Saturday, May 31, 2008

[Updated 6/1 AM] Watching the Rules and Bylaws Committee!

Today, the Democratic Party's Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) met in Washington, DC to discuss delegate allocation for the Florida and Michigan primaries. At the end, the RBC unanimously decided to penalize Florida only 50% of their vote, compared to the 100% penalty imposed in 2007. This applies to all delegates, pledged and unpledged. The delegates will be allocated based on the January primary.
As for Michigan, the RBC passed a motion (by 19-8, or over 2/3 the RBC size) proposed by Mame Reiley (VA), a Clinton supporter, to also halve the Michigan delegates' votes, keeping the delegation the same size (128 pledged delegates). But the delegates will be divided 69-59 in favor of Senator Clinton - as suggested by Senator Carl Levin on behalf of the Michigan Democratic Party, and opposed to the 64-64 split proposed by the Obama campaign and the 73 Clinton, 55 uncommitted ("up-for-grabs") take of the Clinton campaign.
I am glad the 50% penalty was imposed; there must be some sanction for violating the rules. However, I didn't like the RBC saying the Michigan delegates should be divided 69-59; the RBC probably should keep out of delegate division, and leave that to the State Democratic Party. But seeing this was the position of the Michigan Democratic Party, I suppose I am just splitting hairs.

Bottom line - Senator Clinton gains a total of 87 delegate-votes (52.5 FL + 34.5 MI), while Senator Obama gets 63 delegate-votes (33.5 FL + 29.5 MI). Senator Edwards gets 6.5 delegate-votes out of FL (DCW post). Leaving out the Edwards delegates (which likely will go to Senator Obama), this means Senator Clinton gains 24 delegate-votes. Definitely ain't closing the 150+ pledged delegate gap by much.

Since the solutions proposed were very close to what the FL and MI Democratic Parties proposed (with perhaps the exception of superdelegates getting only 0.5 vote each and the MI delegation's vote halved), hopefully this means there is no challenge or appeal to the full Democratic Convention, and the Democratic Presidential nominee will be known within the next week. And presumably, that will be Senator Barack Obama.


UPDATE 6/1 AM: Dana Milbank, echoing Harold Ickes and Clinton supporters, says: "The panel went on, by a vote of 19 to 8, to give Michigan half of its votes -- and to give Obama the gift of delegates that the voters of the state had not given him."
I suppose Ickes and the Clinton camp are enraged that Clinton did not get 73 delegates and the chance to go after 55 "uncommitted" delegates, which would have helped them close the delegate gap. Never mind that the 55 were AGAINST Clinton. Or, apparently, that 30,000 write-in ballots were discarded (Michigan does not recognize write-ins; via DCW). And the uncommitted and write-ins were probably almost all for Obama (mostly) and Edwards, and John Edwards says the "uncommitted" should go to Obama.
Yeah, well - the RBC ruling also gave Senator Clinton 69 delegates she had not won, because the primary did not count. As Chuck Todd suggests, the Obama camp had the votes for a 50-50 MI split, but agreed to a 69-59 compromise to gain a wider majority of the RBC.
Here's some interesting analysis by fivethirtyeight's Poblano, aka Nate Silver, on Michigan - his analysis of the exit polls suggest a 69-59 MI split is fair, while his demographics-based model (which has had some success) says Obama might have even won Michigan.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Senator Obama and the Democratic race

The AP has a story out headlined "Obama campaign used party rules to foil Clinton." Essentially, the article talks about how Senator Obama's team studied delegate allocation to run up delegate totals in states he won, while keeping Senator Clinton's advantage in states she carried to a minimum.

First, that headline seems a little negative - I'd put a more positive spin on it like "Obama campaign winning using party rules." Maybe the media is trying overly hard to balance out the misconception that they have been harsh on Senator Clinton while going easy on Senator Obama.

Second, one of the points the article makes is that Democratic delegate allocation rewards historically Democratic districts:
" 'Black districts always have a large number of delegates because they are the highest performers for the Democratic Party,' said Elaine Kamarck, a Harvard University professor who is writing a book about the Democratic nominating process.
'Once you had a black candidate you knew that he would be winning large numbers of delegates because of this phenomenon,' said Kamarck, who is also a superdelegate supporting Clinton.

This is very similar to the Geraldine Ferraro remarks. And of course, it comes from a Clinton supporter. I consider such remarks just plain dumb - because they suggest (like Ms Ferraro did) that any Black candidate would be at a tremendous advantage. We have seen - with Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley-Braun - that this isn't the case.

