Party

Matt Stoller has a fascinating post outlining Obama's consolidation of power that is a must read.

I mean it. You have to read this. Stop whatever you are doing and read Matt's post. Don't talk to me about Obama or Democratic politics until you have read Matt's post.

Matt argues that Obama is completely rebuilding the entire democratic political apparatus around him in an all-encompassing way, from the use of his 50 state voter registration drive, to all party funding (Congress and Senate too) to all messaging in a way expressly designed to exclude all others.

Obama believes that Americans are exhausted from years and years of ideological combat and are ready to be lead into a new movement that relies upon votes from every corner of every state to trump the bitterness and nastiness of partisan attacks.

If we assume that Matt is correct (and he makes a compelling case) the concern for this should be obvious. Obama is a person who would have at most 8 years of direct leadership. Then what?

I've long maintained that what Obama is doing, the DNC should have been doing since at least since the 2000 election. Obama is human flesh with a finite life, the DNC is forever. Of course, the DNC has many masters which is why it has not done so much of this, but with strong leadership, much more could be possible.

Read Matt and let me know what you think.

Even George Will

Well, in fairness, George was never a Clinton fan. But still his column from yesterday would be funny, it the Clintons conduct weren't so offensive.

Will seems to suggest he doubts that Hillary really is a life long Yankee fan has she had claimed 8 years ago while running for the Senate. But giving Hillary the benefit of doubt he's certain that she would insist "her Yankees" won the 1960 World Series "by standards of fairness" since the Yanks clobbered the Pirates in runs 55 - 27 in 7 games.
Unfortunately, baseball's rules -- pesky nuisances, rules -- say it matters how runs are distributed during a World Series. The Pirates won four games, which is the point of the exercise, by a total margin of seven runs, while the Yankees were winning three by a total of 35 runs. You can look it up.

After Tuesday's split decisions in Indiana and North Carolina, Clinton, the Yankee Clipperette, can, and hence eventually will, creatively argue that she is really ahead of Barack Obama, or at any rate she is sort of tied, mathematically or morally or something, in popular votes, or delegates, or some combination of the two, as determined by Fermat's Last Theorem, or something, in states whose names begin with vowels, or maybe consonants, or perhaps some mixture of the two as determined by listening to a recording of the Beach Boys' "Help Me, Rhonda" played backward, or whatever other formula is most helpful to her, and counting the votes she received in Michigan, where hers was the only contending name on the ballot (her chief rivals, quaintly obeying their party's rules, boycotted the state, which had violated the party's rules for scheduling primaries), and counting the votes she received in Florida, which, like Michigan, was a scofflaw and where no one campaigned, and dividing Obama's delegate advantage in caucus states by pi multiplied by the square root of Yankee Stadium's Zip code.

Or perhaps she wins if Obama's popular vote total is, well, adjusted by counting each African American vote as only three-fifths of a vote. There is precedent, of sorts, for that arithmetic (see the Constitution, Article I, Section 2, before the 14th Amendment).

Don Rumsfeld

Keeping it classy.

Noonan calls the Clintons out

Peggy Noonan calls the Clintons out on Hillary's recent 'white vote' comments. "If John McCain said, 'I got the white vote, baby!' his candidacy would be over. And rising in highest indignation against him would be the old Democratic Party." Indeed.

Noon lays it out,
To play the race card as Mrs. Clinton has, to highlight and encourage a sense that we are crudely divided as a nation, to make your argument a brute and cynical "the black guy can't win but the white girl can" is -- well, so vulgar, so cynical, so cold, that once again a Clinton is making us turn off the television in case the children walk by.

"She has unleashed the gates of hell," a longtime party leader told me. "She's saying, 'He's not one of us.'"

She is trying to take Obama down in a new way, but also within a new context. In the past he was just the competitor. She could say, "All's fair." But now he's the competitor who is going to be the nominee of his party. And she is still trying to do him in. And the party is watching.

Again: amazing.

Who can save the situation? The superdelegates. You know them. They're the ones hiding under the rock, behind the boulder, and at the bar.
What does it say about Hillary that she gives Peggy Noonan the high ground?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Reliving the 1990s

First Read,
Two Republican officials at the Republican National Committee who are involved in "opposition research efforts" in preparation for the general election say the RNC's oppo research dossier on Sen. Clinton runs more than 1,200 pages in length.

According to these officials, the book includes "previously undisclosed information about Hillary Clinton's connections to the Whitewater scandal, travel office firings, and Democratic fundraising efforts."
Thank God we will be sparred a rehash of the past.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A buyout?

