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07 June 2008 13:10 EDT

Hillary Suspends!
Fairy tales, can come true, it can happen to you...
Fairy tales, can come true, it can happen to you...

Hillary Clinton speaks at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, in the Great Hall of the Pension Building (former name for the building.)

Senator Clinton, President Clinton, Senator Clintons mother and Chelsea mount the podium. She waves and yells "Thank you" a few times, "Thank you so much, thank you all". She keeps thanking while waiting for the crowd to quiet down.

Well this isn't exactly the party I planned but I sure like the company. I want to start today by saying how grateful I am to all of you...list of thank yous (who scrimped and saved to donate money, who emailed and contributed online, etc) To the moms and dads who lifted their little boys and little girls on their shoulders and whispered in their ears "see, you can be anything you want to be." Anecdotes about people who sacrificed to donate and volunteered support, women in their 80s and 90s born before women could vote.

My commitment to you and to the progress we seek is unyielding. You have humbled me with your commitment to our country...Women and men, young and old, rich, poor and middle-class, gay and straight, you have stood with me and I will continue to stand strong with you. The dreams we shared are worth fighting for. Anecdote about woman who works three jobs but has no health care, the Iraqi war vet, the feeling invisible shtick.

You'll always find me on the front lines of democracy fighting for you (crowd goes wild.) The way to continue our fight now, to accomplish our goals, is to take our energy...and help elect Barak Obama the next president of the United States (some booing but mostly wild cheers.) Today as I suspend my campaign I congratulate him...and throw my full support behind him. And I ask all of you to join me in working as hard for Barak Obama as you have for me (some boos but mostly cheers.) List of Barak Obama plaudits...Now when I started this race I intended to win back the White House and put our country back on the path to peace and progress and that's exactly what we're going to do with Barak Obama.

Now I understand that this has been a tough fight, but the democratic party is a family...we may have started on separate journeys but now our paths have merged...because so much is at stake...list of platform items (economy, prosperity, universal health care) it is a fight I will continue until every American is insured...women's rights to gay rights...promoting unionization, we all want to restore America's standing in the world and end the war in Iraq...

You know I've been involved in politics and public life in one way or another for four decades...and during those forty years our country has voted ten times for president...democrats have only won three of those elections and the man who has won two of those times is with us today...We made tremendous progress under a democratic president...think about how much more progress we could have made if we had a democratic president those forty years...(and these past seven years)...we cannot let this moment slip away. Some will say we can't do it, it's too hard, we're just not up to the task.

So today I am standing for Senator Obama and saying "Yes We Can!" ...that's why we need your help to elect Barak Obama President. On the day we live in an America where (platform items are a reality) we'll live in a stronger America. That's why we have to elect Barak Obama.

(Again, platform items...) That's why we have to elect Barak Obama our president.

When we first started people everywhere asked the same question: "Could a woman really serve as commander-in-chief?" Well I think we answered that one. And, can an African-American really be president, and I think Barak Obama has answered that one...

Now, on a personal note, when I was asked what it was like to be a woman running for president I always answered I was proud to be a woman but I was running because I thought I would be the best president...I ran as a daughter who benefitted from opportunities my mother never dreamed of, as a mother..., we must make sure that women and men alike must understand the struggles of their mothers and their grandmothers...equal pay and equal respect. Let us resolve and work towards achieving: There are no acceptable limits, there are no acceptable prejudices in the twenty-first century. You can be so proud that from now on it will be UN-remarkable for a woman to (win state primaries, to be a president of the united states) and THAT is truly remarkable my friends.

To those who are disappointed that we couldn't go all the way, especially the young people...when you stumble get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can't or shouldn't go on. As we gather here today in this historic, magnificent building...(right now the fiftieth woman is orbiting the earth) if we can launch fifty women into space we can certainly launch a woman into the white house...

List of various struggles (suffragists at Seneca Falls, civil rights workers who defeated Jim Crow.) Because of them Barak Obama and I could launch a campaign...because of them an African-American or woman can yes become president of the united helped pave the way to that day...every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high. We have to work together for what still can be...I hope and pray all of you will join me in that effort (to elect Barak Obama.) To my supporters (in congress etc) thank you...labor my friends in every stage of my family especially, Bill, Chelsea and my mother...and to my extraordinary staff and volunteers thank you and thanks to your families as well. Now being human we are imperfect, that's why we need each other, to catch each other when we falter...our lives, our freedoms, and our happiness are best protected and best advanced when we work together...we will make history together...we will stand united for the values we hold dear...there is nothing more American than...looking out at you today I have never felt so glad. The challenges I have faced in this campaign are nothing compared to what millions of Americans face every day...I'm going to keep working (for various platform items)...

This now our time, to do all that we can, to make sure in this election, to add another democratic president to that small list of the last forty years...thank you all and god bless you and god bless America (crowd cheers, speech ends.)

Article: 000092
03 June 2008 22:08 EDT

And Now Comes Obama...

Senator Obama speaks in St Paul, Minnesota (highlights.)

Note: The TV networks are beginning to call Obama the "Presumptive Nominee".

Thank you Minnesota...Thank you...Thank you so much (cheering crowd.)

What a wonderful reception...thank you St Paul, thank you Minnesota, thank you Michelle Obama (and names kids)...thank you to my brothers and sisters...thank you to my staff...thank you to my volunteers...thank you to our campaign manager (David Croft?) who has built the best political organization in the country...thank you to my grandmother who is sitting right now in Hawaii because she can't travel, who made me the man I am today...tonight is for her.

Tonight, Minnesota, after 54 hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end (crowd cheers.) 16 months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the old step capital in Springfield, Illinois...because you decided that change must come to Washington...because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your hopes and your highest aspirations...we mark the end of one journey and the beginning of another...because of you I can say that I will be the democratic nominee for the president of the United States of America (crowd goes wild.)

I want to thank...I want to thank...all those in Montana and South Dakota who stood up for change today...I want to thank every American who stood with us on the good days and the bad. I also want to thank the men and women who stood with me as fellow candidates for president...I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants...they are leaders of this party...and this is particularly true of the candidate who has travelled further than anyone else. Senator Clinton has made history in this campaign...she has made history not just because she is a woman who has done what no woman has done before...but because she is a leader who inspires. I congratulate her on her victory in South Dakota, and I congratulate on the race that she has run.

I can tell you what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning unyielding desire to improve the lives of Americans...when we win that fight (for health care) she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty it will be because she fought for those things...I am a better candidate for having run against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say this primary has left our party weaker...there are independents who discovered that this isn't just about a change in Washington, but about a need to change the end of the day we aren't the reason you came didn't do that because of me, or Senator Clinton, or anyone did that because...we can't keep doing what we've been doing. For all those who dream of this tonight...let us begin to chart a new course for America (crowd goes wild.)

In just a few short months the republican party will arrive in St Paul with a very different nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically, I respect his many accomplishments even if he chooses to deny differences with him are not personal, they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign...though he has been independent in the past, independence has not been the theme of his campaign...(links McCain to Bush)...(McCain) asks everything of our soldiers in Iraq, and nothing of Iraqi politicians...a war which isn't making America any safer...there are many words to describe McCain's policies, but change is not one of them...change does not begin with a war which should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged...what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for another 100 years when our military is being stretched...We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their country's future. It's time to refocus our efforts on Al Qaeda...climate change...terrorism, nuclear weapons...that's what change is. Not just meeting their fire power, but the power of our diplomacy...where the president of the United States isn't afraid to tell a petty dictator what our policies are.

Middle class tax break to those who need it...investing in our crumbling infrastructure...renewing our commitment to science and innovation...fiscal responsibility like when Bill Clinton was president.

John McCain is talking about making a trip to Iraq...but maybe if he went to the towns and cities in America and saw people struggling he'd understand...(health care reform...that's the change we need Minnesota...crowd cheers.) Maybe if John McCain went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job and can't afford the gas to go around looking for a job...we can't afford oil bought from dictators. And maybe if John McCain spent some time in the schools in South Carolina, or St Paul, or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans...That's why I'm running for president of the United States (crowd breaks out into a "Yes We Can!" chant.)

Now, the other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions and that is a good thing, it is a debate I look forward to...but what you don't deserve is another election which is governed by fear, and innuendo, what you won't hear from this side is...using religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon...we may call ourselves democrats, or republicans, but we are Americans first, we are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona may have seen tonight...list of various political accomplishments...beyond all the point-scoring in Washington...Americans are a decent people, united by common hopes...(historical references) it has been for every generation that has faced down the greatest challenges and most improbable odds to give their children a better world...America this is our moment, this is our turn, this is our time to turn a page on the offer a new direction for this country that we love...the journey will be difficult, the road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility...but I also face it with limitless faith in the American people...I am absolutely certain that we will look back and say this was the moment we began to provide health care, slow the rise of the oceans, heal the planet, this was the moment, this was the time, when we came together to remake this nation so it may always reflect our highest ideals...Thank you Minnesota, thank you America, God Bless You.

Article: 000091
03 June 2008 21:33 EDT

Hillary Speaks! No Decision Tonight!
What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been!
What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been!


Thank you, thank you all so much, thanks so much to South Dakota, you have the last word in this primary season...I want to start tonight by congratulating Senator Obama...our party and our democracy is stronger as a result. It has been an honor to contest these primaries, just as it is an honor to call him my friend.

Sixteen months ago we started a journey...list of states right here in the great state of New York. We saw millions of Americans registering to vote for the first time...Mothers and fathers lifting their little girls and boys onto their shoulders and saying "See, you can be anything you want to be" (crowd cheers.) I am just enormously grateful...because you asked yourself a simple question: Who would be the strongest candidate, and who would be the strongest president...who will be ready to take back the White House. People in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had a chance to let your choice be known...18 million of you voted...more votes than any primary vote in American history. Even when the pundits and the naysayers (boos) said this was over you kept voting.

You have voted because you wanted to take back the White House and because of you we won, together, the swing states necessary to get to 270 electoral votes. (Crowd chants "YES SHE CAN!") In all states you voted because you wanted a leader who can stand up for the values of the democratic party...list of platform items...I often felt that each of your votes was a prayer for your chart a new course...I am so proud we stayed the course together (crowd goes wild.)

Because we stood our ground every citizen made their voice known, 35 million voted in this primary. We have brought so many people into the democratic party...I am committed to uniting our take back the White House.

So many people felt invisible, like your president didn't even see you....I have met too many people without health care, just a diagnosis away from financial ruin...

None of you is invisible to me, you never have been. I see you, I see how hard-working you are...I will keep working for you every single day...I see the promise of America every day.

I know a lot of people are asking "what does Hillary want?" I want to end the war in Iraq, I want to turn this economy around, every child to live up to their god-given potential...every no longer remain invisible (crowd goes wild.) I have an old-fashioned notion, one which has been the basis of my life's work. That public service is about helping people...and that's what I want for every single's wrong that people pay 50% more for health care than any other wealthy nation...I've been working on this issue not for the past 16 months but for the past 16 years...I want an economy that works for all families...(jobs) That's why I souned the alarm on the mortgage crisis over a year ago. I want to restore American's leadership in the world again.

These are the issues that brought me into this race. They have been, and they will continue to be the lifeblood of my work. Your spirit has inspired me every reached out to help grab my arm, look me in the eye to tell me not to quit (crowd cheers and chants.) List of donators (Iraq vet, kid who sold his bike, lady who waited to give me a rosary.) You brought me back in Ohio, and on Super-Tuesday...list of states she won.

I will carry your stories and your dreams with me every day of my life.

The question is where do we go from here? ...I will be making no decisions tonight (crowd goes wild.) But this has always been your campaign. So to the 18 million who voted from me I want to hear you...I hope you will go to my web site at I will be consulting with (...) to determine the best way to go forward.

And I want to conclude tonight saying thank you, thank you for welcoming me into your hearts and your homes...I am humbled...thanks to the staff and volunteers, I thank your families and your loved ones. And I especially want to thank the leadership of my campaign, Terry McCauliffe who worked so hard...and especially my family, Bill and Chelsea, ...and my mother who turns 89 tomorrow. And finally I want to thank all of the people who had the courage to share all of their stories with me. Anecdote from "just yesterday", a woman was standing right up against the barrier...she grabbed my hand and said what are you going to do about health care? She works three jobs, she suffers from seizures, she can't afford health care...whatever path I travel next I promise I wlll keep faith....

Tonight we stand just a few miles from the statue of liberty and where the twin towers fell...a constant reminder that we are brilliant, we are courageous, no barrier we can't overcome, no dream we can't realize, if we just start acting like Americans again...Thank you! And God Bless America!

Article: 000090
03 June 2008 17:28 EDT

And So It Ends?
Barak Obama - Iron Man?
Barak Obama — Iron Man?

In his amusing NY Observer article "American Cutie" Tom McGeveran says:
Maybe the Obama Oval Office can still feel indie even after the first incident forces him to choose between upsetting Palestinians or upsetting Israel;organizing trade with China and protesting Tibet; saving the economy or offering middle-class taxpayers a break. Like Iron Man — a movie with a big indie heart and a giant budget and record-breaking box office.
Not a bad analogy, Barak Obama as "Iron Man", the independent movie which didn't come out of big Hollywood but was a huge box office success.

So what would John McCain be? How about "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"? You know the hero is too old for these antics, definitely an 80's hold-over, but you're curious what the maverick will do anyhow.

And Hillary Clinton? Definitely "The Transformers", something you thought was way cool when you were younger, back again trying to milk that nostalgia. But somehow seeing this transformer transform doesn't feel quite right when it's all big Hollywood, even if you know that's what transformers do, they transform! Well, maybe now she can transform into a VP candidate, we'll just have to wait and see.

Onwards to tonight's South Dakota and Montana democratic primary results, and any upcoming Hillary, Obama, and McCain comments.

Article: 000089
20 May 2008 17:39 EDT

Kentucky & Oregon & The Inconclusive End...
Big Brown Wins The Kentucky Derby!
Big Brown Wins The Kentucky Derby!

Kentucky, The Bluegrass State, home of the Derby (Big Brown won this year, and won the Preakness last week so has a shot at the triple crown), and Oregon, The Beaver State, where vast fields of that important pizza spice oregano were discovered by the Lewis & Clark expedition, have their primaries today.

There are about 100 delegates in play today, specifically 51 tied to Kentucky's primary plus 9 superdelegates, and Oregon has 52 tied to today's primary plus 13 superdelegates.

Expectations are that Clinton will win Kentucky by a large margin and Obama should win Oregon by a few points.

The current count gives Obama 1,613 pledged delegates plus 305 superdelegates for a total of 1,918, and Clinton 1,442 pledged plus 277 superdelegates totalling 1,719.

The new number being used, to win the nomination, is 2,026, so Obama is (before today's primaries) short by 108 and Clinton 307. It's unlikely either candidate will reach that 2,026 number today or by the end of the primaries which have now ticked down to Puerto Rico (6/1, 55 pledged, 8 super), Montana (6/3, 16 pledged, 9 super), and South Dakota (6/3, 15 pledged, 8 super) on the democratic side.

So after tonight there are only 86 delegates plus 25 superdelegates left in primary states. There are a few more superdelegates out there such as the 2 at-large, Edwards' 19 delegates most of which have already committed and are in the above candidates' numbers.

It's likely Obama and Clinton will roughly split today's primaries with probably a few more to Clinton, about 50 each plus some split of the 22 superdelegates, let's call it 61 each for argument's sake. Add in half each of the remaining (though Clinton is expected to do very well in Puerto Rico) and we have another 111 or 55 each, so 105 each if we split them evenly.

This means Obama can in theory come within three delegate votes of clinching the nomination but that's not what's going to happen because Clinton will get somewhat more of the remaining 111 delegates putting Obama just out of reach, perhaps 15 or 20 delegates short, of claiming the crown. Yes, that close.

At this point we suspect it's very likely Obama will bridge that gap and win the nomination. It seems too easy for Obama to dig up 20 delegates given the open, uncommitted nature of superdelegates unless Hillary surprisingly sweeps these few remaining primaries putting it further than a few delegates, or even somehow grabs some superdelegates thought to be Obama's.

19:30 Both CNN and NBC have projected Hillary Clinton the winner in Kentucky. She's leading Obama almost 60/40.

20:15 Hillary comes to the podium with Bill Clinton in Kentucky to give victory speech. "Thank you Kentucky!", "Where every man and woman has a fair chance", makes a statement about Ted Kennedy, talks about projects she's worked on with senator Kennedy, "five extraordinary decades devoted to America", "we wish him well and send our thoughts and prayers to him", "it's not just Kentucky bluegrass which sounds like music to my ears", "some said that your votes didn't count", "we're winning the popular vote and I'm more determined than ever that every vote is cast and every ballot counted", "though we've been outspent massively your support has helped us get our message out", "go to and together we'll make history, and together we will make history and I can't do it without you", (crowd interrupts chanting "Hillary! Hillary!"), "more people have voted for me than anyone who has ever run for the democratic nomination, that's more than 17 million votes", "for too long too many Americans have felt invisible in their own country, well, you're not invisible to me, I've been fighting for you" (crowd cheers), "every single American deserves quality health care, a shot at the American dream", college, secure retirement, etc, "if we only had a president ready, willing, and able to lead" (crowd interrupts with "Yes she (we?) can"), end the war in Iraq, restore our moral leadership in the world, "we believe America is worth fighting for", "never giving up, and never giving in", "not because I want to demonstrate my toughness...but because I believe the democrats have to take back the white house", "that's why I'm still running and that's why you're still voting", "and I'm going on now to campaign in Montana, South Dakota, and Puerto Rico, and I'm going to stand up for the voters in Florida and Michigan", "I'm going to keep making our case whoever SHE may be!" (crowd goes wild), "It's especially sweet because Kentucky has a knack for picking presidents", "this state voted twice for a president named Clinton", "neither Obama or I have won the 2,210 delegates necessary to secure the nomination", "neither senator Obama nor I will reach that number when the voting ends on June 3rd", who is ready (to lead us out of the war on Iraq etc), I want to thank Bill and Chelsea, various Kentucky campaign people, "grateful to the Kentucky veterans for Hillary", to Terry McCauliffe, "I have one more request to my supporters everyone who has put up signs etc...keep working, keep fighting for everything you believe is right...people ask me how I keep going, well it is you who keeps me going...women who were born before women could vote, 89 year old (???name???), Andrea Steagall who's drove across Kentucky to tell me her and her husband in Iraq support me, some 11 year old kid who sold his bike to support her campaign, I finally had a chance to meet him in Prestonburg, the $422 you raised help carry the day in Kentucky","That's why I'm in this race", "the state motto of Kentucky is ``United we stand, divided we fall''", "we will come together as a party united by common goals...when we do there will be no stopping us...Thank You And God Bless You And God Bless America!" (ok that wasn't quite a transcript but it's the high points.)

20:38 With almost 85% of the vote in it's safe to say that Hillary Clinton has won Kentucky by a landslide, 65% to 30%, 35 percentage points, over 200,000 more votes than Obama.

22:13 Obama addresses supporters in Des Moines, Iowa. "It is good to be back in Iowa!", thanks campaign workers, "I just want to take a point of personal privilege and say I sure have a nice looking wife and kids!", speaks about senator Edward Kennedy, "so many of us here have benefitted in some way because of the battles he waged", "let Ted Kennedy know that we are thinking of him, that we are praying for him...", "15 months ago in the depths of winter it was in this great state that we took the first steps...", "by the fall the pundits in Washington had all but counted us out, but the people of Iowa had a different idea" (crowd goes wild), "will this country go down the same road which has failed us for so long, or will we choose a new path...", lists goals, an America where a family doesn't have to declare bankruptcy because a child got sick, where they don't lose their home because of some deceptive lender, "a nation which is a beacon of all that is good about America", "you're democrats who are tired of being divided, but also republicans who no longer identify with the party which runs washington", (you're farmers, factory workers, veterans), "you stood for change, and because you did a few thousand stood up, and then a few million stood up, and tonight Iowa in the fullness of spring...we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates", "the road here has been long, there have been some bumps along the way, I've made some mistakes", "in her 35 years of public service senator Hillary Clinton has never given up in her fight for the American people", notes Kentucky win, "she has changed an America in which your daughters and my daughters have come of age", "the hardest and most important part of our journey lies ahead", comments on John McCain, that the republican party has been a contest to see which candidate can out-Bush the other and John McCain has won that contest, lists McCain policies, Iraq war, tax cuts, lobbyists are now running John McCain's campaign, "I will leave it up to senator McCain to explain (his policies) but the one thing they don't represent is change", lists change items, a tax code which will reward businesses which create jobs here instead of shipping them overseas, health insurance, energy policy that doesn't involve buddying up to the Saudi royal family and then begging them for oil, that will create millions of new jobs, change is parents who turn off the TV and the video game and read to their children once in a while, ending a war we never should have started, finishing with al Qaeda, the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy, that is the choice in this election (crowd cheers), "the question of whether this country, this moment, will keep doing what it's been doing for the past four years", "it's our turn to choose", "(the other party) will play on our fears, on our doubts, try to distract from the issues which matter", "it won't work because you won't let it work" (crowd interrupts with "YES WE CAN!" chant), "my faith in the decency and honesty and generosity is not based on false hope or blind optimism, but what I've seen in this state, when we were dismissed by all the polls and the pundits...", list of types of people who helped with his campaign (old people, students, etc), "Iowa, change is coming to America", "change is coming to America Iowa", "a better day is still possible if people are willing to work for it, to fight for it", "our journey may be long...we are ready to believe again, Thank You America, Thank You Iowa" (again, not a transcript, just high points.)

23:28 Both CNN and NBC have projected Barak Obama to win Oregon.

01:15 With 65% of the vote in it's safe to say that Barack Obama has won Oregon by a landslide, almost 60% to 40%, 20 percentage points, 75,000 more votes than Clinton.

The interesting question is why did Clinton do so well over Obama in Kentucky, and Obama did just about as well over Clinton in Oregon, 60/40 and 40/60? It leads to speculation about region or race or whatever but it all seems kind of silly when Chris Matthews and Tim Russert and David Gregory repeat their anthropological theories over and over and over and over again, appalachia, appalachia, yup, it's them Hatfields and McCoys who threw this election!

And another thing! The media has to stop saying over and over and over how Hillary is determined to stay in the race until June! JUNE IS NEXT WEEK or thereabouts, 'kay? In April this "Hillary until June" thing sounded like news...Really, until June? Wow. But it's now late May, so let go of it before you're still saying it in July.

Democratic Primary
votes / % / delegates
Clinton Obama Uncommitted reporting
458,955 / 65% / 37* 209,763 / 30% / 14 18,027 / 3% / – 100%
242,266 / 41% / 19 344,410 / 59% / 29 94%

Republican Primary
votes / % / delegates
Huckabee McCain Paul reporting
16,238 / 8% / 0 142,854 / 72% / 42* 13,439 / 7% / 0 100%
268,724 / 85% / 27* 47,304 / 15% / 0 94%

* Projected winner

Article: 000089
14 May 2008 17:14 EDT

John Edwards Photo
Remember me?
John Edwards Endorses Barak Obama in Grand Rapids, MI

After telling CBS news' Bob Schieffer on Face The Nation May 11th that in recent weeks Hillary Clinton has become a stronger candidate Edwards has now endorsed Barak Obama. Maybe he didn't get the phone call from Hillary he was expecting in response to his praise Sunday morning.

John Edwards got over seven per cent of the vote in West Virginia yesterday, 26,188.

Edwards: Obama VP Pick?

Probably not, but if you want to read more about why some think this might be a good idea see this "Political Insider" article.

18:40 Barak Obama takes the podium, acknowledges that he didn't campaign in Michigan. Very upbeat. Introduces John Edwards, Bruce Springsteen's "The Rising" playing as he mounts podium.

"What am I doing here?" Edwards starts with. "I want to say a word about your friend and my friend Senator Hillary Clinton..." Lists bunch of campaign issues (health care, etc) he's spoken to Clinton about, and that they agree on the issues. "It is very, very hard to get up every morning and do what she has done". "She is a woman of steel". "This battle...will be over soon." "We are a stronger party because Hillary Clinton is a democrat." "Now, what brought all of us the profound..." Crowd interrupts chanting "O-BAM-A O-BAM-A".

"There's a wall...and the American people are on the outside of that wall...big corporations are on the inside". "...Our job come next January is to tear that wall down!..." "...cut poverty in half...Barak Obama stands with me..." Education, health care, continues with "wall" metaphor. "Also a wall that's divided our image in the world...all the world sees now is a bully...a government that argues that waterboarding is not torture...that wall's got to come down...we can change it, we can change it, yes we can!" Crowd chants "YES WE CAN YES WE CAN".

"There is one man who knows how to create the change, the lasting change you have to build from the ground up...and that man is Barak Obama!" Crowd goes wild.

Tells the James Lowe story about the man who lived for 50 years unable to speak due to cleft palate due to lack of health care.

Repeats many of the same issues using "One America where..." instead of "wall". "One America that rebuilds our moral authority in the world." "One America where the walls will fall!" (mixes both metaphors!)

"This is our time to take down these walls...if you want that...then join me in sending Barak Obama to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue..." "...Thank you, god bless you, and good bye."

Article: 000087
13 May 2008 17:05 EDT

New River Gorge Bridge
New River Gorge Bridge, WV
West, By God, Virginia!
Or...Obama Flips WV The Bird

We've all heard by now how Barak Obama didn't campaign in West Virginia, so somehow today's primary isn't very important because it'll just go to Clinton almost by default.

But what about the people of West Virginia? How do they feel about a nominee and presidential contender who writes them off as unimportant?

Or, worse, the implication that W. Virginia has very few non-whites, so Obama stayed away.

You can really sense the bias for Obama in the media by the silence on this issue. If Hillary Clinton had written off North Carolina as "too black" the media would have been howling day and night about it. In fact Bill Clinton campaigned like hell in North Carolina. But then again no one doubts Bill Clinton's confidence that he can reach out to all Americans except perhaps hard-line right-wingers.

There's something ugly about Obama's skipping West Virginia, we hope this becomes part of the public dialog.