I much prefer the more sensible assessment by Don Fowler, a former DNC chair supporting Clinton (his wife, also a superdelegate, supports Obama!):
" 'The Obama campaign was very good at targeting districts in areas where they could do well,' said former DNC Chairman Don Fowler, a Clinton superdelegate from South Carolina. 'They were very conscious and aware of these nuances.'
But, Fowler noted, the best strategy in the world would have been useless without the right candidate.
'If that same strategy and that same effort had been used with a different candidate, a less charismatic candidate, a less attractive candidate, it wouldn't have worked,' Fowler said. 'The reason they look so good is because Obama was so good.'

That's what Ms Kamarck, Ms Ferraro and President Clinton miss - that Senator Obama might be Black, but so was Al Sharpton. And we haven't seen Minister Sharpton (nor the Rev. Jesse Jackson) as the Democratic nominee for POTUS.

Finally, I would add - on top of the candidate's personal qualities and a good understanding of delegate allocation, Senator Obama's winning because he embodies change in a year when a lifetime spent in Washington, DC, can be a liability. Not to mention that in the GE, he will be running as a different kind of Democrat - yes, a liberal, but someone who does not force people to participate in government-mandated health insurance (but makes it affordable so anybody who wants insurance can get it), and who talks comfortably about his faith.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I am furious!

[Not that I can do much about it.]

This morning's news brings the story of folks in Santa Barbara forced to live in their cars in parking lots, after losing (in some cases, jobs and subsequently,) their homes. [CNN story, via LAT.] This, in the USA. Amazing! So the possibility that the next President would be someone who self-admittedly doesn't know much about economics, and is advised by lobbyists and ex-legislators who have played a major role in precipitating the current home foreclosure crisis and have been lobbying Congress on behalf of the affected banks... is downright scary. [MSNBC story, via TPM.]

And that brings me to this morning's news about the seemingly-endless Democratic primary season. Democratic legal-beagles have put forth a 38-page memo which states that the Rules and Bylaws Committee, which meets May 31, cannot award more than 50% of the delegates from the disqualified FL and MI primaries (how to apportion them is another matter altogether). HOWEVER - the Credentials Committee, whose decision have to be approved by the Democratic Convention, can restore 100% of the FL and MI delegations.

What does this mean? Of late, Senator Clinton has been positioning herself as the new MLK, fighting for the civil rights of Florida and Michigan voters, and demanding that the full delegations be seated (never mind that FL/MI broke the rules, and she herself said - at a more comfortable position in the race - that the FL/MI elections would not count.) The Democratic legal memo says this cannot happen before the Convention. Ergo, she can fight all the way to August if she wants.
[UPDATE: Just saw this NPR story that describes Senator Clinton's turn-about on FL/MI.]

People who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Three elections in recent memory have gone to the convention - Dems in 1972 and 1980, and the GOP in 1976. In 1972, the anti-McGovern forces tried to change the allocation of California's delegation (which at that time was winner-take-all). This movement was apparently spearheaded by now-ex-President Jimmy Carter. In 1980, Senator Ted Kennedy fought President Carter all the way to the Convention. In 1976, President Ford had more delegates than now-ex-President Reagan, but not enough to secure the nomination; hence, they fought it out on the Convention floor.

If you haven't figured out the trend already - the eventual nominee lost all three times. Now, in two of those elections, the opposing candidate ran again the next cycle, and won. So... is that what Senator Clinton has learned from these events - destroy Senator Obama's chances for this November, so she can run in 2012? Never mind that in the interim, the country will be governed nominally by an economic novice and in reality by unaccountable, behind-the-scenes lobbyists and ex-lobbyists, who couldn't care less about the rising unemployed and homeless?

If that is indeed the case, then I seriously doubt Senator Clinton will have the luck of Presidents Carter and Reagan. Not by pissing off the most loyal Democratic voting block (African-Americans vote 9:1 for Democrats, compared with 3:2 or even 1:1 for Women), and not by turning off younger voters who prefer Senator Obama 3:1.

After all (as I have said before), Senator Clinton can continue to blame sexism and misogyny for her loss this year, but the fact is, her own campaign mismanagement screwed up her chances. And no matter who is to blame - Penn, Solis Doyle, President Clinton, whoever - the buck eventually stops with Senator Clinton.

