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Prolonging the Battle
March 17, 2008 8:54 AM   Subscribe

The hidden factor in Hillary Clinton's rebound: committed Republicans voting in open primaries who want to prolong the messy battle for the Democratic nomination, encouraged by right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable to conservatives than multi-culti Obama?
posted by digaman (112 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
There is an unwarranted assumption here: What rebound? She got some delegates, but not nearly enough to make up the difference (by like an order of magnitude). Worse, she'd have to do impossibly well in the remaining contests and/or bribe the superdelegates to make up the diff.
posted by DU at 8:59 AM on March 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


The "rebound" was a media perception that Hillary's victories meant that the O-mentum had been checked by "hard work." Your points are all well taken, DU.
posted by digaman at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Filter. Plz.
posted by srboisvert at 9:05 AM on March 17, 2008


"Hard work" vs the success of a black man. Well well.
posted by DU at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


This will end well.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:10 AM on March 17, 2008


Futile in commenting here, since it'll probably be axed, but I've heard equal and opposite stories about republicans being urged to vote for Obama since he supposedly has a lesser chance of defeating McCain.

I think it's safe to say that the Republicans are in such a state of disarray -- from having no money, to losing the incumbent seat of Denny Hastert to a dem the other day -- that there really is no reason to think that they're capable of a vast right wing conspiracy at this time.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:13 AM on March 17, 2008


There is an unwarranted assumption here: What rebound?

Rebound in momentum! Clearly the only thing that matters here is who has momentum at the end of the race, not who actually won the most delegates!

But Clinton's strategy at this point is just to bash Obama so much that superdelegates panic and decide he's unelectable. And, they want to argue that they've done this because Hillary is winning states that she was expected to win all along, although they just happen to be clustered near the end of the race.

Polls show that even though Obama will probably lose the PA primary, polls show him beating McCain there in the general. but Mark Penn is out there saying that if you can't win PA you can't win the general. And if you can't win in the Primary then you can't win in the general. By that logic we have a guaranteed loser with Hillary who can't carry Illinois, Connecticut or Hawaii.

It's an absurd and delusional argument, one that requires cherry picking information in a 'logical' way.

But really all they want to do is destroy Obama politically so that the part would have no choice but to back her.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable to conservatives than multi-culti Obama?

Nah, the GOP is gaming the system. Again. While Rome burns.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:17 AM on March 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


To be fair, momentum really should be a factor. But is the person who was leading in Texas by 20 points and ended up losing it by, IIRC, 3 or 4 delegates, really the one with the momentum?
posted by DU at 9:18 AM on March 17, 2008


Futile in commenting here, since it'll probably be axed, but I've heard equal and opposite stories about republicans being urged to vote for Obama since he supposedly has a lesser chance of defeating McCain.

There is no way the stories are "equal and opposite". There may be some republicans who think Obama is easier to beat, but there has been a coordinated campaign by Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio hosts to get people to vote for Hillary in the last couple races.

And it's not that the specifically think Hillary is beatable, but rather they're mostly doing it for the LULz, and hoping that as Hillary and Barack go after eachother, they'll raise eachother's negatives, hopefully to the point that either one of them would lose in the general.

And by the way, did you know that Bill Clinton himself has actually gone on the Rush Limbaugh show since this started?

Again, this is not just a story, but something that is clearly actually happening, and is supported by exit polling.
posted by delmoi at 9:18 AM on March 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


I thought it's been long-assumed that the Republicans desperately want to run against Hillary? She's far more likely to bring-out the voters against her. People still wallowing in all that anti-Clinton bile from the good-old-days
posted by Thorzdad at 9:19 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


The VRWC has more to do with ongoing dirty tricks and whisper campaigns; it would be more accurate to say that, given the current state of their ground troops, so to speak, the VRWC isn't really capable of more than limited action at the moment.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:19 AM on March 17, 2008


To be fair, momentum really should be a factor. But is the person who was leading in Texas by 20 points and ended up losing it by, IIRC, 3 or 4 delegates, really the one with the momentum?

Only if the press was collectively retarded.

