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A little election news
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 22, 2008

As Pennsylvanians go to the polls today, some short shots about what's going on in the election process.

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Hillary goes nuclear:
"I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said. "In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."
Reactive, threatening and eschewing diplomacy - all the things Dems claim as problems with the present administration. And note that she reserves for herself (the ability to decide to attack Iran) what she and fellow legislators in Congress have tried to deny the current president.

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Patronage problems for McCain?
When Mr. Diamond wanted to buy land at the base, Fort Ord, Mr. McCain assigned an aide who set up a meeting at the Pentagon and later stepped in again to help speed up the sale, according to people involved and a deposition Mr. Diamond gave for a related lawsuit. When he appealed to a nearby city for the right to develop other property at the former base, Mr. Diamond submitted Mr. McCain’s endorsement as “a close personal friend.”

Writing to officials in the city, Seaside, Calif., the senator said, “You will find him as honorable and committed as I have.”

Courting local officials and potential partners, Mr. Diamond’s team promised that he could “help get through some of the red tape in dealing with the Department of the Army” because Mr. Diamond “has been very active with Senator McCain,” a partner said in a deposition.
Sounds fairly Murthaesqe doesn't it? One of McCain's claims is he learned from the Keating 5 and is now above reproach. Is this relationship one most would find acceptable or is it McCain's Tony Rezko?

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In an interview yesterday, Bill Clinton claims the Obama campaign played the race card on him in South Carolina:
“I think that they played the race card on me. We now know, from memos from the campaign that they planned to do it along.” - President Bill Clinton.

And that’s how President Clinton begins his answer to WHYY’s Susan Phillips who, during a phone interview earlier this evening, asked the President how he feels about one Philadelphia official who says she switched her support after interpreting Clinton’s remarks in South Carolina as an attempt to marginalize Obama as “the black candidate.”

Clinton goes on to say that “you have to really go some to play the race card on me.”
Well, not really. Are you white?

You can listen to the whole interview at the link.

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Meanwhile in PA, Zogby has Clinton up 10 points, 51% to 41%. After all the hype and the necessity of a big Clinton win in PA, the Obama campaign is floating the idea that if Clinton wins by less than double digits, it is a "win" for Obama.

Real Clear Politics is showing an average lead of 6.1 for Clinton.
 
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Obama’s outspent Clinton by a factor of 3:1 (or in that vicinity). To claim a win from a loss by less than 10% after spending so much is...well...a stretch.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
Not really. Clinton winning PA isn’t in question and never really has been. Pennsylvania is practically a perfect demographic for her and the state governor is a huge backer. Obama’s whole goal in PA is to keep her win small enough that she can’t claim the total delegate lead come the convention.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
Speaking of Realclearpolitics, their ’horse race’ blogger, Jay Cost, has an excellent analysis of the Democratic race. I think he is right that it’s good for Obama that his weaknesses were exposed now, giving him a chance to develop a response by the fall campaign. And, while I don’t trust Clinton, the fact that she is likely to win Pennsylvania against someone being proclaimed the almost certain nominee demonstrates an uncertainty about Obama. But Cost’s analysis seems to me to be quite accurate. If Obama loses Pennsylvania by a significant amount despite his money advantage, this should ring warning bells in the Democratic party. If he were a really strong candidate, he should be able to win it at this point, despite the demographics.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Someone ask Hillary what would she do if terrorists detonated a nuclear device somewhere in Israel, and Iran denies responsibility.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Not only that, but there’s also the problem that he’s closeting up against attacks he should have been able to deal with by now. That’s going to be a BIG problem for him and them.

I think if Hilary wins today with a significant margin, so long as she can make the argument that he lost BECAUSE of his inability to fight back, then she can actually win this.

After all, who’s better at fighting back smear attacks than Bill?
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Obama and Clinton should have done that FoxNews debate those many months ago to hone those skills, but I think Obama was still hoping at the time to maintain his stealth candidancy of "themes without experience" going. The Clinton troubles were actually very obvious from her Senate campaigns with the uncontrolled spending of lots of wasted money, repeated again in this campaign.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
.. if terrorists detonated a nuclear device somewhere in Israel, and Iran denies responsibility.
This is the real downside for Iran’s nuclear desires, any weapon that goes off in Iran’s proximity will be blamed on Iran.