Russert speculated about this last night and now Tom Edsall in the Huffington Post says,
She has ruled it out, but a prompt withdrawal from the contest for the Democratic nomination offers Sen. Hillary Clinton the prospect of major rewards.

One of the most inviting is the near certainty that the Obama campaign would agree to pay back the $11.4 million she has loaned her own bid, along with an estimated $10 million to $15 million in unpaid campaign expenses.

In addition, Democrats, both those who are loyal and those who are opposed to her campaign, say the odds of her winning a top leadership spot in the Senate would improve dramatically if she gracefully conceded now.
Josh notes that,

Helping to retire an opponent's campaign is not unprecedented and can sometimes be justified in the interests of party unity. (Remember, this isn't just money in the abstract. A lot of it is payment to people who provided services or goods of various sorts to the campaign and need to be paid or paid back.) But using more than $10 million raised in large part by small individual donations to pay back the Clintons who appear to be worth many tens of millions of dollars simply seems wrong.

This isn't meant to sound ungracious. I don't begrudge the Clintons their very substantial wealth. And even for really, really rich people, $11 million isn't nothing. But that is simply too much money raised from small givers to give to people who loaned it with full knowledge of the odds and have more than enough money to really know what to do with.

I gave this a lot of thought today and reached the same conclusion. I think it unseemly to repay the Clintons personal loans from campaign funds given to Obama.

It's my recollection that the payment of your opponents debts was a custom in the past to end a battle, but I wondered today if it was even possible under current campaign finance laws.

Hillary as VP?

I just don't see it, but then my picks have been just awful. I insisted for years that Hillary would never be competitive in the presidential race and Obama was too young and wouldn't be able to raise the money!

The Clintons have nothing to gain from the VP slot because she doesn't have 8 years to wait and run again for Pres.

Josh, I think, nails this on the head in a lengthy post that you need to read if you have any interest in the topic.

Here the crux from Josh,
Hillary has and can probably hold her seat in the senate for the rest of her life. One never knows, but the prospects look good for the Democrats to hold a majority in the senate -- perhaps even a substantial one -- for a number of years into the future. And some key leadership role would probably eventually be in her grasp, perhaps even hers for the taking. So whether you think Hillary's ambitions are political, ideological or personal -- altruistic or selfish -- her range of action for achieving is better as a lion in the senate than a second banana in the West Wing.

I actually believe that Hillary would really only come into her own in the senate after she set her presidential ambitions aside precisely because they have so tightly constrained the range of actions she's allowed herself and made others so closely scrutinize those actions in light of her ambitions for higher office.
Exactly.

I would add to this that I can't imagine that Obama would ever want the Clintons as his VP. I don't see any upside for Obama having the Clintons on his ticket and certainly doesn't need them for balance -- he can get lots of balance from other, less controversial figures.

I find an Obama / Clinton ticket laughable, so it will probably happen, ala Kennedy / Johnson (also laughable).

Over?

Jeff Greenfeld seems to think so,



It is over for the Clinton campaign, but that doesn't mean she'll quit.

As I said before, it will be interesting to see superdelegates and staff departures over the next several weeks. Remember that many of those close to the Clintons want a job in the next administration.

With money drying up, reality will be setting in pretty soon. I would expect travel and campaign stops to be severely curtailed.

All we can do now is watch it play out.

The Clintons gas tax gamble

This will debated by political junkies for years.

At the New York Magazine news blog, Peter Keating concludes "tragedy or poetic justice, Clinton went one pander too far in Indiana."

Here's the crux,
But as things turned out, when Hillary called for suspending the gas tax, she threw Obama the kind of rope he desperately had been seeking to pull himself out of the Wright train wreck. Wright screwed Obama as hard as any noncandidate has ever screwed an American presidential contender. And even after counterattacking and distancing himself from his former pastor, Obama was noticeably off his game. But the gas tax became a rare instance where Clinton and Obama directly and diametrically opposed each other on a policy issue, automatically generating headlines and coverage that helped push Wright out of the local news in Indiana.

Further, the gas tax turned the national media against Hillary over the weekend, because the Clinton campaign hadn’t bothered to line up (or just couldn’t find) a single expert to support suspending the tax. That left Clinton herself and surrogates like Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) insulting economists on national television, which looked ridiculous. It also left the media free to report the story without trying to be evenhanded and essentially to tell viewers that suspending the tax is a stupid idea.
Listening to both Hillary and Menendez absurdly dismiss all economists with childish assertions of elitism really was an enormous jackass moment for both. Those harebrained comments will live on youtube for eternity. And they both get exactly what they deserve.