Oh wait.
posted by delmoi at 9:20 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mark my words: You will see a pattern in future primaries. On the whole, Clinton will have more success in states with open primaries than in states without. If I am proven wrong, you may link back to this comment and mock me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:21 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Seriously, which democratic candidate has the tacit support of right wing nut jobs like Limbaugh? Hint: It ain't Obama. That alone should give Clinton supporters pause.

Another question I was thinking about the other day: Why does Obama do better with the caucus format than Clinton. I see two reason:

1.) Caucuses aren't open. Only party members can participate in them. Thus the sneaky dittoheads can't show up and argue for Clinton because she'll be easier to beat in the fall.

2.) Obama's supporters make a better case than Hillary supporters. Something happens in the caucus process that favors Obama greatly. What is it? For some reason Clinton supporters and undecided voters go into these caucuses and come out Obama supporters. I think on a collective level Obama is winning a lot of the debat out there. Clinton supporters seem insular, people who decide on their own at the last minute...
posted by wfrgms at 9:21 AM on March 17, 2008


I have been at sites where conservatives have boasted of having voted for Hillary. A number of reasons given: 1. they believe she is more conservative and would prefer her if Dems won. 2. the hope that keeping her candidacy alive would be troublesome for the Democrats. 3. the belief that she would be much easier to go up against in the forthcoming election.
posted by Postroad at 9:23 AM on March 17, 2008


This registered Democrat started out being open to the idea of Hillary, even thinking that maybe she had learned something and become a bit of statesman.

But the behavior of her and her campaign have me seriously considering McCain if she wins the nomination.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:23 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm not even close to considering McBush and never will be, but I am seriously considering not working very hard to promote/defend Clinton should she somehow pull this off.
posted by DU at 9:26 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I am seriously considering not working very hard to promote/defend Clinton should she somehow pull this off.

You are not alone, and it looks like the GOP is betting on that.
posted by digaman at 9:29 AM on March 17, 2008


she'd have to do impossibly well in the remaining contests and/or bribe the superdelegates to make up the diff.

Well, if it comes down to that last one, you can be sure that she'll do exactly that. Which, of course, is exactly what the Repubs want: Obama winning the popular Dem vote but Hillary winning the nomination by promising backrubs and goodies to her network of friends in the Party. Of course, barring a miracle, McCain would beat Clinton in November. Maybe then the Party leadership would wake up and realize that turning the party into "The Clinton Family Business, Inc." was never really a good idea.
posted by Avenger at 9:34 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bill Clinton himself has actually gone on the Rush Limbaugh show since this started?

I didn't know that, delmoi... and on the day of the Texas primary!
posted by digaman at 9:37 AM on March 17, 2008


I, for one, would love to see the media sit down and do a thoughtful, reasoned, articulate analysis of the Democratic primary thus far, exploring the trends and strategies used by each campaign. They could contrast the claims made by the campaigns with polling data and the delegate count. A comparison to past primaries of similar closeness could be considered, along with a discussion of what a brokered convention would look like and how it works.

But then I remember that politics is to be treated as a sporting event, and then I all am supposed to do is sit on the sidelines and chant the name of my candidate. The only further activity to be encouraged on my part is possibly flinging poo at the other candidate. But only if it is poo; not anything substantive. And even then, I might be better off to give my poo to the media to fling for me, as they are much better poo flingers.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:37 AM on March 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


Of course, barring a miracle, McCain would beat Clinton in November.

In your scenario (Clinton staging a coup), I agree. But if she wins legitimately (which AFAIK is impossible at this point, but stay with me) I'd say it's far from proven McCain beats her. He's wrong on the issues, has far less and is dealing with a fractured base of his own.
posted by DU at 9:43 AM on March 17, 2008


(far less MONEY)
posted by DU at 9:43 AM on March 17, 2008


why and how many repubs voting clinton
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/03/17/many_voting_for_clinton_to_boost_gop/
posted by Postroad at 9:44 AM on March 17, 2008


McCain will easily be able to catch up money-wise. While Clinton is doing everything she can to stop Obama, McCain is just going around fundraising.
posted by drezdn at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2008


"I want Hillary to stay in this…this is too good a soap opera," Limbaugh told listeners this month. "We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically. It's obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it, they don't have the stomach for it."
posted by digaman at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2008


Yes, Postroad. That's my primary link.
posted by digaman at 9:46 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Another question I was thinking about the other day: Why does Obama do better with the caucus format than Clinton.