21:16 Hillary wins West Virginia by a landslide! With 12% of the vote counted she leads Obama almost 2 to 1.

21:20 Hillary Clinton West Virginia victory speech is strong, forceful, no indication she's giving up. She points out that no democrat has won the White House without carrying West Virginia since 1916 (Woodrow Wilson.) Very upbeat, "God Bless America!"

21:25 Can't find any results from the Nebraska non-binding republican primary. We'll project John McCain the winner!

22:11 With almost 50% of the vote in Hillary is ahead of Obama in West Virginia by almost 2.5 to 1.

It looks like democrat Travis Childers has won a special election for Mississippi's northern congressional district. That would be three republican districts (including former speaker of the house Dennis Hastert's district) which have gone to democrats.

Democratic Primary
votes / % / delegates
Clinton Obama Edwards reporting
West Virginia
239,062 / 67% / 20* 91,652 / 26% / 8 26,188 / 7% / 0 100%

Republican Primary
votes / % / delegates
Huckabee McCain Paul reporting
West Virginia
12,175 / 10% / 0 89,683 / 76% / 9* 5,914 / 5% / 0 100%

* Projected winner

Article: 000086
06 May 2008 19:17 EDT

Hoosiers and Tar Heels!

Civil War Era Tar Heel Postcard
Civil War Era Tar Heel Postcard
No one really knows the origin of either the nicknames "Hoosiers" for people from Indiana or "Tar Heels" for North Carolinians but their primaries are in the spotlight tonight as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue their slugfest in those two states.

19:21 In early results Clinton seems to be whoopin' Obama 60/40 in Indiana

19:30 NBC News projects Obama wins North Carolina though nobody seems to have any vote results yet.

19:41 CNN projects Obama wins North Carolina though nobody seems to have any vote results yet.

21:45 Clinton's lead over Obama in Indiana narrows to 4% with 75% of the vote in. Obama appears to have a solid win in North Carolina, 57%/41% (the rest voted "no preference".)

23:12 Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, and Keith Olbermann are babbling endlessly on MSNBC like they're a paid propaganda machine to convince their viewing audience that it's over for Hillary, that it's just a fact. Now Pat Buchanan is saying her speech tonight was a "Hail and farewell" speech (we didn't see that.)

We still maintain that Clinton's eyes are set on the fact that either one candidate attains 2,025 delegates or we go to a brokered convention and a nominee is chosen by other means. It's not enough to walk in with the majority of delegates, it takes 2,025 to wrap it up.

It might be true that Hillary can't attain 2,025 delegates, but it's highly unlikely Obama will either. That means neither wins, and the nomination is opened to the floor of the convention.

01:33 Clinton is projected to win Indiana but by a slimmer margin than expected earlier in the evening. With 99% of the vote reported Clinton leads Obama by 22,412 votes out of 1,254,136 cast or less than 2%.

Democratic Primary
votes / % / delegates
Clinton Obama reporting
638,274 / 51% / 37 615,862 / 49% / 33 99%
North Carolina
654,484 / 42% / 31 887,186 / 56% / 20 99%

Republican Primary
votes / % / delegates
Huckabee McCain Paul Romney reporting
41,018 / 10% / 0 317,837 / 77% / 57* 31,481 / 8% / 0 19,480 / 5% / 0 99%
North Carolina
62,351 / 12% / 0 378,020 / 74% / 69* 40,026 / 8% / 0 20,123 / 4% / 0
(no preference)

* Projected winner

Article: 000085
04 May 2008 13:02 EDT

Guam's Latte Stones
Guam's Latte Stones
Clinton, Obama Split Guam

Clinton and Obama split Saturday's Guam caucuses 4 delegates each though each Guam delegate gets only 1/2 vote so it's 2 delegate votes gained by each candidate (got that?)

Obama received seven more votes than Clinton, 2,264 to 2,257.

CNN's current delegate estimate is Obama 1,493 pledged, 243 super, total 1,736 and Clinton 1,334 pledged, 265 super, total 1,599. That accounting separates the two candidates by 137 delegates.

We wonder if either candidate has ever been to Guam?

Here's a link to the Guampedia.

And Onwards to Tuesday To End All Tuesdays Number 3!

On Tuesday Indiana and North Carolina vote in their democratic party primaries. There are 72 delegates up for grabs in Indiana plus 12 super-delegates. Of the 12 Indiana super-delegates five have already committed to Obama and four to Clinton, so three remain uncommitted.

North Carolina has 115 delegates which will be decided by Tuesday's vote plus 19 super-delegates (total 134.)

A total of 187 delegates are therefore up for grabs on Tuesday, plus 31 super-delegates nine of which are already committed. Neither candidate can wrap it up (required: 2,025) even if they took 100% of the delegates on Tuesday, but decisive wins or losses by either candidates could change the dialogue.

Article: 000084
30 April 2008 18:12 EDT

Barack Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright
Poseurs? Or "Hi! I'm with Stupid!"?
The Obama / Wright Controversy

Here's a theory: Barack Obama didn't go to the Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) much, he doesn't really know Jeremiah Wright very well.

You'll say wait, Obama says Wright married him, baptized his children, even inspired the title of one of his books ("The Audacity of Hope" is taken from a Wright sermon.)

So what? How many couples together some years can't even name the minister who married them or baptized their kids (or administered last rites for a loved one.) Ok, we don't believe the Obamas were quite that random and just paid some minister to do the deeds.

But maybe they weren't in church very much? Is there really any evidence Barack Obama actually attended church much?

The problem is that there is a pattern in the dialogue from Barack Obama. He often relies on negatives, on non-events to make a point.

For example, he says over and over that HE didn't vote for the Iraq war, and Hillary Clinton did.

But Obama wasn't IN the senate in 2003, so he couldn't possibly have voted one way or the other for the funding of the Iraq war.

Similarly, Obama makes various claims about not having any relationships with (taking money from, at least) lobbyists and PACs. But that falls somewhat to the same basic reasoning. He's only been in the Senate since January 2005, such junior senators don't often have many such relationships in their first term in the senate though we suppose he could have developed a few (it would be interesting to compare him to other freshman senators.)

Now he says he's never heard Wright say anything like the things people are reacting negatively to, and if he had he would have quit the congregation.

Studying the above here's an explanation: If he rarely went to church then of course he never would have heard Wright speak like that. Maybe because he hasn't heard Wright talk much at all?!

This wouldn't be shocking news, that Obama only appeared to be an active member of TUCC. Oprah attended the church for a while, so did MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall when she lived in Chicago (she's said this on her show.) Apparently it was the "see and be seen" church for upwardly mobile african-americans in Chicago.

So, where's the evidence of Obama's church attendance?

P.S. AS WE TYPE THIS (~18:49 EDT) Ed Schultz is asking EXACTLY the same question on David Gregory's show on the TV across the room. And now Pat Buchanan lit up and agrees, maybe Obama never went to church much and is now being hoisted on his own petard (i.e., Obama exaggerated his church attendance.) It's the logical explanation. David Gregory completely drops the ball and change the subject back to the well-worn script.

Article: 000083
22 April 2008 20:40 EDT
This has absolutely nothing to do with the state of Pennsylvania
Glenn Miller Orchestra – PEnnsylvania 6-5000

Hillary Takes it by 10%

20:40 Well, it's finally here! At this hour Senator Clinton is pulling ahead though very few votes are in so far.

20:50 MSNBC projects Senator Clinton will win Pennsylvania.

21:08 Why are Tim Russert and Chris Matthews continuing to assert the lie that the Democratic Party rules mandate that if Obama has more delegates he must be the nominee? That's simply not true. Either you go into the convention with 2,024 or more delegates, or it goes back to the floor.

21:11 CNN projects Senator Clinton the winner.

21:52 FLASH! Chris Matthews, Tim Russert, Keith Olbermann, and Brian Williams have completely run out of things to say, but they keep talking, like zombies in TV land.

22:12 The new narrative: Obama has failed to win any battleground states, Clinton has won all of them (e.g., NY, NJ, OH, TX, and now PA.) The only large state Obama has won is Illinois and that's his home state. Democrats have to win the states Senator Clinton has won if they are to win the election. Why can't Obama win even one of them, even with his much larger campaign war chest?

22:16 Senator Clinton speaks to supporters in Pennsylvania, "Today you chose". "I thank you Pennsylvania." "I'm in this race to fight for you." "You (in uniform on tours of duty) deserve a commander in chief who will finally bring you home." "Because of you (everyone) the tide is turning." "It is high time we stopped talking about our problems and started solving them!" "We're going to end the war on science and have a renewed commitment to science and research." "Will we be the can-do nation that defies the odds and does the impossible?" (cheers) "Will we take back the White House and take back our country?" (cheers) "Yes We Will! Thank You!"

22:46 Obama speaks to supporters, congratulates Senator Clinton, "She ran a terrific race" hushing booing from audience. "We rallied people of every age and race and background to the cause." "Whether they were inspired for the first time, or the first time in a long time, we registered a record number of voters." Long speech, usual stuff, YES WE CAN! Lobbyists are bad, politicians make promises and then go back to Washington and forget those promises and it's politics as usual. "Now is our turn to follow in the footsteps of all those generations who sacrificed and struggled to affect our improbable union...If we're willing to believe in what's possible again...we will change this country, we will change the world, that's our task, let's get to work, less you!"

Democratic Primary
votes / % / delegates
Clinton Obama reporting
1,258,278 / 55% / 81* 1,042,573 / 45% / 69 99%

Republican Primary
votes / % / delegates
Huckabee McCain Paul reporting
91,211 / 11% / 0 585,448 / 73% / 74* 128,188 / 16%/ 0 99%

* Projected Winner

Article: 000082
08 April 2008 17:50 EDT

Ying Ying
Don't Mess With Us!
Anti-Tibet Liberals Are Idiots!

We don't mean their cause.

We mean that they should have gotten themselves at least one commie-hating anti-red chicom yellow peril spouting right wing radio host or senator or something and focused on that angle.

Then they might've had Dick Cheney marching in front of their parade.

Ok, perhaps they don't want Dick Cheney marching in front of their parade. How about Governor Schwarzeneggar?

Anyhow, they might've attracted a very broad segment of anti-oppression Americans from Tibet supporters to unabashed Chicom haters to Free the Kurds (hey what about the poor Kurds?!)

Hatred of oppression by totalitarian bullies is one place where left and right wingers intersect. It's sad to see the opportunity missed and watch this become another "oh those annoying liberals" issue.

Article: 000081
06 April 2008 19:15 EDT

The USS Condoleeza Rice
The USS Condoleeza Rice – Not a joke photo
Condoleeza Rice Wants the Republican VP Spot?

According to ABC news (see link below) Condoleeza Rice is "actively courting the Vice Presidential nomination".

Granted she's been serving as Secretary of State since 2005 and was Bush's National Security Advisor before that, 2001-2005. She also served in Bush's father's administration as Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor. In between the two Bush administrations she was a professor of political science at Stanford University and also served as Provost there, and was an assistant and associate professor at Stanford previously.

She's obviously an enormously intelligent and highly educated person and a very accomplished person professionally. Even her musical (she's a pianist) credentials are impressive, see her wikipedia page.

We just have one problem.

As National Security Advisor and in particular for the past three years as Secretary of State she sucked!

What has she accomplished? Under her watch as National Security Advisor we had the 9/11 attacks. Ok, perhaps it's unfair to lay those at her feet but there were a lot of lapses in national security surrounding that attack which have yet to be answered for. For example, former CIA director George Tenet claimed in testimony that he tried to warn Rice about impending Al Qaeda activity two months before the 9/11 attacks. Rice said she had no recollection of any such meeting. That leaves something to be desired no matter what the truth.

More specifically, as Secretary of State, what has she accomplished? Secretary of State is head of the State Department which acts primarily as our diplomatic corps, ambassadors to other countries, that sort of thing.

In the past several years the world has largely come to dislike and distrust (and, in more than a few cases, stronger words) the United States.

Ok, that's vague and hard to measure. Here's something easier to measure. Bush has repeatedly, from just before the invasion of Iraq, tried to get military involvement from other nations. The "coalition of the willing", as the Bush administration has referred to our "multi-national coalition in Iraq" has been a bad joke consisting of nations like Poland and Peru (and England of course.) Nothing against Poland or Peru but it's not exactly the same as getting one of the G5 countries like France or Italy or, heaven forfend, some Arab countries which may've given us a few troops who could actually speak arabic!

Granted some of that failure has to be laid at the feet of Colin Powell who would probably blame others in the administration if he felt like responding at all. But Secty Rice has been in the position for a few years now and hasn't done anything of note in this regard. And it's not for lack of trying.

Secretary Rice was an outspoken supporter of the Iraq invasion and subsequent war. Just before the invasion she wrote an editorial in the New York Times asserting that Iraq was lying about not having weapons of mass destruction. She is much more than just a casual by-stander in the Iraq war debacle. In her famous January 10th, 2003 statement on Wolf Blitzer's CNN show, just a few weeks before the US invasion of Iraq, Rice said:

The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he [ed. Saddam Hussein] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

Now, there are two possibilities. Either she honestly believed Iraq was an imminent threat, in which case she was very seriously wrong (we went to war over such beliefs!), or she was shilling for the Bush administration.

Neither choice is very palatable in a person seeking to be one heartbeat away from president.

Another stated goal of the Bush administration is to accomplish something in the Israeli/Palestinian (and surrounding areas) conflict. Every few months we're told Secty Rice has flown to that region to try to open some doors, but nothing of note has happened.

Need we say anything about the recent experiences between the US and Iran? Last week, when our side lost the battle in Basra, an Iranian general was involved in the other side. We can't even keep the Iranians from helping to kill our troops.

And what about immigration? You might think if the US was so concerned with millions of immigrants coming across the US/Mexican border we might see some work with the Mexican government to address this problem. Instead, we're building a fence. We can understand a fence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, there's open hostility between those two entities, but you might expect the US and Mexico to be a little more cooperative.

Relations with China would also be under Secretary Rice's purview, so if you're not ecstatic about our relations with China...

Granted John McCain hasn't commented on Secretary Rice's ambitions but we just can't see why he would want the foremost symbol of the failures of the Bush administration as a running mate.

And, yes, she really did have a Chevron oil super-tanker named for her. She headed Chevron's committee on public policy immediately before becoming National Security Advisor in 2001. Perhaps her real goal is to get an aircraft carrier named after herself?

Article: 000080
05 April 2008 12:29 EDT

Hillary Bored
Next Question?
Why Democrats Are Idiots

Ok, now we've been treated to the Clintons' tax returns for several years after loud calls for them primarily from Obama supporters. And of course this has led to media scrutiny and suspicious comments in the press mostly about items which some reporter just isn't completely clear on. Not that there's anything wrong (so far), just that some item here or there isn't understood by the public at all, and some reporter (or they can feign ignorance), so now they can proceed to make stories out of these unknowns like amateur IRS auditors with Gallup families.

But where are John McCain's tax returns?


Oh, right, now I remember, this race ultimately isn't about Clinton v. Obama, it's about the democratic party v. the republican party. barring some third-party miracle. And that means the democratic nominee v. John McCain.

Idiots, the democrats just swift-boated themselves. Karl Rove and other republican operatives must be laughing their asses off.

Article: 000079
03 April 2008 17:59 EDT

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews Full of Shit! Film At 11!

In the first place, every single day on his "Hardball" show he says at least once in regards to the democratic primary how Thomas Jefferson said that democracy requires that if a candidate wins by even ONE vote then we must accept the outcome. He always says this as a scold aimed at the Clinton campaign. Every damned day, over and over (I know: Change the channel!)

How about this Jefferson quote:

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.

Jefferson didn't have the opportunity to watch Hardball but perhaps we can infer its application. Or this quote:

Speeches that are measured by the hour will die with the hour.

Here is the entire quote Matthews is referring to, it is from a letter sent by Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt in 1817:

The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris partis is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society enounced by the majority of a single vote, as sacred as if unanimous, is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt. This law once disregarded, there is no other but that of force, which ends necessarily in military despotism.

Which is essentially what Matthews is saying. However, one embedded use of this quote is in "The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure", Alice F. Sturgis, and goes on to say:

One exception to the principle of requiring only a majority vote is when the vote restricts the right of full and free discussion, as with a motion to limit debate or to close debate. These motions require a two-thirds vote.

An interesting comment though not catastrophic to Matthews' thesis.

However, what is catastrophic is Matthews' repeated unspoken assumption that the nomination for the democratic presidential candidate is decided by a simple majority vote.

That is simply untrue, and Matthews knows this even if he does usually manage to have a shill nearby to agree with the "spirit" of what he's saying, generally some Obama fanatic (e.g., Michelle Bernard.)

The democratic party nomination process requires a candidate obtain a majority of the delegates to win the nomination, not a simple majority. This is a very common election procedure and is even defined carefully in the above Sturgis reference.

A majority of the delegates in this democratic nomination election is 2,024.

That is, it is not enough for one candidate to have simply more delegates than the other candidate(s). They must have at least 2,024 delegates.

And if no candidate obtains 2,024 delegates then the convention is brokered.

Here is the quote from that wikipedia page:

Once the first ballot has been held, and no candidate has a majority of delegate votes, the convention is then considered brokered, and the nomination is decided through political horse-trading and further ballots

Put simply, if neither candidate has the required 2,024 delegates then, except for its memory, the entire vote is procedurally discarded and a new process takes effect to pick a nominee.

Those are the rules no matter how many times Matthews quotes Thomas Jefferson's completely irrelevant (to this contest) comment.

Now, what is the likelihood of a brokered convention as described?

This brings up another bugaboo of Matthews. He claims, repeatedly, and again usually with an Obama shill nearby to nod agreement, that it is some sort of violation or rewrite of the rules to seat Michigan and Florida's delegates.

Unfortunately for Matthews' willful ignorance there are written procedures within the democratic party to re-seat those delegates at the convention or even before. This is why Howard Dean (chairman, DNC) and others have been considering allowing Michigan and Florida to re-vote. It's one of the ways for the delegates to get re-seated according to the rules.

There are also procedures for seating the Michigan and Florida delegates at the convention. The Chair of the Credentials committee can present this for a vote on the floor, debate proceeds, and a vote taken. If the majority votes for Michigan and/or Florida to be re-seated then they are re-seated.

Are you listening Matthew fans? There is a procedure already in place to re-seat the Michigan and Florida delegates! It's NOT cheating.

Read all about the grisly details in this PDF file: Call For the 2008 Democratic National Convention , dated February 7, 2006. Pay particular attention to sections VII and VIII which outline the procedure for re-seating delegates.

Of the very, very few who have bothered to look into this rather than just shooting off with their mouths some have said that this is moot anyhow because the procedure requires a majority of the sitting delegates to vote to reinstate Michigan and Florida and if Hillary Clinton doesn't have a majority going in then it's unlikely a majority made up of Obama delegates will vote to seat Michigan and Florida.

That's pure horsepucky, or wild speculation at best. Florida, in particular, was unseated because of the action of their Republican legislature and Republican governor who moved the state's primary back in violation of the DNC rules. That might garner some sympathy to let them vote even among seated delegates who aren't guaranteed that the make-up of the unseated delegates is entirely to their liking. The issue will be one of fair play, something Matthews often accuses Clinton of being less than interested in.

That is, the four thousand some-odd delegates aren't likely to act ruthlessly and exclude Michigan and Florida from voting should the convention become brokered. Candidates might act in a selfish manner, but thousands (or hundreds) of delegates aren't likely to be swayed by such Machiavellian impulses.

Granted that's speculation on our part, and just like those claiming to know that the delegates won't vote to seat Florida and Michigan, we don't really know, and they don't really know, so let's move on.

The point is that there is an established procedure to re-seat the Florida and Michigan delegates. There is nothing underhanded about this despite Matthews' protestations and dissembling.

Why is this important? Because, and this is where Matthews get even his own point of view completely wrong, if you don't seat the Florida and Michigan delegates then a brokered convention is more likely. Florida has 211 delegates at stake, Michigan 157 for a total of 368 delegates or nearly 10% of the total delegates.

But let's do some math. Assume CNN is correct and the delegate and super-delegate count right now is Obama 1,626, Clinton 1,486.

So what's left if we go to the bitter end, without Michigan and Florida?

Date State(s) Delegates
April 22 Pennsylvania 187
May 3 Guam 9
May 6 Indiana, North Carolina 85 + 134 = 219
May 13 West Virginia 39
May 20 Kentucky, Oregon 60 + 65 = 125
June 1 Puerto Rico 63
June 3 Montana, South Dakota 25 + 23 = 48
Total   690

Plus there are 2 (two) unassigned super-delegates yet to be assigned, so let's call it 692 remaining delegates to be voted for. Note that these include super-delegates which may not be beholden to their state's popular vote.

For starters let's assume the two candidates split these evenly, 346 each. That would give 1,972 delegates and Clinton 1,832.

If that's the result then neither candidate has won the nomination. Period. Not "Obama is a little ahead so let's give it to him."


You need 2,024 delegates or else the convention is brokered and other procedures come into play. For example, someone like Al Gore or Joe Biden or John Edwards could get nominated from the floor and win the nomination...POOF!

Or a "dark horse candidate" could arise, someone we're not even thinking about. In fact, that's exactly where the term "dark horse candidate" comes from in this context."

From the Wikipedia entry for "dark horse":

"A dark horse candidate is one who is nominated unexpectedly, without previously having been discussed or considered as a likely choice...The expression was soon applied to James K. Polk, a relatively unknown Tennessee Democrat who won the Democratic Party's 1844 presidential nomination over a host of better-known candidates. Polk won the nomination on the eighth ballot, and went on to win the 1844 presidential election."

The article proceeds to name several more dark horse candidates in US presidential races. It's not even all that rare. Lincoln was a dark horse, as were Hayes, Pierce, Garfield, Harding, and two unsuccessful candidates John W. Davis and Wendell Wilkie. So six of our presidents out of 43 were dark horses or about 14% and the vast majority went on to become president.

Let's try one more scenario. In order to win a candidate needs 2,024 delegates. The current leader, Obama, has 1,626 so needs 2,024 - 1,626 which is 398 more delegates. There are 692 remaining to be voted on, so Obama needs 57.5% of the remaining delegates. Hillary has 1,486 so needs 2,024 - 1,486 or 538 more delegates, about 77.7%.

Now here's where people get tricky. They ignore the Obama number above and say look! Hillary needs over 75% (or "nearly 80%" if they really want to be shrill) of the remaining delegates to win! How likely is that?!

Well, by the same token Obama needs nearly 60% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination, how likely is that?!

Granted it's much more likely that Obama will get 60% of the remaining delegates than Hillary will get nearly 80% of them.

But the most likely outcome, based on the race thus far, is that they come much closer to splitting the remaining delegates so neither gets the required 2,024 and we get a brokered convention.

But the point is that the thus far uncounted delegates from Michigan and Florida are very important to settling this nomination process if it doesn't get settled before the convention. They're important to Obama as well as Clinton even if some pundits are guessing they give Clinton an edge. But without them it's likely there simply aren't enough delegate votes to give either candidate the required 2,024.

Let's finish our arithmetic exercise. Add the 368 Michigan and Florida delegates to the 692 thus far undecided and we get 1,060 more delegates at stake. Split them evenly, 530 each for Obama and Clinton. That would give Obama 2,156 delegates and Clinton 2,016 AND OBAMA WOULD WIN FAIR AND SQUARE!.

Ok, that makes the big assumption that the remaining 1,060 delegates, including Florida and Michigan, goes 50/50, but it does leave a margin of 132 votes for Obama. That is, even if he wins 132 less than 50% of the remaining delegates, including Florida and Michigan, he still wins. Or, put another way, Obama would only need about 37.5% (398) of those delegates. Those aren't bad odds.

As to Chris Matthews, we lost interest in exposing his heavily biased spin about half-way through this article. But he should be ashamed of himself. Or, better, he should realize he's not getting away with it. Not so long as we are here for you, dear readers.

Article: 000078
02 April 2008 2:29 EDT

Hoax Exposed!
Hoax Exposed!
McCain/Clinton Ticket A Hoax!

We're sorry, we were sleep-deprived.
Article: 000077
01 April 2008 01:55 EDT

McCain/Clinton 2008!
McCain/Clinton 2008!
McCain Taps Hillary for Republican VP Slot! Hillary Accepts!

In a stunning end to the Hillary/Obama nomination contest Hillary Clinton has been tapped by John McCain as his vice-presidential running mate. Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Hillary Clinton for President committee, has told press sources that Senator Clinton has accepted and will hold a press conference at noon eastern time.

Barack Obama's campaign has scheduled a response which will be aired on the three major networks at 9PM eastern time.

McCain is said to be flying to the Washington, DC to meet with President Bush and will also make a formal announcement introducing the McCain/Clinton ticket shortly after Clinton's press conference.

"This is a startling development" said former candidate John Edwards, "nobody saw this coming or going!" Senator Joe Lieberman told press sources that he knew negotiations were under way between McCain and Clinton but was surprised at how quickly both candidates came to a decision. Lieberman also announced he would be formally announcing a switch to the republican party in the next few days.

Other Reactions

Senator Ted Kennedy told a Boston Globe reporter that he was just glad the democratic presidential nomination race was over. Kennedy expressed good wishes for the McCain/Clinton ticket but predicted that Barack Obama would ultimately win the White House in the upcoming election.

Rush Limbaugh prepared a short statement replacing the usual evening and morning ad spots for his show expressing dismay and reiterating his disgust with McCain. "As far as I am concerned the republican party no longer exists" said Limbaugh and vowed to work for a new conservative party to replace the republican party.

Ralph Nader, who announced his intention to run as a third-party candidate in February, told reporters he was confused by the move but reiterated his belief that his run would not take votes from either Barack Obama or the McCain/Clinton ticket. Some speculated this was because Nader expected no votes in November.

Former President Bill Clinton headed home to Chappaqua, New York and refused comment as he boarded a taxi to the airport. Some who saw the president leave his hotel thought he looked agitated and may not be happy with his wife's decision. Chelsea Clinton was also unavailable for comment. A spokesperson for Chelsea Clinton issued a cryptic message saying only that Chelsea was returning to Manhattan to ponder her options.

