Saturday, March 22, 2008

Just Win Baby

There seems to be some frustration with people who aren't ready to concede the Democratic race is over. You can present a compelling case for why Hillary has no chance, plenty of sound arguments, much of it comes down to simple math. I don't dispute that, nor is my hesitation any indication that I don't think Obama would be an excellent nominee. Why I maintain that the race isn't over, Obama still hasn't closed the deal, at least not in terms of perception.

If the race was over, why then did Obama lose two key states Mar 3? I suppose he won the arcane Caucus in Texas, but he lost the primary, and he was defeated soundly in battleground Ohio. People will argue the delegate math, and I acknowledge that reality in spades, but seems to me if it's "over", then voters should be supporting that thesis. They didn't, which validates a continuation.

If it's "over", then Obama has nothing to fear from Clinton, he should beat her in Pennsylvania, in North Carolina, in Indiana. If it's "over", then Obama's camp should be championing a re-do in Michigan and Florida, in the name of democracy, as opposed to a lukewarm, splitting hairs, approach. Someone who enjoys widespread support, who towers over the competition, isn't concerned about a also ran's manoeuvers.

If it's "over", why is it that Hillary is neck and with Obama in national polls? That seems strange, voters apparently haven't got the memo from the DNC. This fact, which has no bearing on the real math, is very relevant, because it speaks to a competition, it says in clear terms, that nobody is rallying behind Obama. The presumptive nominee should see a surge in support, as people disregard the clear loser, and support the standard bearer. In other words, voters clearly haven't reached the it's "over" conclusion.

From my point of view, any lingering doubts about Obama evaporate, based on one simple need- win the next contests. Win in Pennsylvania, a state which is demographically representative, apart from a small latino vote (Obama's weak point). Just win, show everyone that it is over, Clinton the bitter loser, that can't face reality. No need to argue math, no need to pressure the process, just win the primary and end it once and for all. Let's not forget, if Obama did win in Ohio and Texas, Clinton would be gone, the coronation a guarantee. But, Obama lost, which was clearly a statement that something was afoot.

Just win baby, and Obama has nothing to worry about. And, if you Obama can't win, then maybe people are justified in taking another look, because clearly there is something terribly wrong with it's "over". Seems pretty simple from here.


Mark Dowling said...

"If it's "over", then Obama's camp should be championing a re-do in Michigan and Florida, in the name of democracy, as opposed to a lukewarm, splitting hairs, approach. Someone who enjoys widespread support, who towers over the competition, isn't concerned about a also ran's manoeuvers."

Amen, brother Steve. Amen!

That said, Bill Richardson, Bill Clinton's Energy Secretary finally deciding to go Obama is striking.

John Edwards was on Leno the other night and if that means he's getting some exposure as a prelude to backing Obama then that will be two very personable, talk-show/political-show friendly personalities to relay the Obama talking points, especially Richardson who talked up Obama's recent speech "as a Hispanic American".

Steve V said...

"That said, Bill Richardson, Bill Clinton's Energy Secretary finally deciding to go Obama is striking."

The timing was terrific, because it breaks the cycle for Obama. It's a good one day story, that blunts some criticism, and puts some questions to Clinton.

Anonymous said...


Good post, I also agree that the primaries are not over by any stretch.

The Dems are very lucky to have to great potential candidates. Most years they are picking from "the seven dwarves".

I like both candidates and think either would be a president that can change the channel in the US.

Clearly something this planet is in desperate need of (i.e. politically, environmentally, diplomatically, militarily)


Steve V said...

For what it's worth CTV has a poll today asking whether Clinton should continue:

Here, top right.

Steve V said...

In another post, some discussion of my omitting Rasmussen. Today's Rasmussen:

Clinton 46%
Obama 44%

Polling done after the speech.

Food for thought.

Dame said...