There are a few other factors in play as well:

Caucuses favor candidates with more energized, more committed supporters. In a primary, you just drop by the polling place for five minutes on your way home from work. At a caucus, you have to show up at the proper time, maybe stand in line for an hour or more, and then stand around waiting for paperwork and rules and organization to be argued about. It's a fun process, if you're invested in it, but for a lot of people (particularly older voters, who form Clinton's core of support) it's a big pain in the ass.

Caucuses favor candidates with better organizational skills. It doesn't matter how many people support you if you can't get them to the local high school gymnasium by 7PM sharp on caucus day. This is where Obama's background as a community organizer comes into play to a certain extent, I suspect. But his campaign, for whatever reason, runs a far superior ground game to anyone else in the race this year. They're the first presidential campaign to reliably turn out the youth vote, and they've done a fantastic job of harnessing technology to that end. They use internet phone-banking, text message alerts, the whole nine yards. They're very, very good at getting people to the caucus.

There's also an argument that at caucuses, Democratic voters are less willing to stand up in front of everybody and vote against the black guy because they don't want people to think they're racists. I'm not sure that's a huge factor, but it may be in play in some states.
posted by EarBucket at 9:47 AM on March 17, 2008


Caucuses aren't open. Only party members can participate in them.

This is not true in the case of every state, and in some "closed" cases being a party member means nothing more onerous than registering as a Democrat at the caucus.
posted by aaronetc at 9:47 AM on March 17, 2008



Bill Clinton himself has actually gone on the Rush Limbaugh show

Anybody know of a transcript?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:48 AM on March 17, 2008


I will either not vote, or vote for McCain (yay Texas), if Hillary gets the Democratic nomination.
I despise McCain, but I hate Hillary even more.
posted by mrbill at 9:56 AM on March 17, 2008


Rush on the O'Reilly Factor, February 29, 2008:

"This is the presidency of the United States you're talking about. I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose. They're in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it's all going to stop if Hillary loses. So yes, I'm asking to cross over and, if they can stomach it -- I know it's a difficult thing to do to vote for a Clinton -- but it will sustain this soap opera, and it's something I think we need."
posted by digaman at 9:58 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Without reading the rest of the thread (I am zipping thru today in a bit of a hurry) I will confirm that most Republican party folks I am aware of would much rather have Hillary as the Democratic nominee. Many of them do think she would be easier to defeat than Obama. (full disclosure-hubs is a party official.)
posted by konolia at 10:07 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pelosi said yesterday this is going to be about delegates, and not momentum.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:08 AM on March 17, 2008


Pelosi said yesterday this is going to be about delegates, and not momentum.

Obama has both, but that's neither here nor there. The question is, was that a coded rebuke or is she "waiting to see" if 2+2 suddenly equals 5?
posted by DU at 10:10 AM on March 17, 2008


The sickening thing about all this is that when all is said and done, and Clinton and Obama have come to the end of their roads and one is chosen as the Official Candidate, the other is going to have to smile and back them.

I suppose this is for the good of the party, but it leads to issues like the obvious uncomfortable-ness between Bush and McCain. There was a lot of blood in the water back when they were campaigning against one another, and just smiling and pretending it isn't there doesn't fool anyone.

The fact that people on the right are making efforts to game the system and prolong this fight in the Democratic party is just depressing; because it gets us to a point where it feels like whoever wins, America loses.
posted by quin at 10:11 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


[Yes, we reconsidered. Happy St. Patrick's Day!]
posted by cortex at 10:46 AM on March 17, 2008


Of course, the next president (of whichever party) is going to be utterly eaten alive by the big katamari ball of crap that is rolling down on us from the Bush years. And he/she will probably bring their party down with them.

I still say the smart move is to let the other party win and then ride to the nation's rescue 4 years from now.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:55 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I say let them go at it until the convention. It will result in a stronger candidate for the general. McCain is going to get soft and squishy being out of the game for six months, and the D nominee is going to come charging out of Denver like a cranky donkey.