Contacts within the Obama campaign speculated that a vice-presidential candidate would be chosen "very shortly, possibly before the end of the week" and that Senator Obama was looking forward to a vigorous and very public presidential campaign debate.

In other news, scientists have announced the successful, secretive, cloning of a razorback hog and bald eagle hybrid a few months ago. The hybrid animal is said to be capable of rudimentary flight.

Article: 000076
29 March 2008 12:39 EDT

The Cryptkeeper in Uncle Sam outfit. Caption: I'm hep and down
	  with Obama just like you kids!
I'm hep and down with Obama just like you kids!
Why All The Calls For Hillary to Quit?

There are several forces motivating the growing clamor for Hillary to throw in the towel and let Obama be the democratic presidential nominee.

Human nature is one factor. Human beings generally like closure. They may enjoy a good contest (consider sports), but at some point they enjoy the catharsis of an outcome. Have you ever sat through a tied baseball game which goes to 12, 14, or more innings? It doesn't happen often, but for a while it's interesting and then it can get tedious and boring. On April 18, 1981 the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings (triple-a league) finally suspended a game in the 32nd inning at 4AM. There were 19 fans left in the seats.

The Longest professional baseball game

Another important motivation, particularly from Obama supporters, is that the Pennsylvania primary is looming on April 22nd. It's likely Hillary will do very well in Pennsylvania which can change the momentum in favor of Hillary or at least give her a strong public reason to push on. So simple strategy says to raise the hue and cry for her to quit before Pennsylvania or risk a newly energized Clinton campaign.

Of course, there is the simple appeal to reason that Obama is ahead in the race, the race is costing a lot of money, the democratic party is losing time getting their national campaign against McCain started, so let's just move on.

That argument is often fortified by the claim that if you do the math on the delegates and likely outcomes in the remaining primaries Hillary just can't win. The numbers would require her to win over 70% (or thereabouts) of the delegates in each remaining primary contest and that's extremely unlikely to happen. So, coupled with the previous argument (let's move on to the national campaign) Hillary should see the writing on the wall and drop out.

Unfortunate for that argument is that if you do the math Obama is very unlikely to win also if "winning" means attaining the 2,024 delegates required to claim the democratic party nomination.

Many have pushed forward a narrative claiming this isn't important, that if we go to the end and Obama is ahead then the party must give the nomination to Obama, anything else would be "violating the will of the people" or similar. So let's just project this outcome and call it done now.

The Clinton camp says not so fast. The rules don't say that whoever has the most delegates wins. That's pure invention. The rules say that you must get 2,024 delegates or else other nomination processes go into play. It's like a boxing match where it ends if one boxer gets knocked unconscious. But boxing matches are usually limited to 15 rounds. If neither boxer is knocked out after 15 rounds then they use another method to pick the winner which is a points system to decide who fought the better fight.

So it's really get 2,024 delegates or we move onto other procedures for picking a nominee. Not simple majority vote.

Chris Matthews on MSNBC keeps pushing this maudlin and grandiose idea about how Thomas Jefferson said that critical to democracy is the idea that if you win or lose by even just one vote then you accept the outcome.

It's a very nice platitude, sort of, we're not sure, actually, we have our doubts, it would take another long article to argue the point.

But those aren't the rules for this democratic primary process. The rules are either one candidate attains 2,024 delegates or we proceed to other procedures to pick a candidate. And Chris Matthews knows this, so why the hypocrisy, Chris?

Continuing that thought we hear a lot of baying from the talking heads and other media calling for Hillary to throw in the towel. We believe there are a few less than completely relevant reasons for this also and it significantly adds to the apparent volume.

Let's start easy. Many of the reasons outlined above operate on the people in charge of producing the media, they're just people and have their opinions and are also subject to human urges such as a desire for closure. Fair enough.

Also, among the democrats in the media, one senses that quite a few of them personally favor Barack Obama. There's nothing wrong with that. Again, they're human beings and not machines and if they have a strong preference it will tend to come through in their round tables and talking heads and opinion segments.

But we sense other motivations.

Traditional media, particularly television news and political commentary, is struggling for their economic lives against the internet and other new media, even video games. There are just so many hours in a day.

The key demographic for television advertisers is young people, typically outlined as 16-24 though often extended to 30 years old. Obviously the youngest of these can't even vote but that doesn't mean they can't watch these news shows. Remember, the point here is the commercials, not the show's content.

Of these viewers who have any interest in the Obama v. Clinton contest (that is, not republicans or apathetics) polling tells us that Obama is very, very popular among them.

This affects the old boomer farts who dominate television media in a few different ways.

First, the base their advertisers want (and hence, where their bread is buttered) are these young Obama supporters. A good way to keep them watching is to give voice to their point of view (e.g., Hillary should quit already!)

Second, for these aging media stars the fountain of youth is to appear young and hip and "with it". That means Obama, not Clinton. Clinton looks a lot like them and for media personalities in a youth culture that's like staring down into the grave.

But not us, dear readers, we don't stare down into graves simply because we fear what might look back!

Article: 000075
24 March 2008 16:03 EDT

Worth Repeating...

Two thoughts from a recent "Real Time with Bill Maher", heavily paraphrased by us:
1. When the financial markets, in particular Bear Stearns, gets into trouble boy the federal government is fast to show up with $29B here and $200B there to shore them up, funding JP Morgan to buy out Bear Stearns, injecting liquidity into the banking system, proposing vast bailouts of bad mortgage portfolios. But when Katrina destroyed much of New Orleans the fed seemed to put its hands in its pockets, shrug, and say "what do you expect us to do???"
2. On a related note, republican administrations and high-finance types shudder at any suggestions of "socializing" profits, such as corporate taxes to balance the federal deficit, financing universal health care, rebuilding crumbling infrastructure or emergency disaster relief.

But socializing losses such as spreading the damage of billions in bad investments and sinking high-risk mortgage portfolios, etc., out to the taxpayers, now that's just about a sacred rite!
Article: 000074
21 March 2008 17:10 EDT

NM Governor Bill Richardson Endorses Barack Obama!

John McCain and John Hagee


Bill Richardson endorses Obama

This development must surely scotch the rumors that Gov Richardson is on Hillary's VP short list! Maybe he just moved to Obama's VP short list? He'd certainly make a good VP candidate, and VP.

John McCain and John Hagee

John Hagee is a bit of a religious nut case with a large ministry following which to us is more disturbing than anything John Hagee might believe.

Hagee is rather anti-Catholic and anti-Islam. Mostly his views can be reduced to "my religion (Protestantism) is the correct one and therefore all the others are crap." Except he does give a pass to Jews (whew! I'm sure they are all relieved every last one of them) because of passages in Romans which basically say the Jews are in Christ's waiting room or something like that.

Hagee endorsed McCain. When questioned about this McCain "condemned" Hagee's anti-whatever beliefs but wouldn't repudiate his endorsement saying that he doesn't have to agree with every single thing an endorser believes. We suppose Hillary could say that about Eliot Spitzer though we'd be willing to wager serious cash that she won't.

But the interesting part is how many Obama supporters have now lept on this and claimed it is a direct parallel of the Jeremiah Wright matter. If John McCain can just shrug off Hagee's beliefs, and not even repudiate his endorsement, why did Obama get so much grief about Jeremiah Wright? Is this an example of racism, or unfair play anyhow?

No it is not.

Jeremiah Wright was the pastor of Obama's own church. He has been Obama's pastor for almost twenty years. Jeremiah Wright performed Obama's wedding ceremony. A sermon of Jeremiah Wright's was the inspiration for the title of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope". And so on.

From what we can tell McCain doesn't even really know Hagee, though clearly he knows a lot about him. McCain's campaign sought Hagee's endorsement. His ministry can be seen and heard in nearly 100 million homes on 160 TV stations and 50 radio stations. We can see why he came up though we can also see why many wish he hadn't.

But any parallel with Obama's Jeremiah Wright problem is ridiculous.

And if you don't think it's really silly season Chris Matthews just accused Hagee of being anti-semitic even though despite his anti-Catholic and anti-Islamic views Hagee seems to be ok with Jews and in particular Israel, his ministry has sent millions of dollars to Israel. Some of Hagee's rationalization of his anti-Catholicism is an accusation that the Catholics fostered anti-semitism for hundreds of years which is no doubt true enough though we're not sure his beloved Protestantism gets a clean bill of health on this point either.

About the only thing we can find from Hagee which has been suggested as anti-semitic is that the Jews were partially responsible for their persecution over the years because they were "disobedient" of god.

Then again Hagee says New Orleans brought Katrina on themselves because they were disobedient of god. No explanation why the French Quarter got a pass. Hagee just seems to be one of those nuts who tells people who get cancer or lose a child in a car wreck that it's their own fault for not having more faith in god.

Hagee's anti-Catholicism is pretty clear, however.

Any accusation of Hagee being anti-semitic does seem rather scattershot. Chris Matthews is being foolish and inflammatory but it's all become yellow journalism. All except us, dear reader!


Is this a tempest in a teapot or what? What's in your passport file that's so interesting? The worst we've heard is that there is information in there which someone could use to "steal your identity" (a scary term for "get credit cards and other loans in your name and cause you a big headache".)

Steal your identity? Does that mean your social security number is in your passport file? It probably is, and that's probably all they mean. Such is the non-stop volume amplification of what passes for journalism these days.

We agree that your passport file should be private, but we have no doubt that doesn't include privacy from the FBI, Dept of Homeland Security, the IRS, the US State Dept, probably anyone doing a security clearance check on you and probably various services which do background checks on potential employees, etc etc etc. Hey look, he's been to France! That makes him a potentially disgruntled employee over the slop we serve in our cafeteria! Next Candidate!!!

But we agree that the contents of your passport file should be private. Except when it's not. Which is probably "usually" in this current climate of fighting everyone because surely if we fight everyone then sooner or later we'll get a terrorist.

And what does our passport file contain anyhow? All we got from this entire kerfuffle was a newly piqued curiosity about what the hub-bub was about, bub.

And have a Good Friday.

Article: 000073
20 March 2008 20:30 EDT

Florida State Flag Detail
Something You Need To Know About The Florida Democratic Primary Kerfuffle

As you no doubt know the Florida democratic primary isn't likely to be counted because it was moved back too early in violation of Democratic primary rules.

What is rarely mentioned is that the primary was moved by vote of the Florida legislature when both houses passed House Bill 537, and the bill was subsequently signed by the governor.

The Florida legislature at the time (and today) is dominated by republican legislators, and the governor Charlie Crist both then and now is a republican.

So the republicans managed to screw the democrats out of getting their primary votes counted.

Unless we're missing something this seems a little crazy.

If we are missing something by all means set us straight by emailing to!

We admit that some of the rules and customs operating in these primaries can confuse us.

Article: 00072
17 March 2008 13:23 EST

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Saint Patrick
Link to His Life and History

36 million people in the United States claim Irish ancestry (more on St Patrick's day!) At least 23 of the 43 US presidents had at least some Irish ancestry (from the Wikipedia's Irish American entry):

  1. George Washington 1st President
  2. Andrew Jackson, 7th President 1829-37
  3. James Knox Polk, 11th President 1845-49
  4. James Buchanan, 15th President 1857-61
  5. Andrew Johnson, 17th president 1865-69
  6. Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President 1869-77
  7. Chester Alan Arthur, 21st President 1881-85
  8. Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President 1885-89, 1893-97
  9. Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President 1889-93
  10. William McKinley, 25th President 1897-1901
  11. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president 1901-09
  12. William Howard Taft, 27th President 1909-13
  13. Woodrow Wilson, 28th President 1913-21
  14. Warren G. Harding, 29th President 1921-23
  15. Harry S. Truman, 33rd President 1945-53
  16. John F. Kennedy, 35th President 1961-63
  17. Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President 1963-69
  18. Richard M. Nixon, 37th President 1969-74
  19. Jimmy Carter, 39th President 1977-81
  20. Ronald Reagan, 40th President 1981-89
  21. George H. W. Bush, 41st President 1989-93
  22. Bill Clinton, 42nd President 1993-2001 (his mother's maiden name was
  23. Cassidy)
  24. George W. Bush, 43rd President 2001-2009
Article: 000071
14 March 2008 THE-TIME EST

Barack Obama Has A Problem: Jeremiah Wright

Barack Obama's problem isn't just distancing himself from Rev. Jeremiah Wright's intemperate bile. You can't undo the fact that Obama has been a member of Wright's church for over 20 years, or that the title of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" comes from a Jeremiah Wright sermon. Just asking Wright to resign from Obama's campaign or disavowing Wright's comments now that they showed up in the news on video doesn't quite do it. It's not like he was some political functionary someone gave a job to, like, say, Geraldine Ferraro who shot off her mouth embarrasingly.

This is much deeper.

Obama's real problem here is not only substance, it's style.

If you view those YouTube videos of Wright's preaching what you see is a holy roller preacher shouting fire and brimstone and most of all hate. Most of us don't need a preacher to hear this sort of crap, we can just take some unsavory buddies out for drinks and bring up politics and we'll get an earful.

To many americans, certainly not all, this isn't their idea of how a president gets religion. Outside of the holy rollers, and similar, americans tend towards orderly and respectful reverance in their churches. "All now turn to page 137 in their hymnal..." and that sort of thing.

So that leads to the question of whether this could be labelled a racially charged observation? Is this a shot at "black" religion?

We don't know. We don't think so.

There are plenty of white (and other) fire and brimstone preachers, poisonous snake handlers, charismatic churches with people falling down and shouting in tongues, faith healers, even hate mongerers, all that. Many are in churches which are by far predominately white. The message won't be exactly the same, but the tone will be familiar.

That aside, Barack Obama has a problem of style. He spent 20 years listening to Rev Jeramiah Wright sermonizing. He needs to explain what he saw in those sermons, not try to disavow them now that they've become politically inconvenient.

Here is an article Obama wrote for the Huffington Post in response:

Obama response article

One-line summary: Yes I was a member of that church for 20 years and was close to Rev Jeremiah Wright but I swear he never, ever spoke like this, I'm shocked, shocked!

Our reaction: Bullshit.

And anyone who thinks otherwise is, in our humble but correct opinion: Delusional.

Article: 000070
13 March 2008 17:41 EST

Know Your Representatives!

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Every member of the house of representatives will also be up for election on 11 November 2008. Let's meet them!

Representative Steve King (not to be confused with horror-meister Stephen King) is the republican congressman from the 5th congressional district of Iowa which covers approximately the western 1/3 of the state including Sioux City and Council Bluffs.

We found a choice bit of wisdom from Rep. King to help you better understand your elected representatives:

Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa regularly accuses illegal immigrants of committing sex crimes against "eight little girls" a day as part of "a slow-motion terrorist attack."
— Wall Street Journal, 06 September 2006

The deadline to register for the district's 2008 election is tomorrow, 14 March. Thus far democrat, Vietnam veteran, and former Presbyterian minister Rob Hubler is the only registered challenger (other than King) though E. Joyce Schulte, educator and former hospital chaplain, (lost twice to King previously in 2004 and 2006) is expected to enter the race.

Article: 000069
11 March 2008 17:21 EST

The Magnolia State Votes

Here's that "funny" Bush singing youtube video.

Let's see, Geraldine Ferraro (who? Mondale's female VP running mate in 1984) makes a brainless remark suggesting that Obama's race may've helped him in his campaign and she's publicly skewered (not that she doesn't deserve it, why doesn't she reserve her bile for republicans?)

But Bush sings to a laughing, applauding audience about "Brownie", the guy who screwed up the Katrina response, and "Scooter" Libby being "free of the prosecutor" (try it, it sort of rhymes), who he pardoned, and this isn't a disaster for the republicans?

The biggest question for our time is: Why isn't George W. Bush in jail???

Today is also Mississippi's republican primary but McCain is basically the only candidate. He'll pick up another 36 delegates.

20:19: MSNBC projects Obama the winner in Mississippi.
20:31: CNN projects Obama the winner in Mississippi (still no voting results available.)

  Clinton 1,467 Obama 1,591
MS 33 99% 155,254/37%/14 253,837/61%/19

Mississippi State Flag
Mississippi, also known as The Hospitality State, votes in their democratic primary today. The state is about 60/40 republican and about 60/40 white/black. The state still proudly displays the confederate battle flag in their state flag. Mississippi is also the poorest state in the country, the most obese, and their population was predominately African-American until the Great Migration of 1916-1970.

There are a total of 33 delegates at stake. Polling suggests that Barack Obama will win the primary with about 60% of the vote. Polling closes at 8PM EST.

Article: 000068
08 March 2008 13:20 EST

Wyoming Democrats Caucus on International Women's Day
Guam Republicans Caucus

17:24 With 87% of the Wyoming caucus voting in we'll project Barack Obama the winner. 7 more delegates for Obama.

Democrats Republicans
  Clinton 1,424 Obama 1,520 Huckabee McCain Paul  
WY 12 100% 3,312/38%/4 5,378/38%/7*  

Wyoming Governor (1925-1927)
Nelli Tayloe Ross

Today is International Women's Day. Coincidentally, today is also the Wyoming democratic caucus. When Wyoming was a territory they granted women the vote in 1869, a first, and in 1924 elected the first US woman governor Nellie Tayloe Ross (served 1925-1927.) She later became the first female director of the US Mint under FDR. Governor Ross passed away in 1977 at the age of 101, well within the lifetime of many reading this.

There are about 59,000 registered democrats in Wyoming out of a total state population of slightly less than 500,000, about the same as the number of residents of New York City's Co-Op City apartment complex (pop. 55,000.) Not exactly a stronghold of democratic support. Wyoming has 12 democratic delegates. 7 of them are at stake today which isn't going to change this race one way or the other. The remaining 5 will be allocated May 24 at Wyoming's democratic convention. The current count is Obama 1,520 delegates and super-delegates, and Clinton 1,424, a difference of less than 100 delegates.

Barack Obama has done well in caucuses and most expect he'll win this Wyoming contest despite the state's feminist heritage.

Guam Republicans Caucus

Guam republicans caucus today. Their caucus was originally scheduled for 16 February. John McCain already has enough delegates to clinch the republican nomination so the contest has little meaning to that outcome.

Ron Paul Smells the Coffee

In other news Ron Paul has ended his bid for the republican presidential nomination and will focus on his upcoming bid to retain his Texas congressional seat.

Article: 000067
04 March 2008 19:43 EST


02:13 EST The big story from these 3/4 primary results is that Hillary Clinton has now taken the big, populous states: New York, California, Ohio, Texas, New Jersey. Obama's largest states are Illinois, Georgia, and Minnesota. She'll probably win Pennsylvania, another big state, and if Florida and Michigan somehow get counted or vote again they're also likely Clinton wins.This could be important in the general election in November. If neither Obama nor Clinton win a clear majority going into the convention then the super-delegates will have to consider issues like winnability against McCain as a reason to swing their vote to settle the race.

00:56 EST CNN has projected Hillary Clinton the winner of the Texas primary in a very close race. With over 2.3 million votes counted the two candidates are separated by only 81,000 votes.

00:35 EST It looks like a big, big night for Hillary Clinton. She's won Ohio and Rhode Island. Obama won Vermont. With 66% of the primary vote in it looks like Clinton might win Texas, it's going to be very close. Out of 2,185,871 votes counted thus far they are separated by only 52,365 votes (quick! calculate each candidate's votes! Or see the table below.) Even if they split Texas evenly it looks like Clinton has swept the big state of Ohio nearly 60/40 giving her 46 of Ohio's delegates to Obama's 24. Vermont (Obama) and Rhode Island (Clinton) practically cancel each other out with a net gain of one delegate for Clinton between the two states.

FLASH! 21:00 EST: McCain wraps it up! He's now got over 1,200 delegates, 1,191 were needed to win. Reportedly Huckabee has called McCain to arrange a formal concession. McCain will be at the White House tomorrow to make a public declaration with George Bush at his side. Next we wait for McCain to name a running mate.

21:10 EST Huckabee is about to make a concession speech for the cameras. Wow, if this guy made it to president you'd have to brew the coffee to make to the end of his State of the Union speeches! A little long-winded there Mike!

Democrats Republicans
  Clinton 1,269 Obama 1,378 Huckabee 247 McCain 1,095 Paul 21  
OH 228 100% 1,207,806/54%/71* 979,025/44%/59 325,581/31%/0 636,256/60%/79* 49,027/5%/0 OH 31 100%
RI 33 98% 106,471/58%/13* 73,609/40%/8 5,766/22%/4 17,342/65%/13* 1,761/7%/0 RI 20 98%
TX 228 99% 1,453,139/51%/65* 1,354,672/47%/61 521,951/38%/16 707,622/51%/121* 69,824/5%/0 TX 140 100%
TX Votes Separating Clinton/Obama 98,467 (3.5%)
TX Dem Cauc. 36% 18,689/48%/0 20,209/52%/0  
VT 23 99% 59,828/39%/6 91,770/59%/9* 5,598/14%/0 28,538/72%/17* 2,619/7%/0 VT 17 99%

* Projected winner.

Article: ######
04 March 2008 17:10 EST


Programming note: Full 3/4 Primary Coverage will begin about 8PM or whenever the first results start coming in or the spirit moves us, polls in Vermont close first at 7PM so perhaps 7PM.

The media is being pretty riduculous about the meaning of today's democratic primaries in Texas, Ohio, oh yeah and Rhode Island and Vermont also. They make it sound like it's an all or nothing contest which it certainly is not.

Going into today Obama has 1,184 pledged delegates and 194 superdelegate for a total of 1,378. Hillary has 1,031 pledged and 238 superdelegates, total 1,269. That means Obama is ahead by about 100 delegates. 2,025 are needed to win.

Texas has 228 delegates with 126 tied to today's primary, 67 tied to today's caucuses (Texas has both a primary and caucus), plus 12 super-delegates.

Ohio has 162 delegates, 141 tied to today's primary and 21 superdelegates.

Vermont has 23 delegates, 15 tied to today's primary voting, 8 superdelegates.

Poor little Rhode Island, smallest of the 48 (hmm, that lyric doesn't work anymore) has 33 delegates (more than Vermont! Go RI!) with 21 tied to today's primary and 12 super.

So there are 370 delegates at stake today in voting and the Texas caucus, plus 53 superdelegates, 423 total.

If Obama were to win all of them he'd have 1,801 which would be pretty close to victory (2,025), but not quite there. Hillary would have 1,692 if somehow she were to win 100% of the delegates and superdelegates up for grabs today.

But that's not going to happen! More likely one candidate will grab between 175 and 250 and the other will grab between 180 and 225, more or less, that is slightly more or less than the 423 up for grabs because the delegates are awarded roughly proportional to each candidates votes.

Let's use the typical business plan strategy of trying optimistic, average, pessimistic analyses. 60% is 254, 40% is 169:

  Optimistic (60%) Average (50/50) Pessimistic (40%)
Clinton (1,269) 1,523 1,480 1,438
Obama (1,378) 1,632 1,589 1,547
Result Obama: +24 Obama: +109 Obama: +194

Granted this says that in all cases tried above (60/40 and 50/50) Obama comes out ahead, but not by much. Even in the most optimistic case for Obama he ends up with 1,632 delegates, 194 ahead of Clinton but still 393 away from clinching the nomination. In the most optimistic scenario for Clinton Obama ends up only 24 delegates ahead. There are other scenarios possible of course.

After today the next big state is Pennsylvania on April 22 with 188 delegates at stake (158 regular, 38 super.) Still not enough for either candidate to clinch the nomination under any of the above scenarios. Note: 12 PA superdelegates have already committed to Clinton, and 3 to Obama, 23 remain uncommitted as of 3/4/2008. Current polling shows Clinton holding a double-digit lead over Obama in PA, but April 22 is a long way off.

Our conclusion is that today's primary isn't likely to be decisive unless we see an incredible sweep, like 70/30 or 80/20, across the all states for one candidate which is highly unlikely.

Our prediction: The two democratic candidates will slog on.

So why does the media say this is "make-or-break-do-or-die" (CNN), Chris Matthews just opened Hardball with "today is judgment day for Senator Clinton!" and proceeded to talk about whether Hillary staying in the race helps or hurts the democratic party, etc.

Answer: To make it all sound like a horse race, like it's really important to keep watching, don't touch that dial!

So we suggest: Stay with! We're not a bunch of emotionally manipulative suck-ups! We just calls 'em likes we sees 'em.

Oh yeah, what about today's republican primary between McCain and Huckabee? YAWN! DOUBLE-YAWN! The only interesting thing at this point is that it's theoretically possible for McCain to wrap it up today, though not likely.

Article: 000065
01 March 2008 13:40 EST

Quick! Lock Up The Kids!

Senator Larry "Wide-Stance" Craig is soliciting for summer interns!.
"Interns have the chance to be an essential part of a working congressional office," said Craig. "They participate in the legislative process as well as ensure that constituent services run smoothly. For those interested in politics, it is an incredible opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at how our government functions while serving the people of Idaho."

No word yet on whether that "working congressional office" also provides shared rest room facilities or what, exactly, that "behind-the-scenes" look is referring to, perhaps via the official congressional glory-hole.

Article: 000064
29 February 2008 15:11 EST

The Economic Problems — Bought and Paid for by the Republicans

What's the cause of the current economic mess? The cause were the huge deficits run up by the republican administration and congress.

What caused the deficits? Spending more while cutting taxes.

But wasn't that a necessary result of the war? Some of the highest estimates of the cost of the wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) are about one trillion dollars.

The republicans ran up about four and a half trillion dollars in new debt. The huge deficits are not accounted for by the wars.

So how do the huge republican deficits affect the economy negatively?

In order to run a deficit the government has to borrow. The way the government borrows is by selling treasury bonds and notes ("treasuries"), just like the savings bonds you might be familiar with, trillions of dollars of treasuries must be sold on the open market.

In order to sell such a massive amount of treasuries the government had to make them more attractive to buyers by increasing the interest rate the treasuries paid. This is why the interest rates kept going up over the past several years, to entice buyers to buy our debt (treasuries.)