The FL / MI canard

Matt makes a good point to Ickes assertion yesterday that the Clintons should not consider getting out until FL and MI are resolved,
It's worth pointing out that this makes no real sense. Nothing would do more to help resolve the Florida and Michigan issue than for Clinton to drop out and endorse Obama. If she did that, the only remaining issue would be to strike a balance between representing FL and MI at the convention and slapping FL and MI on the wrist hard enough that states don't pull this kind of stunt again. That's a needle you can thread any number of ways.

It's the fact that the campaign is continuing that makes the question difficult to resolve because it has both campaigns focused on maximizing their delegate counts rather than dealing with the aforementioned issue.

Obama's infrastructure

While we Dems tend to freak-out every time we think about this long primary season there are silver linings.

Earlier I mentioned the very heavy Democratic voter registrations that have taken place nationally has each state has come up.

Another is campaign infrastructure. Driving home I listen to an Obama volunteer in Southern Indiana who pointed out that with the state contested they now have an entire organization throughout Indiana that would have never existed but for the contest.

And indeed, this is true for every state contested.

The penny has got to go

Time to just eliminate the penny all together.

Congress looks at steel pennies, nickels

Feinstein's ready to pull the plug

Hillary's BFF is ready to bail,
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) most prominent Senate supporters, said Wednesday that she will ask the former first lady to detail her plans for the rest of the Democratic primary.

“I, as you know, have great fondness and great respect for Sen. Clinton and I’m very loyal to her,” Feinstein said. “Having said that, I’d like to talk with her and [get] her view on the rest of the race and what the strategy is.”

Clinton.. has not responded to Feinstein’s phone call, the California senator said.

“I think the race is reaching the point now where there are negative dividends from it, in terms of strife within the party,” Feinstein said. “I think we need to prevent that as much as we can.”
UPDATE: Josh weighs in on Feinstein's statement,
This statement from Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is the kind of statement that signals that Sen. Clinton's colleagues are telling her to wind this up. That doesn't mean they are saying she needs to drop out of the race. I'm not even sure at this immediate juncture that it's in Obama's or the Democratic party's interest for her to drop out of the race.

'The League of Nations'

Grandpa yesterday referred to the "League of Nations".

Burma

It looks like upwards of 100,000 may have died in the cyclone to strike Burma. Given the military junta, we will likely never know the actual figure.

And this horrible tragedy is just the begging. The disease and famine to follow will kill thousands more. Hard to fathom in the twenty-first century.

Perhaps this will get some action from the UN against this government.

Clinton going forward

On their conference call today, the Clintonistas made it clear they have no plans for quiting. Of course every campaign says this up until the quit.

But they also don't have any serious plan to actually make them competitive. They long ago lost their pledged delegate argument and last night lost for good, the popular vote argument. This morning all they were left with was the argument that if you only count the swing states the Clintons won, they do best in the swing states. This argument excludes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Virginia and Colorado, to name a few and counts Pennsylvania and Ohio twice.

Hillary meets today (as does Obama) with the Congressional superdelegates to make her case for stripping Obama of the nomination. I expect this will be a polite meeting and we will see a flood of superdelegates to Obama in the next couple weeks.

Evidently, no one asked how much the Clintons had loaned the campaign in May. Their campaign has been effectively broke for at least 2 months. And while they have not released April fundraising figures they did again insist that they raised $10M in the 24 hours following PA. I don't believe it.

How can her labor union supporters justify to their membership spending any more money on her behalf?

It will be interesting to see how things go starting tomorrow.

The bloodiest cease fire in history

As fighting rages in Baghdad's Sadr City with the Mehdi army (who are observing a cease fire) the Iraqi government prepares two football stadiums to handle the exodus.
In the last seven weeks around 1,000 people have died, and more than 2,500 others have been injured, most of them civilians.

The fighting so far in Sadr City has been fierce - street to street, and house to house.

I have a dream

Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on August 28, 2008; 45 years to the day after Dr. King's 'I Have a Dream' speech.

What's to admire?

Philip Klein at The American Spectator,
It has become popular in conservative circles these days to suggest that "you just gotta admire her tenacity," a sentiment that is advanced at her campaign rallies...

But what is there to admire about this so-called "tenacity"? Clinton began this campaign with a financial edge, the support of a popular former Democratic president, a built-in political apparatus, a consistent lead of more than 20 points in national polls, and more than a hundred superdelegates.

