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The Obama Phenomenon
January 6, 2008 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Pride and Palpitations over Barack Obama's victory in Iowa.

With Obama's Win, What to Expect at Fox News
posted by homunculus (279 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I caucused for Obama the other night. There were 328 people there, the scale was incredible compared to 2000 or '04, but I was in a larger precinct then those two years as well.

Almost half the people there were Obama supporters, and Hillary got a few more people then Edwards.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama supporters remind me of Dean supporters. Thank God he won Iowa, or they'd have been destroyed. If he doesn't win NH, I expect lots of wailing.
posted by smackfu at 1:16 PM on January 6, 2008


That was really cool. Thanks. The "Pride and Palpitations" link was both sad and inspirational.

I think it's worth mentioning the deleted thread from earlier.

On preview: Yeah, I was a Dean supporter, too. And yeah, I'll wail.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 1:19 PM on January 6, 2008


The noise machine is already previewing some story-lines that they might use if Obama gets the nomination. Expect more ever so slightly coded racism and anti-Muslim hysteria to follow.
posted by octothorpe at 1:20 PM on January 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


Fareed Zakaria on Obama: The Power of Personality
posted by homunculus at 1:27 PM on January 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I don't doubt the right will go to great lengths to derail Obama. They want Hilary to run against. They want another Clinton to attack. It'll be just like the good old days.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:28 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


What I meant to say was that if we don't win New Hampshire, no worries. After New Hampshire we're going to South Carolina, and Oklahoma, and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. And we're going to California and Texas and New York. And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we're going to Washington D.C. to take back the White House. Yeah.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 1:29 PM on January 6, 2008 [17 favorites]


homunculus writes "Fareed Zakaria on Obama: The Power of Personality"

Great essay.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:36 PM on January 6, 2008


via me from the deleted thread :p
posted by empath at 1:39 PM on January 6, 2008


err this deleted thread.
posted by empath at 1:40 PM on January 6, 2008


I don't doubt the right will go to great lengths to derail Obama. They want Hilary to run against. They want another Clinton to attack. It'll be just like the good old days.

Yeah, but what are they going to do? They've been bashing Hillary all year, and the NH Primary is in just two days. Then off to SC. If the right wanted to derail Obama, it's a little late.
posted by delmoi at 1:42 PM on January 6, 2008


Expect more ever so slightly coded racism and anti-Muslim hysteria to follow.

So what, let them be hysterical.

When people have this sense that the democrats are weak, they aren't commenting on the dems pacifism, or liberalism. They don't want the dems to talk tough. They want democrats to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means the opposition will call them stupid names.

They are tired of the democrats being bullied by the threat of accusations. They are tired of their own opposition to the Bush presidency being defined by this fear of appearing weak.

I say, let Hannity imply Obama is a Muslim. Let him mention your middle name is "Hussein". If the right wants to threaten you with this base level of political "debate", let them. These are smears, nothing more than Coulter calling you a "faggot".

So much of Obama's platform is an unwillingness to play this game, this game that has let the Republicans control the language of debate for years. They've turned the language of debate into a schoolyard playground. Obama is defining himself as someone who says what he believes, and says it well. He isn't flinching under the threat of a political sliming. To me, that counts for a lot.
posted by cotterpin at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2008 [34 favorites]


The Iowa results came as a (very welcome) surprise; I'd actually expected Edwards to just scrape by Obama, who in turn would just scrape by Hillary.

McLuhan's writings of TV as a cool medium always seemed to me a fairly minor, gaseous point-- but Obama's style seems ideal for TV: cerebral, serene, mellow, yet somehow still lively. Even at his vaguest-- and he's usually pretty vague-- the intangibles of Obama's aura wear very, very well.

I'm curious about how he'll match up against Crusty Flinty IPaidforThisLawn Sea Captain McCain.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2008


I just don't see how anybody beats him. Focus on his negatives all you want, but everyone else is far worse. The only people that are going to vote against him are crazies who think he's a Muslim that won't salute the American flag and wants to get sworn in on the Koran. That is, the idiots that weren't going to vote for a Democrat no matter what. He'll peel away a significant percentage of moderate GOP votes, IMO. I've heard so many 'life-long Republicans' tell me that they love Obama and would vote for him if he's the nominee.
posted by empath at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


My favorite paragraph from the RS article

...but at Obama events one hears outbursts of optimism so desperate and artless that I can't help but check my cynical instinct. Grown men and women look up at you with puppy-dog eyes and all but beg you not to shit on their dreams. It's odd to say, but it's actually moving.
posted by jourman2 at 1:53 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


cerebral, serene, mellow, yet somehow still lively

Good description of Obama's appearance.

"Barack Obama has none of that baggage." That seems to be what people are saying about Obama, comparing her to Hillary as having "baggage". That's been a surprise for me. I thought, assumed, people in the US would want a two presidents for the price of one with Billary.

But the Bill-Hillary duo was very attacked by the Republicans and they seemed to have felt very targeted over many years. Obama gives the appearance of being squeaky clean. New. Fresh. No baggage. But also lacking in experience.

The win in Iowa shocked the daylights out of me, in a good way. Just didn't think he had a chance with his name. I'm worried that black Americans don't relate to him. But maybe they do. On the flip side worried there is a too big an anti-black vote in America. Worried he's too Christian for the gay vote. I worry that splitting up the vote between Obama and Hillary will cause a Republican to win the vote. Worry, worry, worry.

It is dangerous times these days. I just received a disturbing video set to music sent by a friend encouraging young girl children to be suicide bombers with this explanation: "extremely short video. It's a jihadist presentation for small children that was made in Egypt and is widely available, including in England; is illustrative, moving, and politically important. It was sent as

Subject: suicide bombers, Yorkshire TV
Don't know if it's been shown on TV there."

So, when small girls are being encouraged to commit such atrocities by their mothers, it's impossible to imagine what's ahead for any politician anywhere in the world.

And yes, the anxiety in the article you posted about him being assassinated is palpable these days. Yes, "Malcolm X was cut down. Medgar Evers was blown away. Martin Luther King's flame was sniper's bullet snuffed" but there have been eighteen attempts to kill sitting and former United States Presidents and Presidents-Elect. Four attempts on sitting Presidents have succeeded; the 16th, 20th, 25th and 35th US Presidents were all assassinated in office, and two others were injured.

Anybody coming after The Dufus will have an extremely tough time cleaning up the horrendous mess The Idiot Puppet and the Puppeteers created.
posted by nickyskye at 1:54 PM on January 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


cotterpin -- Obama makes exactly that point in this google interview @ 45 minutes when he talks about why Democrats lose elections.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4yVlPqeZwo
posted by empath at 1:54 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Obama gets what Hillary, Al Gore and John Kerry did NOT get the last few times around: The Presidency is NOT won by discussing specific policies and programs and records. The Presidency is won by personality, broad themes and by who can elicit a positive response from the populace. I find myself warming to Obama because he seems to "get it", not necessarily because I agree with his politics.

I think that after New Hampshire Hillary will be dead in the water. The only two Dems left standing will be Edwards and Obama. Edwards because the Dem establishment feels he is most 'electable' in November, and Obama because he wins peoples' hearts.

This election is indeed a strange one because I think it really represents a break with the past, especially for the Democrats. If the Republicans don't figure that out and don't adjust accordingly, they're going to face a wreck come November.
posted by tgrundke at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Watching Obama's victory speech from Iowa was the first time I had felt pride in my country since, well, a long, long time. I felt like I was watching a politician who could measure up to JFK and RFK and MLK. A real political hero for our generation -- the first I had ever seen. I hope he lives up to that.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


The only people that are going to vote against him are crazies who think he's a Muslim that won't salute the American flag and wants to get sworn in on the Koran. That is, the idiots that weren't going to vote for a Democrat no matter what.

I just thought this was a salient point worth repeating. Now that empath peat-ed it, and all.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2008


via me from the deleted thread :p

Actually no, I saw it in this deleted thread. It's a really good link which deserved another chance, and the original poster hadn't reposted it so I went ahead (I hadn't seen the MeTa thread yet). I thought about putting [Via deleted thread] at the end of this post, but I didn't want to push my luck. ;)
posted by homunculus at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2008


Thanks empath, I'll look at that.
posted by cotterpin at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2008


I don't know, the most depressing thing about Obama to me is a graph CNN ran of his percentages across age groups. As soon as they got out of 25- he started doing poorly and above 45 he was heavily losing. (I know those polls are crap but I have a hard time doubting that one). He's my favorite candidate in the race, (although I found Kucinich impressive when he was talking about the Patriot Act and needing to get back the freedoms that had been taken away), but I'm worried that in a national election it will be hard for him to overcome the old people.
posted by SomeOneElse at 1:59 PM on January 6, 2008


The Presidency is NOT won by discussing specific policies and programs and records. The Presidency is won by personality, broad themes and by who can elicit a positive response from the populace. I find myself warming to Obama because he seems to "get it", not necessarily because I agree with his politics.

I've had several liberal friends complain to me about the empty platitudes of Obama's speeches.

But:

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

"A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Now, without looking it up, tell me what FDR's stance was on the gold standard? What Kennedy thought about health insurance? What did Lincoln think about tariff policy?
posted by empath at 2:02 PM on January 6, 2008 [33 favorites]


I don't know, the most depressing thing about Obama to me is a graph CNN ran of his percentages across age groups. As soon as they got out of 25- he started doing poorly and above 45 he was heavily losing
Obama won Iowa across many broad categories, including various age groups. I believe that the only age group he lost was 65+.
posted by Flunkie at 2:02 PM on January 6, 2008


I'm curious about how he'll match up against Crusty Flinty IPaidforThisLawn Sea Captain McCain.

If McCain becomes the GOP nominee and he keeps talking about staying in Iraq for ten thousand years, I think any Democrat will beat him pretty easilly.
posted by homunculus at 2:02 PM on January 6, 2008


The Presidency is won by personality, broad themes and by who can elicit a positive response from the populace. I find myself warming to Obama because he seems to "get it", not necessarily because I agree with his politics.

It may be true, but that's pretty depressing and not really a good reason to vote for Obama if you see through the superficiality of the process.
posted by smackfu at 2:05 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


*comparing him to Hillary
posted by nickyskye at 2:07 PM on January 6, 2008


Judging by their conduct during last night's debates, I'd say Obama and Edwards have made at least a temporary alliance. Edwards has been going around talking about he how thinks it's down to himself and Obama, because they represent the change the electorate wants. His phrasing seems to translate to "I'm fine with being your running mate," to my ear, but I've midread politicians before.

I hope to god the DNC is paying attention, and doesn't nominate Clinton. I've got no problem with Hilary, but running her would be like giving the Republicans a belated Christmas present.

One of the biggest signs of Obama's influence is how his message has been adopted by other candidates in both parties. Last night, I caught a clip of a Giuliani speech where he vows to restore hope to America, which is pretty hilarious coming from a guy whose fondest hope is that we never, ever heal from 9/11.

Back in 2004, when he gave his famous convention speech, I noticed that the only time the crowd's momentum seemed to slump was when he reminded them he wasn't up there touting his own candidacy. I don't mind admitting I usually tear up at the end of that speech.

delmoi - Well done, caucusing for Obama. I only wish you had dual citizenship in New Hampshire, so you could cross the border and cast a vote.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:09 PM on January 6, 2008


SomeOneElse said I'm worried that in a national election it will be hard for him to overcome the old people.

Obama 2008. Overcome the Old People.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 2:10 PM on January 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


how many 85 year olds could you take in a fight?
posted by empath at 2:13 PM on January 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I like Obama's voice and patterns of speech - the man is GOOD. As an orator, he is second to none in the current crop of candidates.

As far as his politics -- I'm much less sure of his abilities and policies.

And the linked article about "palpitations" -- it's make the rounds in the 'sphere for a few days, and I've read it a few times, and each time I just can NOT quite come to believe that anyone would try to kill Obama. The number of true crazies out there - in my probably naive mind - just don't have the skills, patience, or cunning to even begin to try something so insane.

And FWIW -- I have not heard - even once - Obama's middle name ever spoken on Fox News.
posted by davidmsc at 2:19 PM on January 6, 2008


I personally was told by an 80 year old that she was hoping for an Obama/Clinton ticket, or a Clinton/Obama ticket (and she didn't really care which), because of the momentous symbolic change that it would bring to this country.

Back to rebutting the claim of Obama's support dropping off after 25 year olds: Took a while to find, but here's some evidence:
More than half of voters younger than age 30 were supporting Obama, and he even had a near 2-to-1 lead over her among those age 30 to 44. Clinton had a big lead among the oldest voters.
Unrelated but thoroughly bizarre quote from the same article:
Obama had a strong lead among the half of Democrats who called themselves liberal and was about even with Clinton among moderates. Edwards led among the small number of conservatives.
Now those are some confused people.
posted by Flunkie at 2:19 PM on January 6, 2008


conservatives = people who will not vote for a black man or a woman.
posted by empath at 2:24 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The fun thing about New Hampshire is that McCain can pull votes from Obama right now, in the primary, since it's open and you pick a side when you go into the polling place.
posted by smackfu at 2:26 PM on January 6, 2008


Flunkie writes "Now those are some confused people."

Old-school union activists most likely. Union members tend to be older and more conservative, even if they vote Democratic, and Edwards has very strong union support.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:28 PM on January 6, 2008


“Are any Black people watching this tonight just enjoying the history of all this? Or are they all as nervous as we are?”

It's not just black people. Throughout the whole speech, I was flipping back and forth between elation at hearing a new kind of politics spoken with passion and eloquence, and a gut-fear that we were about to hear a sharp crack and Obama would slump to the floor. I am ashamed of myself for feeling that way, but then, pretty much everyone I've spoken to since the caucus has said the same thing, with varying degrees of chagrin.

What a sad comment on our national moment. It's probably right to think about MLK and JFK & RFK, but then, I'm too young to have any direct memory of those assassinations. And collective memory is too weak a force to explain my visceral fear. So maybe it has more to do with living in an age of rampant political violence, when murder is used worldwide to silence opponents and influence political processes. Maybe it has to do with two presidential elections which were resolved through dubious means. Or, it's a reflex of seven years of increasingly autocratic rule and militarism. It certainly grows out of the pessimistic fear that nothing in this country can actually change and that the rule of law is destined to give way to the designs of oligarchs.

I'm not a praying person. I haven't been in a long time. But I find myself hoping with an embarrassingly fervence that those people who are pledged to protect him do their jobs, that there are no lapses in vigilance or subornings in their ranks. I try not to think too long on what the consequences of such a murder would be.