Interest rates increased faster than most people expected. Lending rates are all closely tied together whether they're the government selling its treasuries (debt) or credit cards or mortages, it's all one big market which varies by risk and other factors. But current lending rates tend to not be lower than whatever the federal government is asking for since they're the lowest risk possible (they've never defaulted on treasuries.) This trapped a lot of people who had bought homes with adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). The rates are tied to the same federal interest rates used to sell treasuries. When rates went up faster than expected then many people found their monthly payments going up faster than they could handle so defaults increased rapidly.

Defaults (late payers) became foreclosures which flooded the housing market with homes which had to be sold by banks and other lending companies who seized homes.

This in turn depressed home prices (more homes trying to be sold) which put more and more troubled home owners and in particular their lenders in trouble. Banks didn't want to negotiate a mortgage if the value of the home securing that mortgage was dropping below the amount owed. They wanted you out so they could sell that house before it went down further.

More foreclosures, more homes on the market, prices go down further, vicious spiral.

Besides this effect on the housing market when the federal government sells trillions of dollars in treasuries to cover their deficits they compete for credit dollars with other parts of the economy. Investors who invest in underwriting credit, such as treasuries, tend to be very conservative and there's nothing more conservative than United States treasuries.

For example when you borrow money for a mortgage that money comes from someplace. It's a little complicated, but basically there are investors who buy pools of mortgages so they can get the interest home owners (really home "owers") are paying. But why buy mortgages when treasuries are paying better and better interest rates?

This is true of many credit markets where money is loaned by selling the loans to investors. Student loans are in trouble right now because credit has dried up. Most businesses thrive on credit, for example to buy inventory to put in their store. They don't pay cash, they borrow the money for the products you see on the shelves. Manufacturers borrow to buy raw materials, steel or plastic for example. Farmers borrow to plant their crops and to harvest them hoping the final net proceeds of their crop will pay for those loans plus a little profit.

Another problem is that people who buy "debt", such as the people who underwrite mortgages, also buy insurance on that debt in case something goes terribly wrong. That "insurance" also dried up because of the fear that the problems in the housing markets (and its rippling effects) might make it impossible for those insurers to meet their insurance obligations and they would just go bankrupt.

One recent and dramatic casualty was when The Port of New York tried to sell some debt they needed to raise at an auction (the normal way to sell it) and because no insurers would step forward on this very high quality debt The Port of New York had to pay 20% interest on the new debt! That's the sort of interest deadbeats pay on questionable credit cards, not what a major government (ok, quasi-government for PoNY) organization pays for some debt.

Many republicans both in the White House and Congress kept saying that the huge deficits were no problem and that cutting taxes while running up huge debts would straighten itself out somehow.

People tend to be gullible to such promises because no one seemed to be able to articulate what exactly might happen as a result of all this debt. No one was really sure, in the past we'd never created this much debt and it did manage to work itself out though we did see similar effects when the previous Bush and Reagan administration also ran up huge deficits. Credit became unavailable and the economy went into serious slow down. Remember Bush Sr's loss to Bill Clinton on the slogan "It's the Economy, Stupid!"? That was similar to what is happening today, huge deficit spending in the early 1990s eventually caused a recession. Jokes were made about the government defaulting, the US government has never defaulted on its debt, there must be some way to resolve all this so why worry?

Conversely, when Bill Clinton and the democratic congress balanced the budget and brought down deficit spending to zero, even ran a surplus, the economy boomed. Remember how well the economy did in the late 1990s? It was no accident. It was the result of Bill Clinton's policy to eliminate the deficit which now the republicans have increased more than any other time in US history.

Well, here we are and we're seeing exactly how the deficits come due, they come due by crashing the credit markets which are the lifeblood of the US economy.

The current approach by the government to try to get out of the mess we're in has been for the fed to reduce interest rates. Won't that fix the problem? If rising interest rates caused the problem won't lowering interest rates help?

Not really. The fundamental problem is that we borrowed trillions of dollars and need to borrow trillions more unless this behavior is stopped. You can't really put the toothpaste back into the tube.

Lowering interest rates while continuing to borrow also has the effect of devaluing the dollar. This is why oil and food have been getting more expensive, the dollar is becoming worth less and less so you have to pay more and more dollars for goods and services. The dollars has fallen about 30% in the past few years. That means if you put $20,000 away in a your dresser (didn't get any investment return) a few years ago then today it's only worth $14,000 in buying power.

Your home is losing value, any cash you've saved is losing value unless you're getting very good returns and those returns have to be discounted by the devaluation, energy, food, and everything else is getting more expensive.

Do you still believe those republican tax cuts were a good deal?

Do you still believe republicans when they tell you they're the party of fiscal responsibility?

A republican will try to dismiss all of the above as just "liberal" propaganda because they have no other response.

The simple facts are that the republicans really screwed up, they have nothing to say in their defense, and now we're all paying the price.

Representative John Boehner is the leader of the republicans in the House of Representatives. Recently he was on Wolf Blitzer's Sunday talk show.

Wolf asked Boehner about how the republicans are going to explain the huge deficit and fiscal mess the republicans got us into to the voters?

Boehner replied: Wolf, this election is about the future, not the past.

No cheating, drunken, gambling, good for nothing spouse has ever said it better when caught: C'mon honey, let's not dwell on the past...

The sad thing is we believe that's the best answer republicans can come up with, c'mon voters, let's forget about the past...

Article: 000063
28 February 2008 14:03 EST

Another Potential First for Obama

If Barack Obama is elected president he'll be the first president born into a United States with 50 states. Obama was born 4 August 1961, Hawaii was admitted to the union as the 50th state on 21 August 1959. The other likely candidates (Clinton, McCain, or Huckabee) were all born in a US with 48 states.

Further, Obama was born in Hawaii, that 50th state.

Ok, it's not earth-shaking but it is another potential first in this election.

Article: ######
26 February 2008 21:00 EST

We Can't Go On Meeting Like This! The Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton opens emphasizing there are differences between her and Obama, on health care, etc.

Brian Williams asks Clinton about the tribal dress photo. Clinton says as far as she knows it wasn't anyone from her campaign and if it is she'll ask them to leave the campaign.

Obama brushes by the photo flap and digs right into health care. Obama agrees there are differences between their two plans. Obama says Clinton's plan is mandatory, you have to purchase health insurance. But if it has some sort of hardship opt-out then it also doesn't cover everyone just as she claims about his plan.

Clinton responds that everyone has to be in the health care system or else the insurance companies will cherry-pick, sell health insurance to those who are healthy and not to those who aren't. She says Obama's mailing is almost as if the health insurance companies and republicans wrote it. She "stakes out a claim" for universal health care.

Obama responds that he does stand for universal health care. He says experts agree that anyone who wants health care can get it under his plan. He says his approach saves more money than Clinton's. We don't know how Senator Clinton's plan will cover those who can't afford it. He then seems to ascribe details of Massachusetts' health care plan to Senator Clinton.

Again Senator Clinton defends, says Obama's plan would be like if FDR said let's make social security voluntary. Again asserts we have to have everyone in the health care system otherwise we won't get effective preventative medicine.

Obama again. Claims Senator Clinton's plan penalizes some parents. Says medicare part B is voluntary but people choose to purchase it because it's a good deal. So voluntary can work.

Clinton again. Many of the 20% who are uninsured can afford insurance but don't buy it because they're young and think they're immortal. Obama's plan says that when they come into the hospital sick or injured then they should be forced to buy insurance.

Brian Williams moves on to NAFTA.

Clinton opens by complaining that she's always asked the question first, why is that? Makes a reference to a Saturday Night Live skit where they ask Barack if he's comfortable, needs another pillow?

On NAFTA she says that she has opposed NAFTA, wasn't a policy maker in the (Bill Clinton) administration, but since she became a senator she has stood against it. We need to fix NAFTA, she'll take a tough position on that.

Obama responds that it's inaccurate for her to say she's always been against NAFTA. That in her (senate campaign) she said NAFTA has been good for New York and good for the country. Obama says it hasn't been good for many, cites his state (Illinois.) Says the net costs of these agreements can be devastating and if president will make sure that the contracts are adhered to, and if that happens he believes Ohio will be back on the path to growth.

Tim Russert tells Clinton she did say NAFTA was good for NY and good for the country. In 1996 she said it was proving its worth. In 2000 she said it was pretty good. Al Gore said if we don't like NAFTA we can be out of it in six months. Senator Clinton, if president would you get us out of NAFTA in six months?

Senator Clinton says we can renegotiate NAFTA. Parts of it have been good for New York, Texas. Russert badgers. Clinton says he doesn't have a complete record, she's voted to toughen trade restrictions. It has worked in some parts of the country, it hasn't worked in Ohio, it hasn't worked in some parts of upstate NY.

Russert: Let me button this up, we'll opt out of NAFTA in six months? Clinton: Doesn't agree, says it can be renegotiated.

Russert passes question to Obama. Obama says he basically agrees with senator Clinton, we need to tighten up the restrictions. NAFTA and other trade deals can be good for the US. Wants to be an advocate on behalf of workers.

Russert: (Someone) says it hasn't been trade agreements, it's been lack of patents and other problems.

Obama responds that policy has been weighted towards the multi-nationals, towards corporations. We need green jobs, windmills, alternative fuels, making buildings more energy efficient. All sorts of things to make the economy more competitive.

Russert holds up Clinton economic blueprint, says it says you've pledged five million jobs. But in Buffalo you pledged 300,000 new jobs but in fact they lost 30,000 jobs. You said you were too exuberant, are you too exuberant now?

No, Tim, in 2000 I thought Al Gore was going to be president. Proceeds with "green collar job" training, green jobs. Uses Germany as an example which has invested in solar and created several hundred thousand new jobs. At least five million jobs can be created in the next ten years.

Brian Williams on foreign policy. Clinton has compared your (Obama's) experience to Bush's experience in 2000. What's your reaction?

Obama said that he was very clear why he was against the Iraq war from the beginning, that it's caused anti-american sentiment, strengthened Al Qaeda, we have to target terrorists in northern Pakistan. He believes his judgment has been sound on issues which matter.

Passes question about Obama inexperience to Clinton. Cites her own experience. In 2002 he gave a good speech against the war, but since he's come to congress he's voted the same as her, so where's the difference? Last summer he basically threatened to bomb Pakistan which she doesn't think was a wise approach. He's said he would meet with some of the world's worst dictators without preconditions about what we plan to get out of those meetings. She believes she'll do better.

Obama responds that his objection to the war wasn't just a speech, it was part of a senate campaign. He thought the war was a big blunder, that we've driven the bus into the ditch. She facilitated and enabled Bush to make bad decisions. He says he never suggested bombing Pakistan, only that if Pakistan won't strike against our enemies there we should do it, and we (the Bush administration) recently have and took out the number three of Al Qaeda. Emphasizes that he can have a stronger debate with John McCain.

Russert poses the possibility that if we announce that we're getting out of Iraq in a year what if the Iraqi government says then get out now?

Obama responds that if they ask us to leave we have to leave, they're a sovereign nation as George Bush keeps reminding us. Iraq is distracting us from Afghanistan, we're spending money in Iraq we could better be spending elsewhere.

Russert passes same question to Clinton. She gives basically the same answer.

Russert now posits what if we leave and Al Qaeda resurges? Will we go back?

Clinton says these are a lot of hypotheticals. Russert asserts these are not hypotheticals, these are realities. Clinton disagrees, these are hypotheticals. Russert sputters meaninglessly from time to time as Clinton tries to answer. She wants to coordinate with NATO on Afghanistan, to stabilize Afghanistan, get the Iraqi government to take responsibility for their country.

Russert passes the same question about going back into Iraq to Obama. Obama talks about Afghanistan, that we shouldn't have permanent troops in Iraq. He reserves the right as president to look out for American interests and if Al Qaeda were forming a base in Iraq then we'll have to protect our interests.

Clinton tries to respond but Williams pleads that he has to go to break. Something about Stickley chairs :-)

Back, Brian Williams, much hooting and hollering and cheering in the background, candidates come back in.

Williams refers to hyperbole on the campaign trail, switches to a video of Clinton making a sarcastic speech about the heavens opening and we'll know what to do. Williams said that was supposed to be Obama so passes the question to Obama.

Obama says he gives senator Clinton points for humor, Clinton laughs out loud. Obama talks about his track record with getting welfare for poor in his district, helped soldiers in Walter Reade hospital who had to pay for meals and phone calls, etc. Tells story about how he was in Cincinnatti with four women who did everything they were supposed to but never imagined how they're having to dip into retirement to pay for health care, kids' college, all kinds of sad stuff, aging parents, disabled children, no one has been listening to these people.

Williams passes question to Clinton, what was that video about (the sarcastic one)? She was "having a little fun", it's hard to have fun on the campaign trail. Turns to health care, credit card companies, college affordability, wants to get money back to working people, talks about $55 billion she can get back from various special interests and invest in the middle class, they feel like they're invisible. When it came time to vote on Dick Cheney's energy bill she voted no, Obama voted yes, when it came time to cap credit card interest rates at 30% which was too high but a cap she voted yes but Obama voted no. "I believe that I am a fighter".

Switch to Obama video of Obama saying Clinton selectively picks from her experience. Obama says Clinton picks from her time as first lady, uses the term "co-president". He doesn't begrudge that. But she can't take credit for the good things that happened while on issues like NAFTA say that behind the scenes I was disagreeing. On the caps on credit cards Obama says he objected to the whole bill. We have to mobilize the American people. We have to go after the special interests, (quoting Clinton) you can't just wave a wand and make them go away.

Russert asks you said last year if you were the nominee you would opt for public financing. McCain has challenged you to opt for public financing, will you? Obama answers that he's not yet the nominee, when he is the nominee he'd be happy to sit down with McCain and figure out a way to make that fair for all parties. We have raised 90% of our donations from small donors, $50, $100. Russert: So you might opt out of public financing? Obama: When the time comes I'll sit down with McCain.

Russert asks Clinton about releasing her tax returns. Why won't you release your tax return and your husband's tax return so the American people can see who is funding your campaign? Clinton answers that the American people are funding her campaign. Russert presses if she'll release them before the Tuesday primary. Clinton says no time before Tuesday but she will.

Russert to Obama. Louis Farrakhan supports Obama, do you accept his support? Obama says Farrakhan is anti-semitic, he can't censor him, but it's not support he's sought. Russert: Do you reject his support? Obama: I've rejected his support. Russert quotes Farrakhan as saying Judaism is a gutter religion. Obama rejects his comments. Russert points out that the title of his book, "The Audacity of Hope" comes from a Reverend Jeremiah Wright sermon, Jeremiah Wright has supported Farrakhan, went to Libya with Farrakhan. If he were seen to be supporting Farrakhan his Jewish support would dry up like a snowball in hell. Obama asserts he has had strong support from the Jewish community, that he wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jewish support for the civil rights movement. He's spoken out about anti-semitism in the African-American community.

Clinton wants to interject that when she ran for the senate in New York she was supported by the New York Independence Party but she rejected their support because their leader, Lenore Fulani, had made anti-semitic remarks, even though she thought it might hurt her politically. Russert: Are you saying Obama isn't rejecting...? Hillary: I just think it has to be stronger, rejecting is stronger than denouncing. Obama: I don't see the difference between denouncing or rejecting, if Clinton thinks rejecting is stronger than denouncing then I reject AND denounce.

Brian Williams: The National Journal rates your voting record as more liberal than Ted Kennedy, how can you run on a record more liberal than Ted Kennedy's? Obama responds that the ratings are silly and cites some things he's supported like independent investigation of ethical violations of senators. The National Journal said this was a liberal position. Obama doesn't think ethics is a "liberal" issue. Why do I (Obama) get so much support from independents? Because the old labels of liberal versus conservative don't make sense anymore.

Tim Russert: There's an election in Russia on Monday for the man to replace Putin, what does Clinton think of the replacement of Putin. Clinton says we know that he's a hand-picked successor, hand-picked by Putin. This is a clever but transparent way for Putin to hold onto power. She has been very critical of the Bush administration for what she perceives as an incoherent policy on Russia. We need a more realistic policy towards Russia. Technically meetings will be with the man who replaces Putin the power will be with Putin.

Obama responds to the same question, says he basically agrees with Clinton. Bush said he looked into Putin's eyes and said this is someone he can do business with. Obama doesn't think that sent the right message. Russert asks what if Putin's replacement says he's going to re-take Kosovo etc.? Obama responds that we work with the international community on the problem. We recognize Kosovo as an independent sovereign nation as has Britain.

Russert: Any votes you'd like to take back? Clinton: My 2002 vote to authorize war in Iraq, knowing what I know now I would not have voted that way. But the election has to be about the future, not the past. We could talk about Darfur, the Middle-East and Israel's security, an entire program on what we will inherit from George Bush. My experience has prepared me to deal with these issues. Russert: To be clear you'd like to have your vote back? Clinton: Yes, I've said that many times.

Obama, same question? The Terry Schiavo matter, I wish I had stood on the floor of the senate and stopped that vote, it was a question of inaction. There's still a lot of fight in this, senator Clinton has campaigned magnificently. There's a vanity aspect to politics, but when you spend as much time as senator Clinton and me have spent campaigning, you find that people's desires are modest, they don't want a lot, they don't want the government to solve all their problems. But I hope the democrats can restore hope to this government.

Brian Williams: What is the fundamental question that you believe senator Clinton must answer in order to prove her worthiness. Obama responds I have to say she would be worthy as a nominee, there's no doubt that she's qualified, I think I'm more qualified or I wouldn't be running. McCain has tethered himself to the policies of George Bush. I don't think senator Clinton has to answer a question as to whether she is capable of being president. I think I am capable of bringing this country together in a unique way, I have a track record from the days when I moved to Chicago as a community organizer etc, I have a unique bias. Those are qualities that I bring to this race, and I hope those are qualities the people of Texas, Vermont, Ohio, will think will make me a better president.

Same to Clinton: It has been an honor, it's been a campaign that has been history making, I'm proud to be the first woman running to be president, that will be a challenge to the way things have been done, either one of us will make history. Who can actually change the country? I believe my experience over thirty-five years gives me an understanding and an insight into making the changes we all want to see. Health insurance, I want to help give the people of this country the chance that they need to have. We need a fighter back in the white house, the wealthy and well-connected have had someone in the white house.

Article: 000061
24 February 2008 17:30 EST

McCain (71) No Longer Oldest Candidate!

Ralph Nader (74 this Wednesday, 2/27) threw his hat into the 2008 presidential ring today.

We've already commented on a Nader run, and even on the likely timing of an announcement.

Article: 000060
21 February 2008 20:14 EST

Obama v. Clinton: Showdown in Austin

Each candidate opens with the usual idealistic platitudes. Hillary sounds stronger and more confident than in the recent past. Obama is his usual optimistic self.

First question from Jorge Ramos (Univsion) is to Hillary, will you meet with Raul Castro now that Fidel has stepped down? Hillary dodges the third rail and says not until and unless the usual grab bag of complaints about Cuba (political prisoners etc) is being resolved.

Campbell Brown pushes Barack Obama on the same subject, Obama basically makes the same statement. Brown counters that he's supported normalization with Cuba previously. Obama says yes but not until there's some sort of progress on human rights.

Hillary responds agreeing that we should speak to our adversaries such as Iran, even those with whom we don't have diplomatic relations. She would get back to "very vigorous diplomacy" (as opposed to the Bush administration.) The era of arrogance of the Bush administration is over.

Obama responds underscoring how the Bush administration has done so much damage to our international relations, how the damage has to be undone.

John King asks about the economy, raise the minimum wage? trade deals? As specifically as you can how would President Obama be different than a President Clinton? Stop giving tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, stop the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy, international trade is ok but with strong labor and safety standards, no toys with lead paint on them. Invest in alternative energy. No real distinction, suggests perhaps how we'd each approach getting a similar agenda implemented is a difference.

Hillary responds with much the same platitudes, how this is all the democratic agenda. Again with the lead paint. Immediately she'd take steps on the foreclosure crisis, moratorium on foreclosures, single mom and postal workers hoodwinked into unfair mortgages! If adjustable rate mortgages keep going up MILLIONS of Americans will be homeless! Invest in our infrastructure, green stuff, end George Bush's War On Science (big applause)!

Jorge Ramos again, would you (Clinton) consider stopping raids on undocumented immigrants until there's comprehensive immigration reform. Hillary says yes, children are being left in the US with no one take care of them because of these raids and that's not American. Deport them if they're criminals, but otherwise provide a path to immigration.

Campbell Brown asks if Obama agrees. Obama says that the tone of the immigration debate in Washington has promulgated hate crimes. Crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers, safety. Fix the legal immigration system, there's a huge backlog, it places unfair legal expenses and delays on immigrants. Bush promised a new relationship with Mexico but he's dropped the ball, Obama says he'll change that.

John King asks about the border fence. Senator Clinton, you voted for construction of that fence. Clinton points out that both her and Senator Obama voted for that construction. She tells an anecdote about how when she was at Univ Texas, Brownsville recently that under the current Bush plan part of the campus would be cut off! The Bush administration has gone off the deep end. She would have a review with the people who live along the border. John King presses, do you mean you think your vote was wrong? Again, Bush's approach makes no sense, eminent domain filings, use technology and personnel better.

Campbell Brown passes the question to Obama. The Bush administration is "not real good at listening, that's not what they do well." He says Clinton and him pretty closely agree on this issue. Comprehensive reform is important but can't deal with this issue unless we deal with the influx of undocumented immigrants. Also, pass the (?) act to protect children of immigrants who have been born here and raised as Americans.

Jorge Ramos asks Clinton whether this nation could possibly become a bilingual nation? Clinton says that english should be our common, unifying language. She's against making english the "official" language. She encourages people to become bilingual.

Obama also thinks everyone learning english is important, and every student should learn a second language. Launches into a general comment on education, studying foreign languages is an example of this. There wasn't a lot of meat on that bone.

John King tries to get a little contention going, aims some quotes from Clinton at her which she's used in her stump speeches which were critical of Obama. Clinton says her and Obama have a lot in common, she's not taking the bait. Whoops, she strikes anyhow, how a supporter was on TV the other night (reference to a senator on Chris Matthew's Hardball Tuesday night) and when asked what are Senator Obama's accomplishments he couldn't list any.

Campbell Brown passes it to Obama. Lists some accomplishments, says the implication that the 20 million people who voted for him are delusional, the newspapers who endorsed him, all have been duped?! Clinton is visibly laughing. The endless bickering has to stop. Senator Clinton and I share the same visions, I'm running for president to stop (various suffering) and so are the people behind my campaign.

Campbell Brown pushes on. Accusations from the Clinton campaign that he plagiarized from Governor Deval Patrick and others. Obama says the notion that he plagiarized from someone (Patrick) who is one of his co-chairs who suggested he use the line is silly, we're getting into silly season in politics. How do we make health care, college affordable? A $4,000 tuition credit in exchange for national service. Bring an end to this war in Iraq, bring the troops home, and invest that money here at home. Senator Clinton has a fine record, so do I, we shouldn't be spending time tearing each other down, we should be spending time lifting each other up.

Campbell Brown asks Clinton whether it's silly season? She says if your campaign is about words then your words should count. Obama mutters in disapproval. Hillary says look at the videos on Youtube, it's disturbing. She fires a few more, she wants universal health care, he doesn't, she wants a moratorium on foreclosures, he doesn't support that. There are differences.

Obama responds: We both want universal health care. 95% of our health care plans are similar. Goes over his health care plan. We have a philosophic difference. Senator Clinton wants to force everyone to purchase it, he believes everyone wants it, they just can't afford it, so make it affordable. He recognizes there are arguments for a mandate, let's debate those points. She deserves credit for her attempts at health care in 1993. We have to change how politics are happening in Washington or else four years from now we'll be debating health insurance again.

Jorge Ramos, do you believe that you are the only candidate fit to be commander-in-chief? Hillary Clinton insists on going back to health care. She doesn't believe voluntary will work. If it's not universal then the health insurers and others will nibble it to death. Obama wants to respond! In Massachusetts where health care is mandated people who can't afford health insurance are being fined for not buying it! Clinton jumps in! Senator Obama would fine parents for not insuring their children, if they show up at the hospital sick maybe then we'll fine them. We would not have social security or medicare if it were voluntary. Obama responds that that mother (she made reference to a mother who can't afford an operation for her child) will be able to get the operation. He insists that it's the parents' responsibility to make sure their children have health insurance.

Jorge Ramos again, Senator Clinton are you suggesting Obama is not ready, not qualified, to be commander-in-chief? Hillary lists qualifications, served on Armed Services committee, Homeland Security something or other (commission?) Lists some current events (elections in Pakistan, our embassy burned in Kosovo.) She would be working with Serbian security forces to secure our embassy there. She feels she has the experience to inherit those problems we are inheriting from George Bush.

Obama responds that he wouldn't be running if he didn't believe he was prepared for the job. He'll do better than Bush. He'll use our military wisely, he showed better judgement than Clinton about going to war in Iraq. Lists various examples he believes were indicators of his good judgement.

John King, question on supporting the surge. Some say Iraq is better today, are they better off because of the surge. Clinton responds that the purpose of the surge was to give the Iraqi government time and opportunity to make decisions (?), but they haven't done that. Reiterates that if president she would begin to withdraw troops within 60 days and the Iraqi government will have to make those decisions. It should be up to the Iraqis.

Campbell Brown throws the same question to Obama. Says the surge is a tactical victory tacked onto a huge strategic blunder. He'll be in a better position to argue the point with John McCain. Our entire aid to Latin America in a year is about the same as we spend on Iraq in a week. McCain would have our troops over there for 100 years, McCain says he doesn't really understand the economy.

John King says both candidates were critical of secrecy in this administration. Claims that Obama snuck earmarks into legislation, will he own up to it? Obama says they have owned up for it. Wants a google-like access to the federal budget so anyone can check any spending like no-bid Halliburton contracts.

King throws the same question to Clinton. Says McCain has never and will never ask for an earmark. Does John McCain have a better record on this? Clinton says no because he supported the Bush tax cuts, the new Bush budget has a $400 billion deficit, we borrow money from the Chinese to buy oil from the Saudis, she'll stop that and get the budget back onto control as it was when Bush came into office.