Some interesting reads:
Roland Martin says that for the ClintonS, it is the ClintonS first, the Party be damned.
Marjorie Valbrun (agreeing with other XX-ers) over at the XX Factor on says that Senator Clinton knew exactly what she was saying when she mentioned Senator Robert Kennedy's assassination. Melinda Henneberger says Americans tend to see no evil, even if the intentions were not good. (I myself was willing to give Senator Clinton the benefit of the doubt - but there is a pattern here of saying things first and asking forgiveness later. That seems to be the Clinton way.)
Lawrence Bobo at says Senator Clinton should learn about the function of the hook at the Apollo.
Finally, for all those who say there will never be another female candidate for POTUS - Dahlia Lithwick presents an excellent rebuttal.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Democrat Chuck Schumer wants to run...

From The Daily Show:

Oh yeah.

Local issues....

I live in Colorado, and I have been seeing a lot of Mark Udall (D for Senate) ads, a couple for Bob Schaffer (his Republican rival). Also occasional ads for Jared Polis (D for Congress) - though apparently he is still fighting the Democratic primary. Polis is running to replace Mark Udall in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District (which includes Boulder).

Mark Udall is the son of "Mo" Udall (among other things, Senator McCain's mentor in Congress). Representative Udall voted against the Iraq War, and is a progressive Democrat on the issues. Here's a story on the Udall-McCain connection and how it might play in the CO Senate race. Mark Udall also has a much better, fully-developed website compared to Bob Schaffer.

A sign this is Colorado is that even Bob Schaffer's ads include support for comprehensive energy reform, and show a Toyota Prius! One of Mark Udall's ads has him against a backdrop of wind turbines:

Incidentally, the Udall family appears ready to take over the US Senate. Mark's cousin Tom Udall is a Democrat running for NM's open Senate seat. Tom is also a strong progressive and also voted against the Iraq War. Oregon Senator Gordon Smith is their "double-second-cousin," and a Republican up for re-election this year. Gordon Smith voted for the Iraq War, and appears moderate-to-conservative.

Among other local issues - the University of Colorado, Boulder. Now, Boulder is often referred to (by outsiders!) as the "Boulder Bubble," a reference to the leftist leanings of the denizens. CU-Boulder was also the home of Ward Churchill. Perhaps following that episode, Bruce Benson, a former head of CO's Republican Party and fund-raiser/ex-oil man, was appointed the President of CU (here's a story). And now, it appears CU is looking to fund a Chair of Conservative Thought and Policy to the tune of $9 million (a move that even conservatives oppose!) That link is from Stanley Fish's column in the NYT; here's his take (and application for the post!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Random stuff

Just had some Laphroaig, decided to write down some random thoughts....

Laphroaig is really harsh. Very peaty. Still, I probably will buy it the next time I buy Scotch. [For moi, whisky has to be Scotch. Bourbon - tried Maker's Mark, but - naah!] Definitely no blends like Chivas, though.

While I watch 24 on occasion (like now), I don't like it at a philosophical level. The only Brown person I've seen on it is Kal Penn, who's initially shown as someone persecuted as a terrorist by Afraid White Men, is given shelter by his Kind White Neighbor, but turns out to be a terrorist anyway. But with Fox, what else can one expect? [One of the producers of 24 was the Commencement speaker at my grad school graduation. Oh well.]

Couldn't watch all of Keith Olbermann's rant on the Senator Clinton/RFK assasination remarks. Another parsing-the-words scandal, which I think is stupid. Senator Obama has had his share of unfortunate remarks. People need to grow up.

I thought Senator Chuck Hagel could be a good VP pick for Senator Obama, but apart from the Iraq War, all other positions appear Regressive (did I just make up that term?) So NO (SecDef, maybe). Senator Jim Webb - maybe, but reading some comments on DemConWatch has suggested George Allen lost Virginia with his macaca moment more than Webb won VA. So maybe not. Governor Sibelius - I like her, even if she can't turn Kansas blue. A commenter on DCW pointed out Governor Phil Bredesen of Tennessee - could be a good choice, even if not female. [Yes, I am partial toward a female VP. Only way - now - to get a woman into a leadership position, which can be important to changing public perception. While on that, whatever happened to Geena Davis as Commander-in-Chief?]

Saturday, May 24, 2008

[UPDATED 5/31] Senator Clinton and sexism

This post will be largely a collection of links.

Senator Clinton has lately been suggesting that sexism is keeping her from winning the Democratic nomination, e.g. hear this WaPo interview.

Before this interview, Marie Cocco wrote about misogyny this primary season.

Megan McArdle @ The Atlantic writes about the "privilege olympics" between sexism and racism (and comes down on the side of sexism). McArdle and Daniel Drezner talk about sexism hurting Senator Clinton as well as about women in leadership positions (I think the latter was more informative).

Here's Ciccina on sexism and misogyny (includes a link to an interesting study that shows a female version of the Bradley effect.)