This problem is multiplied when you take into consideration that it would take multiple weapons to "wipe" Israel off the map, but after the 1st detonation Iranians would be guaranteed a response.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Boris in Pollyanna mode:
Speaking of Realclearpolitics, their ’horse race’ blogger, Jay Cost, has an excellent analysis of the Democratic race. I think he is right that it’s good for Obama that his weaknesses were exposed now, giving him a chance to develop a response by the fall campaign.
Boris, there is no response to belonging to a racist church for 20 years and counting. There is no talking your way through that. And the more Obama tries to talk his way through it, the worse it will get.

Sure, the hardcore Party base will buy anything, especially the ones who scream "Racism!" at so much as calling Obama "articulate," but there is no bottom to the Jeremiah Wright matter. And there’s no telling what is already in the campaign vault that will illustrate it. Even the stuff already out there, replayed in heightened context, will destroy Obama.

He will not win Ohio or Florida; from the way things look right now, he could lose Pennsylvania in November. It’s even conceivable that he could lose New York.

The bloom is off the Obama rose, pal. For good.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Rather than discuss the McCain story in detail, I’ll simply refer you to Captain Ed (docking in a new harbor these days), who has dissected the issue in depth and finds it equivalent to the V. Iseman "story":



I have to agree with Ed’s summation: if this is all the Times "can dig up on McCain, then Bill Keller may have to start looking for someone else to man the ’Get McCain’ desk".

 
Written By: HobbesDFW
URL: http://
Don’t know why the link isn’t working - simply typed in below.

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/04/22/new-york-times-goes-after-mccain-again-with-similar-results

 
Written By: HobbesDFW
URL: http://
I think the Jay Cost piece and Prof. Erb put too much of a happy-face on Obama’s current troubles as inoculations against the same charges later in the campaign.

They forget how invincible Obama looked in January and ignore where Obama would be now if he had had another three months of untrammeled Obamamania. Obama would have sealed the deal on the nomination handily, there would be few alienated Hillary voters, he would have more time to set his sights on McCain, and he could well have have locked the upcoming general election as the messiah.

Even with as much of a drubbing as Obama has taken, it hasn’t ruined his chances, only taken the bloom off his candidacy.

IMO the Rev. Wright, bittergate, Bill Ayers etc. materials are more like slow-acting poisons. They will take time to do their work thoroughly, so that it finally sinks in on the American electorate how much of a radical Obama is and how toxic is background is. I think it’s better that this material came out when it did.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
I noted, Huxley, that Obama was not doing what a strong candidate would do. But nothing against him so far is any worse than all the stuff coming out against Clinton in 1992. If he is to have a chance, he’ll have to figure out how to deal with all that, and avoiding the elitism charge. He’ll have an uphill fight. What I agree with Cost on is that it is far better for him to learn these lessons early and have a time to strategize and prepare, than to have them thrown at him in October. If that had happened, he’d have been a Dukakis. He still could be, but if he rises to the occasion, this could really help him overcome the problems. Ayers and Wright are not big deals; the elitism thing and his inability to, as Joel says, fight back or close the deal are more troubling to his candidacy. On the plus side for Obama, it’s a tough economy and the war is unpopular, that means any Democrat will have a chance. McCain is also volatile and unpredictable and could have a major screw up. So it’ll be a ride.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I see a few scenarios for Obama:

1. After tonight’s results, the Clintons have but a few weeks left to deliver a final blow. I don’t think that you can credit them with the Jeremiah Wright matter because that was there for the having. Maybe they pushed the Ayers story through the backchannel a little, but I don’t see that, yet, as more than a paper cut. No, if they want to have the Democratic Party and the superdelegates throw their hands up and say "That’s enough!" and force Obama out with a superdelegate veto on his candidacy in advance of the convention, and then allow his supporters to drop him, then the Clintons will have to play their hole card, if they have one.

If they ride this into the convention, God only knows what would happen, up to and including riots inside and outside of the convention, and in cities around the country. That would be to invite a race war.

I know that the Clintons don’t care one way or the other about that, except as it would affect them, but it would hurt them badly. It is also true that they always value their own interests over those of the Party or the country, and if they decide to take a fight into the convention, they’ll be fixed on winning the nomination and let consequences sort themselves out.

2. The Clintons have nothing, themselves, to play against Obama, and despite the fact that he is now already a fatally flawed candidate, he makes it to the convention and gets the nomination. He will get clobbered from so many places, in so many ways, that I’m willing to say he loses as big as a presidential candidate can lose under the current political division in this country: 55 to 45 in the popular vote, losing Florida and Ohio, all of the South, probably Pennsylvania, maybe New Jersey, maybe even New York, and if he gets destroyed in the Mid-West, as he should, the rout in the electoral college could be impressive.