And every time my brain twitches and I hear myself saying, "God I hope they don't kill him", I try to remind myself that this is what hope sounds like in the 21st Century.
posted by felix betachat at 2:29 PM on January 6, 2008 [45 favorites]


And FWIW -- I have not heard - even once - Obama's middle name ever spoken on Fox News.
I don't watch Fox News, but I watched The Half Hour News Hour once, just to see the train wreck. They definitely used his middle name there.

Regardless, it's popular among the Limbaughesque set to say his middle name as an unspoken keyword for "enemy". Even if Fox News doesn't (often) do it now, they will.

But I agree with cotterpin: Let them.
posted by Flunkie at 2:30 PM on January 6, 2008


I think we should get out in front of that Hussein thing now and say it as early and often as we can just so it's out there and loses it's power. We don't want to surprise people with it after he gets the nomination.
posted by empath at 2:38 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fox really really really wants Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. Maybe even the presidency. My guess is that after she loses the primaries, Obama will forever be known as Barack Hussein Obama on Fox News.

On Preview: empath may have the ticket. Similarly, I always thought the confederate flag should be adopted as a symbol of black power. In all seriousness, what better way to remove it as a weapon of hate.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 2:41 PM on January 6, 2008


Some of this conversation reminds me of a line someone blogged from a Chris Rock stand-up concert the other day:

"Sometimes I feel like Barack forgets he's the black candidate in the race. He's running like he can win this shit fair and square."

I dislike the dwelling on the assassination aspect (which is really a non-story, in my opinion - like there aren't thousands of crazies out there who think a Hillary Clinton presidency would lead to the feminazi socialist revolution and overt takeover by the U.N.'s One World Government), as well as the Muslim name/Muslim heritage business because it all promotes the idea that there is something intrinsically strange and dangerous associated with this candidacy. His refusal to play it that way - to run "like he can win this shit fair and square" - is developing as a critical and successful aspect of his campaign strategy.
posted by nanojath at 2:44 PM on January 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Newsweek: Inside Obama’s Dream Machine -- "An icon of hope, he won't 'kneecap' his foes. But Obama knows what it takes, and how to win."
posted by ericb at 2:53 PM on January 6, 2008


In what may turn out to be the final cruel irony in a career full of them, Hillary, at the climactic moment of her political life, now sees herself transformed into a symbol of the corrupt status quo. From the RS piece

Exactly what happened in last night's debate.

Also, this morning I spoke with a friend from New Hampshire. She has been working as a volunteer, practically nonstop for Obama. The Clinton campaign has been calling everyday, asking for her support - by name. Up until a few months ago she had every intention of voting for Hillary. But things have changed. Obama is going to win NH.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:58 PM on January 6, 2008


And FWIW -- I have not heard - even once - Obama's middle name ever spoken on Fox News.

Just watch Robert Greenwald's video (which is referenced in the second hyperlink in the FPP: "With Obama's Win, What to Expect at Fox News").
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on January 6, 2008


The number of true crazies out there - in my probably naive mind - just don't have the skills, patience, or cunning to even begin to try something so insane.

Huh? It seems to me like only the "true crazies" would have the patience and cunning required to acquire the skills necessary to do something so insane. (Replace "crazy" with "believer" as necessary.) It seems very dangerous to assume that just because someone is homicidal, they're also stupid and prone to distraction.

And of course, there's always luck, which seems to fall on the side of the crazy SOB fairly often. Looking back at those people who've been successful at assassinating presidents or other leaders, the "true crazies" seem to have a bit of a lock on the market.

But anyway, I think nanojath has a point -- I'm not sure that there are really that many more crazies who'd like to go after Obama as there are crazies after Hillary; the risk of being bumped off seems to be basically a wash. However, I expect it to get more airtime if he continues to be successful, since it's a way to backhandedly reinforce how different he is from the other, whiter, candidates.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:59 PM on January 6, 2008


Obama? How can you support an Illinois lawyer with only two years of experience in national office?

Oh, it worked out pretty well last time.
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on January 6, 2008 [36 favorites]


I pray that the primary doesn't get super dirty as time goes by and destroy the "hope" theme. I know a lot of people who don't give a rat's ass what the iowans et al think, they're voting {Clinton|Obama} come hell or high water. A majority of delegates could be really far away. and I don't think that either wants the second spot. [morbid joke] I guess if people want to obsess over the assassination possibility of an non-white male president, that will make the VP a more attractive position.[/morbid joke]
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:01 PM on January 6, 2008


sure, several hundred thousand casualties later.
posted by empath at 3:02 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Loch Ness Monster writes "Fox really really really wants Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. Maybe even the presidency. My guess is that after she loses the primaries, Obama will forever be known as Barack Hussein Obama on Fox News."

I thought this, too, but I was watching coverage of Iowa on Fox (flipping around), and it's hard to describe, but by the time the numbers were really in and he had given his speech, they were bowled over and a bit taken by him. I can't remember a backhanded comment. It was very satisfying, seeing the sort of effect he had. It was a bit surprising, but if he can keep that up, he can do just about anything. Sure, they'll come up with stupid ways to characterize him, but they clearly don't loathe him the way they do the Clintons. I daresay there is a certain measure of respect for the guy. And if a stupid name is all the can hang on him, then I don't think many people will care, except the truly ignorant.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:04 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, in a theme out of Manchurian Candidate, if Clinton was the VP candidate, that would probably make someone put down the rifle. Imagine what kind of power Congress would hand her in that aftermath and how that fits into Paranoid Right Wing Fantasy #2.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 3:05 PM on January 6, 2008


Edwards has very strong union support - mr_roboto

Except in Iowa I guess, where union households split between Obama and Clinton.
posted by nicwolff at 3:06 PM on January 6, 2008


I pray that the primary doesn't get super dirty as time goes by and destroy the "hope" theme.
I'm pretty confident that Clinton will start trying lower blows as she falls farther behind (although I would be pleased to be wrong).

Last night, she tried, and failed. She tried to "slam" Obama about his health care proposal, because it "contains a mandate".

Obama pointed out that yes, he would mandate health coverage for children, because they don't have control over whether their parents would give it to them.

That exchange struck me as an almost pathetic attempt at a low blow.

And then she tried it again. And, I think, again.
posted by Flunkie at 3:08 PM on January 6, 2008


I caucused for Obama Thursday... 370 or so dems from my precinct, he won handily. Wheelchairs, walkers, students. Good mix. A record, too- up 45% from the previous record.
A story... Wednesday I had to make a quick visit to the clinic- toenail infection, and for a diabetic that can be dangerous.... so there was a cancellation, and I found myself seeing a foot guy I hadn't seen before- he sez "well, you need a -ahem- procedure done today"... so he leaves, nurse comes in and get out instruments of destruction... he comes back in, and with my toe in one hand and a scalpel in the other, asks "So, are you going to the caucus tomorrow? Who are you gonna caucus for?".... and I'm sittin' there sweating, thinking this is the last question I want asked at this particular time... turns out he's an Obama supporter too.

Whew.
posted by drhydro at 3:09 PM on January 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


And there was a mailer from Clinton to NH voters trying to slam Obama for voting "present" on several abortion-related bills while he was in the Illinois State Legislature. This was put forth to essentially call him gutless on the tough issues.

What the mailer failed to point out was that Planned Parenthood explicitly asked supporting legislators to vote "present" on these bills.
posted by Flunkie at 3:13 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


krinklyfig, I sure hope you're right. I consider myself a cynic, but damn it would be nice to leave this red state/blue state thing behind. For a while. I guess it goes back to the civil war. But still, we need a break. I remain astonished that in the years after 9/11 the country is as divided as it is. There's no excuse for that.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 3:14 PM on January 6, 2008


"I personally was told by an 80 year old that she was hoping for an Obama/Clinton ticket, or a Clinton/Obama ticket (and she didn't really care which), because of the momentous symbolic change that it would bring to this country."


Now that is something I could support either way you flip the ticket. It would be a novelty in the last half-century at least to see incisive, strong willed president and VP working together precisely because of their differences of opinion and approach. Lincoln valued this "team of rivals" in the construction of his cabinet, and I see great merit in it's reincarnation.
Wrote James M. McPherson: "Could this "team of rivals," each of them initially convinced of his superiority to the inexperienced president, work together in harmony? Joseph Medill, the editor of The Chicago Tribune and one of Lincoln's most loyal supporters, later asked the president why he had made these appointments. "We needed the strongest men of the party in the cabinet," Lincoln replied. "These were the very strongest men. Then I had no right to deprive the country of their services."
posted by fydfyd at 3:21 PM on January 6, 2008


What the mailer failed to point out was that Planned Parenthood explicitly asked supporting legislators to vote "present" on these bills.

Why did Planned Parenthood ask legislators to act in a way that makes them seem weak?
posted by smackfu at 3:29 PM on January 6, 2008


Fox really really really wants Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. Maybe even the presidency

That would be the best thing to ever happen for those fuckers.

People want to watch "Attack TV" rather than "Defend TV".
posted by panamax at 3:31 PM on January 6, 2008


I don't know the details of it, but I gather that the proposed bills were blatant grandstanding by a severely anti-abortion legislator. I therefore assume that the "present" votes were intended as a political statement akin to "we shouldn't be wasting our time with this".

What I know, though, is that Obama supported Planned Parenthood in the way that they wanted him to (and in fact is listed by them as a 100% supporter), and that when the mailing came out, Planned Parenthood excoriated Clinton for it.
posted by Flunkie at 3:33 PM on January 6, 2008


re: the Team of Rivals angle. If I were Obama - heh! - and won the presidency, I would ask Clinton to join my cabinet, maybe Secretary of Defense (that would be wonderful, actually - a woman in charge of defense). Edwards as Attorney General - break up them trusts, John! A Republican, like Lugar, as Secretary of State. But in no way would I choose Clinton or Edwards as a running mate. There are much better, more appealing people out there for the job. Webb, for one.
posted by billysumday at 3:34 PM on January 6, 2008


The number of true crazies out there - in my probably naive mind - just don't have the skills, patience, or cunning to even begin to try something so insane.

you'd be surprised . . .
posted by panamax at 3:35 PM on January 6, 2008


CNN-WMUR poll: Sen. Barack Obama opens a double-digit lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in N.H. ahead of Tuesday's primary.
posted by gman at 3:35 PM on January 6, 2008


From link:
The present votes Obama took at that time, along with many other pro-choice legislators, were 'no' votes to bad bills being used for political gain. We asked Senator Obama and other strong supporters of choice to vote present to encourage Senators facing tough re-elections to make the right choice by voting present, instead of caving to political pressure and voting for these bad bills. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama showed leadership, compassion and a true commitment to reproductive health care. The Republican Senate President at the time constantly used anti-abortion bills to pigeon-hole Democrats so that he could target them with misleading mailers during campaign season. It was a tactic that was about politics, not policy - and Obama didn't let them get away with it.
That's the President and CEO of Illinois Planned Parenthood.
posted by Flunkie at 3:42 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Net Neutrality Wins Iowa
posted by homunculus at 3:44 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Slashdot told me it was videogames.
posted by Artw at 3:47 PM on January 6, 2008


"The fun thing about New Hampshire is that McCain can pull votes from Obama right now, in the primary, since it's open and you pick a side when you go into the polling place."

I think McCain's in trouble for this reason, more so than Obama. McCain benefited from a lot of moderate/independent votes last time 'round due to his "maverick" mystique. That's dulled these last eight years and Obama is going to take a lot of those votes this time.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 3:51 PM on January 6, 2008


It's nice to see so many democrats with optimism and hope about a politician. I'm a Thompson supporter at this point, but I wouldn't have a problem with an Obama presidency aside from his possible Supreme Court picks.
posted by rockhopper at 3:52 PM on January 6, 2008


I recently had a friend describe to me what his dog, a "Puggle," looks like. He said to imagine a beagle with the head of Fred Thompson. But with infinite energy and it can scale the walls and eat your furniture. I haven't slept well since then.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 3:59 PM on January 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


And mostly I don't have a problem with a beagle with Fred Thompson's head that scales walls and eats the furniture, except for the possible Supreme Court picks.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 4:00 PM on January 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


Why did Planned Parenthood ask legislators to act in a way that makes them seem weak?

Probably because they weren't expecting him to be running against another pro-choice candidate who would use that present vote against him.

krinklyfig, I sure hope you're right. I consider myself a cynic, but damn it would be nice to leave this red state/blue state thing behind. For a while. I guess it goes back to the civil war. But still, we need a break. I remain astonished that in the years after 9/11 the country is as divided as it is. There's no excuse for that.

Dividing the country was Karl Rove's job. They used 9/11, and the Iraq war as a way to wedge the democrats and liberals out of power, to keep the glory of the war for themselves. They wanted a victory in Iraq to be a victory for republicanism and neo-conservatism. And, uh, they proceeded to fail at everything.

re: the Team of Rivals angle. If I were Obama - heh! - and won the presidency, I would ask Clinton to join my cabinet, maybe Secretary of Defense (that would be wonderful, actually - a woman in charge of defense). Edwards as Attorney General - break up them trusts, John! A Republican, like Lugar, as Secretary of State

Ohh, as long as we're playing fantasy cabinet. Someone mentioned Webb for VP, and I like him, but I actually like to see Richard Clark up there. As far as the Attorney General goes I'd pick someone like Carol Lam, who busted up Duke Cunningham's Lobbyist/CIA/Congressional bribery club. We could make Edwards secretary of Labor.

CNN-WMUR poll: Sen. Barack Obama opens a double-digit lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in N.H. ahead of Tuesday's primary.

Careful though, other polls still show Hillary with a slight lead. It's possible she could still win on Tuesday.
posted by delmoi at 4:02 PM on January 6, 2008


Now ifd they got that Goren guy from Law & Order my wife would vote for him in a shot. Me, I still think Ice T should run.
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Goren would be better at looking into people's souls than Bush was.
posted by homunculus at 4:16 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


the most depressing thing about Obama to me is a graph CNN ran of his percentages across age groups. As soon as they got out of 25- he started doing poorly and above 45 he was heavily losing.

Yep. No surprise he would do so well when the primary was held in the middle of Winter Break for colleges.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."


Technically, these two were inaugural addresses.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:18 PM on January 6, 2008


What a sad comment on our national moment. It's probably right to think about MLK and JFK & RFK, but then, I'm too young to have any direct memory of those assassinations

I am old enough, and I do remember. One of my first conscious memories was that of the tv coverage of the death of JFK.