John Ramos asks what if the superdelegates over ride the popular vote? Clinton says there is a process, it will work itself out, and we will have a nominee. Obama responds that he believes in the will of the voters, it's important that voters believe that the government listens to them. The american people are tired of politics dominated by the powerful.

Campbell Brown asks what was the moment that has tested you the most in crisis? Obama says it's the trajectory of his life, his father leaving, periods he made mistakes and his life went off course, and getting his life back on track. Working as a community organizer, a civil rights attorney. He's determined that the american people get a govt worthy of their decency.

Campbell Brown passes the same question to Clinton. She comments that she's had some tribulations in life herself! Tells an anecdote about being with injured troops, couldn't walk, faces disfigured, the problems she's had in life are nothing compared to what these people go through every day of their life. Ends on a warm note with Barack Obama, our family, our friends, etc.

Article: 000059
19 February 2008 20:34 EST

Hawaii Democratic Caucuses, Washington State Republican Caucuses, Wisconsin Democratic and Republican Primaries

Yawn! Ok, Wisconsin could be sort of interesting to see if we can read any momentum change for Clinton or Obama. Wisconsin polls close at 9PM EST.

21:37 and CNN projects Obama and McCain the winners in Wisconsin.

Democrats Republicans
  Clinton 1,263 Obama 1,212 Huckabee 217 McCain 881 Paul 16 Romney 286  
HI 20 100% 8,835/24%/0 28,347/76%/0*  
  82,253/22%/0 187,051/%49/6* 28,260/7%/0 75,548/%20/0 WA 6 57%
WI 92 100% 452,757/41%/8 645,954/58%/13* 151,181/37%/0 224,209/%55/13* 19,146/5%/0 8,082/2%/0 WI 40 100%

Article: 000058
19 February 2008 19:00 EST

Cindy McCain v. Michelle Obama

The media is all a-twitter over a comment Michelle Obama made yesterday:
"For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I'm Really Proud of My Country" Video

Cindy McCain, world's oldest trophy wife (why does she dress just like a trophy wife with the harsh bottle bleach hair and form-fitting patent leather short jackets), shot back this morning with:

"I am proud of my country. I don't know about you? If you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country" Video

Well, for starters, if we take them both at their words they both said the same thing more or less — that they're both currently proud of their country.

But that's not what the foofraw is all about. Michelle Obama seemed to be saying that in the past she was not proud of her country, but now she is. And Cindy McCain seems to be saying she has always been proud of her country.

Cindy McCain is 54 years old so let's limit ourselves to events in her lifetime for analysis.

Was she proud of her country when we had black and white bathrooms and other segregated facilities, something which only ended around 1964? Was she proud of her country the day Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974, and the events which led up to that? Is she proud of how we've treated Native Americans? Given her husband's opinion, which we assume she supports, was she proud of her country when the United States Supreme Court gave women the right to choose abortion? Is she proud that George W. Bush has the lowest rating of any president in modern US history?

We suspect, to some extent, that Michelle Obama's words were borne of a life of growing up in poverty, as a black woman in a country where she (ok, she was born in 1964, her parents if they travelled down south) couldn't even use the bathroom of her choice, and the many other trials and tribulations of growing up black, and female, and poor in America must have confronted her with.

And now, with her husband within striking distance of the nomination for president and her chance to be first lady, and all the changes that implies we can understand why she said what she said.

Our suggestion is for the pundits to unwrap themselves from those flags and get their collective heads out of their asses and admit once and for all what it must have been like to grow up black, poor, and a woman, and the injustices we the people inflicted on people like Michelle Obama, and what a powerful healing this experience must be as we show, once and for all, that we no longer stop her children from going to the local public school or stop her from using bathrooms, hotels, etc., and instead have come to the polls and cast millions of ballots for Barack Obama. What a proud day it is indeed!

Article: 000057
19 February 2008 18:34 EST

The Horror...The Horror...

The idea that "pledged" democratic delegates are, well, pledged, committed, obliged to vote for a particular candidate is A MYTH.

Clinton can poach Obama's delegates, and Obama can poach Clinton's delegates.

Richmond, VA mayor Doug Wilder has gone so far as to say that there could be rioting in the streets to rival the 1968 democratic convention if this comes down to poaching. His implication is if Clinton wins it by poaching.

Well, for those of you too young to remember the rioting at the 1968 democratic convention was over the Vietnam war, not the democratic party's interpretation of Robert's rules of order.

If the poaching starts both sides will do it, they'll have to. And once there are credible accusations of poaching on both sides the moral outrage will be blunted.

Besides, let's say Hillary pulls off the nomination by poaching delegates, presumably in a very close race. What are the Obama supporters going to do, vote for John McCain? Oh perhaps one will, maybe even two, (three?), but let's be honest, they're going to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and pull the levers for Hillary.

Article: 000056
19 February 2008 2:01 EST

Whither Guam?

According to the Guam Pacific Daily News the Guam republican caucus originally scheduled for 16 February has been rescheduled to 08 March.
Article: 000055
18 February 2008 16:41 EST

Obama and Deval Patrick

Suddenly we're seeing Barack Obama's name alongside that of Deval Patrick, the current governor of Massachusetts. The main reason, striking all the excuses, is that Gov. Patrick is African-American, and Gov. Patrick won his office recently, in 2006.

So maybe Gov. Patrick has the magic formula for blacks to win major elections. Importantly, Massachusetts may be a fairly liberal (read: non-racist) kind of place, though some would dispute that, but it doesn't have a very large black population. As of 2005 only about 363,000 of over 5,000,000 people were "black or African-American" (can you be just one?), about 7% [1].

We'd be the first to agree that Gov. Patrick is an attractive, intelligent, well-spoken man. As residents of Massachusetts we watched his 2006 race for governor closely. But the reasons for his success were probably not as germaine to Barack Obama's upcoming challenges as some might have you believe.

Gov. Patrick's predecessor was Mitt Romney. Romney didn't run for re-election, so his Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey threw her hat in the ring as the republican nominee for governor. There we have another parallel, Patrick ran against a woman!

But we still think the comparisons are weak.

Some states, such as New York, have upstate/downstate rivalries in statewide elections. Massachusetts has something like this, you can see statewide elections as contests between Boston and the rest of the state. Boston tends to lean democrat, the rest of the state is where the republicans are found, outside of Beacon Hill.

Massachusetts has another important fault line which is often characterized as the Boston Brahmins (old WASP wealth) versus those Irish-Catholic upstarts. Ok, if you don't like the Irish-Catholic characterization call it the old wealth versus the working class. But politically the latter are mostly Irish-Catholics going back over 100 years.

In 2002 Mitt Romney ran against, and beat, former state treasurer Shannon O'Brien. Again, a woman!

But do you see the obvious pattern? Mitt Romney beat Shannon O'Brien. Deval Patrick beat Kerry Healey. In both cases the Irish-Catholic candidate lost.

If you don't follow Massachusetts state politics take us at our word or start following. That is the proper insight into those elections. Think Kennedys, John Michael Curley, etc.

You're sputtering, we can hear you, Deval Patrick is hardly a Boston Brahmin, what are you talking about? Boston Brahmins are wealthy WASPS, and we all know what that "W" stands for, it stands for *white*.

You're still missing the point. Patrick's not Irish-Catholic, his opponent was. Consider that Deval Patrick wasn't some sort of black power street activist, he's a Harvard law school graduate, was an assistant attorney general under president Clinton, and went on to serve as executive vice president and general counsel of Texaco and later executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of The Coca Cola company.

Forget Deval Patrick's race, this is the sort of resume most any Brahmin mucky-muck can get behind. Brahmins don't often run their own for office, sometimes they do, but the pay is too low and it's too much like real work.

In that sense Barack Obama is a lot like Deval Patrick, but least of all by the racial history they might share. Both even share a history in Chicago (Patrick was born there, Obama spent much of his adult life there.)

We continue to be astounded at the apparent mind-numbing affect of race on political analysis. It's there, but it often distracts people from the more important story.

Article: 000054
17 February 2008 19:05 EST

Are the Democrats Blowing It (Again)?

One pattern which we've seen over the years is that the democrat tribe gets together, mostly agrees on what's important and what their principles are, and who their favorite people are, and from that pick a presidential candidate.

The problem is that the nominee is too often someone core democrats like, but not anyone with a chance of winning. Dukakis comes to mind. Although quite a few years ago McGovern and almost every other front-runner in the 1972 nomination race come to mind (Eugene McCarthy anyone?) To a great extent Bill Clinton in 1992 was a fluke along these same lines. Few stood for nomination in that year because GHW Bush seemed like such a shoo-in. Bill Clinton charmed the democratic party and managed to charm much of the rest of the country. In retrospect Bill Clinton does seem to be more a story of Bill Clinton's extraordinariness and not really a story about how well democrats can pick a candidate. And the recession of 1991-1992 didn't hurt either.

That brings us to the current democratic nomination race. Has the democratic party fallen in love with "Obama The Image" and forgotten that, ultimately, it's not Hillary he has to beat. It's McCain he has to beat.

Admittedly this election thus far seems like it might be an easy sweep for the democrats simply because of the animus the polity has towards Bush and his republicans. That McCain seems more and more to just be "George W. Bush – The Sequel" seems to seal that, as well as the incredible timing of the recession or near-recession or whatever it is. But it's likely that unemployment will be rising sharply this summer just as the election gets into full gear.

But these things can change, fast.

McCain vs. Obama is going to be, to a great extent, a battle of who you want as your authority figure. For many people John McCain would seem to have an edge; he's older, more experienced, etc.

Hillary, on the other hand, probably isn't as vulnerable as Obama to this authority figure approach. She's older, she was first lady a hundred years ago, we all know that. About the only attack the McCain campaign can use is whether or not being first lady counts as "experience." But she's a two-term Senator also.

McCain could paint himself into a corner which would drive a lot of women, regardless of political leaning, to Hillary if he characterizes her as "inexperienced" for being the first wife and ignores her own very really accomplishments in the senate. McCain had better realize that this is the kind of stereotyping women fight every day. That is, that any role as a wife or mother somehow invalidates other life accomplishments.

But we don't see the downside for McCain with Obama. Obama simply is young and less experienced. We don't think this will harken to some sort of anti-black stereotype he can exploit, assuming McCain doesn't call him "boy" or something stupid like that. Besides, anything short of real racism which offends whites doesn't stand to gain votes for Obama as a slight against women might for Hillary. Only about 10% of the US population is black, slightly over 50% are women.

The point is the democrats had better think more in terms of who can win the upcoming election and less in terms of who might be their favorite democrat.

Article: 000053
14 February 2008 13:52 EST

Romney To Endorse McCain

First things first: Happy Valentine's Day! St. Valentine's day, named after at least two saints named Valentine, was mentioned by Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1382 (yes, over six hundred years ago) poem Parlement of Foules:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [choose] his make [mate]

Wikipedia entry on Valentine's Day

It's probably reasonable to speculate that Romney is interested in running as McCain's vice president. On the plus side it could play well with some republicans. On the negative side perhaps McCain would prefer some relative unknown, and why choose a running mate who has proven his views don't play all that well with his audience?

It's been said that the republican party's polity these days consists of three distinct parts: The religious right, national security types, and traditional conservatives.

The religious right tend to be concerned with a narrow range of issues, primarily abortion and some general interest in injecting religion and their notion of morality (e.g., the gay marriage issue) into everyday life.

The national security crowd were who Rudy Giuliani tried to appeal to while he mostly ignored or even flouted the other two groups. Their issues are 9/11, terrorism, a strong defense, and increasingly immigration and the secure border issue.

The traditional conservatives tend to focus on federal fiscal responsibility, balancing the budget by cutting spending, cutting taxes, shrinking government in general, some notion that we should turn back the clock on constitutional matters and adhere more strongly to the founders' original intent as they interpret it, and some amount of overlap with the other two groups.

Of course many people straddle more than one of these categories but the question is which stress will sway them to a candidate and which of these issues will they actually make themselves heard on. For example, campaign donations, putting their money where their mouth is.

McCain is an odd choice considering the above. For the religious right he's not particularly one to gaze into the horizon and wax rhapsodically about being moved by his faith as Huckabee or Romney will, though he's never particularly offended them as Giuliani did with is pro-choice choice.

For the security republicans McCain is seen as soft on immigration though probably very strong on terrorism and defense in general if you don't try to characterize illegal immigration as a defense matter. And, for the more generous in nature, McCain's strong defense views can probably lead some to conclude that his rogueish views on immigration are at least nor borne out of some sort of soft-heartedness for immigrants (we suspect they have more to do with the value of cheap labor in his home state of Arizona.)

Traditional conservatives seem to have had all sorts of problems with McCain's record as the constant excoriations of Rush Limbaugh and others seem to voice. Ann Coulter said she'd work for Hillary over McCain though maybe that's just her shock media style which is speaking. McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts (though one could argue that his concern was the yawning deficit), and his avoidance of rhetoric which places any limits on what the federal government should dabble in such as the McCain-Feingold bill limiting campaign contributions or supporting federal regulation on cable TV bundling.

So what might Romney bring to that party (so to speak)?

Romney sort of appeals to some members of the religious right, but others have problems voting for a Mormon. He's rock-solid on national security issues and says what most want to hear though McCain does fine on defense without Romney. Immigration remains a slippery matter because no one seems to be very clear about what they think must be done except for Huckabee who just mouths platitudes like send them all home. Romney's strong business background would probably appeal to traditional conservatives and could counter-balance McCain's lack of experience in the private sector. Has McCain ever had a job in the private/business sector? Even as a grocery bag boy or delivering newspapers as a kid? Probably not.

On the private sector McCain reminds us of that awkward scene in 1992 when the senior George Bush stopped by a Wal-Mart for a photo opp, brought a package of tube socks to the check-out, and remarked to the press how amazing the technology of scanning a barcode was, as if he'd never seen anything like it. The rest of us had seen barcode scanning at cash registers for over a decade so concluded candidate Bush had simply never been in a grocery or department store before. One suspects McCain had better be careful not to repeat that sort of embarrassment given his work history.

Republicans don't tend to be in a majority in the electorate in this country, so in order for republicans to win they have to appeal to independents and some democrats in large numbers. Romney probably would increase a ticket's appeal to business-minded independents and some democrats. About the only hope either of them have to draw from democrats is to pound on defense and morality issues such as abortion. Some democrats find McCain's run-ins with conservatives appealing, or at least make him less forbidding. But Romney brings little to democrats except perhaps on immigration issues for some.

All that said, and we admit we rambled but it is Valentine's Day and our minds may be elsewhere, we doubt Romney is a likely vice-presidential short-lister for McCain but could see the logic if he were.

Article: 000052
12 Febuary 2008 19:30 EST

The Beltway Blowout!

Obama and McCain sweep District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Obama picks up 57 delegates, Clinton 27, McCain, in the winner take all republican primaries, picked up 73.

Chesapeake Tuesday? The Potomac Primary? THE BELTWAY BLOWOUT!


8PM EST and Obama is already the projected winner by both CNN and MSNBC in Virgina. Huckabee and McCain are neck and neck in Old Dominion (that's a nickname for Virginia, ok? learn something!)

Kweisi Mfume former congressman (D-MD) is on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann. He just called his preferred candidate ``Oback Barama''. Oh well. He is also a former president of the NAACP so maybe that's why Olbermann keeps badgering him about why the NAACP is lobbying to seat the Florida (and Michigan?) delegates. He keeps telling Olbermann to ask the NAACP, specifically their current chairman Julian Bond.

But how come it seems like the only reason networks bring on a black commentator from outside (other than a journalist) is to ask him or her about racial issues in the election? Do you think whites this? Do you think blacks this? Do you think white women this? Do you think black women that? And on and on. I'm sure an intelligent guy like Mfume has something else to offer other than trying to divine the groupthink of all blacks in the United States for MSNBC's curiosity.

A judge has ordered Maryland polls to stay open an extra 90 minutes, until 9:30PM, because of bad weather. That's really going to cut into Jericho's return to CBS.

8:30PM CNN and MSNBC have both projected McCain the winner in Virginia. They're both projecting Obama wins DC on exit polls alone, no results yet.

Democrats Republicans
  Clinton 1,164 Obama 1,159 Huckabee 217 McCain 723 Paul 16 Romney 286  
DC 15 98% 27,326/24%/0 85,534/75%/3* 961/17%/0 3,929/68%/0* 471/8%/0 350/6%/0 DC 16 98%
MD 70 60% 175,236/37%/5 289,170/60%/11* 54,126/30%/0 98,832/55%/13* 10,005/6%/0 11,121/6%/0 MD 34 60%
VA 43 99% 344,970/35%/22 618,933/64%/43* 197,711/41%/0 242,507/50%/60* 21,914/5%/0 16,991/3%/0 VA 60 99%

Article: 000051
12 February 2008 15:12 EST

Happy Lincoln's Birthday! And, Bloomberg?

For those old enough to remember school kids used to get February 12th off for Lincoln's birthday and February 22nd for Washington's because those dates were actually the dates of their birthdays. Then they combined them into a single "President's Day", whatever that means.

Potomac/Chesapeake primary coverage will start soon.

We've come to the conclusion that when a journalist covering this election runs out of things to say he or she writes about the possibility of Mike Bloomberg stepping into the race as a third-party candidate.

Since we're not above that we just thought of something interesting to add.

Ross Perot, the billionaire who ran unsuccessfully, though not unnoticed, for president in 1992 announced his candidacy on CNN's Larry King on February 20, 1992, just two days before George Washington's birthday (just reminding you, dear reader, of the first president's date.)

For Bloomberg that would be about a week from now if there was any significance to Perot's choice of date to announce in terms of having enough time to mount a campaign. There are about 8 months left until the election, not counting February.

Ralph Nader announced his 2004 candidacy on February 23, 2004, just one day after George Washington's birthday, and month-wise 3 days after Perot's choice in 1992. Coincidence?

John Anderson, the previous significant third-party candidate we can remember (other than other Perot and Nader runs) ran in the republican primaries finally dropping out after Wisconsin (late March 1980?) We don't think that's comparable to Bloomberg, it's more like if Mitt Romney now pursued a third-party run (not likely.)

If Bloomberg wants to announce a third-party run it would seem the clock is ticking. Then again, one might argue that none of the above candidates was remotely successful, so why copy them?

One advantage of delaying an announcement is that the campaign will likely cost less. If Bloomberg is running he'll be running, at least initially, on his own money, so that might be a consideration.

We can also imagine strategic reasons to announce late. Among them, more information about what the important issues are likely to be in November, most of the republican and democratic candidates will have already dropped out so you know who to focus on rather than having to respond to scattershot questions about what Duncan Hunter or Mike Gravel or Joe Biden (remember them?) said about you last night. You can begin to tailor your campaign and platform towards your likely opponents. It's also simply less physically taxing, eight months campaigning can be brutal on a person.

Nonetheless, Bloomberg will have to make some decision in the next few weeks. There's also the business of getting one's name on all 50 states' ballots which requires a lot of organization for a third-party candidate involving collecting signatures etc. There are all sorts of deadlines looming for getting onto every states' ballot.

Do we think Mike Bloomberg will enter the 2008 presidential race? No, not really.

We just don't see how he could gain any traction in this race. He's another New Yorker following Rudy and Hillary (did you know that recent NY governor George Pataki was also feeling out a run several months ago?), Bloomberg switched party affiliation to republican to run for mayor of NYC, and recently switched again to independent which may be characterized as just confused or confusing, he's not particularly associated with any political point of view or passion other than his outstanding business career and, by most estimates, excellent management of NYC during his tenure as mayor. Nothing to sneeze at but we just don't see the point.

Don't get us wrong. We admire this Brighton, MA native son. In many ways Mike Bloomberg and his company invented the modern internet in the 1980s, he made his billions providing customized screens and keyboards for professional stock traders and other decision makers which delivered a lot of the same sort of information people turn to the internet for today. He is rarely given any credit.

We do think Bloomberg would make an excellent addition to any administration, democrat or republican, in almost any capacity although Secretary of Treasury comes to mind.

But as a presidential candidate? Well, surprise us Mike, and we'll write your story!

P.S. Lincoln, Massachusetts is not named after the president. It was named after Lincoln, England in 1754, over 100 years before Abraham Lincoln became president.

Article: 000050
10 February 2008 18:01 EST

Maine Democratic Caucus

There are 34 democratic delegates from Maine, 24 decided in this caucus and 10 super-delegates.

  Clinton Obama Uncommitted
  1,396/40%/9 2,079/60%/15* 18/0.5%/0
99% reporting

* Indicates presumed winner.

Article: 000049
10 February 2008 12:39 EST

Feb 09 Wrap-up:
Huckabee Takes Kansas and Louisiana, McCain Takes Washington state,
Obama Sweeps Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington state, and Virgin Islands.

The Washington republican caucus was interesting in how close the three remaining candidates ended. McCain 26%, Huckabee 24%, and Paul 21%. This was a very strong showing for Ron Paul, one wonders who he takes votes from? We won't even hazard a guess.

Obama did very well in all four democratic contests, 70/30 in Nebraska and Washington, 60/40 in Louisiana, and 90/10 in the Virgin Islands.

Overall we don't think a lot can be concluded from these results, for either party, other than to note that McCain being all but crowned the republican nominee apparent hasn't hurt Huckabee's continuing quest. Huckabee handily took Kansas, won a squeaker in Louisiana, and lost a squeaker in Washington. The voters haven't given up on Huckabee, yet.

The score so far: Clinton 1,108 delegates, Obama 1,049 in the democratic contest (2,025 needed to win.) On the republican side McCain 714, Huckabee 217, and Ron Paul 16 (1,191 to win.)

As to those out: John Edwards hangs onto 26 democratic delegates, and Mitt Romney 286 republican delegates.

Democrats Republicans
  Clinton Obama Huckabee McCain Paul Romney  
  11,627/60%/36* 4,587/24% 2,182/11% 653/3% KS 36
LA 55 136,959/36%/22 220,588/57%/33* 69,655/43%/0* 67,609/42%/0 8,595/5%/0 10,232/7%/0 LA 47 [1]
NE 24 12,396/32%/8 25,986/68%/16*  
WA 50 9,992/31%/15 21,629/68%/35* 3,226/26%/0 3,468/26%/0* 2,799/21%/0 2,253/16%/0 WA 40 [2]
VI 3 149/8%/0 1,772/92%/3*  

* Indicates winner.


  1. Louisiana republican primary is winner-take-all only if a candidate receives 50% or more of the vote. Otherwise the delegates are uncommitted until the 16 Feb state convention. Only the 20 at-large of the 47 delegates were at stake in the 09 Feb primary vote.
  2. For an explanation of the Washington republican delegate apportionment see The Green Papers.
Article: 000048
09 February 2008 19:40 EST

Huckabee takes Kansas...

Mike Huckabee won the 36 Kansas delegates handily in their republican caucuses today with 11,627 votes (60%) versus McCain's 4,587 (24%), Ron Paul 2,182 (11%), Romney 653 (3%) and 84 uncommitted.

20:45 – CNN projects Obama takes Washington and Nebraska caucuses. Washington: 16,430 Obama, 7,700 Clinton, 175 uncommitted with 75% of the vote counted. Nebraska: 18,557 Obama, 8,914 Clinton, 14 uncommitted, with 85% counted. Both states went roughly 70/30 in favor of Obama. No numbers from Louisiana for either party yet.

21:38 Louisiana: Obama 3,646, Clinton 3,298, McCain 1,586, Huckabee 1,164, Romney 880, Paul 186 with 1% counted.

Article: 000047
08 February 2008 20:12 EST

Super-Tuesday Redux: Number Crunching!

We put all the numbers from Super-Tuesday into a spreadsheet (below) from states where both parties had a primary contest. We included all reported candidates even if they had dropped out, such as Edwards, Giuliani, Thompson, and Richardson because we were more interested in turn-out than per candidate analysis.

The first thing which struck us was that a total of 14,321,767 democrats voted, while only 8,517,805 republicans voted. That's roughly 5:3, only about 60% as many republicans as democrats voted.

Looking at the big states, California had almost a 2:1 turnout with 4,037,284 democrats voting against 2,275,429 republicans. New York was even more dramatic, 1,721,262 versus 602,747 republicans, nearly 3:1.

How about some favorite son states? In Massachusetts, where Romney was governor 2003-2007, 1,244,133 democrats voted, 496,171 republicans or well over twice the number of democrats, over 2.5 actually.

John McCain's home state of Arizona fared better for republicans with more republicans voting than democrats, 467,762 republicans versus 390,016 democrats. In Huckabee's Arkansas there were 294,633 democrats voting and 215,950 republicans, or about 35% more democrats.

What's interesting about Arkansas is that it's considered a solid red (republican) state. Yet democrats voting far outweighed republicans. Arizona is also generally considered a red state and more republicans voted, but nothing like the disproportionate democrat numbers in other states. About the only state republicans swamped democrats was Utah and with Romney receiving 90% of that republican vote we'll have to consider Utah an "outlier" (although it is included in the overall numbers we reported.)

Obama's home state of Illinois had 2,003,800 democrats voting and 885,009 republicans, a more than (much more than) 2:1 margin.

Other interesting data points are Colorado where democrats turned out 2:1 to republicans (119,184 vs. 55,845). Connecticut and New Jersey were no surprise with roughly 2:1 turnout of democrats over republicans. Minnesota democrats outnumbered their republicans by 3:1 (212,079 vs. 61,953.)

In Georgia voter turnout of the two parties was close, 1,046,485 democrats and 954,462. Still somewhat surprising for a southern red state. North Dakota democrats outnumbered republicans 2:1 (18,856 vs. 9,743.) Even Oklahoma showed a similar bias towards democratic turnout (401,230 vs. 329,843), as did Tennessee (614,096 vs. 547,614.) Both Oklahoma and Tennesee are generally considered solid red states. Little Delaware was unsurprising with democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 2:1 (95,979 vs. 50,062.)

What can we read into all this? It's hard to say. It might be just what it says: More democrats turned out on super-Tuesday than republicans, and nothing more. It might say that the contests between democrats drew more voters out than the republican contests perhaps because of more passion for each democratic candidate, or even better organizing to get out the vote by democratic candidates.