Chris Mathews' Hardball takes on the sexism issue:

[I shall keep updating with interesting articles I find. I have written earlier about sexism and racism here (I rant about Obama supporters being called sexist) and a little bit here (looking at a recent Quinnipac poll; the comments section has a more interesting discussion with Ciccina).]

This is one dedicated dude!

(via TPM)
Even though Terry McAuliffe is a (rabid!) Clinton man, I do like him, especially after I saw him on Meet the Press a couple weeks ago. No wonder he's a big money-maker...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

[UPDATED 5/23] GE match-ups: Quinnipac version

Quinnipac has a new general election match-up for the three states (via purported to hold the fortunes of the next POTUS, based on the 2000 and 2004 electoral maps. I dispute that theory; however, let's take a look at the polls.

Clinton 48, McCain 41
McCain 45, Obama 41
Clinton 48, McCain 41
McCain 44, Obama 40
Clinton 50, McCain 37
Obama 46, McCain 40

It looks like Senator Clinton carries all three swing states, while Senator Obama would lose the GE.... That's a strong argument for the superdelegates to swing towards Senator Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, these polls are taken now, when Senator Clinton is desperately trying everything to win the nomination - including arguing that "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" are not supporting Senator Obama [ummm... guess Blacks are not hard-working].
She poses as the defender of civil rights, fighting all the way to Denver to ensure that the entire Florida and Michigan delegations are seated as per the disqualified January primaries. [Even though she herself said these elections do not count, and events of the past few months have proved that with sufficient campaigning, the race between Senators Clinton and Obama would be much tighter than the January FL/MI primaries would have us believe. Yes, that last part is part of Senator Obama's argument.]
And she has finally started saying - explicitly - that sexism and misogyny is preventing her from winning the nomination. [Never mind that, IMO, it is her own campaign mismanagement that has cost her the nomination.]

Where that lands us is here: Clinton supporters are particularly aggrieved that the nomination, which Senator Clinton was entitled to, has been stolen by a smooth-talking, dashing, younger man. This is clear in the Quinnipac poll cross-tabs. There is some animosity on both sides, but Obama supporters - despite the fact that Senator Clinton would be the nominee by overturning the results of primaries and caucuses - still vote for Senator Clinton 74-14, while Clinton supporters favor Senator Obama only 48-31.

Clinton supporters

Obama supporters

Clinton supporters

Obama supporters





















































So - many Clinton supporters will either stay home or vote for Senator McCain in November. This, despite the fact that on the issues (which is what one expects would be the basis for rational decisions), Senators Clinton and Obama are much more similar than the Democrat and the Republican. This is NOT a case of A and A', as some characterized the Bush v. Gore election while voting for Nader.

Sexism didn't prevent Senator Clinton from competing effectively in caucuses, and misogyny didn't make her campaign broke and unable to compete in post-SuperTuesday February contests, which is where this nomination was won by Senator Obama. I just hope that come November, most Clinton supporters will make a rational decision rather than decide to vote for, or otherwise enable, a third Bush term.
[UPDATE 5/23: Professor Robert Eisinger, making a guest appearance at, points out that these GE polls should ask a follow-up question - what happens if Senator Clinton enthusiastically campaigns for Senator Obama? That should make her McCain-voting followers rethink their decision.]

By the way - SurveyUSA has a bunch of new polls coming out. These show Senator Obama beating Senator McCain 49-42 in Virginia (13 electoral votes neither Gore nor Kerry won); winning PA by 8% (agreeing with Quinnipac); and tying Senator McCain in New Mexico. A new Rasmussen poll puts Senator Obama ahead 48-42 in Colorado (9 non-Gore/Kerry EVs). So... the 2000/2004 electoral maps do not appear valid in 2008.
[UPDATE 5/23: Here's a dkos post along the same lines, with links to more polls.]

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Democratic "dream ticket"

I strongly feel that while Senator Obama will be the Democratic nominee, Senator Clinton has earned the first right-of-refusal on the VP slot. Yes, she has lots of baggage (lots of old, some new - like Bosnia-gate) which the GOP will exploit and re-expose to the hilt, in addition to other negatives ("Bush/Clinton" repeat ad nauseam, "old politics" etc.). But she's also a very hard-working campaigner and a great debater/excellent attack dog. And with her on the ticket, Senator McCain will effectively be fighting two Presidential nominees, even if one is in the VP slot.

Of course, the flip side is that the GOP will use her own statements - "He [McCain] will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002" - against the Democratic Presidential nominee...

Women's lib and.... bicycles!?