Side benefit for the Dems: Of every 10 Republicans who switches parties for open primaries, one will forget to re-register before November.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:59 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


The fact that there is still a contest is good news for the democrats. Nobody is going to remember who called who a dyke come November, but in the meantime the democratic candidates are getting 18 brazilian times more press than McCain, who can't even get his stunt visit to Iraq well covered. The democratic candidates continue to look vital and interesting, compared with the least-objectionable milquetoast candidate anointed by the moribund GOP.
posted by Mister_A at 10:59 AM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


FLANDERS!!!
posted by Mister_A at 10:59 AM on March 17, 2008


Also, aren't these the same craven cockbags who claimed to have destroyed the French economy by "organizing" a "boycott" of French wine?
posted by Mister_A at 11:04 AM on March 17, 2008


I think one of the best things that has come out of all this is the light it has shone on the process. I had no idea what superdelegates were, how caucuses worked, that there were open and closed primaries and the like. I didn't know Hillary was a straight up republican for a time.

I'd love to see a really good look at how these factors played out in prior elections to compare and contrast against republicans voting for Hillary to prolong the process. Have the dems done anything similar in the past?

Any historians that love this sort of thing that can weigh in? Though I suspect precisely where it gets to the point where the nation realizes a lot of what has gone on is really suspect and shady, is around the point where WMD's will be found, the dems will instantly lose and McCain will be in power for two terms followed by Jeb.
posted by cashman at 11:05 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama is rated the most left-wing member of the Senate. If the Republicans could look past their hatred of Mrs. Clinton and her husband, they'd be far better off with her President than Obama.

Of course Republicans can never look past their hatred.
posted by three blind mice at 11:05 AM on March 17, 2008


And by found I mean "found".
posted by cashman at 11:06 AM on March 17, 2008


Agreed, Mister_A. A coworker of mine is a diehard Republican (and Rush listener), and he came to me a week or so ago to discuss Rush's idea that Republicans should vote for Clinton in the open primaries. I pointed out (diplomatically, I hope) that (a) it was a stupid idea because a competitive Democratic primary results in free press for the party for the next two months; and (b) that most of the Republican establishment has a vested interest in Clinton being the nominee not because she's a weaker opponent, but because they've invested way too much time sharpening their knives over the past fifteen years to let this opportunity slip away. Roveian Republicans need a foe to run against, and they're a bit scared of Obama right now because they don't have fifteen years' worth of bumper sticker slogans stored up on him like they do on Clinton.

So yeah, this has nothing to do with weakening the Democratic Party, and everything to do with Republicans wanting to relive the glory days of the late-90's.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 11:13 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is sort of a "duh" story and a strong argument about why party primaries should not be open. If I'm not a member of the Green Party, why should I have any voice in who their nominees are or what their platform is?

As far as I can tell, you can join political parties in most states right up to the primary/caucus. If you want to vote Democratic, join the Fucking Democratic Party (that's its official name in the logbook).

Party opponents will still game the system, but it adds at least a minimal barrier to entry.

I've heard equal and opposite stories about republicans being urged to vote for Obama since he supposedly has a lesser chance of defeating McCain.

Think about that for a second. Then think "I could have had a V-8!"

"It's as simple as, I don't think McCain can beat Obama if Obama is the Democratic choice"

I think 90% of political observers would agree.

Clinton's been dead in the water since super tuesday. Her political "skill" (or willingness to survive by any means necessary) in staying afloat has been impressive, but eventually that body is gonna sink.

However, I also agree with Mister_A and SSF. The media coverage of the Democratic "race" is invaluable. McCain might have a few advantages, such as the lack of dirty campaign ads, but he's not going to be on TV nearly as much. I think it's a *huge* advantage for the Democrats. If only they'd stop smashing each other and pretend to run against each other while working together.

Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable to conservatives than multi-culti Obama?

To that I would also say yes. Stereotypes aside (which is worse for GOP - a black man or a woman?), Clinton is a known quantity. Some people think Obama is a messiah for the progressive movement. If you were a conservative worried about that all-important capital gains tax rate, who would you want as your opponent?
posted by mrgrimm at 11:19 AM on March 17, 2008


Pelosi said yesterday this is going to be about delegates, and not momentum.