I don't think Obama is in any more danger than Hillary but that's not saying much.

Anyway, this is one Republican who is going to be praying their safety, as well as the safety of all those running. Our country doesn't need to go through that kind of pain yet again.
posted by konolia at 4:18 PM on January 6, 2008


As I explained last night, one big plus side of the current battle going on in New Hampshire is that it might finally disrupt (hope springs eternal) the mind control powers Mark Penn uses to get Democrats to pay him money to lose their campaigns for them.
-- Josh Marshal

(Mark Penn on MeFi)
posted by delmoi at 4:27 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like Obama. Obama reminds me of JFK.

Note this is not necessarily a good thing. JFK did a lot of things (due to inexperience and bad advice) that in hindsight turned out very badly, e.g., the Bay of Pigs and Viet Nam. Had he not been assasinated, his might have been judged as a very unsuccessful presidency.
posted by Standeck at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I could be happy with any one of those in the Democratic party who have been running. I like Obama but when some one tells me about HOPE etc, I want more than a sticker for my bumper. The Dems will sweep in the next election, but biils get watered down, fail, or approved because of special interest groups. Always. Hope is insufficient if the lobbyists are strongly opposed to specific bills. This is the time when America at last wants a major change.And it best happen now because in the upcoming years, the demographics have been shifting and
Texas (example) will gain 4 seats in the House, Florida 1 etc--in sum: more aging people living in the South. And if you are a liberal, that spells bad news in ten or so years.
posted by Postroad at 4:36 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


empath: conservatives = people who will not vote for a black man or a woman

Don't be an idiot, empath. I'm a conservative, and I would vote for black man or a woman. Think JC Watts, Condi Rice, Jeanne Kirkpatrick (well...), Colin Powell...

How about this: liberals = people who will vote for a black man or woman BECAUSE of their gender or race.

See, it sounds stupid no matter which side the stereotype is on.
posted by davidmsc at 4:39 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've heard so many 'life-long Republicans' tell me that they love Obama and would vote for him if he's the nominee.

Well, he's the one my hedge-fund-Democrat friends send their checks to.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:39 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm going to pull the "D" lever regardless of the nominee. Not that it will matter here in the reddest state in the union, but it will help me to sleep at night.

Still, if it's Obama or Edwards, I won't cringe when I pull that lever. Hillary - yeah, a bit. Not because I have any dislike for her, but because I know if she were to win she'd be expending a lot of energy that would be better spent elsewhere just dodging all the crap that the Republicans will be flinging just because of who she is.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:47 PM on January 6, 2008


Here's a historical metaphor for ya'

Dean = Goldwater, Obama = Reagan.

One guy comes in and motivates the base, the other one comes in later and expands and opens that and actually wins.

Now of course, there is a huge ideological difference between Dean/Obama and Goldwater/Reagan. For one thing, Goldwater capitalized on southern anger at the end of segregation, and Reagan utilized the southern strategy.
posted by delmoi at 4:54 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well, he's the one my hedge-fund-Democrat friends send their checks to.

Obama unites the rich and poor.
posted by delmoi at 4:55 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, he's the one my hedge-fund-Democrat friends send their checks to.

Obama unites the rich and poor.


So do bank tellers, but we're not going to elect them as President.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:00 PM on January 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


In Brief: Five Intensely Obvious Things We Learned From Iowa:
...
4. Robo-Romney creeps out farmers.
--The Rude Pundit
posted by delmoi at 5:02 PM on January 6, 2008


Cute to ask me about those bumper stickers. The only problem is that all of them were forthcoming AFTER the guy got elected. You are right in the general nature of speeches. However, when asked by Larry King what he (Edwards) would do the first day if elected, he said
1. Call together the military leaders (Joint Chiefs) and tell them he wanted all combat troops out of Iraq within the year
2. Call together heads of Congress and tell them to get a bill to him for universal health care.
I knowObama want health care. All Dem contenders do.But Krugman notes that Ombama wants to sit down with heads of drug firms and insurance to help put such a program together and Krugman notes that these are the two interest groups that have thus far prevented universal health plans.
Edwards, by contrast, would not bring special interest groupsin for putting together a bill.

But as I had said earlier, I could with ease live with and vote for Obama,Edwards, Clinton, Richardson...but what I really feel is needed is a huge majority of
Democrats running Congress.
posted by Postroad at 5:07 PM on January 6, 2008


The Loch Ness Monster writes "krinklyfig, I sure hope you're right. I consider myself a cynic, but damn it would be nice to leave this red state/blue state thing behind. For a while. I guess it goes back to the civil war. But still, we need a break. I remain astonished that in the years after 9/11 the country is as divided as it is. There's no excuse for that."

I wasn't sure until I saw Iowa. When he gave his convention speech in 2004, I saw the potential but didn't know if he could walk the walk. Now, I know he can. Doesn't mean he'll win, but ... Well, let me just put it this way. I haven't been registered Democrat since 1994, when I gave up on the Party. I'm frankly sick of that shit, but I do realize it's a part of the process. I've not been in any way convinced that the Democrats represented anything more than the appearance of change for a long time. Oh, sure, way better than Bush, but not really inspiring on any level. Well, Bill Clinton did sort of make me feel that way in '92, which is why I voted for him. But I didn't make that mistake again.

Obama is not a saint, nor is he some sort of savior for the party. But he represents hope and inspiration on a deeper level than just a great personality and keen sense of politics. If he gets the Democratic nomination, it will represent a change in their game - maybe only for a few years, but it's something. If he is elected president, it will be symbolic of something much bigger than party politics, which is why he has such broad appeal and why people are craving it right now. Yes, it will drive some people crazy, and they will rail against it, but he has the potential to be part of a transformative movement. We will not transform into Eden, or anything silly like that, but the US will be forever changed. Imagine: the country responds to eight years of Bush by electing Obama. I think the world might begin to forgive us, and for that reason alone, things will change.

Clinton would be better than Bush. But she doesn't represent the same things as Obama, and she can't really inspire people on the same level. If people elect her, it will be out of fear, not hope, which would be understandable, but still deeply disappointing. I can live with that, but I do hope the people of the US are inspired to look to their higher selves in making a decision on where to go next. If that happens, well, it's hard not to get excited.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:12 PM on January 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Planned Parenthood's support doesn't explain him being conveniently absent for the vote on Kyl-Lieberman.
posted by aaronetc at 5:22 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's hard to know what to make of Obama. He seems like a really nice guy with a lovely family, and he is obviously an immensely talented public speaker, although I find the content of his speeches to be extremely banal. I can't shake the feeling that he could have achieved more by remaining a community organiser and activist in Chicago.

The stuff about hope and change is, of course, pretty typical empty rhetoric. But the stuff about national reconciliation and unity is totally bewildering to me. There has never, in all of American history, been a time when the country was not hopelessly, viciously divided - between blacks and whites, immigrants and natives, men and women, North and South, rich and poor, wingnuts and moonbats, farmers and cowmen. It's strange that Obama supporters so frequently invoke JFK and Lincoln, two presidents whose terms in office saw widespread domestic rebellion and repression and massive bloodshed either at home or abroad, and who were so divisive that they were both shot dead in public by American citizens. The hysterical and aggressive political rhetoric from which Obama seems such a refreshing change is a symptom, not a cause, of divisions in American society that are in my view basically permanent.

FDR, another president who is occasionally invoked as a comparison and who did manage to give real hope and enact significant change, was so divisive that many of the richest companies in the United States conspired to have him overthrown and replaced with a military-corporate dictatorship in the first year of his presidency. He finally "united" the country in a war which was initially massively unpopular (America First peaked at around 1 million members), which ultimately led to 72 million deaths worldwide, and which ushered in the Cold War, the Red Scare, and the strike wave and anti-union legislation of 1945-46.

I think Edwards' argument - that real change is real unpopular, that people don't give up privilege without a fight, and that peace should come after justice - is pretty convincing, but Obama obviously excites people more. One potential positive legacy I see is that the tremendous number of people he's brought into politics with such an exciting promise will, once they see him hamstrung or bought out in office, might then combine their energy and optimism with a more realistic view of the forces they're up against.
posted by stammer at 5:25 PM on January 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


>>> So do bank tellers...

Yes, why just the other day I was in my local bank branch, making a deposit, then having my teller-scheduled tea between myself, the CEO of Coca-Cola and a homeless fellow named Bucket.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:26 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ralph Wiggum '08

I dig the Wigg!
posted by AwkwardPause at 5:28 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


So the only boom-booms we make happen in our pants.
posted by AwkwardPause at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I guess that last sentence doesn't really make sense with both "will" and "might" in it, but if you imagine Barack Obama saying it, it sounds kind of inspiring anyway!
posted by stammer at 5:32 PM on January 6, 2008


Clinton Slams Obama for Voting "for" the PATRIOT Act at ABC-Facebook New Hampshire Debate
posted by homunculus at 5:33 PM on January 6, 2008


Jesus H Christ on a biscuit! 2008 is already making me sick, and we're only six days into it.

All I see here is four more years of WASP Y-chromosome short-sighted bullshit. Thanks a lot Democrats! Stupid butt wipes! Thanks for nuthin'!

Why don't you just hand the presidency over to the fascist bastards? Put it on a silver platter with caviar and crackers! We all know neither Clinton nor Obama can win the red states. Hell. They can't win some of the blue states. They'd be lucky to carry California.

The spell checker wants to change Obama to 'Mamba' by the way. I can't say I blame it. Mamba would have a better chance to win this election than Obama & Clinton rolled together, and I don't even know what a Mamba is.

I'm in the buckle of the conservative bible belt over here for Christ's sake. Throw me a fuckin' bone! Gimme someone who'd actually bring me to the polls! I ain't gonna waste my time for any of the pricks (or mound as the case may be) currently running. I don't wanna be laughed out of the state. I'll just sleep in this November, because it doesn't matter what they print on the box when all you're getting is corn flakes.

Has it ever occurred to any of you to pick someone who could actually possibly win this thing? And I don't mean Edwards. Most Texans think he's either gay or Mormon.

And don't git me stahted on Ron effin Paul!

God!

*sob*

I miss Anne Richards, dammit! Now, there was a lady who knew how to raise some hell.

*wipes tear from eye*

* camera pulls back*

*music swells*

[the preceding announcement paid for by the I Fucking Miss Anne Richards committee]
posted by ZachsMind at 5:33 PM on January 6, 2008


Oh, one more thing.

Obama isn't a phenomenon.

I looked up what a phenomenon is, and Obama ain't mentioned.

I've lost arguments to black friends who say he's not even black.

"Obama's black, really!" I say.

"Are you black?" they say.

"no," I say.

"Then how the hell would you know?"

I can't argue with that.

Gimme something to work with here or I swear I'll start honestly pretending to be concerned with Britney Spears' well-being. So help me! Don't drive me to it!
posted by ZachsMind at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2008


There's now a fourth poll showing Obama with a double-digit lead over Clinton in New Hampshire. This one says 13 points.
posted by Flunkie at 5:44 PM on January 6, 2008


Well, if ZachsMind's black friend doesn't think Obama is black enough, then let's pack it all up and head home, folks. No way the guy could win now!
posted by billysumday at 5:46 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh sweet jesus, does this mean we're going to put up with 50-odd more of these as each State casts its vote?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:55 PM on January 6, 2008


I miss Anne Richards, dammit! Now, there was a lady who knew how to raise some hell.

Raise hell? Well, as the governor who executed more poor people then any governor in history (before W.) she certainly knew how to send people to hell.

But hey, she made a couple great jokes about Dubya, which as we all know is hard to pull off.
posted by delmoi at 5:56 PM on January 6, 2008


Faulty logic, ZachsMind's friend -- even though I'm not stupid, I can still tell that's a stupid argument.
posted by danb at 5:57 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh sweet jesus, does this mean we're going to put up with 50-odd more of these as each State casts its vote?

A shitload of states are voting on Feb 5th. "Super Tuesday"
posted by delmoi at 5:58 PM on January 6, 2008


stammer, I think you're right in much of what you say. But it seems to me that for a long time, a lot of what the role that American presidents have played has been figurehead, cheerleader, public face, or, to put it negatively, and thinking of the incumbent, puppet. Better communicators like Reagan or Clinton, regardless of the actual powers they wielded or decisions they made, are to varying degrees lionized by history (even in the face of their glaring weaknesses).

Although the actual way that your government works is in dire need of change, and actual concrete policies of your government in the last several years (in the last decades, over several administrations, it must be said) have done more damage at home and abroad than is sometimes possible to believe, and actual decisions have been made that have ended in the deaths of many many thousands of people and arguably weakened America economically, militarily, politically, diplomatically, ethically -- well, you name it, basically -- I'd still argue that the only way that real change is going to begin to happen is through the election of someone who actually has a over-arching vision. One that breaks with business as usual as it has come to be done. One that gives ordinary citizens of good heart and good faith some reason to reinvest themselves in the concept of engaged citizenry, that gives them some hope that they have not been entirely disenfranchized, that there's an option other than anger and despair, resentment and nostalgia for simpler times, when thinking about politics. That Taibbi Rolling Stone piece linked above captures it nicely.

Politicians always claim that they have a Big Vision, and it's usually bullshit. You know -- 'the vision thing'. It's a long bet, no matter who gets elected, even if it's Barack Obama (who I place much hope in, myself), that anything much really could change even if a pragmatic idealist somehow managed to tippy-toe through the political sewer and come out the other end unbeshitted. But I'm unconvinced, even in the face of the near-complete incompetence of George Bush and his administration, that in terms of the actual running of government and implementation of policies, that the man or woman who actually gets elected (as opposed to the administration they put into place) makes that great a difference in the minutiae, while making all the difference in the world to the way that the greater flow of history happens.

I don't believe in Heroes, at all, and think that the concept, which arguably emerged in its modern form with Napoleon, has been as destructive as any to our modern world, in some ways. But I do think that the person democratic nations (and America, like it or not, is still the most important one for most of us) choose to stand up for them on that metaphorical hill can, for lack of a better way to express it, set a tone that has a much greater effect on us all than their stated election promises or policies on vehicle emissions or school prayer.

Perhaps that's just facile handwaving, and I've probably explained myself badly. But I would be deeply disappointed and feel hope ripped right out my heart if Clinton won the nomination, no matter how much I think it would be a good thing in principle to see a female American president. She represents, to me at least, a continuation of much that has been wrong about American politics, for decades. Obama, and to a lesser extent, Edwards, seem to offer at least the possibility of real change, which may be the best we can hope for.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2008 [10 favorites]


BillySumday, it's even worse than that.