Mental Floss @ CNN has an interesting read on women's liberation movements in the late 19th century, and the part bikes played in it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why Senator Clinton might lose the Democratic nomination

As I mentioned earlier, Clinton supporters think the Democratic nomination was somehow stolen by Senator Obama. To the extent that some Clinton supporters may either stay home and not vote in November for Senator Obama (if he is the nominee), or may vote for Senator McCain (despite his pro-life and other very conservative positions), and may even actively campaign against Senator Obama. Some folks also think Senator Obama and his campaign have been sexist, which fuels their vitriol.

I strongly disagree. IMO, the reason Senator Clinton might lose what appeared to be her nomination for the taking is simple - mismanagement. Despite her claims to be ready and prepared, she was not. He campaign relied on loyalty rather than competence (see Mark Penn, Patti Solis Doyle). Senator Clinton continued to believe - till as late as the last debate pre-Super Tuesday (I will try to find a video link and post it) - that the campaign would be over on Super Tuesday (ST).

On February 6, the race was still tied. Senator Obama's campaign was getting ready for the 10 primaries and caucuses that would lead to the March 4 primaries. But Senator Clinton's campaign was out of cash. The Clinton campaign had not done any groundwork in most of the post-ST February states, and the only place where they tried to compete strongly was Maine, saying the other states were either primaries dominated by African-Americans ("he's a Black candidate, he'll win!") or were activist/liberal-dominated caucuses. However, even in Maine (also a caucus!), Senator Obama won with his campaign's superior organizational skills.

That lack of planning, preparedness, and organization between February 5 and March 4 on the part of the Clinton campaign helped Senator Obama build a 100+ pledged delegate lead in those 10 contests, which has proved a practically insurmountable barrier for Senator Clinton. If she had competed effectively, the difference in pledged delegates today would be much smaller, and close enough to be effectively a tie. And then Senator Clinton could have argued that she was more prepared, ready etc. - and might have won.

So there you have it - don't blame Senator Obama for waging an effective campaign, or accuse sexism (not entirely, anyway), or fault caucuses (everybody knew - or should have known - the rules ahead of the race). Senator Clinton campaigned as a super-competent, highly effective manager which, according to her, was the job of the President. But she failed to demonstrate these abilities with her own campaign (much the same, some might say, as with universal health care in the '90s), and therein lies a tale.

The Real McCain

From BraveNew Films: watch this, and publicize!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The firestorm over NARAL's endorsement of Senator Obama

NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsed Senator Obama earlier this week, pissing off a host of Clinton and Obama supporters who thought NARAL was betraying Senator Clinton.

A common complaint is - when both candidates in the Democratic primary race are pro-choice (though some people would argue otherwise) - why not wait till the end of the Democratic primaries? Less-charitable explanations have NARAL trying to gain leverage with a future Obama administration - hence, the endorsement was out of pure self-interest. A similar argument was made by Ciccina on Kate Michelman's earlier endorsement of Senator Obama. See my reply on the Kate Michelman episode here.

The pattern of this week's endorsements was quite clear. First, though, let's backtrack. The race has gone on for so long even though it has been obvious for months that Senator Clinton would not be able to overtake Senator Obama in the delegate race (which is all that matters). For that, she needed two-thirds and, with each subsequent primary, ever-increasing fractions of the remaining delegates, right after the March contests. Yet, the race continued, and it became increasingly negative as Senator Clinton sought to destroy Senator Obama's electability and credibility (and yes, there were some attacks in response from the Obama camp). I am certain that if the positions were reversed, the campaign would have been over after March, with Senator Obama forced out of the race and - perhaps - offered a VP slot as consolation.

So to those who say why not wait till the contests are over - the battles may continue, but the war has been over for a while. Yet, Senator Clinton has been given every conceivable opportunity to beat Senator Obama - but she has not been able to make the sale even with the help of Jeremiah Wright and bittergate. Indiana and North Carolina were the last major primaries where she could have made a major dent in Senator Obama's pledged delegate lead. But Senator Obama effectively put paid to those hopes with a decisive victory in NC, and ran very, very close in Indiana. The remaining contests are largely symbolic, with either candidate heavily favored, and no chance of an upset. PR - which has the biggest remaining delegate haul - can't even vote in the November election.

All this while, Senator McCain has got a free ride, with almost no press scrutiny or Democratic exposure of his very conservative record, and consequently his poll performances are much better than that of a generic Republican. The Republicans have also been able to freely attack Senator Obama, with Senator Obama having to fight both Senators McCain and Clinton.