Excellent Post Steve!!Good to see you are capable for fair and logical assessment / which is hard to find recently /
It is a real absurdity how all over the places pundits suggesting Hillary should just quit "IT is over" while they are and were most of the Time practically at par.. in a very Tight race..
And now it is more and more obvious ."Vanguard Obama " is too vulnerable when the real test comes in the National presidential campaign,..

yes I admit I always tilted to Hillary as I saw her as a better candidate when mainstream Americans will /not just liberals /Go To the Polls In November .
So we will See .

Darren McEwen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darren McEwen said...

Well said Steve.

Another reason I don't think it should "be over" --- just look at the last future up and coming Democratic star who one day he too could have gone to the White House.

He's now without a job as Gov of New York and lucky to still have his wife by his side. My point is that anything can happen -- who really saw that Spitzer mess coming? If something were to come out right now that would devastate either Clinton or Obama well then the Democrats still have a great chance of winning in November because they could just pick the other candidate.

If something comes out about McCain -- look out, it'd be over for the GOP!

NA Patriot said...

It's not over in part because of the Clinton's status in the Democratic Party and the nation itself. Any other candidate would have dropped out by now recognizing the futility. She can stay in as long as she wants but who else could do this?

RuralSandi said...

Can you believe it - really, Obama supporters want here to drop out right now - actually wanted it a few weeks ago.

Well, the has a lot of supporters and contributors to answer to - yes, she has to give it her all.

Who would want a president that didn't fight hard.

I'm suspicious of Richardson. He has mixed up his stories of late.

He said at one point that a superdelegate shoud go with who their people voted for - well, that would be Hillary.

I wonder, if the stuff about Obama and his preacher came out a few months ago if he'd be where he is. In fact, one "black" journalist said that Oprah Winfrey went to Rev. Wright's church and found him so offensive she left that church - Obama's trying to make us believe he didn't hear anything like that in 20 years? Ya, right.

Hillary owes it to her supporters and contributors to give it her all - otherwise she'd be failing them.

Blues Clair said...

Oh poor Mrs. Clinton... It is the the flaw of her campaign strategy that she is in the troublesome position that she now finds herself in. If Mrs. Clinton had Obama's delegate numbers (1,622.5 to 1,472.5 according the New York Times who endorsed Clinton) right now I wonder what she and her supporters would be urging B. Hussein Obama to do? Anyways... It is a great race and Billary has the right (and is right) to continue.

“Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic”
James Carville

Steve V said...

"If Mrs. Clinton had Obama's delegate numbers (1,622.5 to 1,472.5 according the New York Times who endorsed Clinton) right now I wonder what she and her supporters would be urging B. Hussein Obama to do?"

The howls for Obama to drop out would be huge, much louder that what we see now, and because of her entrenched status it would probably be over. I'd be arguing the same, if the roles were reversed, this isn't about preference. Obviously, the Obama people want it over, and many commentators have done the math, but for every link someone provides, there is someone else presenting scenarios. If Clinton has a 10% shot, it's 10% more than Huckabee did.

KC said...

Steve - The other day you suggested that Rasmussen was doing a bad job at predicting the race and today you are heralding their poll as further proof that it aint over.

As for the race being over--public polls (remember that most of the country has already vote) and wins in certain states are completely irrelevant to the mathematical challenges Clinton faces in winning the nomination. Even after a disastrous week for the Obama campaign he is showing no signs of fading away. If there was evidence that his bottom was dropping out--as opposed to relatively minor flucuations in poll numbers--you might have a point; but they're not.

Steve V said...

"Steve - The other day you suggested that Rasmussen was doing a bad job at predicting the race and today you are heralding their poll as further proof that it aint over."

KC, I included it because you guys were complaining, that I was supressing a pro-Obama poll. Now, you want me to supress it? I was just trying to fair, based on what you guys said.

KC said...

Steve - You said:

"I left out Rasmussen, because they have been so off this primary season. I tried to pick ones with good records. I think Ras has both of them losing to McCain by large amounts, which I just don't buy."