Racist white people think he's too black.

Racist black people don't think he's black enough.

Perhaps to occasional "enlightened" people, Mamba has credentials that could choke a black hole. To everyone else, he's either the token negro, or the Uncle Tom. I want a nonWASPmale jackass as POTUS as much as any liberal, but it ain't gonna happen this time around without a half dozen miracles between now and November.

If you still think any of this matters, please go stand by the stairs...
posted by ZachsMind at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2008


stammer writes "The stuff about hope and change is, of course, pretty typical empty rhetoric. But the stuff about national reconciliation and unity is totally bewildering to me."

I think some of your history takes a narrow view, that if a politician runs into difficulties, that person has failed in reconciliation. Truman was much more divisive than FDR, and he lead the US to victory. He is far more respected in retrospect, which is also true of FDR.

It's not that our leaders who are remembered as uniters had erased the divisions. But their actions were in line with doing what was necessary to keep the country together and move forward, all cynicism aside. Anyone in that sort of role will enrage a certain segment of the population who perceive them to be threats to their way of life, whether real or imaginary. The fact that FDR elicited the wrath of corporations is not an example of divisiveness. In my book, he's doing something right if that's happening, acting in the public interest. It's not really uniting the country to play the corporate political game, AKA business as usual.

The divisions that have been so problematic in the US have been exacerbated by our political system. People are willing to work against their own best interests because a politician they voted for convinces them they need to do that. Edwards does have a sobering message about the concerns you have and has committed himself to working to change that in a serious way. But people need leaders who inspire them, not just get things right. Obama is the first person to come along in a very long time who has the potential to do both things capably. He can and does bring more people into his tent because of that. It's not just because he says the right things or is charismatic - it's because he's not a phony, full of shit empty suit who says all the right things to achieve his own ends. He's the real deal. But in many ways, so was Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, etc., and I'm not sure if it's enough.

But I'll take a reason for hope over business as usual. Illusory or not, the country really does need to turn a corner pretty soon.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also: Google tells me that 'Obamanomenon' has been coined already, but I totally love the sound of it!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:02 PM on January 6, 2008


Perhaps to occasional "enlightened" people, Mamba has credentials that could choke a black hole. To everyone else, he's either the token negro, or the Uncle Tom. I want a nonWASPmale jackass as POTUS as much as any liberal, but it ain't gonna happen this time around without a half dozen miracles between now and November.

If you still think any of this matters, please go stand by the stairs...
posted by ZachsMind at 6:02 PM

Jesus H. First of all, just because your spellcheck doesn't recognize a Muslim name, there's really no reason other than a twisted sort of racism to think that calling a man named Obama "Mamba" is funny. And to say that everyone, black or white, thinks that Obama can't win an election because of his race, tell that to the WHITE ASS WHITE PEOPLE OF FUCKING IOWA.

Or don't you get the internet at your house?
posted by billysumday at 6:07 PM on January 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Perhaps to occasional "enlightened" people, Mamba has credentials that could choke a black hole. To everyone else, he's either the token negro, or the Uncle Tom. I want a nonWASPmale jackass as POTUS as much as any liberal
This is a strange claim coming from someone who said that he wouldn't vote in November if Obama won the nomination.

Actually, only the second sentence is strange. The first sentence is very in line with someone who said that he wouldn't vote in November if Obama won the election.
posted by Flunkie at 6:13 PM on January 6, 2008


Err, make that third sentence strange, first two in line.
posted by Flunkie at 6:14 PM on January 6, 2008


The Secret Service obviously feels there are credible threats against Obama, otherwise they wouldn't be protecting him at this point (and for the past 8 months or so).
posted by Poolio at 6:18 PM on January 6, 2008


The only people that are going to vote against him are crazies who think he's a Muslim that won't salute the American flag and wants to get sworn in on the Koran.

And all the people who don't want a black president.

Racism? In my America?
It's more common than you think.

.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:19 PM on January 6, 2008


But their actions were in line with doing what was necessary to keep the country together and move forward, all cynicism aside.

Remember, though, that this is exactly what conservatives think Reagan did - when he paralysed and dismembered the American union movement. To conservatives, Reagan was a uniter, (pre-war) FDR was a divider. To liberals, it's the other way around. It seems to me that when people say "President [x] really united the country," what they mean is "President [x] took on the other guys and beat them so thoroughly that even their resistance is forgotten."

Anyone in that sort of role will enrage a certain segment of the population who perceive them to be threats to their way of life, whether real or imaginary. The fact that FDR elicited the wrath of corporations is not an example of divisiveness. In my book, he's doing something right if that's happening, acting in the public interest. It's not really uniting the country to play the corporate political game, AKA business as usual.

It was divisive, though, in the sense that it elicited strong feelings of lines being drawn, of his policies having winners and losers, of having to choose sides. I agree that it was the right thing to do, but I disagree strongly that it was a conciliatory and uniting gesture.

I guess this comes down to my politics. My view is that the interests of the very wealthy in America are basically incompatible with the interests of the rest of the country, and that a policy that's good for one will be bad for the other. In this context, there's no way to simultaneously unite the country and achieve change. The only way you can get the whole country to agree about you is to fuck up so badly that everyone hates you. It's interesting that Nixon and Bush are considered divisive, when almost everyone agrees that they were basically terrible presidents. Almost nobody can agree on the real significance of the legacies of FDR, Lincoln, and JFK, but they're remembered as uniters. Why? Because, in their time, they won.

It's not just because he says the right things or is charismatic - it's because he's not a phony, full of shit empty suit who says all the right things to achieve his own ends. He's the real deal. But in many ways, so was Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, etc., and I'm not sure if it's enough.

Indeed - and those men are now remembered with utter contempt by conservatives.

Still, I agree with Obama that rhetoric and charisma do matter. If FDR had had the appearance and attitude of Nixon, he'd never have got anything done.
posted by stammer at 6:20 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Secret Service obviously feels there are credible threats against Obama, otherwise they wouldn't be protecting him at this point (and for the past 8 months or so).

Yah, that threat was Bill O'Reilly
posted by afx114 at 6:22 PM on January 6, 2008


Obama won Iowa across many broad categories, including various age groups. I believe that the only age group he lost was 65+.

Ah yes. Retired members of the KKK.
posted by notreally at 6:25 PM on January 6, 2008


the president as hero? think of the 3 ?best" presidents we have had. What do they share? They were in office when the nation was in deep deep trouble and they led us out of it: Washington (ok, no country yet), Lincoln, FDR.
Though I am not as keen on Obama as many here are I would note that he served two years in Congress and he now runs for president (possibly); so,too, Lincoln. Experience? the same in years of elective office.
posted by Postroad at 6:36 PM on January 6, 2008


stammer writes "To conservatives, Reagan was a uniter, (pre-war) FDR was a divider. To liberals, it's the other way around."

Yeah, I know, and to some degree, I think they're both right about their own party's person. That doesn't mean I liked Reagan. But he was a uniter. That's what the reference delmoi made to Goldwater and Reagan upthread. And I'm under no illusion that they united every single person behind their visions. But they both were visionary leaders, they had broad appeal (among independents or the "broad middle"), and they enacted sweeping policies mostly in an atmosphere which welcomed them.

My view is that the interests of the very wealthy in America are basically incompatible with the interests of the rest of the country, and that a policy that's good for one will be bad for the other. In this context, there's no way to simultaneously unite the country and achieve change. The only way you can get the whole country to agree about you is to fuck up so badly that everyone hates you. It's interesting that Nixon and Bush are considered divisive, when almost everyone agrees that they were basically terrible presidents. Almost nobody can agree on the real significance of the legacies of FDR, Lincoln, and JFK, but they're remembered as uniters. Why? Because, in their time, they won.

Well, I never really thought that uniting the country meant that every interest would be happy. "The wealthy" is not a very large group, and they aren't homogeneous. It's interesting now that Huckabee is also doing so well, when he is not a supporter of the wealthy in his policies. He's also considered a uniter. It means that you can bring a lot of independents into your tent, not that everyone likes you. But Obama does have some serious charisma, on top of everything else. Conservatives don't hate him in a visceral way, seriously.

Indeed - and those men are now remembered with utter contempt by conservatives.

Yeah, but Obama is not quite the same, either. I don't get the feeling that his ideology is his albatross.

Still, I agree with Obama that rhetoric and charisma do matter. If FDR had had the appearance and attitude of Nixon, he'd never have got anything done.

On top of that, Nixon was a Machavellian leader in the truest sense who in his mind lied to the people in order to help them - he held most of the electorate in contempt. Was also an unredeemable racist bigot. I have some sympathy for Nixon as a tragic figure, but it wasn't just his appearance and personality that were a problem.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:39 PM on January 6, 2008



didnt amberglow make a post about barack obamas first speech at the democratic national convention 4 years ago ?
there was an fpp about it i'm sure - perhaps it was deleted.
anyway, i'm glad to see amber backing edwards, a sure sign obama will win ; )
Amber, please whatever you do don't back obama to be president, it's the kiss of death : )
and no talking about how the republicans are going to lose either : )
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:40 PM on January 6, 2008


I really doubt that Obama's cocaine use well get mentioned much, as the first link says. Because there's an easy retort--so did Bush.
posted by aerotive at 6:48 PM on January 6, 2008


Will not well for Christ's sake make editable comments happen people.
posted by aerotive at 6:49 PM on January 6, 2008


Judging by their conduct during last night's debates, I'd say Obama and Edwards have made at least a temporary alliance. Edwards has been going around talking about he how thinks it's down to himself and Obama, because they represent the change the electorate wants. His phrasing seems to translate to "I'm fine with being your running mate," to my ear, but I've midread politicians before.

I think it's just the opposite. Edwards is spinning to downplay Clinton going forward;he's trying hard to turn a three-person race into a two-person race. Better to fight one than two. Smart politickin', if you ask me.

If he's successful and Clinton gets waxed in New Hampshire, she just may be toast. The faster that happens (and if it happens) the better Edwards' chances are of winning this thing.

I think Edwards' argument - that real change is real unpopular, that people don't give up privilege without a fight, and that peace should come after justice - is pretty convincing...


Pretty much sums it up in my book - but substance generally loses to "it's morning in America" or " a kinder, gentler America" in our starstruck culture.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:49 PM on January 6, 2008


Stav, better "Obamanomenon" than "Obama Nation." amirite?
posted by SassHat at 7:35 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Speaking as Republican (and not wealthy), my feeling Obama will continue to win some of the primaries and make a good show, however my money on Edwards for the long run. He has less social baggage then Clinton or Obama.

In my opinion, admitting drug use was a mistake, and will come up later in his campaign, to his detriment. As for Clinton, I've heard many times this year, about her staying with her husband after all the indiscretions in the past (probably for political reasons). Says alot about her self esteem and judgement, and my feeling her husband, will in the end hurt her campaign.

I feel the Democrats do have a better field of candidates than the Republicans. Which at current state, I'm not crazy about any of them. True Huckabee won the latest primary, and by good margin- not going to vote for anybody with religious tags. LDS or Evangelical stigma brings memories of ex-President Jimmy Carter and the last thing this country needs is a religious bias in policy making. Hoping McCain has a better showing in next primary because he may be the man to compete against the Democrates and make a good showing, if he can win is another story or thread , if you will.
posted by brickman at 7:41 PM on January 6, 2008


Awesome Obama posters
posted by Artw at 8:03 PM on January 6, 2008


Perhaps to occasional "enlightened" people, Mamba has credentials that could choke a black hole. To everyone else, he's either the token negro, or the Uncle Tom. I want a nonWASPmale jackass as POTUS as much as any liberal

Bullshit. Did you even read the first link?
posted by delmoi at 8:04 PM on January 6, 2008


It's strange that Obama supporters so frequently invoke JFK and Lincoln, two presidents whose terms in office saw widespread domestic rebellion and repression and massive bloodshed either at home or abroad, and who were so divisive that they were both shot dead in public by American citizens.

no, i don't think it's strange - subconsciously, i think they realize that the nation is at a critical crossroads - it has nothing to do with obama, but the times we live in
posted by pyramid termite at 8:18 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like Obama. He's clean and, what's the word?, articulate.
posted by orthogonality at 8:19 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


This whole "Blacks don't relate to Obama" or "Obama's not Black enough" thing makes absolutely no sense. None of the other candidates are Black. If Blacks can't relate to Obama, then who are we supposed to relate to? Do people really think all Black voters are planning some sort of secret Dave Chapelle write-in campaign?

If you ask me, what most Black people mean when they qualify his blackness is "Quit assuming you can read my mind."

It's pretty much the same logic that leads my father, who I'm pretty sure is Black, to sometimes vote Republican purely out of spite towards Democratic candidates who think they don't have to earn his vote.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:20 PM on January 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


But in many ways, so was Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, etc., and I'm not sure if it's enough.

Speaking of McGovern: Why I Believe Bush Must Go: Nixon Was Bad. These Guys Are Worse.

Hopefully Obama won't give them a free pass like Clinton seems to want to do.
posted by homunculus at 8:21 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


All this crap about how Obama is weak on policy is getting on my nerves. The man knows how to speak softly and carry a big stick. He's been doing it for over 10 years. The rhetorical angle is a strategy, and it's a good one. (See also The "Theory of Change" Primary.)

I'd thought that after Iowa, people might get the clue and begin to think "Hmm, maybe the way he absolutely dismantled Clinton's campaign with a smile wasn't entirely by accident." Did no one else notice that his speech at the Jefferson-Jackson dinner came at the perfect time to start building momentum for the primary? Some of his supporters had been worried about it, but he held back until the perfect moment to get people excited and then knocked it out of the park. Then he said that he would start being more direct with the Clinton campaign, and Hillary responded with excitement about the "fun part" beginning (oops) and then got all confuzzled when he started baiting her into going negative and deflecting every barb with ease. (Ah, so that's what he meant!) Then he forces an Iowa turnout that was lightyears beyond what anyone was predicting.

--These things aren't accidents. Anyone who still think that Obama's a lightweight at this point, well... I hope they continue to underestimate him. I've seen enough to convince me that he knows exactly what he's doing.
posted by spiderwire at 8:23 PM on January 6, 2008 [18 favorites]


Are any of you signed up for Barack Obama's website?