Given these circumstances, it is high time the Democrats came together and focused on winning in November. Part of the problem is making sure Senator Obama can win the votes of lower-income white Americans and women - after everything Senator Clinton's campaign has done to make sure these groups remain suspicious of Senator Obama, or feel - unjustly - that he has "stolen" the election from her. Hence the pattern in this week's endorsements. Earlier this week, Senator Edwards, who has some support among lower-income Whites, endorsed Senator Obama. And later, NARAL did the same, to make sure Women knew Senator Obama was OK on women's rights. Both Edwards and NARAL effectively told their followers that Senator Obama is the winner, fair-and-square. Sure, NARAL could have waited till June 3 - but then they would look a sore loser grudgingly coming around, rather than the call to Party unity that they now represent.

It must have been pretty hard for NARAL to make this choice, even more so than it must have been for John Edwards. But I am glad they had the guts to make the call, and admit openly what most sensible people realize - that Senator Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee. I just hope they don't weasel back out of their endorsement.

If not Hillary, then who?

The NYT looks at possibilities for the first Female President, assuming Senator Clinton does not become POTUS.
In my opinion, anybody over 65 is too old to be elected President. The candidate needs some experience - either in elected offices, or outside. Also, despite this year's events, Senators are less likely to be elected POTUS. With these criteria, let's look at the prospects:

65 or over in 2012/16:
Governor Kathleen Sibelius (D-KS) - I hope Senator Obama, as the Democratic nominee, picks her as running mate this year. If not, then she can run in 2012 if Senator McCain becomes POTUS. In 2016, she will be 65+.
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) - she will be 65+ very soon. Out.
LtGovernor Beverly Perdue (D-NC) - Running for Governor of NC. She will be 65 in 2012.

Strong possibilities:
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) - Young, but Senator. Can't be ruled out, though.
Governor Sarah Palin (AK) - Young, Governor.
Governor Janet Napolitano (D-AZ) - term-limited after 2010. Less likely VP pick for Senator Obama this year.
Sarah Steelman (R-MO) - MO-Treasurer, running for Governor.
Lisa Madigan (D-IL) - IL-AG, could run for Governor.
Meg Whitman (R) - Ebay is very successful. She might run for Governor of California.

Less likely:
Condoleezza Rice (R) - US Secretary of State, tied to the Iraq war, but public memory is short.
Chelsea Clinton (D) - Not before 2020, has to get some life experience/get elected.
Carly Fiorina (R) - If she runs the country like she did HP... though that didn't stop the current POTUS!

Or someone else...?

Friday, May 16, 2008

From humble beginnings...

Just found this article about the fund-raising start of Senator Obama's campaign. He had about half-a-million dollars in his Hopefund PAC at the end of 2006 - even Senator Biden had $4 million!
And now - 1.5 million donors, and about a quarter-billion dollars!


It's horrible, yet I can't get enough!

President Bush's recent political speech in the Israeli Knesset compared advocates of diplomacy and talks with countries like Iran to European leaders like Neville Chamberlain who sought to appease Hitler by allowing Germany to take over parts of Czechoslovakia. This was widely taken as a swipe at Senator Obama, for his proposed policy of talking to foes of the USA (though to clarify, Obama rules out dealing with Hamas and Hezbollah, as they are terrorists advocating violence and the destruction of Israel). Following the Bush speech, here's a great video from MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

Chris Matthews later said he asked conservative LA talk show host Kevin James "what Neville Chamberlain do wrong" 24 times!! [More serious discussion on this train-wreck here.]

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A great read...

Joshua Green writes in The Atlantic about Senator Obama's fund-raising machine. It's the model of the new politics - and real grass-roots democracy, IMO.
The article talks about how the Obama campaign has brought together (largely anti-Bush/anti-GOP) activist zeal and social networking websites to generate almost $200 million online from (now) over 1.5 million donors. And many of these donors also volunteer, and organize others to donate and volunteer.
Green points out that much of this - the huge power of small donors - is due to campaign finance reform, which aimed to end the influence of fat cats on politics. Money still plays an important role, but it is no longer restricted to a select few millionaires/billionaires. And it is highly likely that Senator McCain will get vastly outspent in the Presidential race - because he was one-half of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform team. The irony!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

[UPDATED 5/14 PM] The return of the gender gap?

[Revised/edited 5/14 PM]

Ciccina asks a question over at
"[quoting Bill Schneider of CNN]" looks like the gender gap, long a feature of politics between Democrats and Republicans, has established itself in the Democratic primaries."
....So what is Bill on about? Did something different actually happen, or is he just resorting to the "b-list" material since there isn't much data by race to talk about?"

That got me thinking, and so I spent some time looking up the exit poll data provided by MSNBC (CNN for Wisconsin - for some weird reason MSNBC does not report WI data!)