And I said that it wasnt fair to exclude the Ras poll without excluding the PPP poll too (given the ridiculous margin it gives Clintonj in Penn vis-a-vis other polls). I never rejected your reasoning.

RuralSandi said...

Barack Obama: toxic mentors start to corrode pristine campaign
The Democrat was surging ahead but now revelations about the men who helped shape him are putting voters off

Tony Allen-Mills in New York
Long before Barack Obama launched his campaign for the White House, when he was considering a run for the US Senate in 2003, he paid an intriguing visit to a former Chicago sewers inspector who had risen to become one of the most influential African-American politicians in Illinois.

“You have the power to elect a US senator,” Obama told Emil Jones, Democratic leader of the Illinois state senate. Jones looked at the ambitious young man smiling before him and asked, teasingly: “Do you know anybody I could make a US senator?”

According to Jones, Obama replied: “Me.” It was his first, audacious step in a spectacular rise from the murky political backwaters of Springfield, the Illinois capital.

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The exchange also sealed an intimate personal and political relationship that is likely to attract intense scrutiny amid the furore over Obama’s links to some of Chicago’s most controversial political and religious power brokers.

Obama has often described Jones as a key political mentor whose patronage was crucial to his early success in a state long dominated by near-feudal party political machines. Jones, 71, describes himself as Obama’s “godfather” and once said: “He feels like a son to me.”

Like the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the outspoken pastor of Obama’s Chicago church, and like Tony Rezko, the millionaire fundraiser and former friend of Obama who is on trial for corruption, Jones is in danger of becoming a hindrance to his protégé’s presidential ambitions.

For almost a year Jones has used his position as leader of the state senate to block anticorruption legislation passed unanimously by the state’s lower house. He has also become embroiled in ethical controversies concerning his wife’s job and his stepson’s business.

None of them is linked to Obama, but the Democratic contender can ill afford another scandal related to his former Chicago allies. Despite his electrifying speech on race last week, the opinion polls make worrying reading for the senator and his aides. Hillary Clinton appears to be regaining lost ground and John McCain, the Arizona senator who has sewn up the Republican nomination, has edged ahead of his warring rivals.

When Obama stood before a row of American flags in Philadelphia on Tuesday, he faced the greatest challenge of his candidacy. His campaign was reeling from the potentially fatal fallout of Wright’s rabid videotaped sermons, in which the Chicago preacher exclaimed, “God damn America,” and said that the US government had invented Aids to infect black people.

Obama’s response was hailed as one of the bravest and most eloquent speeches on race delivered by an American politician. Even conservative commentators such as Charles Murray of National Review called it “flat-out brilliant”; Michael Gerson, former speechwriter to president George W Bush, called it “one of the finest political performances under pressure” since John F Kennedy addressed concerns about his Catholicism in 1960.

Other analysts, Democrat and Republican, took a different view of Obama’s refusal to turn his back on Wright – whom he portrayed as part of an embittered legacy of discrimination.

Some saw it as a potential gift both to Clinton, who has been surging in opinion polls since videos of Wright were posted on the internet, and to McCain, whose aides have begun to wonder whether Obama might prove an easier target than Clinton in November.

“Nothing could be more dangerous to Mr Obama’s aspirations than the revelation that he, the son of a white woman, sat Sunday after Sunday – for 20 years – in an Afrocentric, black nationalist church in which his own mother, not to mention other whites, could never feel comfortable,” said Shelby Steele, a Stanford University historian and author of a book on Obama.

Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio talk-show foghorn, expressed the popular view more succinctly: “No country wants a president who is a member of a church with this kind of radicalism as its mainstream.”

The latest polls confirm that, for all the acclaim heaped on Obama’s speech by political insiders, voters seemed to be taking a sharp step back from the charismatic candidate who built his campaign on the promise of a break from “old politics”. One of Obama’s best-known slogans – and the title of his bestselling book – is “the audacity of hope”, a phrase that originally came from one of Wright’s sermons.