Or maybe we're seeing a follow-through from the 2006 election which put the democrats back into control of both houses of congress, a voter tilt towards identifying themselves as democrats. If I were in charge of worrying about the November general election for republicans I'd be just that: Worried.

Super-Tuesday 2/5/2008


Clinton 226,454
Huckabee 230,608

Obama 302,684
McCain 210,989

Edwards 7,933
Romney 103,295

Uncommitted 2,672
Paul 14,454

Giuliani 2,224

Uncommitted 1,252



Obama 302
Romney 5,126

Clinton 103
Huckabee 2,548

Uncommitted 1
Paul 1,955

Edwards 0
McCain 1,804

Uncommitted 187



Clinton 201,396
McCain 227,764

Obama 167,525
Romney 163,967

Edwards 21,095
Huckabee 43,118

Paul 20,197

Giuliani 12,716



Clinton 206,983
Huckabee 130,541

Obama 78,898
McCain 44,091

Edwards 5,527
Romney 29,359

Uncommitted 3,225
Paul 10,401

Uncommitted 933

Giuliani 625



Clinton 2,132,166
McCain 985,900

Obama 1,735,105
Romney 801,568

Edwards 170,013
Huckabee 272,638

Giuliani 115,778

Paul 99,545




Obama 79,344
Romney 33,288

Clinton 38,587
McCain 10,621

Uncommitted 1,253
Huckabee 7,266

Paul 4,670



Obama 179,349
McCain 78,741

Clinton 164,831
Romney 49,851

Edwards 3,408
Huckabee 10,591

Uncommitted 3,007
Paul 6,092

Giuliani 2,470

Uncommitted 2,414



Obama 51,124
McCain 22,626

Clinton 40,751
Romney 16,344

Biden 2,863
Huckabee 7,706

Edwards 1,241
Paul 2,131

Giuliani 1,255



Obama 700,366
Huckabee 326,069

Clinton 328,129
McCain 303,639

Edwards 17,990
Romney 289,737

Paul 27,978

Giuliani 7,039



Obama 1,301,954
McCain 424,071

Clinton 662,845
Romney 256,805

Edwards 39,001
Huckabee 147,626

Paul 45,166

Giuliani 11,341



Clinton 704,591
Romney 255,248

Obama 511,887
McCain 204,027

Edwards 19,889
Huckabee 19,168

No Preference 7,766
Paul 13,210

Giuliani 2,643

No Preference 1,875



Obama 141,449
Romney 25,945

Clinton 68,352
McCain 13,735

Uncommitted 1,304
Huckabee 12,486

Edwards 974
Paul 9,787

Giuliani 0


New Jersey

Clinton 602,576
McCain 310,427

Obama 492,186
Romney 158,974

Edwards 14,607
Huckabee 45,781

Paul 26,952

Giuliani 14,721


New York

Clinton 1,003,623
McCain 310,814

Obama 697,914
Romney 168,801

Edwards 19,725
Huckabee 65,648

Paul 38,918

Giuliani 18,566


North Dakota

Obama 11,625
Romney 3,490

Clinton 6,948
McCain 2,224

Edwards 283
Paul 2,082

Huckabee 1,947



Clinton 228,425
McCain 122,748

Obama 130,087
Huckabee 110,486

Edwards 42,718
Romney 83,018

Paul 11,179

Giuliani 2,412



Clinton 332,599
Huckabee 189,443

Obama 250,730
McCain 174,763

Edwards 27,644
Romney 129,722

Uncommitted 3,123
Paul 30,730

Thompson 16,044

Giuliani 5,100

Uncommitted 1,812



Obama 70,373
Romney 255,218

Clinton 48,719
McCain 15,264

Edwards 3,525
Paul 8,295

Huckabee 4,054

Giuliani 928



Article: 000046
07 February 2008 15:11 EST

Romney: Size Matters? And Come McCain...

Romney just gave a very contentious dropping-out speech in front of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC.) He accused the democrats of intending to surrender (his word) in Iraq. No one believes that, but perhaps that's why Romney ran off a cliff.

Romney also used a bizarre summary of his bad position, his lack of delegates compared to McCain, as (again, a quote) "Size matters". Last we heard that was a reference to a women's attitude towards penis size. We can't figure out if he doesn't know this, or he does and thinks it's amusing, or what. But perhaps that's why Romney ran off a cliff.

Right now George "macaca" Allen is the first to introduce John McCain, followed by senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

McCain gave a mostly inoffensive speech, promising to be the war candidate: war now, War Tomorrow, AND WAR FOREVER!!! Well, almost. And the CPAC crowd cheered and Sieg Heiled.

McCain echoed the usual conservative paradox that he's against small government, but will vastly increase the military, wants increased surveillance powers, and to cut taxes. Given the record-breaking Bush deficits it's hard to disconnect that kind of deficit spending, Bush just proposed a budget with over $400B in deficits, and government intrusiveness in the economy and people's lives.

It's the massive deficit spending which has brought us the "mortgage crisis" and recession by bidding up every source of credit to fund that deficit.

How do these "conservatives" imagine the deficit is funded? By selling treasury bonds and bills. How do you sell lots of government debt? By increasing the interest rate offered on those debt instruments. Why are sub-prime mortgagees in trouble? Because the federal interest rates their mortgages were tied to went up and up. Why did those rates go up? To fund the deficit spending. What a great way to get government out of people's lives...NOT!

McCain has promised more of the same, more war to fund, lower taxes to fund it so more deficit spending. McCain said absolutely nothing about balancing the budget.

The only comments McCain made regarding the economy was to demonize so-called "earmark" spending. This is the mantra of republicans when they're out of power in Congress, that all spending by democrats is wasteful while republican spending (war, war, war) is justified.

On the planet we live on spending more than you have without increasing income is the road to disaster no matter what you spend the money on. Claiming moral authority for deficit spending doesn't pay the bills.

Article: 000045
07 February 2008 12:15 EST

Romney is Out

Mitt Romney has ended his bid for the republican nomination.

We live in Massachusetts so watched Romney during his tenure as governor and were never impressed with him. He was inauthentic, and nearly absent as a governor. Near the end of his term, while still governor of the state, he began campaigning for the republican presidential nomination and would make speeches in other states expressing how much he disliked Massachusetts. If he had run for president we're sure video of these hate fests would have appeared and rubbed the electorate wrong.

Many wondered if Romney's membership in the Mormon church may have hurt his chances, the implication being "unfairly" hurt his chances. But Romney wasn't just a member, he was a bishop in the church, a fact rarely mentioned. We doubt the media would have given him such a pass if he were a bishop in the Roman Catholic church or a Protestant denomination, or any similar equivalent in other religions. America may have a taste for clear religious beliefs in a leader, but we don't think many people want someone who is high up in the hierarchy of their religion. It smacks of a primary vocation in their religion rather than in leading a diverse nation such as ours.

For all the time the media spends on how important faith is in these races recent history doesn't bear out its success. Bill Clinton wasn't seen as being particularly devout, neither were his opponents George HW Bush (the first one, in 1992) or Bob Dole. Mike Huckabee has been doing worse than Romney for all his reputation as a pastor. John McCain is by far the front-runner and he rarely pushes forward any claims of being particularly religious except as a personal quality. President Bush catered to the religious right but there's little in his background other than the occasional comment about how his faith saved him from his alcoholism or similar that indicates he ever spent a lot of time in church. If you remember back that far Pat Robertson burned out early in his bid for the republican nomination even as many in the media speculated that America was turning to his evangelical persona.

Beyond religion there is something deeply inauthentic about Mitt Romney. We were never particularly impressed by his "flip-flopping", a person can change his views though we did understand that sometimes Romney changed his views based on the political contest he was in. Romney's problem wasn't that he had changed his views so much as the shoe fit, there was something about him that reminded one of a used car salesman who will say anything to close the deal. Many would have probably felt the same about him even if there were no hints of flip-flopping. Perhaps Mike Huckabee got close when he asked, comparing himself to Romney, whether you'd rather vote for the guy you work with or the guy who just laid you off?

The friction between Romney and the other candidates, probably reflecting Romney's relation with the republican party in general, was often palpable. In debates and interviews Romney would field a question he didn't like by simply ignoring it and talking about something else, the reflex of a rigid person who isn't accustomed to being disagreed with, ever. We don't need a president who seems to live in a world where disagreeing with him is just reacted to as rude. We need a leader who tries to understand why he's being asked a particular question, even if he doesn't like the reason, and can show insight, can answer in kind, not evade the question.

All we can say is: Mitt, we hardly knew ye. And we didn't much like what we did know about ye.

Article: 000044
06 February 2008 11:50 EST

Limbaugh's War on McCain and Huckabee

Rush Limbaugh's hatred of John McCain and Mike Huckabee is well known. Rush has said on his show "If McCain or Huckabee Gets the Nomination, It Will Destroy GOP". Show after show Limbaugh warns his listening audience how McCain or Huckabee winning the republican nomination would be a disaster for the republican party.

Distribution rights for The Rush Limbaugh Show are owned by Premiere Radio Networks which is a division of Clear Channel Communications.

In November 2006 Clear Channel proceeded with a plan to go private and was bought out by two private-equity firms, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners.

Bain Capital was founded in 1984 by Mitt Romney and others. Romney was CEO of Bain 1990-2002.

So, Rush Limbaugh, in essence, works for (or is owned by) Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney founded, and where Romney served as CEO until a few years ago.

And Rush Limbaugh says if McCain or Huckabee are elected it will destroy the Republican Party.

Are we going too fast for you? Who does that leave? Let's see, McCain, no, Huckabee, no, Ron Paul? Not likely. Oh, right, Mitt Romney!

Rush Limbaugh should come clean with his motivations.

And perhaps the Federal Election Commission should look into whether Bain Capital's relationship to Rush's show amounts to a political contribution to the nominate Mitt Romney campaign.

Article: 000043
05 February 2008 12:24 EST


Interesting: Ron Paul came in second behind Romney in Montana, and ahead of both McCain and Huckabee.

Clinton and McCain sweep California. Don't believe the pundits, it's over, it's Clinton v. McCain. Huckabee just knocked Romney out without obtaining any solid lead. Obama can't win the nomination with such a poor showing in California, and the democratic party leadership will have to take into account that prominent democrats backed Obama in Massachusetts and California (and elsewhere), and Clinton swept anyhow.

Right now (11:50PM EST) it looks like Romney gets knocked to third place after McCain and Huckabee. Big night for Huckabee.

Around 2PM EST, with 100% of the vote in, Mike Huckabee was the winner in West Virginia. This is a blow to Romney as he had hoped for that early in the day win.

Notes on table:

1. Number next to state is total delegates, per party. In most cases not all of the delegates are up for grabs today. For all the gory details we recommend:

2. Number under candidate's name is delegates won prior to Super-Tuesday.

Democrats Republicans
  Clinton 241 Obama 169 Huckabee 47 McCain 111 Paul 0 Romney 94  
AL 60 226,454/42% 302,684/56%* 230,608/41%* 210,989/37% 15,454/3% 103,295/18% AL 48
AK/C 18 103/25% 302/75% 2,548/22% 1,804/15% 1,955/17% 5,126/44% AK/C 29
AZ 67 201,396/51%* 167,525/42% 43,118/9% 227,764/48%* 20,197/4% 163,967/34% AZ 53
AR 47 206,983/70%* 78,898/27% 130,541/60%* 44,091/20% 10,401/5% 29,359/14% AR 34
CA 441 2,132,166/52%* 1,735,105/42% 272,638/12% 985,900/42%* 99,545/4% 801,568/34% CA 173
CO/C 71 38,587/32% 79,344/67%* 7,266/13% 10,621/19% 4,670/8% 33,288/60%* CO/C 46
CN 61 164,831/47% 179,349/51%* 10,591/7% 78,741/52%* 6,092/4% 49,851/33% CN 30
DE 23 40,751/43% 51,124/53%* 7,706/15% 22,626/45%* 2,131/4% 16,344/33% DE 18
GA 104 328,129/31% 700,366/67%* 326,026/34%* 303,639/32% 27,978/3% 289,737/30% GA 72
ID/C 23 3,655/17% 16,880/79%*  
IL 185 662,845/33% 1,301,954/65%* 147,626/17% 424,071/47%* 45,166/5% 256,805/29% IL/P 70
KS 40 9,462/26% 27,172/74%*  
MA 121 704,591/56%* 511,887/41% 19,168/4% 204,027/41% 13,210/3% 255,248/51%* MA 43
MN/C 88 68,352/32% 141,449/67%* 12,486/20% 13,735/22% 9,787/16% 25,945/41%* MN/C 41
MO 88 395,287/48% 405,284/49%* 185,627/32% 194,304/33%* 26,445/4% 172,564/29% MO 58
  254/15% 358/22% 400/25% 625/38%* MT/C 25
NJ 127 602,576/54%* 492,186/44% 45,781/8% 310,427/55%* 26,952/5% 158,974/28% NJ 52
NM/C 38 68,654/49%*? 67,531/48%  
NY 280 1,003,623/57%* 697,914/40% 65,648/11% 310,814/51%* 38,918/7% 168,801/28% NY 101
ND/C 21 6,948/37% 11,625/61%* 1,947/20% 2,224/23% 2,082/21% 3,490/36%* ND/C 26
OK 47 228,425/55%* 130,087/31% 110,486/33% 122,478/37%* 11,179/3% 83,018/25% OK 41
TN 85 332,599/54%* 250,730/41% 189,443/34%* 174,763/32% 30,730/6% 129,722/24% TN 55
UT 29 48,719/39% 70,373/57%* 4,054/2% 15,264/5% 8,295/3% 255,218/90%* UT 36
  567/52%* 12/1% 0/0% 521/47% WV/c 30
AS 13 163/57%* 121/43%         AS 9

/PPresidential Preference
No primary

Article: 000042
04 February 2008 13:36 EST

Clinton v. Obama

The primary race between Obama and Clinton is shaping up to be a contest between idealism and pragmatism. Obama's message is very idealistic. This pro-Obama video is a good example, it starts off a little confused but what the heck you ultimately get to see Scarlett Johanssen sing in a minor role:

Yes We Can video

Hillary's message, at least the one which reaches out to her supporters, is that the Clinton white house of the 1990s was an era of prosperity, relative peace, and fiscal responsibility, and she can bring that back. That's not really idealism, that's pragmatism, like the old boss returning to the factory to straighten out operations and get things working again.

Dare we say it? The appeals are left brain versus right brain. The right brain wants to imagine how things might be, how it wants to feel about this country, the left brain wants the check book balanced and to untangle itself from those crazy neighbors we never should have got involved with in the first place.

Article: 000041
03 February 2008 16:47 EST

You Know The Nominating Race Is Winding Down When...

Limbaugh and Coulter's disdain for McCain is dominating the headlines. This reminds us of back when Alex Baldwin threatened to leave the USA if Bush was elected.

Article: 000040
02 February 2008 12:24 EST

Why the Democratic Debate Lovefest?

To understand the "lovefest" democratic debate Thursday night one only has to look back at the republican debate the previous night. McCain and Romney mostly slugged it out in a tense bout of sniping. McCain seemed to purposely bait Romney, repeatedly, by making claims about Romney's record, particularly on timetables in Iraq. Romney took the bait, unwisely we think, and was made to look like he was on trial. Never let the other guy put you on trial!

Powerful people aren't guilty or innocent, they're never put "on trial", or never acknowledge it. George Bush has made this the cornerstone of his administration.

Clinton and Obama saw how negative this sniping was for the republican image. They recognized, cleverly we think, that at the end of the day this race isn't about McCain vs. Romney or Obama vs. Clinton, it's about the republican candidate vs. the democratic candidate. It's about rallying around the party, particularly by those "independents" who aren't strongly committed to one party or the other.

Consequently what Clinton and Obama did, and one can't help but read into the performance that it was the result of conversation between their campaigns before the TV cameras were turned on, was to use the debate to make people feel good about supporting a democrat. By doing this they exploited doubts which may have arisen in many about supporting either republican candidate.

But one of them, Obama or Clinton, has to win the nomination, was that just forgotten? Of course not. They decided that debate was not going to be a vehicle for distinguishing between the two of them, there would be plenty of opportunity for that in the final days leading up to super badooper whammo Tuesday: TV ads, grassroots campaigning, the internet, mailings, other appearances.

Previously one of the key tactics of the republicans in presidential races has been to try to make people ashamed to support the democrat. Don't argue the issues (except superficially), just keep reminding people that if they vote for the democrat they're supporting a guy who lied about his Vietnam war record (Kerry / swift boat), or "looks french", or is somehow tainted by the accusations against Bill Clinton (Gore and the impeachment.)

That is, make sure when someone goes into work and tells their co-workers they support the democratic candidate that someone snaps back "oh, so you're ok with infidelity, lying, flip-flopping, have you no shame? I wouldn't be proud of that."

This turns supporters into secret supporters. They may feel strongly they want to support the democratic candidate but they would rather not talk about it. And in a campaign that sort of silence by supporters in their every day life is deadly. It creates the impression few are really supporting the democrat.

Thursday night's debate was about supporting the democratic party, and we believe it worked, for the moment. But we have a long way to go.

Article: 000039
31 January 2008 21:52 EST

Democratic Debate — It's a Lovefest!

Clearly Clinton and Obama, the only two left standing in the democratic race for the nomination, decided to go into this debate and buoy up the image of the democrats, particularly in contrast to the republicans, rather than attack each other.

Is this better? It's pleasant. More pleasant than last night's slugfest between McCain and Romney. Is that better?

Long ovation for Clinton: It took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush and I think it will take another Clinton to clean up after the second Bush!

The question was: I am 38 years old and I have never voted in a presidential election which didn't have a Bush or Clinton on the ticket. How can you tell me you will be an agent for change?

Camera shots of the audience would seem to indicate you needed to be on the Hollywood A or B list to get in. Pierce Brosnan, other recognizable faces from films but we're not good enough to give you a list of names as we type. Gary Shandling, Steven Spielberg, Stevie Wonder, Rob Reiner, Fran Drescher.

It would be nice if Wolf Blitzer would stop asking questions of "Senator...". They're both senators!

Obama keeps hitting back with the claim that he can counter the republicans better because he never supported this war, implying that Clinton did once support the war. We think Obama's problem with this is that most voters once supported the war, or at least thought it was reasonable, and then changed their minds as it dragged on and on and seemed to lose its mission and goals. That is, in all honesty, most were closer to Hillary on this and wouldn't claim they protested the war from the start.

Hillary is plugging the hour she bought on The Hallmark Channel, Monday night, 9PM EST. Wolf teases her "we do the plugs here!".

We said "lovefest" in the beginning, we'll end with "lovefest".

Article: 000038
31 January 2008 16:55 EST

Nader To Enter The Fray?

Ralph Nader now says he may enter the race for president. He's even set up a

Nader has run for president a few times previously. Probably his most remembered run was in 2000 when many blamed him for dividing democratic voters in Florida and losing Al Gore the election.

We've never much bought into that argument and believe Al Gore lost Al Gore the election in 2000. For example, had Gore simply carried his home state of Tennessee he would've won the election without Florida.

Gore was a TN congressman from 1976-1984, and then Senator 1984-1993 when he stepped down to become VP. That he let an election that was his to lose come down to a few hanging chads in Florida and the other assorted drama is, to us, more of an embarrassment than a frustration. Nonetheless, we consider Al Gore a great American, but he lost in 2000, ultimately for bad reasons, but fundamentally for letting it get so close that the bad reasons could come into play.

Nader? Oh yeah, Nader. Nader is another great American, there is no doubt about it. He has withstood the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or more specifically he took on the automobile industry back in 1965 (really, he started in 1959 with an article in The Nation) with his book Unsafe At Any Speed. In it he argued, convincingly at the time, that many American automobiles had lousy safety design and the manufacturers knew it but were ignoring problems. The book focused on the Chevrolet Corvair which had killed and injured many people in rollovers. GM responded at the time by hiring private detectives to look for dirt in his past and hiring prostitutes to try to entrap him into embarrassing situations. GM was forced to publicly apologize for those smear attempts.

That said, what has he to offer the presidential race?

He won't likely be seeking either major party's nomination. In the past he has run as an independent or nominee of the Green or Reform parties.

Nader has commented that he's currently motivated by the withdrawals of Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards from the democratic nomination race. Clearly Nader wants to represent a progressive voice, it's not that he wants to see democrats lose.

Another less interesting issue is that if Nader jumps in he's two years older than John McCain! So McCain would no longer be the oldest candidate. We're not sure what that means, but consider how much we charged you for that tidbit.

What could be interesting would be Ron Paul and Ralph Nader joining forces for a third-party run. Libertarians and progressives often see eye-to-eye on many issues such as personal freedoms and a general dislike of government authority. However, they also butt heads on other issues like gun control, anti-discrimination laws (libertarians generally don't believe the government should get involved with anti-discrimination), and the occasional right-wing/left-wing knee jerk issue (Ron Paul is anti-choice on abortion, we doubt Nader is.)

What would probably scotch that would be their choosing who runs as president and who as vice-president. But, as they say, politics can make for strange bedfellows!

Article: 000037
30 January 2008 21:41 EST

Republican Debate — Snippy, Snippy, Snippy!
Breaking news: Schwarzeneggar endorses McCain.

Tonight's republican debate has just ended and what lingers in the memory is McCain and Romney sniping at each other, mostly over whether or not Romney ever suggested the US should set timetables to get out of Iraq, or not.

Ron Paul scored some points with punch by scolding that the two of them were debating who said what and when about timetables while they should all be debating whether we even belong in Iraq and how are we going to get out of there? Paul also made a strong comment protesting the characterization of the president as not only commander-in-chief of the military, but also the commander-in-chief of the economy which Paul said shouldn't be the case.

Paul definitely got to sound out some of his libertarian philosophy though it was probably lost on the audience and sometimes just sounded strange, such as when he begins talking about how the country needs to get back on the gold standard. Paul did get a smile from the other candidates when he pointed out that Ronald Reagan campaigned for him in 1978, but we're not sure what those smiles meant.

McCain and Romney exchanged barbs about who was a leader versus who was a manager again.

Huckabee didn't get a lot of face time but he did jump into the leader vs. manager fray by pointing out that he'd been a governor of a state for 10 1/2 years which was longer than anyone else running from either party. We won't try to pick that one apart.

Probably the most stinging barbs were thrown when Romney said that if you (McCain) have been endorsed by the New York Times then you must be a liberal! McCain countered that neither of Romney's home-town newspapers, the Boston Globe or the very conservative Boston Herald, endorsed Romney and they should know him best. Ouch!

There was also a long, painful, stretch for Romney when he was asked whether Americans were better off today or eight years ago, clearly a reference to current economic problems and president Bush. Romney just seemed to stonewall and evade the question no matter how many times Anderson Cooper tried to get Romney back on point and would just talk about his own accomplishments as governor of Massachusetts. We've seen this pattern with Romney a few times now where, when he doesn't like a question put to him, he just talks about something vaguely related and ignores attempts to steer him back onto topic, becoming rigid and uncomfortable. It's as if Romney is very unaccustomed and resistant to anyone steering him, even when the question seems like it deserves an answer.

Overall we think McCain technically seemed like he was on unsteady ground at a few points in the debate yet somehow upstaged Romney overall by putting Romney on the defensive over and over again. At times Romney seemed genuinely flustered and was even seen muttering to the camera in exasperation though we couldn't figure out what Romney was trying to mutter.

Ron Paul did very well in terms of working the audience and making some big idea statements but whenever he spoke both McCain and Romney would smile in his direction patronizingly. They did that very well. Huckabee probably didn't make any difference to his image one way or the other but occasionally seemed like he was falling into hackneyed, canned remarks we've all heard from him before.

If there is anything to draw from this debate it's that the contest between McCain and Romney is likely to turn even more heated as we go into super wooper ultra Tuesday.

Article: 000036
30 January 2008 12:53 EST

Giuliani, Edwards Out

And then there were four, or five, or maybe it's six? The democratic field has certainly dropped to Clinton v. Obama. The republican field still holds McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Paul.

John Edwards was probably doomed from the start by his run in 2004 as John Kerry's vice-presidential candidate. It's hard to get people behind, particularly the big money, a candidate who didn't make it last time. Unlike the other candidates it provided a relevant data point. Richard Nixon came back from a loss in 1960 but he was actually the vice president from 1953-1960 so had previously been part of a winning team with Eisenhower, twice.

Most likely we won't hear from John Edwards again in the national political arena except perhaps in some functional role like within his party (Howard Dean is the chair right now.) On the other hand at 54 (b. 10 June 1953) Edwards is young, comparatively, and might re-invent himself, run for senator again for example, or governor of a state. He could easily have another 20 years or so to find his place.

As to Giuliani, was he ever really running? It's hard to tell. He sat out all the early elections, was barely on the radar in New Hampshire where one would think there would be some support, and flamed out entirely in Florida.

Rudy Giuliani ran against Hillary Clinton for senator of New York in 2000 but dropped out late, 19 May 2000, due to a bout with prostate cancer and various issues in his personal life such as his extra-marital affair with Judith Nathan and his marriage in general. His republican candidacy for senator was assumed by Rick Lazio who really didn't have a chance for a variety of factors, including his late entrance into the contest.

Was Giuliani's run just a grudge re-match against Hillary?

We'll probably never know, and it's not very important. Rudy can go back to running his consultancy firm and, most likely, we won't see him on the national political stage again. His views on abortion, gay rights, his New York City persona, infidelities, and other issues distanced him from the republican core.

Giuliani is expected to endorse McCain on the way out the door. Some have speculated he might be on the short list for McCain's vice-presidential pick should McCain get the nomination. We find that highly unlikely for various reasons. McCain is already struggling with his image within the republican core and adding Giuliani would be like throwing gasoline on that fire. Some of the problems conservatives might have with Giuliani are not superficial, such as his very public marital infidelities. And Giuliani really didn't do very well in this race. McCain would be better off with a relative unknown with stellar credentials, particularly within the republican party. Who? Well, he or she wouldn't be much of an unknown if we knew!