First, here's the difference between the fraction of women and fraction of men for Senators Clinton and Obama (note: this is not the gender gap referenced by Ciccina/Bill Schneider!):

It looks like Senator Clinton wins as much more women than men, as Senator Obama does more men than women. Since women outnumber men among Democratic voters (the average male/female split in these Democratic primaries/some caucuses is 42.5/57.5), this could give Senator Clinton an advantage... Except that it looks like the "popular vote" is a wash (Senator Obama leads by a few hundred thousand out of ~30 million cast in primaries.)
[Of course, the "popular vote" race is fatally flawed: see this dkos post.]

So let's examine the data more carefully. I consider only primaries - no caucus estimates. I also do not count Florida and Michigan.
My popular-vote data haven't been updated particularly for earlier contests after provisional ballots have been counted. But it appears that - out of 30.4 million voters that I account for - Senator Clinton has won women 51.8-45.5 (+6.3%), while Senator Obama wins men 52.7-43.1 (+9.6%). That larger gap among men makes the "popular vote" race effectively a wash.

Primaries Women Women (%) Men Men (%) Women/Total
Clinton 9052336 51.8% 5562068 43.1% 61.9%
Obama 7952867 45.5% 6794579 52.7% 53.9%

[As my popular vote data are just two-candidate totals - excluding most prominently John Edwards' votes - there are some errors particularly early on. But overall, this should be a minor error.]

On to the gender gap. My definition is: Clinton(females - males) - Obama(females - males).

First, women usually make more than half of either candidate's votes - this is to be expected in a Democratic race, as women make up 58% of the electorate. The exceptions are Senator Obama's voters in CA, RI and WV.
Second, the gender gap (as I define it) is almost 30% in WV - after being less than 10% in IN and NC, and 20% in PA. I suppose that's what Bill Schneider meant - the gender gap had almost disappeared in the past few weeks, post-PA and pre-WV.

Spin: Men vote for the man in the race, so they are sexist. Or - women are preferentially voting for the weaker candidate, so they are standing by a sister!

Another Tuesday, another primary... WVa edition

Senator Clinton has handily won the West Virginia Democratic primary - the margin will be around 35%. The Jed Report says Senator Obama, following this huge defeat, has decided to drop out of the race... ;-)

Looking through the exit polls:
1. A fifth of the voters - in a Democratic primary - said race was either the, or one of the, important factors in deciding their vote. This subgroup went for Senator Clinton over Senator Obama 6:1. If that's the fraction that openly admits race was a big factor and voted for the candidate of their race...
2. One bright spot - Catholics were 8% of voters, and split almost evenly, 52-45 Clinton. Hey, that's an improvement for Senator Obama!
[See his "problem" with Catholics here, for instance. Even if Senator Obama appears a natural for the Catholic Reagan Democrat vote.]

On to Oregon... and oh yeah, Kentucky.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Revisiting Senator Obama's 2004 Democratic Convention keynote speech

Came across an article in Chicago Magazine on The [Other] Speech - Senator Obama's keynote at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The speech that set him on the path to his current candidacy for the White House. Rocketed him - literally overnight - from a little-known Illinois State Senator to the rock star today. And from being broke, dispirited and suffering the ignominy of a maxed-out credit card at the 2000 Democratic Convention, to the US Senate and possibly in a few months, the US Presidency.
The article itself talks about how that speech came about - the behind-the-scenes maneuvering and politics behind getting Senator Obama the keynote slot; how the speech was written and edited; his troubles during rehearsals; and some analysis of the speech itself - how Senator Obama started out a little flat, but something goes off in the middle of the speech, like a switch has been flipped.
About 4 minutes into the second video, comes a moment where Senator Obama really catches fire, IMHO. He starts swaying, almost dancing, as he talks about his core message and vision - about there not being a liberal America and a conservative America, but a United States of America... No red states and blue states, but a United States of America... Not a White America, or a Black America, or a Latino America, or an Asian America, but the United States of America.
And a new star was born.

The following videos were posted by OregonforObama:
Part 1:

Part 2:


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

From Mildred Loving to John McCain

Mildred Loving, who recently passed away, was responsible for the US Supreme Court ruling antimiscegenation laws in Virginia illegal. Here is a description and e-copy of Chief Justice Earl Warren's ruling on the case, Loving v Virginia. Key quote from the ruling:
"Under our Constitution the freedom to marry or not marry a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed upon by the state."