In Pennsylvania, the next big state to hold a primary, on April 22, Clinton has doubled her lead in the past two weeks and is now 26 points ahead. In North Carolina, which votes on May 6, Obama has been leading comfortably all year but is now only one point ahead. A national Gallup poll on Friday put Clinton ahead of Obama by two points for the first time since January.

Unfortunately for Democrats, their nomination battle seems to be helping McCain. The Republican rose to a eight-point lead over Obama and a 10-point lead over Clinton in Rasmussen tracking polls released on Friday.

Obama retains an almost insurmountable lead in the crucial count of convention delegates who will pick the Democratic nominee, and on Friday he picked up a useful endorsement from one of those delegates – Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, one of America’s leading Hispanic politicians. Richardson had been close to the Clintons and was regarded as a possible vice-presidential choice for Hillary. His first task will be to rally Hispanic voters in the hope of averting late primary losses that would damage Obama’s chances of picking up uncommitted party officials – the so-called superdelegates likely to decide the contest.

Other Democrats are worried that Obama may have given his Republican rivals the ammunition needed to undermine his campaign. McCain insists he will not engage in dirty tricks, and his aides distributed a memo last week warning Republicans to stay away from “overheated rhetoric and personal attacks”.

Yet Republican surrogates are drooling at the prospect of linking Obama to Wright’s rants.

They intend to ask why he has stopped wearing an American flag badge on his lapel, and why his wife, Michelle, said at a rally: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country.”

The Clinton camp is treading carefully, aware that overt attacks on Obama might alienate black voters. Yet the New York senator’s aides are quietly pleased by what they regard as an overdue scrutiny of Obama’s past. They believe he will come to be seen not as some Messiah but as an unusually gifted political hack who has made compromises with dodgy associates, just like most other American politicians.

That intensifying scrutiny may soon lead to Jones’s Illinois door, and to further uncomfortable insights into the unflattering political realities that accompanied Obama’s climb from obscurity.

At one point during Obama’s 2003 Senate campaign, Jones set out to woo two African-American politicians miffed by Obama’s presumption and ambition. One of them, Rickey “Hollywood” Hendon, a state senator, had scoffed that Obama was so ambitious he would run for “king of the world” if the position were vacant.

When Jones secured the two men’s support, Obama asked his mentor how he had pulled it off. “I made them an offer,” Jones said in mock-mafioso style. “And you don’t want to know.”

Jones is now at the centre of a long row over his attempt to block proposed laws cracking down on his state’s “pay-to-play” tradition – whereby companies hoping to win government contracts have to contribute to the campaign funds of officials.

Jones’s staff say he blocked the bill because he intends to produce something tougher. No proposals have appeared.

Cynthia Canary, an activist against corruption who is fighting to have the laws passed, says Obama had little choice as an Illinois politician but to deal with an ethically dubious regime. “You hold your nose and work through the system,” she said.

Yet she also thinks America is being done a disservice by those who portray Obama as somehow above the uglier wheeler-dealing of politics. “He’s a pragmatic politician, and in the end if you think that he’s superman, your heart is going to get broken.”

Okay, Mr. Messiah isn't so perfect and doesn't quite have this so-called good judgment after all. Rezko, Rev. Wright.....hmmm....

I wonder if this stuff came out a few months ago where Obama would be right now?

Anonymous said...

This is why it isnt over:
With Michigan and Florida

Candidate Del. Supers Total

Clinton 1427 261 1688
Obama 1473 215 1688
Edwards 31 -- 31
Uncomm. 55 -- 55
Undecl. 0 373 373

Chances are Fl will be seated by committee and MI will go to the floor but will also be seated.

Given the fact that the rest of the contests favour Clinton, she is actually much better off than Obama's people would have us believe.

Anonymous said...

Well that didnt justify very well.

They both have exactly 1688 delegates when MI and Fl are added.

Dead even.

KC said...

Wow I dont know where you are getting your delegate numbers anon. Those are not the numbers at all.