In that the election will not be decided by victories in the states alone, yes. But with enough momentum on his side, Obama will not have to worry about delegate defections. Momentum will also mean victories in late states meaning more momentum AND more delegates. With every victory comes more pledged delegates and the job of winning through superdelegates gets harder for Senator Clinton's campaign.

It's fantastic that Senator Clinton has been able to spin her campaign as viable for this long. I think it's because the American people and the media are so in to this election that they want it to keep going regardless of Senator Clinton's chance of actually getting the nomination, which is at this point almost non-existant. I know that's the case for the national cable media. It makes for good watchin.
posted by willie11 at 11:22 AM on March 17, 2008


I wanted to post about my caucus experience, but never got around to doing it in prior election threads. Some of you might be interested in hearing about the process. If not, scroll past.

The first time I've caucused was this year in our small Maine town. Prior to going I grumbled about having to take a couple of hours out of my Sunday afternoon to stand in line and do it, but afterwards I found it was much more satisfying than just stopping in after work and voting in a primary.

My sweetie and I showed up at the town meeting room about twenty minutes before the start of the festivities. The place was already standing room only, and this was during a snowstorm in a town that tends to vote republican. We performed the requisite sign in and eventually the caucus got under way.

They started by having a few thankfully brief speeches by candidates for local and state offices.

Then those supporting Obama were instructed to go up to the stage, those supporting Clinton were to stay on the main floor, and the undecideds (all 4 of them, if I remember correctly) sent to the side of the room.

Once we all got settled in they took a first head count of supporters. Clinton was behind. Then the speechifying began. The moderator allowed supporters of each candidate to alternately speak in favor of their candidate. Some interesting opinions were expressed, but there were three that stood out for me. A woman who identified herself as originally from New York spoke of how she thought that America wasn't ready for a black president; another Clinton supporter said she had a son in Iraq said that she thought that Obama would bring the troops home too quickly (!!). Then one of the undecideds basically said a pox on both of their houses and would withhold his vote because he prefers that we seat delegates-at-large at the convention.

At the end, one or two voters moved to the other side, and one of the undecideds came over to the Obama side, and final votes were taken. The party organizers checked the totals against registrations to find that they did not equal. After a couple more counts it finally worked out, and Obama received 10 votes more than Clinton, though the resulting delegates were split down the middle thanks to rounding.

So, if any republicans wanted to take part in this process, I suppose they could have. That said, it would have been a very public proclamation of party affiliation, and 3 hours out of their Sunday afternoon, so I doubt there would have been any cross-party shenanigans.
posted by SteveInMaine at 11:34 AM on March 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Thanks, Steve. There are not enough what-happens-in-caucus reports, so yours is welcome.
posted by grabbingsand at 11:39 AM on March 17, 2008


Interesting comment from Chris Matthews on the night of the Texas/Ohio primaries -- when he was asked if this means Hillary was gaining momentum again, he pointed out that the demographics of 'Obama voters' and 'Hillary voters' have stayed relatively the same since the start of the primaries. Hillary has 'won' the states she had the demographic advantage in, and Obama did the same. The distribution of states' primaries has no relationship to their demographics, so when Hillary wins Texas and Ohio, she's only gaining perceived momentum -- if those primaries had been held ten weeks ago or ten weeks from now, Matthews argued that they would've had the same outcome.

Oh, yeah, and I call bullshit on Republicans having any appreciable impact on the primary. They just want to feel important.
posted by incessant at 11:47 AM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I still say the smart move is to let the other party win and then ride to the nation's rescue 4 years from now.

This perspective is upsetting to me, because it once again puts party above country. How about, a candidate could fight like hell to win because things are so bad, and they think they just might be the best person to help fix things. Because, you know, they care about their country and the people in it.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:50 AM on March 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


not yet registered
posted by roll truck roll at 11:51 AM on March 17, 2008


Nobody is going to remember who called who a dyke come November.