If you join any regional group, you are going to get emails daily from local organizers telling you what's going on new with the campaign, asking you to volunteer for local visibility events, or canvassing, or phone banking. They took what Howard Dean started with meet-ups and took it to the next level. That's his organization. I don't think any other campaign has anything remotely comparable.
posted by empath at 8:28 PM on January 6, 2008


Wait, there's a black candidate? Obama? He's white, because his momma, who raised him, is white. What? You say that don't matter because he identifies as black? Yes, in front of black audiences he does. In front of other audiences, maybe not so much. Should this even matter? The answer is no. Face it, Obama is Tiger Woods Black, so he should be able to play on all courses.

I think he has a bright future.
posted by rockhopper at 8:32 PM on January 6, 2008


in our starstruck culture.

or did u mean our starbucks culture?
posted by brandz at 8:38 PM on January 6, 2008


This is hysterical. Obama's win resonated so deeply that all the Republicans in the non-GOP-sanctioned "debate" (minus Ron Paul) tonight on Fox are talking about the need for "change in Washington," essentially causing them to argue against Bush's legacy, though they are trying desperately to keep themselves from coming out and saying it directly. The only person on that side (with a chance of winning) who's been willing to do that so far is Huckabee. Now they're all doing it. "Hey, I have to admit it, there Bush is screwed a up need bigtime for change."
posted by krinklyfig at 8:39 PM on January 6, 2008


See, I think the Bush criticisms will wait until after the primaries. It's not like the 30-something percent who still approve of Bush are Democrats.
posted by smackfu at 8:44 PM on January 6, 2008


Speaking as Republican (and not wealthy)

Um. Do you want the bad news or the worse news first?
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 PM on January 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I also caucused for Obama in Iowa.

Well, actually on the first count, I made a token stand with Dodd. I wanted to give Dodd props for his recent filibuster in the Senate. I figured that he would not be viable, I was right, and I moved to the Obama camp for the final count.
posted by jaronson at 9:07 PM on January 6, 2008


i would like to see Dodd become Senate Majority Leader in the next administration.
posted by empath at 9:10 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


My only problem with Obama winning the presidency -- as much as I hate to say it -- is that the person that wins the presidency after Dubya is going to have a hell of a tough time ahead of him leading this nation through what's to come. That's what I'm basing my votes on in this election.

I'm afraid that if Obama wins it and fails, then black america will forever be cast with the light of failures past.
posted by SpecialK at 9:16 PM on January 6, 2008


i would like to see Dodd become Senate Majority Leader in the next administration.

That would be nice. Can you guess who the elites want as Majority Leader next year? I mean if she's not president, that is...
posted by delmoi at 9:23 PM on January 6, 2008


I'm afraid that if Obama wins it and fails, then black america will forever be cast with the light of failures past.

I don't really think that's true. I mean, what are his opponents going to say "We tried a black president once, it didn't work out." That's just not really an argument you can make. On the other hand, having one Black president (even if he does a bad job) will make it less of an issue going forward. When JFK ran as a catholic, it was a big deal. With Kerry and Giuliani , it's a non-issue.
posted by delmoi at 9:26 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Take heart, Specialk. There are alot of Americans that think Bush did an admirable job, and see future problems as challenges that the American people have proven they can handle. Therefore, if Obama becomes president, he'll just have to deal with things every president deals with, and I think he'd do well at that. I believe Obama loves his country before his party.
posted by rockhopper at 9:27 PM on January 6, 2008


No offense, SpecialK, but that's one hell of a rationalization not to vote for Obama.
posted by Flunkie at 9:27 PM on January 6, 2008


There is something special about a man who can be so positive and idealistic when many have the gut instinct that he's completely fated to die tragically. Kind of radicalises the natural affinity you have for his good nature; like that T-shirt says: If you kill Obama, we WILL blow shit up.

I feel it and I'm not an American or even a resident and furthermore, live in a country (UK) where anti-Americanism now seems the default. I've never felt like that but with Bush, Kyoto Iraq etc. it sometimes seems America's good standing in the world ain't coming back. Since watching him at the convention in '04 however, Obama seems to understand what makes America such a positive, special place... he has the relentless energy and that generosity of spirit which makes him want to shake everyone's hand with a real smile on his face. Clinton had it but too many flaws with it. Is Obama the real deal? Or just another pragmatic politician? He's damn good at dissembling if he is. If he's as true as he appears, he is a dream candidate with the potential to heal divisions not just in the US but, given his Muslim roots, globally too.

It is stupid to be so optimistic about someone who isn't yet his party's choice but I can't help feeling that you've found someone who can bring back the energy and (naive?) optimism that used to define America and Americans to outsiders. I hope so cos with global warming, the confrontation with political Islam, constraints on global resources, etc I can't help thinking we'll be needing someone with a vision of something better.
posted by pots at 9:28 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can you imagine the crowds that will go to see Obama in other countries after he wins? He'll be bigger than the Pope.

Especially in Africa.
posted by empath at 9:34 PM on January 6, 2008


SpecialK writes "I'm afraid that if Obama wins it and fails, then black america will forever be cast with the light of failures past."

Eh, I don't know. Ford was remembered pretty fondly, and all he really did was clean up Nixon's mess. Fred Thompson reminds me of Ford. If Bush were impeached a couple years ago and Thompson became the president through some bizarre sequence of events, it wouldn't surprise me too much, just because he seems like the cleanup guy. He also sorta looks and talks like Ford. I think if Obama does better than Ford, he'll probably be fine. He also has to be better than Carter, for that matter, but I think Obama's not going to get trapped by the same problems. But following Bush also means it's hard to do worse than the guy who came just before you.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:40 PM on January 6, 2008


This is hysterical. Obama's win resonated so deeply that all the Republicans in the non-GOP-sanctioned "debate" (minus Ron Paul) tonight on Fox are talking about the need for "change in Washington,"

I've noticed that. The killer question for the GOP debates would be: "Do you want to see President Bush's legacy carried on, or do you want to make a break with it? Why?"

No matter what answer they gave, it would either fuck them in the primary or kill them in the general.
posted by stammer at 9:47 PM on January 6, 2008


Conservatives for change! *spit take*
posted by anomie at 9:57 PM on January 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Stav, better "Obamanomenon" than "Obama Nation." amirite?

More like an Obama Republic, surely.
posted by psychopomp at 9:57 PM on January 6, 2008


As a small side-note:

It was dismaying, though not surprising, to see Hillary's heated "Change means X; I've been working for change 35 years" debate lecture knock down her popularity. I thought it was an effective and appropriate bit of business.

That any display of hostile intensity from her will be interpreted as "shrillness" underlines what a weak general election candidate she'd be.

Not that how she'd fare in the general is something-- it now appears-- we'll ever have to know.
posted by darth_tedious at 9:58 PM on January 6, 2008


Stav, better "Obamanomenon" than "Obama Nation." amirite?

More like an Obama Republic, surely.


Obama-mahna!
posted by empath at 10:00 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


In my opinion, admitting drug use was a mistake, and will come up later in his campaign, to his detriment.

He just needs to take a page from Karl Rove's playbook and find Jesus.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:08 PM on January 6, 2008


It was dismaying, though not surprising, to see Hillary's heated "Change means X; I've been working for change 35 years" debate lecture knock down her popularity. I thought it was an effective and appropriate bit of business.

Matt Yglesias brought this up. It's not so much that people want "change", it's that they want Obama in particular and since Obama summarizes his argument as "change" and "hope" they say they are hopeful for change. It doesn't mean they just want someone who will change things, that doesn't even make any sense. When divorced from the specific ideas and rhetoric of Obama, the word becomes meaningless. It could mean literally anything.
posted by delmoi at 10:08 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


He just needs to take a page from Karl Rove's playbook and find Jesus.

Uh, he did that a while ago. In fact, back ~2004/2005 he talked about religion quite a bit. Remember the "... And we worship an awesome god in the blue states!" bit in his convention speech? It was a real turn off at the time.
posted by delmoi at 10:11 PM on January 6, 2008


He did 'find Jesus' after his cocaine use, though he had quit drugs long before then.

The manner in which he found Jesus may end up being a subject of some controversy, though. The particular preacher that brought him into the church might be too involved in black-identity politics for the comfort of some people. Doesn't bother me at all, but it is something I hope Obama has a plan for defusing by the time the general election comes around.
posted by empath at 10:16 PM on January 6, 2008


darth_tedious writes "It was dismaying, though not surprising, to see Hillary's heated 'Change means X; I've been working for change 35 years' debate lecture knock down her popularity."

It knocked down her popularity because the obvious next thought is, "Hillary, if you've been working for change for 35 years, why is there so little to show for it?"
posted by orthogonality at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


a bit of Jeremiah Wright's preaching

If anything sinks Obama, it's going to be this. This isn't just some guy who happens to preach at Obama's church. This is the guy that convinced Obama to become a Christian. This is the guy who gave Obama the phrase - "The Audacity of Hope."

It's going to be hard to walk away from it, and believe me, the Republicans are going to kill him on this.
posted by empath at 10:23 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Secret Service obviously feels there are credible threats against Obama, otherwise they wouldn't be protecting him at this point (and for the past 8 months or so).

The Secret Service has guarded all presidential candidates since 1968.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:25 PM on January 6, 2008


Fred Thompson reminds me of Ford. If Bush were impeached a couple years ago and Thompson became the president through some bizarre sequence of events, it wouldn't surprise me too much, just because he seems like the cleanup guy.

Thompson was trying to cleanup for Nixon when Watergate first got started, so that seems fitting.
posted by homunculus at 10:28 PM on January 6, 2008


homunculus writes "Thompson was trying to cleanup for Nixon when Watergate first got started, so that seems fitting."

That's pretty funny (in a strange way). Makes sense, though.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:33 PM on January 6, 2008


GOP to voters: Be afraid, be very afraid
posted by homunculus at 11:02 PM on January 6, 2008


It's going to be hard to walk away from it, and believe me, the Republicans are going to kill him on this.

Well that's going to be tricky, pointing out his deep connections with a dodgy Christian preacher when they're also trying to portray him as a secret Muslim.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 11:09 PM on January 6, 2008


>When divorced from the specific ideas and rhetoric of Obama, the word becomes meaningless. It could mean literally anything.

Sure. "Change" could mean "warm fuzzy puppies". In fact, I think it already does.

My point was that Hillary could have said anything in a forceful tone-- even, for example, "I know warm fuzzy puppies; I've been grooming their silky coats for 35 years!"-- and her tone would be held against her.

More to the point, if a male candidate, in her back-to-the-wall position, had used that tone, it probably would've been seen as the stuff of Leadership.

>It knocked down her popularity because the obvious next thought is, "Hillary, if you've been working for change for 35 years, why is there so little to show for it?"

Possibly. Again, though, I'm not struck by the logical response to her logical argument, I'm struck by the public's emotional response to the tone of her speech.
posted by darth_tedious at 11:15 PM on January 6, 2008


Obama vs Hillary reminds me of the difference between someone who is gifted and someone is merely talented and a hard worker. There's something deeper informing Obama. Something less contrived. He understands that a President gives the nation something to dream about.

When Republicans are talking about a Democrat candidate the way they were talking about Obama at the debate in NH Sat. night, that to me is a phenomenon.

I like Hillary enough and think she would make a good president it's just (and I believe I'm not alone on this) cannot stomach the all out brutal assault that will be leveled at her by the GOP. Swift Boats to the nth degree.
posted by Skygazer at 11:20 PM on January 6, 2008


The Presidency is won by personality, broad themes and by who can elicit a positive response from the populace.

Yes, but there's no point winning the Presidency if you don't have policies to make good use of it.
posted by athenian at 11:21 PM on January 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


giuliani is unbeatable
posted by sgt.serenity at 11:31 PM on January 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


me: CNN-WMUR poll: Sen. Barack Obama opens a double-digit lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in N.H. ahead of Tuesday's primary.

delmoi: Careful though, other polls still show Hillary with a slight lead. It's possible she could still win on Tuesday.

me: the other polls are fucking lyers. they hate change.
posted by gman at 3:48 AM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Secret Service has guarded all presidential candidates since 1968.

It didn't used to kick in until the nomination, with a few exceptions. But they've been adding protection for major candidates earlier and earlier. In 2004, Kerry got it on Feb. 20, and so did Edwards. The very, very early protection for Obama was remarked on as an exception.

It was dismaying, though not surprising, to see Hillary's heated "Change means X; I've been working for change 35 years" debate lecture knock down her popularity. I thought it was an effective and appropriate bit of business.

I thought it was a factual enough defense, but exposed her utter tone-deafness as a politician. (No, not at the "stayed home and baked cookies" level, but nonetheless.) There's huge cognitive dissonance in matching change and 35 years. It screams, in fact, "I'm not going to change." Very much a she-doesn't-get-it moment. Very much she-doesn't-get-Obama. And as TPM has reported the whole campaign is pretty flummoxed right now. The stupid, nonsense attacks on Obama's record are evidence that they are plumb scared of attacking a black man, and too focused on minutiae anyway. No broad themes. No grand ideas about what they're doing.

She had actually done well in easing my own reservations about voting for her (though she remains in my personal 3rd place, with Edwards first). But that really spoke volumes to me.
posted by dhartung at 4:23 AM on January 7, 2008


The fun thing about New Hampshire is that McCain can pull votes from Obama right now, in the primary, since it's open and you pick a side when you go into the polling place.

I keep hearing people say this, and I have to ask--who are these people who are torn between McCain and Obama? Just how big is the bloc of voters trying to choose between the two of them? Just what do they have in common that's making it hard to decide?

Oh, and anyone who's concerned about Obama's lack of specifics on the campaign trail needs to read this Obsidian Wings post. hilzoy sums up Obama's legislative record: solid, useful bills that get passed because he's able to find Republicans (and sometimes, fire-breathing right-wingers you wouldn't expect to see working with a young black liberal senator from Chicago) to help get it done.

You probably haven't heard of quite a few of the laws he's gotten through, because they're not sexy, high-profile, attention-whore stuff. As a legislator, the guy's basically a policy wonk. And that's a big part of what has me so excited about his candidacy. Obama seems to understand that Getting Things Done requires a different set of tactics from Getting Elected So You Are Actually In A Position To Get Things Done. He also seems to have a good command of both skillsets.