Edwards is not expected to immediately endorse anyone. He's going out with 26 delegates. A candidate needs 2,025 delegates to win the democratic nomination so that isn't significant; Edwards is not going to be able to play power-broker. Our guess is that Edwards will endorse Obama if Obama's campaign continues to gain momentum past super duper whoopty doo Tuesday, but there's no rush and given Edwards' poor showing it's doubtful he's being heavily courted by either Obama or Clinton.

Article: 000035
29 January 2008 20:01 EST

Republican Decision-Time in Florida

  • McCain wins republican primary in Florida, takes 36% of vote.
  • Rudy Giuliani expected to drop out and endorse McCain tomorrow.
  • Hillary Clinton sweeps democratic non-primary with 50% to Obama's 33%, Edwards a distant third with 14%.
  • Huckabee with only 14% becomes a spoiler for Romney (31%)?

With 99% of the precincts reporting McCain 36% (693,425) has beat Romney's 31% (598,152), Giuliani shows 15% (281,755) and Huckabee 14% (259,703). Ron Paul has 3% (62,060), Thompson 1% (22,287), and Duncan Hunter hanging in by a chad with 0% (2,787). Thompson and Hunter dropped out of the race previous to this primary.

Votes separating McCain and Romney: 95,273

In the democratic non-race with 99% reporting Clinton has 50% of the non-vote (856,944), Obama 33% (568,930), and Edwards third with 14% (248,575.) Dennis Kucinich, who has exited the non-race, shows up with 1% (9,535) of the non-votes.

19:47 EST — projects Hillary Clinton as the winner in the democratic party un-primary.
20:03 EST — CNN projects Hillary Clinton winner of the Florida democratic whatever the hell it is.
20:08 EST — projects that Rudy Giuliani is sucking wind in Florida.
21:17 EST — MSNBC projects McCain the winner in the Florida republican primary.
21:30 EST — CNN projects McCain the winner in the Florida republican primary.

Today's primary could be a critical turning point for republican candidates. Rudy Giuliani has all but said if he doesn't do well in Florida he's done. John McCain is reportedly running out of money for next week's super-duper-Tuesday and a poor showing in Florida won't help. Huckabee seems in similar poor financial shape. Romney is richer than Croesus, but a poor showing for Romney won't be encouraging to his candidacy.

Today's democrats' primary in Florida doesn't officially count. The democratic party is punishing the state's party for moving their primary up in defiance of the national democratic party's rules.

Going back to the republicans we could come out of Florida with only two candidates standing. Even Giuliani has commented that whoever wins Florida is the likely republican nominee. Earlier today the Reuters/Zogby poll had McCain in the lead with 35% and Romney not far behind with 31% of the likely vote. Giuliani and Huckabee were battling it out for the cellar with about 13% each.

The Florida primary could be critical for the democrats even though their own primary doesn't count. Which republican candidate can beat the democrats and will he get knocked out in Florida tonight? We could end up with a candidate which dooms the republican party. Or, conversely, puts the republicans in a better position.

Article: 000034
28 January 2008 17:20 EST

Many Kennedys Endorse Obama!

This is wonderful for Barack Obama. He should be proud.

However, will it help him win the nomination?

As the old saying goes: It can't hurt!

But Ted Kennedy defuses his own endorsement in the speech he made endorsing Obama:

"But first, let me say how much I respect the strength, the work and dedication of two other Democrats still in the race, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards. They are my friends; they have been my colleagues in the Senate. John Edwards has been a powerful advocate for economic and social justice. And Hillary Clinton has been in the forefront on issues ranging from health care to the rights of women around the world. Whoever is our nominee will have my enthusiastic support." Link to Buffalo news transcript

That's the problem, there's little divisiveness among democrats and many will tell you that although they might have some preference they'll be happy to support any of the three front-runners: Clinton, Obama, or Edwards.

This dilutes the effect of an endorsement here or there. It's not like Ted and Patrick and Caroline got up there and said vote for Obama, the other candidates suck (except when referring to the republicans.)

Instead, their endorsement was more like arguing for chocolate over vanilla ice cream (no deeper meaning intended!) Ok, you like chocolate, I like vanilla, he likes tutti-frutti, de gustibus non est disputendum ("there's no accounting for taste".)

Ted did make some comments about breaking with the past which seemed like perhaps some stronger endorsement than the above would claim, a criticism of the Clintons.

But in the end it was mostly a rationalization of his choice. Our personal suspicion, reading between the lines, is that Ted is afraid the Clintons can't pull it off in November; a rational concern, but just a concern. That is, it's not that Kennedy doesn't believe the Clintons have been wonderful for this country politically, but that ghosts will come back to haunt them. We wonder if this isn't, to some extent, just giving in to the "politics of personal destruction" practiced by the republicans against the Clintons in the form of non-stop witch hunts during Bill Clinton's administration.

What today's endorsements do underline is the paucity of significant republican endorsements thus far. The governor of Florida has endorsed McCain, and we don't make light of that. But where are the endorsements from visible republican party leaders?

Republican party leader endorsements would be important because unlike the democratic field the current republican field is confused and splintered and very contentious. As we said in a previous entry some have called the nomination of McCain or Huckabee the end of the republican party! Many conservatives can't stand Giuliani, nobody in the republican core seems to like either McCain or Romney.

A little republican party leadership would be useful at this point, with super duper monster ultra Tuesday (or whatever some in the media are calling it) coming up on February 5th, just eight days from today. And tomorrow's republican primary in Florida might cut down the number of republican candidates to two, just McCain and Romney, though we suspect Huckabee will push on for a while.

What we see here isn't so much a blessing for Obama, but glaring sins of omission on the republican side.

Article: 000033
27 January 2008 11:51 EST

Separated at Birth?

Bishop Mitt Romney and Reverend J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, founder of The Church of the SubGenius?

Article: 000032
26 January 2008 19:27 EST

NBC, CNN, Project Barack Obama Winner in South Carolina

As of 8:35PM with about 300,000 (63%) votes reported it looks like Barack Obama has swept South Carolina. Right now we see 54% of the vote going to Obama and only about 27% to Clinton.

Edwards, who was born in South Carolina and won the state's primary in 2004 trails with about 19% of the vote.

We'll keep updating this item as the story develops. At this point concurs with the others' projections: Obama won, Clinton came in second, and Edwards is a distant, though not terribly distant, third.

More after we return from our local watering hole...

P.S. SC democratic party delegates are assigned on a per-district basis. There are a total of 45 delegates at stake (plus 9 superdelegates.) If the current numbers hold Obama should get as many as 25 of those delegate, Clinton 12-15, and the rest to Edwards.

Article: 000031
25 January 2008 16:23 EST

New York Times Endorses Hillary Clinton, John McCain

What confuses us are right-wingers hooting about how the New York Times is so liberal that the NYT endorsement may actually hurt McCain. The NYT is liberal? As far as we can tell the NYT is the nation's premier status quo center newspaper. What do they believe is a centrist newspaper? The Völkischer Beobachter?

It's heated talk like this which makes us nervous about so-called conservatives.

Actually, we always thought The Wall Street Journal was a Marxist newspaper. Could they disagree with any of the following:

History is economics in action
—Karl Marx

Sell a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and you've ruined a wonderful business opportunity.
—Karl Marx

All I know is I am not a Marxist.
—Karl Marx
Article: 000030
24 January 2008 17:49 EST

Dennis Kucinich Calls it Quits

Progressive candidate Dennis Kucinich announced today that he's ended his bid for the democratic party presidential nomination.
Article: 000029
24 January 2008 13:28 EST

The End of the Republican Party (as we know it)?

The republicans, the "real" republicans, the republican core, conservatives, those whacky dreamers and idealogues who spout about limited government, low taxes, criminalizing abortion, and nuking the French or Iranians or whoever has attracted their attention this week, might be facing an E.L.E. as they called it in the movie "Deep Impact" referring to a huge comet hurtling towards the earth: An Extinction Level Event.

None other than that self-confessed drug abuser Rush Limbaugh has said "If McCain or Huckabee Gets the Nomination, It Will Destroy GOP". In one show Rush demands of McCain:

"I want to hear from Senator McCain as a Republican primary voter his manmade global warming thoughts, his record, and what he intends to do to fix manmade global warming. I want to hear from Senator McCain on his opposition to tax cuts. I want to hear the domestic side, and I would hope that he would speak loudly and openly and honestly about his domestic record, not spin it, certainly not deny it, but give Republican voters in Florida some straight talk on the record.

Read this Limbaugh transcript for a taste of the animosity Limbaugh has for Huckabee.

The New York Times says Romney Leads in Ill Will Among G.O.P. Candidates. The article goes on to say:

"At the end of the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire this month, when the Democrats joined the candidates on stage, Mitt Romney found himself momentarily alone as his counterparts mingled, looking around a bit stiffly for a companion.

The moment was emblematic of a broader reality that has helped shape the Republican contest and could take center stage again on Thursday at a debate in Florida. Within the small circle of contenders, Mr. Romney has become the most disliked..."

"...Mr. McCain's advisers, whose distaste for Mr. Romney is vivid, say Mr. McCain has been irked by what they perceive as misleading attacks and Mr. Romney's willingness to say anything to be elected."

"...Mr. Romney probably knows Mr. Huckabee the best, aides said, as the two were governors at the same time and ran into each other often through the Republican Governors Association and the National Governors Association. Paradoxically, sometimes the enmity between them appears to be the sharpest."

What about Giuliani? So far Giuliani hasn't shown up on the primary radar as far as voters are concerned. But it's well known that mainstream republican conservatives dislike Giuliani's support for abortion choice, gay rights, and other issues.

So who does that leave to represent the republican faithful? Fred Thompson was thought to best represent that group but he's dropped out. Ron Paul of course is a libertarian and if you think his views coincide with mainstream republican conservatives you haven't been paying attention. Paul wants our troops out of Iraq immediately and to abolish the Federal Reserve Bank.

If the republican party's nominee becomes president he will, de facto, become the head of the republican party. Even if that's a vague concept, officially, a republican president would hold enormous sway with the party and can probably set the pace for its future.

So what does that mean? It means that, barring the emergence of a candidate we have yet to consider, which could happen, conservative republicans have to hope their party loses the White House in 2008 or their place in that party will evaporate! What heresy!

There is a lot of irony in all this:

  • George W. Bush was vigorously defended and supported for years as the conservative flag-bearer until conservatives became more and more disenchanted with Bush's neo-conservative failures and fiscal irresponsibility. Now the best thing a candidate for the republican nomination can do is to sharply distance himself from president Bush. This isn't a comfortable position for party faithful, it's a loud admission of failure.

  • John McCain gets a lot of his republican political swagger from his record in Vietnam as a war hero. The republicans attacked both John Kerry and Bill Clinton for their military service (or lack thereof) and thereby made a military record like McCain's a strong plus.

  • Huckabee is riding the crest of the evangelical and fundamentalist Christian wing of the republican party, a bloc the republicans carefully nurtured.

  • Romney also benefits from the Christian right imagery even if some hard-core Christian right aren't comfortable with a Mormon. But for those less critical of Mormons per se Romney easily presents himself as a man of deep faith. His strong business background and the republicans' claim to be all about business fit hand in glove as does Romney's legacy status in the party. Mitt's father was governor of Michigan and ran for the republican presidential nomination, unsuccessfully, in 1968. A legacy! Just like dubya!

Hoisted on their own petards?

But what choices will conservatives have, other than praying for the failure of the party's nominee so they can put all this behind them?

They could wait it out and hope their new party leader ultimately fails or sees the light, or a new leader emerges in four or eight years who is more to their liking. Or conservatives could form a third party and try to replace the republican party but this strategy is a long shot at best, particularly by the 2008 election. It would take at least a decade to form a conservative party capable of challenging the republican party, let alone one able to challenge the democrats. The fear of losing everything for decades would tend to scotch that choice, particularly in a party ruled by old men.

No matter how you look at it the 2008 presidential election is going to change the republican party. And change is not the conservatives' strong suit.

Article: 000028
23 January 2008 19:07 EST

Obama Supporters Terrified of Bill Clinton!

President Bill Clinton is campaigning for his wife. Hillary's only serious opposition is Barack Obama. So, naturally, supporters for each Hillary and Obama often mention the other candidate and their differences.

In what strikes us as a childish sort of mentality this has somehow become an attack on Bill Clinton. Michelle Obama takes her best shot for her husband Barack. Elizabeth Edwards is frequently seen supporting her husband's candidacy, whatzizname.

Clearly Bill Clinton is a powerful and effective advocate for his wife so we can understand why Obama supporters are frantic to somehow defuse him by fabricating or exaggerating accusations against Bill.

One particularly smarmy approach is taken by CNBC' Chris Matthews who has been milking this "story" for days. Matthews keeps using this faux concerned tone asking whether Bill Clinton's advocacy is helping or hurting Hillary's campaign. Oh c'mon. Surely there must be some other aspect of the entire campaign landscape worth even a minute on your show? You're obsessed with the Clintons, Chris, you wear your heart on your sleeve.

Since it's easier to just follow than be creative now CNN and other news sources are copying this angle as their lead stories.

But not us, we're above that! We're sticking to...oh ok, we suck too.

Article: 000027
23 January 28 17:14 EST

Endorsement Round-up!

Recent endorsements:

Hillary Clinton — PA Gov Ed Rendell, OH Lt Gov Lee Fisher, Rev. Calvin Butts III (Harlem Abyssinian Baptist Church), Rep. Joe Baca (R-San Bernadino, CA), United Farm Workers Union, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso, TX), Mayor Martin Chavez (Alberquerque, NM), ME Gov John Balducci, MD Gov Martin O'Malley, MI Gov Jennifer Granholm, NJ Gov Jon Corzine, OH Gov Ted Strickland, OR Gov Ted Kulongoski, NY Gov Eliot Spitzer, AR Gov Mike Beebe, former Pres Bill Clinton.

Barack Obama — Rep Bennie Thompson (D-MS), The State (Columbia, SC, state's largest newspaper), Mayor Sheila Dixon expected (Baltimore, MD), Mayor Shirley Franklin (Atlanta, GA), Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Treas. James Lewis (NM), former DNC Chairman Fred Harris, former Mayor Jim Baca (Alberquerque, NM), NM State House Majority Leader Ken Martinez, Sen. Patrick Leahy, former Sen Jean Carnahan (D-MO), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Harvard Crimson (and McCain), AZ Gov Janet Napolitano, MA Gov Deval Patrick, VA Gov Tim Kaine, WI Gov Jim Doyle, IL Gov Rod Blagojevich, Oprah Winfrey.

John Edwards — Communications Workers of America, State Rep Walton J. McLeod III (Little Mountain, SC).

John McCain — former Sen. Alfonse D'Mato (R-NY), Ret Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, OK State House Speaker Lance Cargill, Orange Cty, FL Mayor Rich Crotty, FL State Sen. Durell Peaden, Univ of FL President Bernie Machen, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), MN Gov Tim Pawlenty, IN Gov Mitch Daniels, UT Gov John Huntsman Jr, UT Atty Genl Mark Shurtleff, VT Gov Jim Douglas.

Mitt Romney — Sen Thad Cochran (R-MS), Ross Perot, Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI), NE Gov Dave Heineman, RI Gov Don Carcieri, MS Gov Matt Blunt, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Mike Huckabee — SD Gov Mike Rounds, Rep Duncan Hunter (R-CA), SC Lt Gov Andre Bauer, Jim Gilchrest (Minuteman Project), Jerry Falwell Jr, Chuck Norris. Jesus, International Painters Union.

Rudy Giuliani — TX Gov Rick Perry, former Rep Clay Shaw (R-FL), Pat Robertson, Jeb Bush Jr, former CA Gov Pete Wilson, Rep Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), NH State Troopers Assoc, former MA GOP Chair Jim Rappaport, former MA Gov Paul Cellucci (R-MA), former MA State Treasurer Joe Malone, Joe Piscopo, Steve Forbes, Johnny Damon (Yankees).

Ron Paul Columnist Andrew Sullivan, Bunny Ranch brothel owner Dennis Hof, former Rep Barry Goldwater Jr (R-AZ), former NM Gov Gary Johnson, The Muslim Observer, Sirius Radio's Howard Stern, Razor Tycoon Penn Gillette, Adam Curry, Mel Gibson's father Hutton, Jane Roe as in "Roe v. Wade".

P.S. We worked hard on these lists but if you know of any significant omissions please email updates to editor@the-election

Article: 000026
22 January 2008 15:00 EST

Fred Thompson Drops Out

Fred Thompson has quit the presidential race according to a statement released by Fred Thompson. We're not surprised given his poor showing in South Carolina this weekend which should have been strong for him. We did wonder if Thompson was hanging in there hoping for a brokered convention and would be swept into the nomination on the negatives (to the republican party core) of the other candidates.

This raises the question: How long Giuliani will stick it out. We assume Florida will make or break Giuliani's candidacy.

McCain is looking stronger as the republican nominee every day.

Article: 000025
21 January 2008 17:15 EST

A Quick Tribute to Martin Luther King

The lead item on right this moment reads:
Black women voters face tough choices

"Analysts say black women never have held such power in determining the Democratic nominee for president. Black women are expected to make up more than a third of all Democratic voters in South Carolina's primary in five days. These women face a unique dilemma: Should they vote their race, or should they vote their gender?"

We find that summary mildly disturbing: "Should (black women) vote their race, or should they vote their gender?" ???

We're fairly certain black women in South Carolina, like most everyone else, and everywhere else, in this country, will vote their political preferences, hopes, desires, and aspirations. They'll vote for what's best for themselves, and what's best for America. They'll vote their pocketbooks, their families, their communities, their concerns for the troops, America's place in the world, for the poor and helpless and infirm and aged, for their friends and their neighbors, and most of all for right over wrong as they see it.

We don't doubt their "race" and "gender" will cross their minds, but we believe only as such factors will further those more important concerns.

Article: 000024
21 January 2008 14:18 EST

Senators Lose Presidential Elections

Sitting senators who ran as democratic or republican candidates for president against non-senators have lost every time since World War II except for JFK.

Let's review:

1948Harry Truman* (Pres)Thomas E. Dewey (Gov, NY)
1952Adlai Stevenson (Gov, IL)Dwight D. Eisenhower (Mil.)
1956Adlai Stevenson (Gov, IL)Dwight D. Eisenhower (Mil.)
1960John F. Kennedy (Sen, MA)Richard Nixon (VP)
1964Lyndon B. Johnnson* (Pres)Barry Goldwater (Sen, AZ)
1968Hubert H. Humphrey* (VP)Richard Nixon (VP)
1972George McGovern (Sen, SD)Richard Nixon (Pres)
1976Jimmy Carter (Gov, GA)Gerald Ford* (VP)
1980Jimmy Carter (Gov, GA)Ronald Reagan (Gov, CA)
1984Walter Mondale* (VP)Ronald Reagan (Pres)
1988Michael Dukakis (Gov, MA)George HW Bush (VP)
1992Bill Clinton (Gov, AK)George H. W. Bush (Pres)
1996Bill Clinton (Pres)Bob Dole (Sen, KS)
2000Al Gore* (VP)George W. Bush (Gov, TX)
2004John Kerry (Sen, MA)George W. Bush (Pres)

Winner in bold.
* Former senator.

Previously you have to go back to the 1921 election of Warren Harding for another winning, sitting, senator. Interestingly, Warren Harding and JFK both died in office, and are the only presidents to have pre-deceased their fathers. Before that? Benjamin Harrison (1888), James Buchanan (1856), Franklin Pierce (1852), William Henry Harrison had been a senator until 1828 and elected president in 1840, Andrew Jackson (1828), and that's it.

Losing senators in recent elections have been numerous. John Kerry, Al Gore, Bob Dole, Gerald Ford (former senator, sitting president), George McGovern, and Hubert Humphrey. Quite a few governors have also lost, governors are popular nominees for both parties.

In the current field of candidates we have a lot of senators. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards are or were all recently senators, and pretty much round out the entire democratic candidacy. On the republican side John McCain is a sitting senator but Romney, Huckabee, and Giuliani are not. Romney and Huckabee have held that historically very popular position (for winning the presidency) of governor. In recent elections George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and FDR, were all state governors.

The first question is why? Does the electorate dislike senators? Do we like governors? Or is it something else entirely?

The second question is whether this fact is predictive? It would seem to predict that the only way the democrats can win in 2008 would be by one of their senators running against a republican senator since in either case a senator would have to win barring a strong third-party candidate. Right now the only possibility for that is John McCain. Either Hillary Clinton (Senator) or Obama Barack (Senator) running against McCain is currently a strong possibility.

Article: 000023
20 January 2008 16:24 EST

Huckabee and the Confederate Flag

A video of Mike Huckabee talking about the confederate flag in South Carolina last week has now been shown over and over. Basically, Huckabee told the seemingly pleased crowd that he strongly believed flying the confederate flag in front of the South Carolina state house was a state issue. He summed it up thusly:
"In fact, if someone came to the state of Arkansas and told us what to do with our flag, we'd tell them where to put the pole - that's what we'd do," said Huckabee. CBS news article, CNN Video

There's more to this story than this simple-minded appeal to emotions acknowledges.

The confederate flag only re-appeared on southern state flags and legislative buildings in the 1950s and early 1960s as protests against integration.

The confederate flag wasn't hoisted to honor those southerners who died in the civil war (a war they lost, we might add), it was hoisted in defiance of federal attempts to enforce the constitution. If the hoisters thought it was an effective symbol of defiance against civil rights why shouldn't the rest of us? Why shouldn't we take them at their word?

"In 1956 the state flag of Georgia was redesigned to incorporate the Confederate Battle Flag" [1] "African-Americans in particular found it offensive, as the emblem was originally adopted not during the American Civil War period but in 1956 during the height of the fight for desegregation during the Civil Rights Movement... Critics, including Georgia Congressman John Lewis, assert it was only adopted as a symbol of racist protest, especially against the decision of Brown v. Board of Education.[3] A federal appeals court noted in 1997 that the 1956 resolution changing the flag was part of a larger legislative package that year from the Georgia General Assembly which included bills rejecting Brown v. Board and following up on then-Governor Marvin Griffin's announcement that "The rest of the nation is looking to Georgia for the lead in segregation." [2]

"In 1962 the Confederate battle flag was placed on top of the South Carolina statehouse by vote of the all-white legislature. While other Southern states removed the flag from their statehouses, South Carolina refused to follow suit... Inflammatory remarks by state senator Arthur Ravenel made national headlines in Jan. 2000 when he defended the flying of the Southern Cross, referring to the NAACP as the "the National Association of Retarded People." He then apologized to "retarded people" for associating them with the NAACP...On April 12, 2000, the South Carolina state senate finally passed a bill to remove the flag by a majority of 36-7. The bill specified that a more traditional version of the battle flag (square shaped as opposed to the rectangular flag now flying above the statehouse) would be flown in front of the Capitol next to a monument honoring fallen Confederate soldiers. The bill then went to the House, where it encountered some difficulty. But on May 18, 2000, after the bill was modified to ensure that the height of the flag's new pole would be 30 feet, it was passed by a majority of 66 to 43, and Governor Jim Hodges signed the bill five days later. On July 1, the flag was removed from the South Carolina statehouse. The bill has not appeased everyone, however: the NAACP has not called off its boycott because they feel that the flag's new position on the Capitol lawn is still too prominent." [3]

We're not convinced that the federal government should come and force South Carolina (and others) to take down its flag from publicly funded buildings though we can understand why some might feel that way. We certainly believe any private citizen should have the right to fly the confederate flag or stars and bars in any private context they choose. The constitution protects them also.

We feel that the presence of the flag serves as a warning that you're dealing with likely troglodyte racists — why would we want to force the removal of such a potentially useful warning?

Mike Huckabee must be very self-deluded to think he's fooling anyone, other than his own ship of fools.

Article: 000022
19 January 2008 14:17 EST

Nevada and South Carolina -- Developing

South Carolina

Summary: John McCain Wins South Carolina

21:39 EDT NBC and CNN call it for McCain. With 91% of the precincts reporting McCain has 33% (134,474) of the vote, Huckabee 30% (120,589), with Thompson 16%, Romney 15%, Paul 4%, Giuliani 2%, and Duncan Hunter bringing up the rear. Huckabee is giving his concession speech as this is being typed, vows to fight on.

At 21:07 EDT with 72% reporting and McCain in the lead with 34%, Huckabee second with 29% going to project McCain as the winner in South Carolina.

At 9PM EDT with 68% of the South Carolina precincts reporting it's still too close to call with McCain with 101,688 votes and Huckabee 88,381. Thompson trails a distant third with 47,199 votes followed by Romney's 45,619, Paul 10,738, Giuliani 6,424 and Duncan Hunter actually has negative votes (ok, we're kidding, he has 690 votes.) Note that Ron Paul is once again beating Giuliani though they're both battling it out for the basement.


Summary: Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney Win Nevada

With 80% reporting in Nevada Romney is by far the winner in the republican caucuses. Ron Paul so far is in second place more or less tied with John McCain, followed by a trailing Mike Huckabee. Once again Giuliani barely registers, voting looks like this:

Nevada Republican Results
Romney 18,282
Paul 4,606
McCain 4,580
Huckabee 2,704
Thompson 2,686
Giuliani 1,589
Hunter 617
Tancredo 0

Wow, Tancredo got zero votes! Ok, everyone seems to agree that Tancredo and Hunter are no longer serious candidates. But it's easy to begin wondering why anyone still considers Giuliani a strong candidate, and Thompson is just barely hanging on tho Huckabee's poor showing in Nevada makes Thompson look a lot better. Damning with faint praise we suppose.

Obama Campaign Releases Recording Of Alleged Dirty-Trick Call Targeting "Barack Hussein Obama"

You can hear the recording at that link. We don't understand why calling him "Barack Hussein Obama" is a "dirty trick", that is his full name, right? The recording is clearly anti-Obama and accuses him of accepting money from Washington lobbyists."

However, that all sounds to us like good ol' politics. Why exactly is this any different than the 1,001 things candidates and everyone else have said about each other up until now?

CNN Projects Hillary Clinton wins Nevada.

MSNBC says women voters helped push Hillary over the top, Hillary got 58% of women voters.