McCain will remember. He is grizzled. He is determined. He hates being called a dyke.
posted by rokusan at 11:55 AM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think it's because the American people and the media are so in to this election that they want it to keep going regardless of Senator Clinton's chance of actually getting the nomination, which is at this point almost non-existant.

I agree. I also think we want to keep talking about this presidential election because when we don't, we all have to pay attention to the moron who is actually currently still president.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:55 AM on March 17, 2008


There's a good article by "Mystery Pollster" Mark Blumenthal that actually brings some data to the question. His conclusion is that Hillary Clinton is helped by Republicans who plan to vote for McCain in the general election, but who are more motivated by their distaste for Barack Obama than tactical considerations.

The exit poll interviewed 147 Mississippi Democratic primary voters who supported Clinton but identified themselves as Republicans:

85 percent rated John McCain favorably, and 58 percent had a "strongly" favorable opinion of him

41 percent said they would be dissatisfied if Clinton were the Democratic nominee.

56 percent said Clinton has not "offered clear and detailed plans to solve the country's problems."

62 percent said Clinton does not inspire them "about the future of the country."

72 percent said Clinton is not "honest and trustworthy."

Taken together, these results suggest that a significant number of the Clinton Mississippi Republicans -- perhaps half or more -- plan to support McCain in November. But did these Republicans just turn out to assist McCain by prolonging the Democratic fight or boosting a candidate they consider easier to beat?

The exit poll suggests another motivation. These Clinton Republicans also expressed very negative views of Barack Obama:

91 percent said Clinton is more qualified to be commander in chief; only 3 percent said Obama is more qualified.

94 percent said Obama does not inspire them "about the future of the country."

89 percent would be dissatisfied if Obama were the Democratic nominee.

86 percent said Obama is not "honest and trustworthy."

86 percent said Obama has not "offered clear and detailed plans to solve the country's problems."

82 percent said Clinton should not pick Obama to be her running mate if she is the nominee.

posted by jonp72 at 12:00 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's also another good article on the libertarian magazine Reason's blog, which has some good circumstantial evidence that Limbaugh Republicans tipped the Texas Democratic primary in Clinton's favor. Since it's from Reason magazine, I find it even more convincing, because they don't really have much of a dog in the Clinton vs. Obama fight.
posted by jonp72 at 12:02 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, add this piece of anecdote to the pile: my brother planned to do this, in Ohio. I'm not sure if he followed through or not. However, as Dave Faris said a while back, he was under the impression that McCain would have a harder time beating Hillary, so he was going to cast his vote for Barack. Last I heard, he had been disabused of this notion and was contemplating a vote for Hillary instead.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:04 PM on March 17, 2008


“And by the way, did you know that Bill Clinton himself has actually gone on the Rush Limbaugh show since this started?”
Gah! Politics is politics, but some guy haranged my daughter like that would get my boot up his ass if I got that close to him.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:07 PM on March 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Bill Clinton denies making race a campaign issue

That's, um, not entirely credible Bill, seeing as we've all seen you on camera making race a campaign issue. Still, points for trying.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on March 17, 2008


Obama is rated the most left-wing member of the Senate.

I call bullshit. Those ratings are easy to manipulate, and I don't believe for a second that he's to the left of Teddy Kennedy or Barney Frank.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:30 PM on March 17, 2008


That's interesting, Steve. I "caucused" in Portland, and it was crazy. We never made it to the actual caucusing part, because they were so delayed by their inability to handle the crowds that they were projecting a 2-hour late start. They let us "vote" on our caucus paper and go home. It was definitely quite a disappointment.
posted by miss tea at 12:32 PM on March 17, 2008


I could see where that would be disappointing, miss tea. Guess I should be glad I live in East Gish.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:40 PM on March 17, 2008


The whole vote-for-hilary push from talk radio is laughably transparent. They need Hilary. They've invested almost two decades worth of research and propagandizing into hating on her. Without a demon there's no narrative. Their audience is defined by hatred of the Clintons.