He's a unique thing--a liberal politician with the ability to articulate a progressive agenda in a way that's non-threatening to moderates and even many conservatives. I think he's got the potential to be what Reagan was for the Republicans, and you should expect to hear the term "Obama Democrat" getting thrown around a lot this year. This is purely anecdotal, of course, but my father's a conservative Christian Midwesterner who listens to Rush Limbaugh, reads Ann Coulter, and literally believes John Edwards is a socialist. He's talking about voting for Obama. My mother-in-law wouldn't let my wife watch the Cosby Show growing up because there were "too many niggers on it." She's talking about voting for Obama. There's an electoral earthquake coming, and it's going to remake the political landscape in this country. It's about damn time.
posted by EarBucket at 4:24 AM on January 7, 2008 [10 favorites]


Take heart, gman. The last 3 polls have Obama ahead of Clinton by 3, 10 and 13 points, with Edwards trailing in third place. via
posted by maryh at 4:49 AM on January 7, 2008


You probably haven't heard of quite a few of the laws he's gotten through, because they're not sexy, high-profile, attention-whore stuff.

Also because he's a first-term senator, and has no power to get through anything interesting.
posted by smackfu at 5:44 AM on January 7, 2008


The last 3 polls have Obama ahead of Clinton by 3, 10 and 13 points, with Edwards trailing in third place

Not sure about my neighbors, but I've been giving every canvasser a big smile and a "You've already got our vote" for a week or so. Wish I had thought of it sooner.
posted by yerfatma at 5:52 AM on January 7, 2008


There is a cancer growing at the heart of this country, and I think either Obama or Edwards could help excise it. I feel bad for the dichotomy between the amount of work Hillary puts into making people's lives better and the amount of shit people pour on her, but I don't think she would be a radical enough departure from business as usual to really fix what's wrong with America.

Plus, I can't forget what she has tried to do to my industry's (videogames) freedom of speech. Or what she might do when sitting in the big chair.

My preference would be for an Obama/Edwards ticket going into the general election. I think Obama has the ability to enable radical change in our corrupt system without tearing the country apart. I think he'd be wise to use Edwards as frontman on the politically divisive side of that - there are some deep ties between Republicans and energy, or Republicans and the military-industrial complex - that are not going to be 'hoped' or 'healed' into anything approaching beneficial to the people. Edwards would be a good man for the job, and *after* Obama has wrought eight years of change while appealing to both sides, I think the country would be ready for the sort of balls-to-the-wall trustbusting that Edwards represents.

We are going to experience some extremely rough times in the next five years - over the next three years in particular the dollar is almost certainly going to continue imploding even more sharply than it has been (according to a couple of friends of mine at Goldman Sachs, who might know a thing or two about money). But we are likely to pull through that. The question is what happens in the next cycle 10-12 years from now - that one could genuinely pull this country far enough under to destroy the lifestyle of everyone posting here. Including foreigners. The global powers in banking and investment have stood with the US this long because if we go, the world economy goes with us. But there is a point where you have to make the decision to stem your losses, and we are fast approaching it.

I think Obama and Edwards, in succession, could put us where we need to be to survive, within that latter timeframe. I don't see anybody else in the current field of candidates on either side -including Hillary - who I think can do that
posted by Ryvar at 6:06 AM on January 7, 2008


Today's Obama net gleanings, cartoon about his lack of experience, comparing him to Lincoln's lack of experience. Jon Favreau, his 26 year old speechwriter.
posted by nickyskye at 10:36 AM on January 7, 2008


I keep hearing people say this, and I have to ask--who are these people who are torn between McCain and Obama? Just how big is the bloc of voters trying to choose between the two of them?

People who self-identify as independents tend to either go for McCain or Obama. The same person probably is not torn between them though. It makes it difficult for polling and such because you have to predict how much of the independent vote will come out and whether they will vote in the D or R primary in order to forecast and accurate result.
posted by smackfu at 11:23 AM on January 7, 2008


People who self-identify as independents tend to either go for McCain or Obama.

I'm sort of baffled at that idea. The two men seem to have no views in common. How could you waffle between supporting one or the other? I'm not disputing that there are people that could be at that state, I'm just not understanding how they could have gotten there.
posted by octothorpe at 12:21 PM on January 7, 2008


Obama gets beefed up protection.
posted by empath at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2008


Octothorpe: the question isn't which candidate you prefer, but which candidate you prefer out of those which you think can win.

If its a foregone conclusion that a Democrat is going to win in 2008, a lot of independents, even conservative Independents may vote for Obama just because he is the best of the available options.
posted by empath at 12:31 PM on January 7, 2008


You know, I had Obama's Iowa speech sort of ringing around my head for the past day or so, and reading this thread made me realize how hungry I've become for the concept of "hope."

I thought it was just a cheese line in the speech, but now a day later I realize that I'd LIKE a slice of that hope pie, please. Apparently I've been without that kind of hope for quite a while now and hope would be just fine, thanks.

And every time my brain twitches and I hear myself saying, "God I hope they don't kill him", I try to remind myself that this is what hope sounds like in the 21st Century.

Exactly, the cynicism needs to be excised. I am now firmly in the Obama '08 camp, and excited to see what happens tomorrow.
posted by cavalier at 1:18 PM on January 7, 2008


I'm sort of baffled at that idea. The two men seem to have no views in common. How could you waffle between supporting one or the other? I'm not disputing that there are people that could be at that state, I'm just not understanding how they could have gotten there.

I think the point isn't that there are voters stuggling to decide between Obama and McCain. But that those two canditates both get a share of the voters who identify as independent presumably because some people still fall for the McCain "maverick" schtick near the right end of the spectrum and because Obama has that charisma thing going that draws people from outside the usual Democratic supporters near the left end and the centre.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 1:20 PM on January 7, 2008


I'm sort of baffled at that idea. The two men seem to have no views in common. How could you waffle between supporting one or the other?

It's New Hampshire, Jake. And a selection of people here, to their credit, don't care so much for labels or pigeonholes as much as what they perceive to be integrity and truthfulness. Those are the only two candidates that would not cause me to feel queasy when voting tomorrow, assuming I'd never read David Foster Wallace's piece about McCain.
posted by yerfatma at 1:30 PM on January 7, 2008


Top Secret Audio: Democrats Meet Republicans at NH Debate
posted by homunculus at 2:16 PM on January 7, 2008


Oh dear
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on January 7, 2008


Here's Wallace's ebook (Up Simba!) on McCain and presidential politics, if you're interested.
posted by mattbucher at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2008


Oh dear

what is up with that? - she was asked about her hairdo and she gets all emotional?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:38 PM on January 7, 2008


Jesus. Stick a fork in her:

Clinton rejoined the running argument over hope and "false hope" in an interview in Dover this afternoon, reminding Fox's Major Garrett that while Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on behalf of civil rights, President Lyndon Johnson was the one who got the legislation passed.
posted by EarBucket at 2:39 PM on January 7, 2008


How dare she say anything about Saint MLK. She's not even black!
posted by smackfu at 2:55 PM on January 7, 2008


“...President Lyndon Johnson was the one who got the legislation passed.”

Shame. Everyone forgets Harry Truman.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:15 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Clinton rejoined the running argument over hope and "false hope" in an interview in Dover this afternoon, reminding Fox's Major Garrett that while Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on behalf of civil rights, President Lyndon Johnson was the one who got the legislation passed.

So... we should elect Hillary because someone is going to assassinate Obama?
posted by delmoi at 3:39 PM on January 7, 2008


And a selection of people here, to their credit, don't care so much for labels or pigeonholes as much as what they perceive to be integrity and truthfulness.

Would sucking up to someone you've described as an agent of intolerance be an example of truthfulness, integrity, or both?

How about sucking up to the guy whose campaign smeared his family in South Carolina in 2000? In 2000 Senator McCain told then-Governor Bush that Bush should be ashamed for his negative ads. Then McCain sold out.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:50 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know we shouldn't be genderist and all, but the one thing you don't want to do if you're running as the first woman president is appear in public crying. Not unless you're burying a marine or they're tears of joy or something.

If she does get the candidacy we're going to be seeing her weep every ad break until November.
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on January 7, 2008


I am so fed up with the "Clinton is experienced" meme -- luckily other people aren't buying it either.

She has one *one* contested election in her life. Barack Obama has won several. She claims "we did this" and "we did that" in my "35 years of experience in public life" all the while having *never* held an actual policy brief or paid employment in the public sector until she was elected to the senate 6 years ago.

Bill Clinton is not running for president, but Hillary is running as if she IS Bill when it suits her.

Personally, I find someone who uses her unelected position as first lady of a state or a nation to advance her own political career and to make policy undemocratic. Very undemocratic.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:53 PM on January 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, OK, HRC ran a second "contested" election for her second senate term. Some contest.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:54 PM on January 7, 2008


oops, and "one one" should be "won one" -- oops. I have the flu.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:56 PM on January 7, 2008


Arrgh. I do not want to have to wait till tomorrow to find out tomorrow's results.
posted by Flunkie at 4:13 PM on January 7, 2008


OH NOES!!! Obama is going to raise your taxes!
posted by empath at 4:16 PM on January 7, 2008


OH NOES!!! Obama is going to raise your taxes!
She's acting like a Republican.
posted by Flunkie at 4:24 PM on January 7, 2008


(And I don't mean "says she won't raise taxes").
posted by Flunkie at 4:24 PM on January 7, 2008


Obama's followers remind me of Nader's in a previous election - yes, your candidate is very good, and I'd support him if he had even the slightest chance of winning. However, it's completely obvious he does not and all you're going to accomplish with your support is changing the election from a Democratic candidate who is still sort of acceptable to a Republican who is a disaster on an epic scale.

Seriously, people, support someone electable for the next election. Idealism is good, but it has to be tempered by realism - or have you enjoyed the last eight years that could have been under Gore?
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:39 PM on January 7, 2008


lol
posted by Flunkie at 4:40 PM on January 7, 2008


Mitrovarr: Excellent first pass at trolling an Obama post, but you have to do better than a Nader analogy before I'll bite.

Verdict: Fail.
posted by empath at 4:44 PM on January 7, 2008


Oh fuck it, I'll bite anyway. We voted for the 'realistic' candidate last time when we nominated the 'war hero' John Kerry instead of the fire breathing populist governor from Vermont. I'd rather have gone down swinging, personally.
posted by empath at 4:48 PM on January 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


empath: Mitrovarr: Excellent first pass at trolling an Obama post, but you have to do better than a Nader analogy before I'll bite.

Verdict: Fail.


How is this trolling? I am being utterly sincere when I say you guys are going to throw the election.

Here's how it will go: Obama will go up, give an excellent speech, and make some very good points. Some miscellaneous republican lackey will go up, point, and whisper 'Islam'. 90% of the American people will wake up the next day in their basements, lying in a puddle of their own urine, in a house completely covered with saran wrap and duct tape. Oh, and their hand will still be clenched around the broken-off lever of the voting machine - the one for the republican candidate.

It is an almost inconceivably bad idea to run a candidate who has even heard of Islam at this point.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:50 PM on January 7, 2008


Mitrovarr, you said that all the Democratic candidates were less electable than anyone but Hitler, and that Ron Paul would be useful to "Nader" the election. So which is it?

Actually... whatever. You're either trolling or dense, so I don't really care one way or the other.
posted by spiderwire at 4:54 PM on January 7, 2008


empath: Oh fuck it, I'll bite anyway. We voted for the 'realistic' candidate last time when we nominated the 'war hero' John Kerry instead of the fire breathing populist governor from Vermont. I'd rather have gone down swinging, personally.

Well, I'm not sure he would have done any better, personally. But in any case, Kerry was also quite full of fail and anyone could see that coming. I'm sure the Democratic party has someone in it who isn't Hillary, Edwards, or Obama - they're all completely unelectable and Hillary and probably Edwards wouldn't even do a good job.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:54 PM on January 7, 2008


It is an almost inconceivably bad idea to run a candidate who has even heard of Islam at this point.

Yes, clearly they'll care less about voting for a woman -- and we know how much the conservative base loves Clintons. Or perhaps they'll prefer that socialist trial lawyer?

Or maybe we shouldn't try to make decisions based on estimated levels of demagoguery.
posted by spiderwire at 4:58 PM on January 7, 2008


Never mind. You're an idiot.
posted by spiderwire at 4:58 PM on January 7, 2008


spiderwire: Yes, clearly they'll care less about voting for a woman -- and we know how much the conservative base loves Clintons. Or perhaps they'll prefer that socialist trial lawyer?

Yes, all three candidates completely sucked. I've been pretty consistent about that this entire election. Obama would probably do a good job, but he has no chance - and the others aren't much better in the electability department and are far worse in the actual performance department.

Is it that hard to find someone that everyone doesn't hate in the Democratic party? It's a big party. Just find someone who doesn't have any connections to groups that everyone is freaking out about, who hasn't been a running punchline for the last 16 years, and who isn't a profession that is just about the most hated job since repo man.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:03 PM on January 7, 2008


Mitrovarr, you're a fucking nut.

The Democrats could run Jesus Christ himself and the Republicans would paint him as the second coming of satan.

"Jesus said we should forgive our enemies?

Do you want to forgive Osama bin Ladin? Do you?

Jesus: Wrong on Terror, Wrong for America.

I'm Rudy Giuliani and I approve this message."
posted by empath at 5:07 PM on January 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


Obama seems to have some kind of crazy judo thing when it comes to negative attacks. Time and time again, you see him using his own opponents momentum against them. The republican hate machine may be able to dredge up something that wills stick, but an Islamic father/name won't be it.

I always thought that if Obama could get through the primary process, he'd easily take the general election. I didn't think that his race or any of that other funny name crap would be a real problem except with well meaning democrats who would convince themselves that it would be and so vote the "safe" choice.

Right now, people like Mitrovarr espousing that thinking really look crazy and a little small minded (i.e. I really can't tell if he's trolling or genuinely out of the loop to such a crazy extent), so fortunately, the democrats were better than I gave them credit for, for once.
posted by willnot at 5:13 PM on January 7, 2008


To be fair, Obama's single national election was essentially uncontested. If 2004 is a repressed memory, Jack Ryan (who had no real qualification but won the R primary) imploded after a couple of scandals. That one of them was a sex scandal involving his incredibly hot wife (Jeri --played Seven of Nine) made sure it got tons of negative press. By the time Keyes entered the race it was all over. One major argument against Obama as the nominee is that he is not sufficiently skeleton-tested. Clinton is rapidly putting this idea to the test. On the other hand, every thing from their past which could be smeared against her has been.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 5:48 PM on January 7, 2008


Yes, all three candidates completely sucked. I've been pretty consistent about that this entire election. Obama would probably do a good job, but he has no chance

Mitrovarr: I understand what you're saying, but the problem is your wrong. You're completely ignoring republican electability. The republicans don't have a scrap of it.