Ironically, Loving's death comes close to the "big speech" by Senator John McCain on "activist judges." If laws and social policy were left solely to legislatures, nutjobs voted into power could make ordinary citizens' life hell. Apparently "states' rights" were at least at one time - and maybe even today - code for racial discrimination laws - see this write-up and links therein.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Ain't no sunshine....

Was thinking of this Bill Withers song from Old School for no particular reason (from fnordius on Youtube):

There's even a Sting version, and other links via the Youtube link.

'twas the night before... IN and NC!

Just saw Chuck Todd on Charlie Rose. Much of the 1/2-h interview appeared to focus on Senator Clinton's chances at the Democratic nomination - which lies through NC, as per Todd, and her chances there - he puts it at 10%, and credits it entirely to "Bubba" - aka President Clinton. They also talked about how the Jeremiah Wright controversy was hurting Senator Obama.
So now I am a little worried - SurveyUSA's last NC poll did put the race at 50-45, Obama. Could suburban voters be deserting Senator Obama, as happened in PA?
That got me thinking about Jeremiah Wright (I now find it hard to use the "Rev." title). Why would he come out again and NOW, as he did recently on Bill Moyers, before the National Press Club, and in Detroit at an NAACP meeting?

Folks have written that Wright is a petty man, longing for the spotlight... Or he wants to hit back at the attacks on him. But I wonder if his re-emergence is a perverted wish to see Senator Obama lose the Democratic nomination. After all, Senator Obama, in his widely-praised race speech in Philadelphia, repudiated all the despicable notions Wright held - that the USA is not a static society held back by race, that things have changed since Wright's formative years (which, presumably, led to the dumb ideas Wright put forth). After all, if Senator Obama becomes the President of the USA, that means there are much fewer obstacles for Black achievement - and that Wright is wrong.

What better way for Wright to prove himself right, than to make sure Senator Obama loses the Democratic nomination, due to the racial polarization that Wright surely knew would ensue from his inflammatory speeches?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

More on Senator Clinton as a Presidential candidate

I have made my sympathies very clear - I support Senator Obama, based partly on his skills as a uniter. Clinton supporters often come back with - look where the last "uniter" got us!
That's a dumb attack - Senator Obama is definitely not Bush-43. Intelligence, honesty, policies - everything.
What I do say, though, is that if any Democratic candidate is like Bush-43, it is Senator Clinton. She is way too secretive, employs folks based on their loyalty rather than competence even when events prove this is not wise, and demonizes her opponents, Republicans or other Democrats. On that note, here are some recent articles:

1.'s John Dickerson makes a "Hillary Clinton as Bush-43" comparison based on her advocacy of a policy against the advice of all experts, and the use of charges of elitism to brush off any criticism. Here's the relevant clip:
"Embracing intellectual obtuseness and deflecting criticism with charges of elitism is a tactic George Bush often deployed while campaigning. It's striking to see Clinton do it because she has been a regular and harsh critic of Bush's blindness to expert opinion. It's even more striking to hear her aides actually sound like Bush administration officials. When I asked Communications Director Howard Wolfson if the Clinton team could offer any intellectual ballast for the gas-tax vacation, given that so many policymakers had criticized it, he said, "The presidency requires leadership. … There are times when the president does something that the group of experts, quote unquote, does not agree with. Presidents get advice and then act, and that is what Senator Clinton is doing." Or, as George Bush used to put it: A leader leads. Even if off a cliff." [emphasis mine - RS]

2. William Chafe, writing for The Charlotte Observer, examines Senator Clinton's claims of experience, particularly her actions over Whitewater and universal healthcare during President Clinton's administration.
Basically, then-First Lady Clinton refused the Washington Post access to her Whitewater files, which made the press dig further in Whitewater, lead to Kenneth Starr's appointment as Independent Counsel, which eventually led to the Monica Lewinksy scandal. If Senator Clinton had just allowed the WaPo access to her files...
As for health care reform, Senator Clinton took the "my way or the highway" approach [another striking parallel to you-know-who!] Senator Clinton refused to accept a bipartisan compromise, says Chafe, and as a result zero progress was made.

3. Carl Bernstein writes about the Rovian/GOP-style tactics Senator Clinton's campaign is using to tar Senator Obama - guilt by association. This, when Senator Clinton herself has extensive ties to the radical left - though that was brushed away with a "one-sentence mention" in her book "Living History." [Compare that to Senator Obama's refreshing candor in his books! - RS]

So - what makes Senator Clinton think she can get universal health care - with a government mandate and wage garnishment - passed the second time round, when she couldn't get it done with a Democratic Congressional majority in the early '90s? And do we really want another loyalty-driven, secretive administration?

Thursday, May 1, 2008