From reader comments, Charleston, SC Post and Courier political forum

1980Elephant: If you are undecided, please vote Fred Thompson, he is the only choice that can lead a united party to victory in November. John McCain and Mike Huckabee are so divisive they will split the conservative party resulting in a dramatic loss in November.
gneubeck: In selecting your Presidential candidate, please reflect on the dire consequences of a docile retreat before a relatively small band of Islamic extremists; and, attempt to formulate your own opinion as to the most prudent course of action in the defense of our Nation. It might assist to consider the following scenario: the infiltration of a group of terrorists similar to the Atta cabal with a quantity of weaponized anthrax procured from a rogue state;...A Nation without enforceable borders will not long survive as a Nation. Mitt Romney is exceedingly strong on each of these principles.
dixiesc: I support Ron Paul because he is right, I care not whether he can win. He has worked in congress for over 30 years and has done the right thing every time. He has never caved. He deserves my vote and yours. One of the canvassers here in Charleston told me 2 nights ago that at least 30% of the people he talks to when going door to do say that they would vote for Ron Paul if they thought he could win.. 30%! How brainwashed have we become to think that the media controls who will be our next president. If that is the case, we should all stay home on election day. Ron Paul is the best chance the nation has of righting itself. Win or Lose, you should do what is right.
Preston: John McCain is just too liberal. I'm voting for Thompson
citizen123: SOUTH CAROLINA! WAKE-UP! BOTH HUCKABEE AND McCAIN SUCK! BOTH ARE BAD FOR THE COUNTRY...MITT ROMNEY IS THE ONLY COMMON SENSE PERSON TO BE OUR CANIDATE. HE IS THE ONLY ONE WITH PROVEN SUCCESSFUL ENCONOMIAL SKILLS...Romney has 5 kids and has very pro-family values. As Gov. of Mass. He did not accept any salary! He donated it all instead! Mitt Romney has the best record of any candidates.
webwe: ALL the candidates deserve high praise for running but I’ll be happy to see their backsides it’s a living purgatory!
My phone line is tied up with robo calls, unsolicited prerecorded messages, push-pull polls, and trash talk from paid spin-doctors leveling abuse at the competition.
Using an answering machine to screen calls doesn’t eliminate the problem: Telemarketers don’t leave messages -politicians do!
Robo calls are by far the worst. Recently my answering machine cut one short after 45 seconds which triggered another one, then another one and at least two more before the misery ended.

Detailed Nevada voter breakdown

Bill Clinton claims to have personally witnessed voter suppression in Nevada

Bill Clinton: "...There’s a radio ad up in the northern part of Nevada telling Republicans that they ought to just register as Democrats for a day so they can beat Hillary and go out and be Republicans next week and vote in the primary...Today when my daughter and I were wandering through the hotel, and all these culinary workers were mobbing us telling us they didn’t care what the union told them to do, they were gonna caucus for Hillary.

There was a representative of the organization following along behind us going up to everybody who said that, saying 'if you’re not gonna vote for our guy were gonna give you a schedule tomorrow so you can’t be there.'"

AP projects Romney winner of republican caucus in Nevada. Mormon voters account for about half of Romney's votes.

Article: 000021
18 January 2008 15:18 EST

What a Peculiar Race!

People talk and talk about these facts individually but how about a round-up of candidates?

Hillary ClintonFirst woman front-runner
Barack ObamaFirst African-American front-runner
Mitt RomneyFirst Mormon front-runner
Mike HuckabeeNot first, but unusually successful Christian fundamentalist
John McCainOldest front-runner
Rudy GiulianiProbably the first Republican Roman Catholic front-runner?

Which basically leaves John Edwards who seems to be fading anyhow.

We realize it's very PC to act like these qualities are unimportant but let's be frank, to many people they are, like it or not. Some of these qualities, of course, are positive to some people and negative to others, and unimportant to still others. It's very difficult to gauge the effect they're having on the race because it's so un-PC to just poll voters as to whether they're unwilling to vote for a woman or Roman Catholic or African-American or someone over 70.

And then the media complains that the polls are inaccurate predictors of the recent primary results?

Article: 000020
17 January 2008 15:14 EST

Pollster Subpoenaed for New Hampshire Questionnaire

Moore Information, a Portland, OR polling company, has been subpoenaed by a New Hampshire grand jury for appearance on February 1.

The complaint revolves around a November 2007 telephone survey which is claimed to have been a "push poll", a technique where the questions contain leading information and whose intent appears to be to just get that leading information out to voters rather than to actually survey their opinions.

For example, in one question there is a lengthy description of John McCain's sons' exemplary service in the military. The question is whether this will make you more or less likely to vote for John McCain. In another question the Mormon practice of baptizing people after they have died and without their knowledge is described, and a similar question about how it might affect your likelihood to vote for Romney is asked. To the best of our knowledge the statements regarding McCain and Mormons are factually true, but we don't claim expertise on either McCain's sons or the Mormon religion.

See the text of the questions at issue in the link below.

The technicality is that although NH has a law against push polling it only applies to general elections, not primaries. If charges are brought against pollster the prosecutor will probably have to prove that the poll affected a general election, perhaps the one to be held next November.

We're surprised to hear there is such a law. We agree that outright fraud should be made accountable, but it seems that the assertions made by the poll were reasonably factual. Perhaps the argument is that representing the survey as a poll when that is not its real intent is fraud?

Note that only 400 likely republican voters were polled.

Article: ######
16 January 2008 18:34 EST

Who Does Giuliani Think He's Kidding?

Rudy finished behind Ron Paul and Fred Thompson in Michigan last night.

Ok, Giuliani supporters would be quick to point out that Rudy did nothing to campaign in Michigan, so who cares?

But as far as we can tell Ron Paul and Fred Thompson did almost nothing in Michigan either. And Huckabee didn't seem to try all that hard either quickly moving his focus to South Carolina. Huckabee came in third with 140,000 votes behind Romney (337,000) and McCain (257,000.)

Giuliani was on the Michigan ballot. You'd have to live under a rock (or at least in a media free zone) not to have heard about Rudy and his candidacy.

Yet Giuliani only barely beat "Undecided"! Here are the numbers for those fighting it out for the cellar:

Some Michigan Results
Ron Paul 54,434
Fred Thompson 32,135
Rudy Giuliani 24,706
Uncommitted 17,971
Duncan Hunter 2,823

Wow, Ron Paul got more than twice as many votes as Rudy. It's hard to believe this can be explained entirely by lack of campaigning.

We're beginning to think Rudy is dead candidate walking.

We weren't even moved to pontificate on Fred Thompson's candidacy. He ran behind Ron Paul also, but beat Rudy.

And what does all of this say about Ron Paul?

Article: 000018
15 January 2008 22:08 EST

Romney Probably Takes Michigan — It's One Each!

All the major networks are projecting that Romney has won the republican primary in Michigan with about 39% of the votes followed by McCain with 30% and Huckabee a distant third with 16%.

The republican race still looks very close. Romney's win in Michigan is just another upset in any appearance of a leader. Huckabee won Iowa, McCain won New Hampshire, and now Romney wins Michigan; one each. There was Wyoming so Romney can claim to have won two but I don't think anyone is extrapolating anything from Wyoming's republican caucus results.

Article: 000017
15 January 2008 20:42 EST

Ok, Huckabee is Insane


We suspect that God sent Mike Huckabee to show us all that the religious right are a bunch of nutbuckets.

Article: 000016
14 January 2008 20:58 EST

Michigan! Part 3!

Michigan gave Mitt Romney a Vietnam draft deferment in 1966.

We didn't know that!

According to an article in the Boston Globe (link below) Mitt Romney received a Vietnam-era draft deferment in 1966 ``as a Mormon "minister of religion" for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and a half years'' (quoted from article linked below.)

Mitt Romney's father, George, was governor of Michigan at the time (1963-1969.)

Mitt never subsequently served in the military. So it wasn't really a "deferment", it was an exemption. For example, if you got a student draft deferment ("2S" in that era) you were reclassified as ready to go ("1A") the minute you stopped being a student, barring other deferments or exemptions you might subsequently qualify for. He did return to the US in 1969 while the Vietnam war and draft was still in full swing, went on to a student deferment, and finally pulled #300 (March 12th) in the 1969 draft lottery after student deferments were dropped. Even in 1969 a draft lottery number of #300 meant you weren't likely to be drafted unless the Viet Cong were marching down Broadway.

<SARCASM>We don't imagine this could possibly become another "privileged kid dodges Vietnam draft" issue?</SARCASM>

Article: 000015
14 January 2008 20:22 EST

Michigan! Part 2!

Michigan has the largest Arab/Muslim population in the United States. Well, that's not true, California has the largest. But the Detroit/Dearborn metropolitan area is the largest single community of Muslims in the US. That would be about 300,000 Muslims. And growing. But it won't grow much by tomorrow which is when the Michigan primary will be held.

How will this affect the results of the republican primaries? No one in the media seems to be speculating.

It's odd, because it sounds interesting, no? I have no idea how Arab (and some Persian, and even quite a few native born American) Muslims in Michigan will vote tomorrow.

It seems at least as interesting as trying to divine if something Hillary Clinton said can be construed as racist if you turn off the lights, squint really hard, and drink a quart of cheap whiskey. There isn't even really a democratic primary in Michigan tomorrow (see previous Michigan note which we cleverly called "Part 1".)

From what little I can find on that Muslim community they're not too thrilled with republicans stereotyping Muslims as all a bunch of Allah-believing, Koran studying, Friday sabbathing, oops, that was a joke. As a bunch of terrorists is what we meant to say. Well, I can understand their sensitivity, it would be nice if we could believe they understand why there's so much anger without it turning into another one of their lectures about injustices they imagine they've suffered. But lo, we ramble.

But surely there must be some republican Muslims in Michigan. No? Not one? I don't believe that.

There are about 35,000 Mormons in Michigan.

Article: 000014
14 January 2008 18:33 EST

Michigan! Part 1!

Tomorrow (Tuesday 1/15/2008) is the Michigan primary, primarily (!) republican.

It's primarily republican because the democratic party has stripped Michigan of all of their delegates to the Democratic National Convention in punishment for moving the state's primary up, to before February 5. Consequently several of the democratic candidates have removed their names from the ballot. They'll only get to choose between Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd who has dropped out of the race entirely, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, or they can write-in. Obama and Edwards removed their names from the ballots as did Richardson and Biden who have since dropped out.

Michigan is very important for Romney because his father was once governor. Or so they say. Gore was senator from Tennessee and so was his father and he didn't carry it in 2000. Then again Gore lost. And Gore would've won if he'd just carried Tennessee, Florida wasn't necessary in that case. So maybe it is important.

Well, it'd be nice if Romney won one if he plans to stay in the game. Nice for Romney, anyhow. Ok, he did win Wyoming but that was a caucus and it's not clear what we can read from that. Michigan is an actual beauty contest.

Michigan is said to be economically very depressed due to the disasterous past few years for the US automobile industry. All the republican candidates are telling Michiganders that they feel their pain and will do something for them if elected.

What republican candidates don't talk about his how high gasoline prices have wrecked the auto industry. Ok, maybe that's the auto industry's fault for building gas guzzlers. US auto industry execs say they can't just turn these huge US auto companies on a dime when oil prices change what consumers want. They built 5,000lb gas-sucking SUVs because that's what consumers demanded. And what tax incentives incented. And of course we all know no one in the past ten years ever pointed out that 5,000lb gas-sucking might not be the best trend. But that's the free market for you, except for the tax incentives, and a bunch of other stuff.

Oh yeah, and also job exports.

For reference here are the annual revenues (total income) for General Motors and Ford over the past few years, in billions of US dollars. Chrysler hasn't been publicly traded over this period so annual revenues are more difficult to determine, particularly in a way which would be comparable to the other two companies. I include Microsoft because everyone thinks Microsoft is this big, huge, massive, gigantic company. Microsoft's revenues are about a quarter of GM's and a third of Ford's and barely hold a candle to the two automakers on the Fortune 500 list of global companies.

  General Motors Ford Microsoft*
(for comparison)
2006 $207.0 $160.1 $51.12
2005 $194.0 $176.9 $44.28
2004 $195.0 $171.0 $39.79
Global Fortune
500 Rank (2007)
5 12 139

* Microsoft fiscal year ends June 30th, so "2006" results are annual results 7/1/2006-6/30/2007, etc.

Article: 000013
13 January 2008 12:58 EST

The Reagan Mythology

We're getting a little sick of these constant hagiographic* references to Reagan, by the media, and mostly republican candidates?

We didn't like Reagan. Why?

  • He ran the biggest federal deficits, by far, until the two Bushes became president, then they outdid Reagan. That's a simple fact. Even the democratic congresses would pass lower budgets than Reagan submitted.

    His "supply-side" economics didn't work, not at all. The federal government just got deeper and deeper in debt during his administration. Even George HW Bush (the current president's father) referred to Reagan's fiscal policies as "voodoo economics".

  • We doubt he "spent the Soviet Union" to death. Nice try at explaining the huge deficits while simultaneously giving credit to Reagan for the collapse of the Soviet Union, though.

    We prefer the explanation that the Soviet Union was inherently flawed and was crumbling on its own power. It was often said by Soviet analysts that they'd last only as long as there were people to run the country who were old enough to have "stood" with Lenin's leadership 1917-1924. That's basically what happened, even if a bit simplistic. Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, was much younger than his predecessors and basically let it all collapse. This is why Gorbachev is generally treated favorably ever since, he's still alive and writes and speaks on politics. No one hanged him.

    We'd give more credit to George HW Bush who moved quickly when he came into office in 1989 to accelerate the collapse of the Soviet Union primarly by providing suitcases of cash, reportedly hundreds of millions of dollars, to opposition parties in various Soviet satellites such as Bulgaria and Romania so they knew if they moved against the communists they could meet payrolls immediately. Yes, simple as that, though timing was everything.

    And how come Bill Clinton doesn't get more credit for shepherding the transition to a post-Soviet world with relatively little strife? Yugoslavia aside but that was an ethnic problem waiting to happen for hundreds of years; only Tito's totalitarian methods kept it from exploding post World War II. But the transition could easily have become a disaster in the 1990s with wars and economic disasters all over the formerly Soviet sphere. It went pretty smoothly, considering, particularly for the rest of us who could easily have been dragged into a horrific mess. Compare and contrast with the fall of Saddam Hussein! And the Soviet Union really did have "weapons of mass destruction", thousands of nuclear weapons on capable missiles and an advanced chemical and biological warfare capability. Do you remember worrying much about any of that? We don't. Thank you Bill Clinton!

  • Reagan didn't really end "welfare as we knew it" though he talked about it a lot. Bill Clinton, as president, sponsored and signed legislation which reformed welfare radically.
  • Reagan cut taxes? Reagan signed a major tax increase in 1982, and another in 1984, and a third in 1986. All tolled the federal budget grew by 50 per cent while Reagan was president. So much for "small government", but no one believes that about so-called "conservatives" any more. When conservatives talk about small government they just mean that your plans for the budget are a waste but their plans are absolutely necessary. Small government for everyone but them.

  • Reagan re-vitalized the conservative movement in American politics. Ok, this one we agree with 100%, that's why he's become so lionized among conservatives.

We could go on but we're fully aware that if you're prone to believing Reagan cured cancer, brought about a permanent world peace, eliminated hunger, and leaped tall buildings in a single bound then you've long ago rejected allowing these claims to be examined. It's conservative dogma, a loyalty test. We flunk!

So maybe the important point to take away is that there are a lot of reasonable and rational people out there who don't believe any of that, and don't want any return to Reaganism.

But here's a more important point: Any voter much under 40 years old barely remembers Ronald Reagan.

If you're a conservative baby-boomer note that bringing up Reagan as some great moment in living memory means about as much to many who will vote in 2008 as your parents reminiscing about the Eisenhower administration. Archie Bunker lives (only boomers will get that)!

* Hagiographic - A hagiography is a study of saints, so "hagiographic" means as if one were writing about a saint.

Article: 000012
12 January 2008 14:28 EST

Stick a Fork in Rudy — He's Done!

Rudy announced that his top staff is going without pay to stretch campaign money. No other candidates have announced anything like this though Huckabee is said to have very little staff, particularly paid staff.

So what is it? Is Rudy out of money? Has he lost confidence? Have his backers backed off and told him win one and maybe then we'll believe again?

We suspect the latter. Rudy's somewhat unusual strategy to skip the first few beauty contests (Iowa, New Hampshire, Wyoming?) and gather his ammunition for Florida may not be going down well with backers. He says he has $7M for primary campaigns which can go pretty quickly in this $1M/day primary world he's competing in. Or maybe America's Mayor isn't managing well?

Something which may've scared off Rudy's backers is the surprise rise of Mike Huckabee. His fund-raising pitch may've been too centered on beating Mitt Romney, John McCain, and perhaps Fred Thompson (who has yet to be a factor.) Huckabee's ascent changed the race and perhaps Rudy doesn't have a good response for his cash cows?

Article: 000011
11 January 2008 12:43 EST

Social Security is Welfare? Headline Propaganda?

Drudgereport headline:


And on

Moody's says welfare spending threatens US credit rating

(Warning; the above two links won't work for very long.)

Both link to the same Financial Times article

The actual headline on that article is:

Moody's says spending threatens US rating

Search the entire article for the word "welfare" and it's not there. The word "welfare" wasn't used anywhere in the display of the article or its headline.

So we loaded the actual page source, the commands which direct the format of the page and other information. We found the word "welfare" in a META command indicating CONTENT keywords for search engines, not visible in the web page's display: "Radical action needed on welfare spending". And in another CONTENT command containing a list of keywords for search engines "...,Social_Welfare...".

We still don't see how the above link headlines could have been automatically generated. A human generated those "welfare" headlines.


Article: 000010
10 January 2008 19:07 EST

Sir Edmund Hillary Dies.

Well, it was HILLARY...Sir Edumund, ok, not very relevant.

Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to climb Mount Everest on May 29th, 1953. He was 88.

Article: 000009
10 January 2008 15:02 EST

Kerry Endorses Obama, Richardson Out.

The custom is that the less important you are, politically, the earlier your endorsement. A bit like seating at a dais. So, we got Wesley Clark's endorsement of Hillary out of the way back in September and now we have Kerry's endorsement of Obama. Why didn't Kerry endorse Obama before the New Hampshire primary earlier this week? He's senator from a neighboring state (Massachusetts), might've helped push Obama to first place. Then again, might've hurt him.

As to Richardson our best guess is that, besides just being a practicality, he's pulling out because he's been short-listed for veep by Hillary Clinton.

A Clinton-Richardson ticket could make a lot of sense. Richardson is Hispanic and a governor of a southwestern state, and served under Bill Clinton's administration as US ambassador to the UN and Secretary of Energy.

If you think in purely geographic terms then Hillary should score highly in the midwest (native-born Chicago), the northeast (NY senator), the south (former first lady of Arkansas), and can probably count on California on bi-coastal effect. Richardson should be strong in the other southwestern states. He's both Hispanic and native-fluent in Spanish which should help some more in California and Texas, important states in the election, as well as Florida where he can appeal to the large Cuban population while Hillary works the southern and NY-oriented sub-populations of that state. About all that leaves is the northwest but it's doubtful a republican team would have any particular advantage there either.

Richardson is also a generally likeable guy. C'mon, admit it, even if you're a republican you find Richardson just plain pleasant and civilized. Like Huckabee but without the goober and religious factors.

Article: 000008
10 January 2008 01:19 EST

Something to ponder...

Bill Clinton (as an important member of the Hillary team) and John McCain are the only major players in this game, to the best of our knowledge, who have killed people. Including of course giving direct orders to kill people.

One could argue Huckabee has been involved in executions as governor but that's a stretch since execution is really a juridical process; a governor's involvement is more by his not being involved (i.e., not staying the execution.) As to Giuliani and Romney, neither of the states they held office in had capital punishment.

Article: 000007 They Can Run...But They Can't Hide!
09 January 2008 20:00 EST

Baser Instincts?

Have race, sex, religion, gender (oops, that's sex, we think) etc. played into the primaries? Of course they have. Let's stop being silly.

Here's our speculation based on just about nothing which is exactly as much as everyone else's speculation is based on.

Huckabee probably won in Iowa at least in part because Iowa republicans just weren't voting for a Mormon (that is, Romney, ever notice that "romney" is an anagram of "mormon"? Well, sort of.) It doesn't mean that Iowa is chock-a-block with anti-Mormons, just that a few per cent may've been influenced and that's all Huckabee won by, a few per cent. Why didn't they go for McCain? Mystery! Maybe they thought he was already out of the race. We also suspect Huckabee was onto something when he said people would rather vote for a guy who reminds them of someone they work with rather than someone who just laid them off.

Ok, so why did Iowa democrats go for Obama over Hillary? Easy! Gender. But what about Obama's race? What is Obama's race anyhow? Maybe it's black, or is that african-american? Jews think you're jewish if your mother was jewish in which case Obama is white. But who are we to say? Well, here's the skinny: Iowans have, on average, never met a black person and have no opinion on the matter. They just assume Obama is a former athlete or music superstar or something like that. Women, however, make Iowans nervous. Even Iowan women. Especially Iowan women.

Then what about New Hampshire?

Clearly John McCain's win was nothing but race and religion etc. Hey, who are these republicans, Mabel? A Mooorman? Whazzat? And a eye-tal-yan? And who're those south-ren gomer pyle goobers? That leaves us with three candidates in entirety: John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama (the others just aren't on the radar at all.) So, easy, if you're a republican vote for the regular white guy, and if you're a democrat vote for the regular white guy, er, girl, ah, woman!, achhh, phfft, whatever. Trust us, we've been to New Hampshire. It's white as rice, and it gets very dark at night.

Ok, then explain Wyoming!

No one can explain Wyoming. We had more people in our high school than live in the entire state of Wyoming. Fact: Cheney switched his residency from Texas to Wyoming at the last minute just so he could run as vice president in 2000, they turn down no one! The US constitution (all rise!) forbids both the presidential and vice presidential candidates being from the same state. So there's another sleazy fact about Dick Cheney and the 2000 presidential election.

And here's a question for you!

We all know Romney won the Wyoming republican caucuses. Who won the Wyoming DEMOCRATIC caucuses?

Move your mouse over the box below for the answer. If nothing happens, oh well, too bad.

No one! They haven't happened yet. The Wyoming democratic caucus will be held on March 8th.

P.S. I liked Roger Simon's of answer (on Hardball) as to why the NH exit polls were so inaccurate: THEY LIED! People in NH don't like people to ask them how they just voted. It's a secret ballot, dammit.
Article: 000006
09 January 2008 16:58 EST

New Hampshire Wrap-Up

The pundits are idiots, ignore them. New Hampshire has been getting more and more liberal over the past decade or two as southern NH has become a huge bedroom suburb of Massachusetts. Many of the MA high-tech jobs are in a swath north of Boston bringing them within a 20-40 minute commute of southern NH towns such as Nashua, Salem, Hudson, and Derry.

These are, by and large, homeowners, more mature families, many in the high-tech industry. So the democrats were Hillary's base: People who had fond memories of Bill Clinton's administration of peace and prosperity rather than the "take a risk on change" Obama needed.

Look at this breakdown of the NH election by town/city:

Clinton got a total of 112,251/39% votes and Obama 104,772/36% statewide.

Town / CandidateClinton Obama
Nashua 7,713/45% 5,597/33%
Salem 2,867/51% 1,508/27%
Derry 2,387/46% 1,632/31%
Hudson 1,997/46% 1,353/31%
Total 14,964/60%* 10,091/40%*

* % Of total votes in table.

Article: 000005
09 January 2008 16:35 EST

New Right-wing Strategy on Hillary?

It's amazing, almost simultaneously right-wing pundit after right-wing pundit is getting face space on the talk shows to spew about how Hillary is way to the left of Bill who they now say was centrist. Someone from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy sent out a memo, right? It may go back to this article from July:
Article: 000004
08 January 2008 23:17 EST

Hillary IS The Shark!

Hillary Clinton takes the New Hampshire Democratic Party Primary, as of right now taking 39% of the vote vs Obama 37%, Edwards 17% and you can find the rest of the numbers.

John McCain took the GOP Primary with 37% vs 32% for Romney and 11% for Huckabee.

We'll predict, barring something really bizarre we won't even speculate about publicly, that Clinton and McCain will be the nominees of their respective parties.

Article: 000003
08 January 2008 21:20 EST

Romney, Shmomney

Mitt comes in second in New Hampster, well behind John McCain (37% vs. 30% as of this writing.)

There are a lot of reasons but as a long-time resident of Massachusetts here's one: Romney was a LOUSY governor. And our neighbors in New Hampshire knew that. Before Romney's term as governor here was over he went around to other states giving speeches in which he'd tell them how much he disliked Massachusetts. Hey Mitt: That's your right, but send back the paycheck, ok? There are videos.

Mitt Romney, governor of a state he hates -- Sunday, February 27, 2005

Here's another: When the MA state legislature took up the issue of moving the state's primary up to February 5th (which passed) the "Republican" objection was that it would only serve to deliver Romney an embarrassing defeat on super-Tuesday. How's that for confidence in your boy?

House 137-18, approved and sent to Gov. Patrick a bill changing the date of the state's presidential primary from March 4 to February 5, now known as "Super Tuesday"...Some opponents said that the proposal is somehow designed to benefit Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign by handing her a win in liberal Massachusetts. They noted that it is also aimed at hurting former Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign by allowing him to spend less time in other states and making him spend more time in Massachusetts to avoid an embarrassing loss here.

Article: 000002
08 January 2008 02:50 EDT

Hillary Jumps The Shark*?

The eve of the New Hampshire primary and a video of Hillary choking up and even sobbing a bit over how hard the campaign has been goes viral. The campaign has been HARD??? Hillary, this is the job interview, not the job! You can't crack under pressure during the job interview and expect anyone to believe you can handle the job! Is this the Dean Scream moment for Hillary? Sigh.

P.S. I never understood what the problem was with the Dean Scream.

* After Fonzie jumps the shark on Happy Days the TV show just went downhill.
Article: 000001
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