If a candidate starts off with all of those advantages and is too stubborn to drop out of the race, it's no surprise that she is still hanging on.

There is absolutely nothing admirable about a politician so narcissistic and hungry for power that she is willing to say or do whatever suits her political interests at any given moment. If the Republican Party has declined to the point where conservatives are so worried about defeating a freshman Senator that they are rooting for Clinton to do their dirty work for them, it is simply pathetic,"
(HT to Andrew Sullivan)

Obama Memo to Superdelegates

Via The Caucus ,
TO: Superdelegates

FROM: David Plouffe, Campaign Manager

RE: An Update on the Race for Delegates

DA: May 7, 2008

There are only six contests remaining in the Democratic primary calendar and only 217 pledged delegates left to be awarded. Only 7 percent of the pledged delegates remain on the table. There are 260 remaining undeclared superdelegates, for a total of 477 delegates left to be awarded.

With North Carolina and Indiana complete, Barack Obama only needs 172 total delegates to capture the Democratic nomination. This is only 36 percent of the total remaining delegates.

Conversely, Senator Clinton needs 326 delegates to reach the Democratic nomination, which represents a startling 68 percent of the remaining delegates.

With the Clinton path to the nomination getting even narrower, we expect new and wildly creative scenarios to emerge in the coming days. While those scenarios may be entertaining, they are not legitimate and will not be considered legitimate by this campaign or its millions of supporters, volunteers, and donors.

We believe it is exceedingly unlikely Senator Clinton will overtake our lead in the popular vote and in fact lost ground on that measure last night. However, the popular vote is a deeply flawed and illegitimate metric for deciding the nominee – since each campaign based their strategy on the acquisition of delegates. More importantly, the rules of the nomination are predicated on delegates, not popular vote.

Just as the Presidential election in November will be decided by the electoral college, not popular vote, the Democratic nomination is decided by delegates.

If we believed the popular vote was somehow the key measurement, we would have campaigned much more intensively in our home state of Illinois and in all the other populous states, in the pursuit of larger raw vote totals. But it is not the key measurement.

We played by the rules, set by you, the D.N.C. members, and campaigned as hard as we could, in as many places as we could, to acquire delegates. Essentially, the popular vote is not much better as a metric than basing the nominee on which candidate raised more money, has more volunteers, contacted more voters, or is taller.

The Clinton campaign was very clear about their own strategy until the numbers become too ominous for them. They were like a broken record , repeating ad nauseum that this nomination race is about delegates. Now, the word delegate has disappeared from their vocabulary, in an attempt to change the rules and create an alternative reality.

We want to be clear – we believe that the winner of a majority of pledged delegates will and should be the nominee of our party. And we estimate that after the Oregon and Kentucky primaries on May 20, we will have won a majority of the overall pledged delegates According to a recent news report, by even their most optimistic estimates the Clinton Campaign expects to trail by more than 100 pledged delegates and will then ask the superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters.

But of course superdelegates are free to and have been utilizing their own criteria for deciding who our nominee should be. Many are deciding on the basis of electability, a favorite Clinton refrain. And if you look at the numbers, during a period where the Clinton campaign has been making an increasingly strident pitch on electability, it is clear their argument is failing miserably with superdelegates.

Since February 5, the Obama campaign has netted 107 superdelegates, and the Clinton campaign only 21. Since the Pennsylvania primary, much of it during the challenging Rev. Wright period, we have netted 24 and the Clinton campaign 17.

At some point – we would argue that time is now – this ceases to be a theoretical exercise about how superdelegates view electability. The reality of the preferences in the last several weeks offer a clear guide of how strongly superdelegates feel Senator Obama will perform in November, both in building a winning campaign for the presidency as well as providing the best electoral climate across the country for all Democratic candidates.

It is important to note that Senator Obama leads Senator Clinton in superdelegate endorsements among Governors, United States Senators and members of the House of Representatives. These elected officials all have a keen sense for who our strongest nominee will be in November.

It is only among D.N.C. members where Senator Clinton holds a lead, which has been rapidly dwindling.

As we head into the final days of the campaign, we just wanted to be clear with you as a party leader, who will be instrumental in making the final decision of who our nominee will be, how we view the race at this point.

Senator Obama, our campaign and our supporters believe pledged delegates is the most legitimate metric for determining how this race has unfolded. It is simply the ratification of the D.N.C. rules – your rules – which we built this campaign and our strategy around.