Note that while I think McCain will be a terrible president (as opposed to a catastrophic president—Obama), I’ve always thought that he makes a good candidate. People now routinely mention his age, but by the end of a race against Obama, I don’t think anyone will care about that. They’ll just settle for McCain and hope for the best.

3. If the Clintons do manage to take the nomination by finally shoving Obama aside, Hillary will face the election without the overwhelming support of black voters, who will stay home or even vote for McCain. That’s what, I believe, the Clintons have been trying to avoid in their handling of Obama, but I think it’s too late for them to correct that.

Clinton vs. McCain will be much tighter, more like the last two presidential elections, but I think that "Hillary!" is now "Oh, God, not this dreadful woman." But with the electoral map the way it is, the Clintons will still know how to play it, and no matter what anyone says, if they are in the contest it will be uglier than anything seen before. She wouldn’t lose Pennsylvania, for instance. Probably not New Jersey. Not New York. But McCain will win the South and the thing could come down to Ohio. But despite that, she’s damaged goods now, and McCain could pick off a bunch of states in the Mid-West and maybe a state or two in the Northeast. And he could even have a shot in California because it’s such a crazy state — that, of course, would make it easy for him.

If Hillary were to beat McCain in the electoral college, I think that she’ll do it while losing the popular vote. But there is also a good chance that the nutroots will go third party and screw her in every state where it might count.

Plus, McCain has a very good chance of just winning the country over to him. Independents and centrist voters like him and find him very non-threatening.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Boris:
But nothing against [Obama] so far is any worse than all the stuff coming out against Clinton in 1992.
You don’t understand America, Boris.

America seeks racial reconciliation, not racial legerdemain, and not racialists posturing as reconciliationists.

Obama no longer has a chance at being elected President of the United States, and that is a situation that cannot be repaired.

Go on down to the corner of God Damn America and I Did Not Have Sex with My "Former" Pastor’s Sermons to find out why that is.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Prof. Erb — As usual, I see this differently than you do. For starters, Obama’s involvement with a black power church and pastor, and Weather Underground bombers is different from a Gennifer Flowers (or whatever her name was) or a Dukakis in a tank, and at least as serious as the elitism charge.

Furthermore, these facts about Obama are so bizarre, I think they will take some time for the electorate to absorb. Not that those materials could realistically have been withheld until October, but if they had, Obama might have been able to handle it with something like The Speech which might have buoyed up Obama long enough to win in November.

As I said earlier, I see Obama’s negatives as slow-acting poisons. Once they take hold, I don’t think strategizing can save Obama. At that point, it will come down to how much voters care. Some will, like me, and some won’t, like you.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
Politicians are not usually hurt too much, if at all, by guilt by association charges IF they are able to handle them with an effective counter strategy. Obama has time to develop and test one in the months between now and the election. The people really bothered by Wright (I’m not sure what bizarre facts you’re talking about) are ones who won’t vote for Obama anyway. Ayres is just a local activist, Obama can easily distance himself from him. And he already showed a deft ability to push the Wright issue aside. If Clinton wins big tonight and can pull off an upset in North Carolina, she could turn the Democratic nomination around. I think the negatives for Clinton — lack of trust, belief she’s dishonest — are far more dangerous than anything about Obama so far. The question for Obama is simply whether or not as a candidate he can step up and handle the real tough campaign. If he can, he’ll probably beat McCain. If he can’t, he might not even beat Clinton.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris:
Politicians are not usually hurt too much, if at all, by guilt by association charges
So, you’re saying, Boris, that a white politician running for President of the United States who belonged to the Ku Klux Klan would not be hurt by it?

Because the church that Obama belongs to has a racial "theology" that is roughlyh equivalent to the Klan’s.

You’re saying that you would vote for a Klan member if you liked his political program?

Would you vote for David Duke if you agreed with his political platform?
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
The people really bothered by Wright (I’m not sure what bizarre facts you’re talking about) are ones who won’t vote for Obama anyway. Ayres is just a local activist, Obama can easily distance himself from him.
Prof. Erb — Again, Obama attends a radical black power church, he has adopted its radical black power pastor who libels and damns America, into Obama’s family and made him his spiritual mentor and, until recently, a member of his campaign, plus Obama’s political career was launched in the home of two Weather Underground terrorists with whom he continues to consort as a matter of course.