We have these real-world empirical data called "polls". And poll after poll shows Edwards and Obama trouncing every republican comer, except McCain (who they tie).

So the bottom line is that you're wrong.
posted by delmoi at 5:50 PM on January 7, 2008


God, the election is so damn intense this time around. I remember '04, and after Dean lost Iowa I couldn't care less what happened. I kind of hoped Edwards would win, since I found Kerry annoying. But damn, this NH campaign is just so damn gripping.
posted by delmoi at 5:54 PM on January 7, 2008


It's better than American Idol!
posted by empath at 7:16 PM on January 7, 2008


Here's how it will go: Obama will go up, give an excellent speech, and make some very good points. Some miscellaneous republican lackey will go up, point, and whisper 'Islam'. 90% of the American people will wake up the next day in their basements, lying in a puddle of their own urine, in a house completely covered with saran wrap and duct tape. Oh, and their hand will still be clenched around the broken-off lever of the voting machine - the one for the republican candidate.

So you're saying Verdict on America: Fail?

Oh well. I hear Costa Rica is nice.
posted by homunculus at 7:41 PM on January 7, 2008


I'm thinking this person might be Obama's pick for a VP if he wins the nomination.

It wouldn't be the end of the world, but I'd rather he didn't. Biden or Edwards would be better.
posted by Skygazer at 8:33 PM on January 7, 2008


darth_tedious writes "Again, though, I'm not struck by the logical response to her logical argument, I'm struck by the public's emotional response to the tone of her speech."

Well, the truth is, she sounds like a scold. I'm not saying that in a misogynistic way (I hope). What I mean is, she seems to be scolding us, telling us, "I've been doing this for 35 years, I put up with Bill, and now I deserve the Presidency because I'm HILLARY CLINTON, damn you! I'm inevitable, summit to MY will!"

The same thing, to a lesser extent, happened when she demanded and got the Democratic nomination to succeed Pat Moynihan as Senator from New York, shoving aside Nita Lowry.

Having any candidate, much less the Democrat, insist she's "inevitable", she'll chew you up if you don't submit, just rubs people the wrong way.

When you contrast that to Obama's non-confrontation charisma and call for consensus change, and Edwards's "I want to work for you against the Establishment", you hear her saying, essentially, that she is the Establishment and you can shut up if you don't like that. She ends up sounding like a scold and the opposite of change.

After two terms of intransigent, stubborn, and fuck-you-libtard-treasonous-terrorists-if-you-don't-like-it Bush, of course there's a tremendous negative reaction against Hillary demanding it's her turn to continue the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton dynasty.

PS: Prediction, Obama beats her by 8 percentage points in New Hampshire. McCain beats Romney by 4, Paul beats Giuliani by 1.
posted by orthogonality at 8:41 PM on January 7, 2008


empath writes "We voted for the 'realistic' candidate last time when we nominated the 'war hero' John Kerry instead of the fire breathing populist governor from Vermont. I'd rather have gone down swinging, personally."

Whereas Kerry went down with 10-15 million unspent. And while he was conceding, even before vote-rigging was investigated, I (for lack of anyone else being at the coordinated camping office in one of the most contested stets) was answering phone calls from indignant Dems from all over the country who were insisting that I (who had never met the man) tell Kerry not to concede.
posted by orthogonality at 8:50 PM on January 7, 2008


Obama would probably do a good job, but he has no chance.

Shut up, everybody. Ron Poll has spoken. So it must be.
Dude, seriously: do your goddamn homework before spoutin' off.
posted by joe lisboa at 9:09 PM on January 7, 2008


Dixville Notch, New Hampshire has voted!

All voters have voted, the polls have closed (just in Dixville Notch), the counting has begun!

Results:
Republican: McCain 4, Romney 2, Gulliani 2.
Democratic: Obama 7, Edwards 2, Richardson 1. (No votes for Clinton.)
posted by orthogonality at 9:13 PM on January 7, 2008


Whoops, sorry, only 1 vote for the Ghoul.
posted by orthogonality at 9:22 PM on January 7, 2008


Democratic: Obama 7, Edwards 2, Richardson 1. (No votes for Clinton.)

Obama got more votes then all the republicans combined.

Nice. :)
posted by delmoi at 9:25 PM on January 7, 2008


Dixsville isn't real predictive for the Dem contest, but somewhat reliable for the Reps. Buh-bye Mitt. The Ghoul, like other undead, will stick around unlike he's exorcised on SuperDuperLooperTuesday.
posted by orthogonality at 9:32 PM on January 7, 2008


Obama got more votes then all the republicans combined.
Well, "as many". But anyway: he wasn't really all that far off from pulling the same feat in Iowa as a whole.

If you ignore all votes for non-Obama Democrats, Iowa voted something like 58% Republican, 42% Obama.
posted by Flunkie at 9:49 PM on January 7, 2008


I just got around to listening to Obama's victory speech in Iowa the other night. Goddamn, he's good. I don't think it's possible to be more cynical and wary of politicians, but he had me going. For the first time in my life, I almost wish I was American, just so I could vote for him.

Almost.

But it doesn't matter -- that's a president right there, and short of disaster, I can't imagine how Clinton or anyone else is going to inspire people as much. And in these dark times, we're all looking for some kind of reason to believe.

I loathed Howard Dean, and recent hagiography aside, still remain utterly unimpressed by Al Gore. I think Bill Clinton was a fast-talking charismatic scumbag. John Kerry was an unfunny joke. This Obama fellow? He's the real deal. At least I hope so. Damn, I hope so.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:50 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ron Poll has spoken

-- and god, do I wish he would shut the hell up.
posted by spiderwire at 10:10 PM on January 7, 2008


>Whereas Kerry went down with 10-15 million unspent.

Ortho, was the existence of this reserve common knowledge within the campaign team (and during the race itself), on the local level?

I know this was well publicized after the race, when, of course, it made no difference...
posted by darth_tedious at 10:18 PM on January 7, 2008


homunculus: So you're saying Verdict on America: Fail?

Remember that we are talking about the population that voted for Bush twice. Miserable failure is not a new thing, here.
posted by Mitrovarr at 10:35 PM on January 7, 2008


Unelectable - blah blah blah
Doesn't stand a chance - blah blah blah

Anyone is electable - if enough people go out and vote for them. People go out and vote when they have something, and someone to believe in. The doubling of the Democratic vote in Iowa is quite a powerful thing to see - it signals a willingness to engage with the political process that has been severely lacking in a significant chunk of the US population since 2000 (when a lot of people felt that their vote simply wasn't allowed to make a difference.)

What's wrong with a bit of belief, hope and excitement about politics? Because if the alternative is another four or eight or twelve years of cynicism and 'nothing will change' and '90% of Americans are too scared to choose anything but a big business, war on terra Republican for President', then it's true, America is made of fail.

I don't think it is though. I know a fair number of Americans, on both sides of the party line. I'm married to one. They're all smart people, and they're all sick of the way things have been, even if some of them have come to that realisation from a completely different starting stance.

If Obama (or maybe Clinton. Maybe.) was elected, my American wife and I might (maybe) think about moving to the US one day. If he isn't, no chance.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:26 PM on January 7, 2008


darth_tedious writes "Ortho, was the existence of this reserve common knowledge within the campaign team (and during the race itself), on the local level? "

Not on my level, no. Or, as far as I know, on my boss's. Only after did we learn about it. Note that I was a lowly volunteer who, due to some special skills and being there 16 hours a day, had some very limited access to what paid staff knew about, at the state-wide level, mostly because I was mistaken for paid staff given the amount of time I put in.

Again, I was working with state coordinated campaign people, not the national campaign, and I was highly focused on state stuff. I was just a volunteer, who happened to do some ephemerally useful tasks. But if we'd known there was 10 million or more available, some of the stupid tricks we did to make do (borrowed this, patched together that, relying on volunteers and financial angels for vital data) would have been much much easier, so there's no way we would have known, and worked as we did.

I encourage anyone to volunteer on a campaign. It's fun, it's a wild ride, an exhausting rush, intense as a summer affair and as ephemeral, and much of that because of what you manage to patch together out of nothing. Only afterward do you understand what it did for you.

I hope to do it again this year, but I'll only do it if I think I have something serious to offer. If someone else can do what I do, I'm not needed.
posted by orthogonality at 11:27 PM on January 7, 2008


Ah, I love this man.
The most telling laugh line in Obama's stump speech is his description of the dreadful charge his opponents make against him. "Obama's talking about hope again," the candidate says, mimicking his foes. Then his tenor drops to a low, conspiratorial pitch: "He's a hope monger."
posted by spiderwire at 11:53 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: Because if the alternative is another four or eight or twelve years of cynicism and 'nothing will change' and '90% of Americans are too scared to choose anything but a big business, war on terra Republican for President', then it's true, America is made of fail.

But that's the thing, that isn't the alternative. I don't believe a more electable democrat would be even close to the flaming disaster of the Bush administration. They might not be up to Obama's level, but they could do a lot of good, or at least reverse the degeneration that Bush has done his best to cause. Obama might be better, but I don't think it matters in the end - you won't get Obama even if you do manage to get him the nomination. Another democrat might not be as good, but sure as hell wouldn't be as bad as a republican, and he might actually have a chance.

With regard to polls, I don't think Obama's lack of a chance will be obvious until the real mudslinging starts. Right now, the democrats aren't willing to attack him in case he wins the primaries, and the republicans won't be because they're hoping he'll win the primaries.
posted by Mitrovarr at 11:58 PM on January 7, 2008


NEED FOR TROLL FOODS HERE. NOM NOM NOM.
posted by spiderwire at 12:00 AM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, I just followed stav's lead and watched the Iowa victory speech for the first time, and I'm now in the same basic camp of really, truly, deeply, to the core of my being, not actually believing an American president will ever again fundamentally change things for the better . . . and yet simultaneously, even as I feel like some kinda sideshow rube, thinking, Ye gods, this guy's good.

I'll be a president who harnesses the ingenuity of farmers and scientists and entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil once and for all.

And if he's convinced Taibbi, even for a sentimental moment, then he's probably even better than he looks on a stuttering YouTube screen. Just wish he'd put it ahead of the tax cut in his stump, you know? And that I had anything other than a front-row spectator's seat at this game.
posted by gompa at 1:05 AM on January 8, 2008


Mitrovarr writes "orthogonality: Because "

Happy Dave wrote that, not me.
posted by orthogonality at 1:08 AM on January 8, 2008


Just as an intellectual exercise, I tried to think if there was anyone was *would* be the dream Democratic candidate of Mitrovarr and those who might agree with him. I am making many, many assumptions about their views, which are probably incorrect, but what the heck:

1) Can't be a minority or a woman - considered to be too frightening to too many voters.
2) Can't have held an unpopular job - considered to be too alienating.
3) Can't be too fringe in views, religion, beliefs, or habits - considered to be too crazy.
4) Can't be from the Northeast - wouldn't garner enough support outside of home territory.
5) Can't have been in Congress - too easy to hold their votes against them.
6) Should be a governor - they have the best modern track record for winning elections.
7) Must be a moderate - can't frighten away the independents
8) Must hold strongly to some traditional liberal views - can't frighten away the base
9) Must be with the U.S. majority on major current issues - obvious reasons.
10) Must nonetheless hold a reputation as being a straight-shooter, honest type - otherwise, too easy to paint as a panderer.
11) Should have a reputation for getting politicos on both sides of the aisle to work together - otherwise, could be viewed as ineffectual.
12) Might actually benefit from a slightly wild youth followed by a sober, responsible adulthood - this has seemed to resonate with voters in the last two decades.
13) Should have national name-recognition - must be at least on a level with potential opponents.

Hmmm ...

I regret to tell you that even if we could get the constitution amended so that he could run, Schwarzenegger would be unlikely to accept the Democratic nomination.
posted by kyrademon at 2:09 AM on January 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


delmoi: ... except McCain (who they tie).

It would be really interesting to see how McCain does in an open contest. McCain v. Obama would be a really, really fascinating race, especially if McCain could be convinced to go with his own convictions instead of triangulating a la Hilary. He can connect very powerfully when he speaks extemporaneously, and when he gets angry he can even sell "How dare you".

Obama's an old trial lawyer so I suspect he would adapt to the tactics. Worst thing for him going against a McCain would be to stick to a script. People can smell it when you're not taking an old man seriously, and they don't like it (that's my grandpa you're making fun of, mister candidate! no cookie!).

But I'm pretty sure the chances of the Republican machine allowing McCain to get the nomination range somewhere betweeh slim and none. I'd love to see it, though.
posted by lodurr at 3:32 AM on January 8, 2008


orthogonality: Because

Got to admit there's a weird poetry to it, though.
posted by lodurr at 3:33 AM on January 8, 2008


Mitrovar: I don't think Obama's lack of a chance will be obvious until the real mudslinging starts.

This is the kind of thing people always say. But let's put this in the context of how we've seen Obama deal with attacks in the past. If there are frontal attacks on him that employ the "Islam! Islam! TERROR!" factor, that's easy peasey to handle: All he's got to do is sit down with Katie Couric and have her toss a fake-hardball along the lines of "Isn't it true that your father was a MUSLIM? How can you be electable?"

To which he will answer "Sure, my father was a Muslim. My mother is a Methodist. My mother raised me to be a good boy and pay my taxes (etc.)...."

The point isn't that motherhood trumps all (though it generally does, so it's a gun you don't pull out until you don't have much mileage left in the course), it's that anyone who thinks on his feet at all can deal with the "o noes islamobadman" attack, if it's frontal.

It's if the attack is a whisper campaign that it's a problem. But seriously, is it even that much of a problem, then? The real difficulty in dealing with whisper campaigns is in getting the media to shine a light on them. (Swiftboating is different. See below.) Once you can get people to see that it's happening, it's easy to deal with. And when you're one of two presidential fucking candidates, they pay attention to you. They don't have a choice.

Swiftboating is harder to deal with, because it entails the appearance of actual evidence. The only way to deal with that is to just deal with it, aggressively adn directly, as Kerry did not. Both Obama and Edwards (at this point, his likely running mate) are (and I hate to beat this drum to death) old trial lawyers. So was Kerry, but he didn't have nearly as much court time as they do, and I think it really showed in how he handled the Swift Boat crap.
posted by lodurr at 3:46 AM on January 8, 2008


"electable"

e·lect·a·ble (-lkt-bl)

adj.