You don’t find this bizarre (name some previous presidents with associations like this) and you soft-pedals it as guilt by association that Obama can easily distance himself from.

I think Americans can overlook some amount of sexual and financial hanky-panky, but I don’t think they will be so forgiving when it comes to Obama’s easygoing association of people who actively hate America, and even attacked America physically.

The sky’s the limit on negative campaigning here. McCain won’t do it but the 527s will.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://
You know, it may be hard to find a candidate who doesn’t belong to a church whose leader delivers eyebrow-singing speeches on the evils of America and also built a house Jim Bakker would approve, and it may be hard to find a candidate who doesn’t move with ease in the same social circles as some people who bombed the Pentagon, but it can’t be that hard to find one who doesn’t do both.
The above is James Lileks on the bizarreness that is Barack Obama.

The dysfunctionality of the Dem nomination process that it should deliver such a bizarre and flawed candidate is as strange as the inability of many Americans—such as Prof. Erb—to notice how bizarre Obama is.
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://

The dysfunctionality of the Dem nomination process that it should deliver such a bizarre and flawed candidate is as strange as the inability of many Americans—such as Prof. Erb—to notice how bizarre Obama is.
Nor do most people. I think you listen to too much talk radio and read too much of the kind of ’personal attack’ blogs to really get a grip on what’s at stake. In short, I doubt your intellectual capacity to truly understand the process in play here.

The fact is, Obama has already put Wright behind him, and in the history of politics if there is a good counter, these guilt by association tactics are minor. It’s also true that those attacking make the kind of arguments you make, but they only convince those already thinking like you, you’re simply wrong.

However, all this does require a skilled candidate. Obama hasn’t responded to Clinton’s challenge with the skill required. Nothing in his past flaws him, his only flaw is potentially his inability to be the Democratic Reagan, something I thought he was showing signs of a month ago. Clinton may show that this political capacity was really not deep, and the result will either be: a) Obama learns these lessons and retools for an effective fall campaign — in this case he surely beats McCain; b) Obama gets the nomination but never is able to step up his campaign to effectively close the deal or make the case, in which case he still can beat McCain (but it could go either way), but he’ll rely on the economy and the war to drive people to him, rather than his persuasive power; or c) his inability to respond adquately to Clinton leads to embarrassing loses in later primaries, shifting momentum to Clinton.

Clinton could win in the fall, despite her negatives, but she’ll also rely on the economy and the war to drive people to her. She may emerge as a better candidate than Obama, but if she was a great candidate, she’d never have let Obama do what he’s done.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Oh, I should add: McCain is not getting any real challenge now, and he has a history of unpredictable and even erratic behavior. If he is to defeat either Clinton or Obama, he has to remain disciplined, and be prepared for attacks. Because the Republicans aren’t the only ones with slimey operatives who look for personal connections to try the ’politics of personal destruction.’ The Democrats have slimey people who will do the exact same thing.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
From an astonishly insipid collection of comments by Boris:
The fact is, Obama has already put Wright behind him,
Yeah, Boris, it looks as though Wright put Obama about ten points behind in Pennsylvania yesterday.

That’s what you meant, Wright?

And 43% of those voting for Hillary told exit pollsters that they would not vote for Obama.

There is no "behind him" for Obama when it comes to Wright. The Wright Stuff will be forever fresh.

And there’s even more and fresher stuff to come, if I’ve heard correctly.

You’ll probably be able to get an exclusive viewing of it down on the southside of Chicago at the corner of God Damn America and I Did Not Have Sex with My "Former" Pastor’s Sermons.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Prof. Erb — I’m not terribly impressed with your grip on these matters either, so there!
The fact is, Obama has already put Wright behind him...
Just saying this, as you have several times, doesn’t make it true. Looking at the Rasmussen polls on O’s fav/unfavs (which I read for deltas, not absolutes) it’s clear O recovered some of his setback, but not all, since the Wright matter. And it is obvious that it stopped Obama’s momentum and mania in its tracks.

It has also emboldened the press to ask more pointed questions and Obama is more reluctant to talk to the press and is refusing to debate Clinton in NC.

No, Wright/Ayers associations couldn’t be having any effect. Erb says it; it must be true.
It’s also true that those attacking make the kind of arguments you make, but they only convince those already thinking like you, you’re simply wrong.
No specific examples and no specific responses to my arguments—just a vague wave: "you’re simply wrong." Love it! Or as you would put it: "LOL!"

You may have a future as an Obama speech writer, Erb!
 
Written By: huxley
URL: http://

 
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