Fit or able to be elected, especially to public office: an electable candidate.


See, I think that there is a usage of 'electable' that doesn't actually mean this. When Mitrovarr uses 'electable', I'm hearing 'not sufficiently like me, or like the imaginary 'Average American' that I carry around in my head, who doesn't actually exist'.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Joe and Jane Average do actually exist, and they're out there, in the millions, and they're hand will be magnetically drawn to the Republican box come November 4th cos they just can't find it in themselves to vote for a Dem, or a black guy, or someone without enough experience etc etc.

Or maybe your country is actually composed of 300 million individuals, who, in the vast majority, are relatively smart, and have had enough of voting against their self interest and the interests of those around them, and actually like giving a fuck about who runs their country, because they feel like they, finally might get someone worth a damn.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:51 AM on January 8, 2008


Damnit, 'their hand'.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:53 AM on January 8, 2008


Would sucking up to someone you've described as an agent of intolerance be an example of truthfulness, integrity, or both?

@kirk: I was just answering the question, not giving my particular perspective. See today's NYT for an example:
'At Dartmouth, Emily Goodell, 18, sat astride a strange fence, contemplating a vote for Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama . . . "It is kind of a strange thing since they have different views on many of the issues," Ms. Goodell said. "They come across as genuine. I trust them."'
posted by yerfatma at 4:38 AM on January 8, 2008


This just in: Dead end kids heckle HRC with jeers of “Whyn’cha i-ron my shoits?” and “Aah, yer Mudder weahs ahmy boots”
(From link:) “But the young men had already left the building, after giving vague, confused answers to reporters who asked them their names, their ages and why they had been heckling.”
Nutin’ fishy there, see?
Oh, those remnants of sexism. Gosh, if I don’t vote for Hillary Clinton, I must be a sexist too.
But there’s no heckling like robot heckling.

“Jack Ryan (who had no real qualification but won the R primary) imploded after a couple of scandals.”

Well, I’ve met Jack Ryan. He’s what ya might call....slimy. And fake (he was running as a “school teacher” uh huh. Had been one for almost a year too. Before that? Investment banker. His wife was a northwestern grad y’know, military brat. I still don't see how the hell he convinced her to marry him) Everyone and his brother knew he was full of it. And Obama was and is for real. So he would have failed anyway.

Look, Obama is from Illinois. He organized in Chicago. Any single year of political activism in Chicago is worth 10 years anywhere else. Dirty? Skeletons? Real mudslinging? (He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He puts one of yours in the hospital, you put one of his in the morgue.) No, anyone who tries to play fast and loose with Obama has a serious fight on their hands. He only looks like an eager beaver because he plays poker like a shark. He’s for real.
Bit scary though, y’know who else was smart, tough, for real and came from Illinois?

I think we have some very seriously tough times ahead and I think he’s the right man for the job. Oh, a lot of folks will hate his guts while it’s going on. Lot of folks hated Lincoln. But he was the right guy at the right time.
Clinton will be at least 4 more years of propping up the illusions (at best).
posted by Smedleyman at 8:33 AM on January 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Nutin’ fishy there, see?

They were from a radio show on WBCN. Just plain sexist guys. Fishy indeed.
posted by smackfu at 8:47 AM on January 8, 2008


I really hope Obama wins, to the point where I actually donated $10 to him. I was once a republican even voted for Bush once (2000). We all make mistakes and for mine I apologize to anybody who will listen.


I remember how in 2004 a lot of the "swing" states put on the ballot a referendum to allow or deny gay marriage, or to add a state constitutional amendment on gay marriage. I have been trying to think what will be used this time to try to pull the religious right out of their revival meetings and vote this time. Is it possible to do the same trick twice?
posted by hexxed at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2008


y’know who else was smart, tough, for real and came from Illinois?

Hitler! No, wait...
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:05 AM on January 8, 2008


y’know who else was smart, tough, for real and came from Illinois?

Ditka.
posted by billysumday at 10:27 AM on January 8, 2008


I really hope Obama wins, to the point where I actually donated $10 to him. I was once a republican even voted for Bush once (2000). We all make mistakes and for mine I apologize to anybody who will listen.

Wow, good on ya Hexxed, I don't think I've ever actually heard someone do that as yet.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:43 AM on January 8, 2008


y’know who else was smart, tough, for real and came from Illinois?

Adlai Stevenson!
posted by Iridic at 10:55 AM on January 8, 2008


comparative net worth of the candidates.
posted by delmoi at 11:52 AM on January 8, 2008


Huckabee Gives Sermon On How To Be Part Of “God’s Army” In New Hampshire
posted by homunculus at 12:36 PM on January 8, 2008


How to Rig an Election: Convicted Former GOP Operative Details 2002 New Hampshire Phone Jamming Scheme
posted by homunculus at 1:31 PM on January 8, 2008


On Obama, race and the end of the Southern Strategy
posted by anomie at 2:40 PM on January 8, 2008


“y’know who else was smart, tough, for real and came from Illinois?
Adlai Stevenson!”

Fellas, fellas, he’s obviously talking about Lyman Trumbull.
...wait, isn’t this my sock puppet account? Damn.
----
Obama phenomenon - doo doo de doo do. Obama phenomenon - doo doo de doo. Obama phenomenon - doo doo de doo do, de doo doo, doo doo doo de doo doo doot.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:54 PM on January 8, 2008


Bill Clinton calls Obama's politics "A Fairy Tale."
posted by ericb at 3:55 PM on January 8, 2008


It may be obvious to everybody else, but it took me a while to find somewhere tallying the NH voting as it comes in. Here's the NY Times page -- at this moment, with 9% reporting, Obama and Clinton are neck and neck.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:59 PM on January 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Talking Points Memo is also running a tally, dutifully reporting away. This is a hold on to your seat primary, woOo!
posted by cavalier at 6:37 PM on January 8, 2008


Does anyone know of any sites that would have a breakdown of which candidates are predicted to be strong in late vs. early precincts, and how that should play out now that roughly a half of votes are reported?
posted by Anything at 7:19 PM on January 8, 2008


Does anyone know of any sites that would have a breakdown of which candidates are predicted to be strong in late vs. early precincts, and how that should play out now that roughly a half of votes are reported?
Not me, but I've been watching, and it's been holding pretty steady at about 39-40% Clinton and 35-36% Obama for a long time. Maybe since about 15% precincts, and it's now at about 65% precincts.

John Edwards could probably get a promise of any non-president position that he may want out of Obama right now.
posted by Flunkie at 7:37 PM on January 8, 2008


From last I heard, the proportion of women to men turnout in NH was 62/38, with a large majority voting for Clinton. It will be interesting to see what happens on Super Tuesday when it's a bit more even.

Anyway, it's about a 3% race the whole night, which is not a substantial lead. I can live with that. He still has a serious chance to get the nomination. And his concession speech is not bad at all, and the crowd is pretty excited. It's going to be a crazy few weeks until Feb. 5.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:02 PM on January 8, 2008


Ugh. Fuck. Ugh.
posted by orthogonality at 8:40 PM on January 8, 2008


Agreed.
posted by Flunkie at 8:49 PM on January 8, 2008


And well-said.
posted by Flunkie at 8:50 PM on January 8, 2008


Blargh. This is going to be a bloodbath. Guess Obama gets to prove his chops.
posted by spiderwire at 9:06 PM on January 8, 2008


... of course, that's not to say that there's no upside to a good fight; the primaries shouldn't be a coronation for anyone, and I still have plenty of confidence in Obama winning. I do hope that we don't get any of the circular firing squad business going on, though.

The more I think about it, the more pleased I am with this result. Iowa made me more ecstatic about Obama than I already was, and then NH showed that Clinton has significantly more skill than, oh, say, John Kerry. After Dean got backstabbed by the Gephardt and Clark campaigns, Kerry was a fait accompli. He never had to sweat for it. That was ultimately fatal, I think.

I feel a lot better about the general election at the moment -- my worst nightmare was that we'd have a repeat of 2004 and blow the whole thing, which was what seemed to be coming down the pipe along with the "inevitability" narrative that Clinton was riding. Now, whoever wins, they'll be significantly stronger going into the general. Yeah, I'm happy about this. Still pulling for Obama, but happy nonetheless.
posted by spiderwire at 10:00 PM on January 8, 2008


the media has the attention span of a one year old:

LA Times: Clinton Wins Stunning Victory in NH (when in fact, the favorite, for months, eked out a win)

and-- McCain Rises From the Ashes (huh? He's a sitting US Senator who's on TV every other day and has won NH before)
posted by cell divide at 10:43 PM on January 8, 2008


Hmm, in terms of delegates is it not more of a tie?
posted by Artw at 11:07 PM on January 8, 2008


Hmm, in terms of delegates is it not more of a tie?

Doesn't matter one way or the other; neither IA or NH has many delegates anyway. In fact, at this point the superdelegates could pretty handily decide the nomination.

I suppose it's easy to point to that fact as evidence that "Iowa and New Hampshire don't matter!" -- which is a criticism I've voiced in the past against the current primary system. More recently, I'm coming around to it; while the early primaries are nothing but a media-fueled horse race, all about spinning relatively unimportant results... so is the general election. I think that this has been a good warmup to test both candidates under pressure, and I like what I've seen so far.

I also like that the GOP field is becoming even more of a gigantic catastrofuck, which I didn't really think was possible. Though the downside is that they might actually end up with a vaguely electable nominee in McCain, the upside is that since McCain won't win South Carolina and Romney is still cleaning up in delegates, for at least the next month we can probably look forward to even more bedlam. And I like that.
posted by spiderwire at 12:01 AM on January 9, 2008


Aside from whatever else is happening, and how more or less important each of these primaries are, it is really heartening as a non-American to see a resurgent interest in and engagement with the political process in the US.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:10 AM on January 9, 2008


It's a tie in terms of delegates, yeah. They each picked up nine. In terms of practical effects, it puts a brake on the Obama momentum--although he may be able to recover in South Carolina.

In any case, this is a net good for the party in a lot of ways. It forced Clinton to be more honest and direct with voters, I think, and it goes a long way toward defeating the narrative that she was just coasting on inevitability. It's going to be a trench fight now, and while I'm still pulling for Obama, I think whoever comes out on top will be a stronger nominee for having had to work for it.
posted by EarBucket at 6:34 AM on January 9, 2008


I wouldn't vote for him, but I actually wouldn't feel terrible about McCain as President. He's got a long record of compromise; there's a good likelihood that his "100 more years" would get compromised, too, since (I think) the key part of his position on that is respect for American sacrifices.

Still pulling for Obama, though, of course. And I think he would beat McCain. And as I said, that's the race I'd really like to see. It would get a lot of people excited and believing they could accomplish something, again.
posted by lodurr at 6:36 AM on January 9, 2008


email forwards from my mom this morning:

She's not very political, but she does believe everything that gets sent to her inbox for some reason.

> Who is Barack Obama?
>
> 1- U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama
>
> 2- Born in Honolulu, Hawaii,
>
> Father: Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black Muslim from Nyangoma-Kogel,
> Kenya;
>
> Mother: Ann Dunham, a white atheist from Wichita,Kansas.
>
> Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two
years
> old, his parents divorced.
>
> Father: Returned to Kenya.
>
> Mother: Married Lolo Soetoro, a radical Muslim from Indonesia.
>
> 3- When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia.
>
> 4- Obama attended a Muslim school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in

> Catholic school.
>
> 5- Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim . He
Is
> quick to point out that,"He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended
Catholic school."
>
> 6- Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that
Obama's
> introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was,
temporary.
>
> In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya Soon after the divorce,
> and never again had any direct influence over His son's education.
>
7- Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham,
> introduced his stepson to Islam .

> 8- Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the
radical
> teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging
Jihad against the
> western world.

> Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking Major
> public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the
> United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background.
Let
> us all remain alert concerning Obama's presidential candidacy. Please
> forward to everyone you know. The Muslims have said they plan on
destroying
> the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest
> level. put out the word!!!!!!!!! send this to every one you know. we
> do not need some one like this as a president of our country.


Subject: Obama's church

Good Morning, At least I must say that this is interesting!!!
Subject: Obama's church
Obama mentioned his church during his appearance with Oprah. It's the
Trinity Church of Christ. I found this interesting.

Please read and go to this church's web site and read what is written
there. It is very alarming.
Barack Obama is a member of this church and is running for President of
the U.S. If you look at the first page of their web site, you will learn
that this congregation has a non-negotiable
commitment to Africa. No where is AMERICA even mentioned. Notice too,
what color you will need to be if you should want to join
Obama's church... B-L-A-C-K!!! Doesn't look like his choice of religion
has improved much over his (former?) Muslim upbringing.
Are you aware that Obama's middle name is Mohammed? Strip away his nice
looks, the big smile and smooth talk and what do you get? Certainly a
racist, as plainly defined by the stated position of his church! And
possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith, even today. This guy
desires to rule over America
while his loyalty is totally vested in a Black Africa!
I cannot believe this has not been all over the TV and newspapers.
This is why it is so important to pass this message along to all of
our family & friends. To think that Obama has even the slightest
chance in the run for the presidency, is really scary.
Click on the link below:
This is the web page for the church Barack Obama belongs to:
www.tucc.org/about.htm

posted by empath at 9:37 AM on January 9, 2008


Obama: No warrantless wiretaps if you elect me
posted by homunculus at 12:20 PM on January 9, 2008


It is truly pathetic how effective fear-mongering works on the American people.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:56 PM on January 9, 2008


The Coming Attack on Barack
posted by homunculus at 1:53 PM on January 11, 2008


Karl Rove: Obama lazy, trashtalking,
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on January 11, 2008


Awesome. You know that when a Democrat has hit a nerve Karl Rove is going to peek his little fat head into the Politico-sphere to add his two cents plus tax. Obama must have him shitting in his boots.
posted by Skygazer at 3:31 PM on January 11, 2008


Related thread: Barack Hussein Obama - Muslim agent who hates Jews, America?
posted by homunculus at 9:52 AM on January 12, 2008


Right Wing Propagates New Smear Against Obama, Says He Is Muslim ‘Apostate’ Who Will Be ‘Executed’
posted by homunculus at 11:16 AM on January 14, 2008


99 Problems

It's not even the Ice T version!
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2008


Is Obama's Constitution Strong Enough? He stirs the crowds, but when will he tell them about their lost liberties?
posted by homunculus at 12:52 PM on January 23, 2008


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