Look at Sean Hannity -- for the last 18 months he's promoted his show as the "Stop Hilary Express." You think he really wants to stop Hilary? What's he going to talk about? Tax policy? OK, where's the sounder of Tax Policy's weird laugh? Forget about it. It's about ratings, and it's about an entire political class/demographic that refuses to think for itself, because taking orders is easier, and they need a scapegoat for everything that angers and frustrates them. Stop Hilary? They might as well stop their own paychecks.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:57 PM on March 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


jonp72 writes "The exit poll suggests another motivation. These Clinton Republicans also expressed very negative views of Barack Obama: "

As long as we assume they will vote their party in the general election ... Then why didn't they try to encourage his nomination? It's a bit silly to suggest that they are voting for the candidate that they think has the best chance of beating McCain.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:04 PM on March 17, 2008


Re: why Obama might do better with caucuses, there are also arguments that because it's only a 1-2 hour event, people who can't get off work or who have non-standard shifts may not be able to attend, and those sorts of union workers are a pretty strong base for hillary. Also there have been some claims of foul play, but that could be within the "normal" levels of unfortunate but statistically equal on both sides.

I always attribute a little too much conspiring to people, so when I hear republicans publicly saying they're planning to vote for hillary in order to get her nominated so they can beat her, I can't help wondering if they're trying to motivate us to nominate barack because that's who they really think they can beat. Otherwise why let us in on the secret strategy?

But it really doesn't make much difference who one guy thinks they can beat at this point - we all have limited perspectives, both in geography and in time, and who is really more viable is hard to say. I think 4 years ago I could not have imagined Hillary having a chance whereas now I honestly think she's done a great job of redefining herself as reliable, mainstream, generally likable etc. Likewise when I first heard his speech at the DNC, I thought Obama was awesome, but my appreciation for him has only been muted since then; he seems much more a politician, and less a team player/ listener than I would like in the oval office... he seems to be made for being a speaker, an inspirer, a civil rights leader type more so than an executive.

of course, I just have to read the comments on that youtube clip (or here for that matter) to see how many people still disagree with me on HRC (though esp on the youtube comments, it's hard not to feel sexism plays a part). On the other hand, the internet is a terrible microcosm - we get seriously led astray assuming that what we find online is a representative sample of the real world...
posted by mdn at 1:04 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hillary Clinton is like the proverbial live baby at the bottom of a pile of dead babies eating its way out. If it makes it out it's alive it's covered in blood, owes most of its success to doing some pretty fucked up shit, and isn't very easy to embrace.
posted by baphomet at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2008 [6 favorites]


stupidsexyFlanders writes "You think he really wants to stop Hilary? What's he going to talk about?"

Do you think it's all about Hannity's ratings? Well, that's an even more narrow view, and the Republicans aren't very loyal to those who have no party allegiance and can't get behind strategies, especially their media dogs. Limbaugh's a force unto himself, but Hannity's a bought-and-paid-for Republican operative, and ultimately he has to answer to Murdoch.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:05 PM on March 17, 2008


Obama got more Republican votes than Hillary in Texas. Rush and Ann Coulter supporting Hillary is just more of them provoking, man bites dog -- that's what they do for a living. They've got you all discussing them, haven't they?

Strategically, Hillary has higher negatives but Barack is green, less vetted and more prone to a gaffe or an incident like Dukakis' tank ride. If I was Republican, I'd prefer him, figuring we're likely to lose either way and need to roll the dice. He's the right's Hail Mary pass, but sometimes you actually catch it, pinned against your helmet.

Hillary knows Obama's ahead but can't clinch it before the convention. This is her last shot at president; she has nothing to lose, so she's just hanging tough and hoping he implodes before the convention.
posted by msalt at 1:29 PM on March 17, 2008


“If it makes it out it's alive it's covered in blood, owes most of its success to doing some pretty fucked up shit, and isn't very easy to embrace.”

Well, to be fair, pretty much anyone that runs for president disqualifies themselves for the job. (forgot where I stole that line)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on March 17, 2008


Homentum!

Get it?

Hahahahahahahaha!
posted by Mister_A at 1:37 PM on March 17, 2008


incident like Dukakis' tank ride

The GOP has transformed national elections into little more than contests to gauge whether or not your party's candidate is able to avoid trivial non-"incidents" like this and the hoked-up "Dean scream." Meanwhile, Cheney and McCain stroll around the Green Zone in bulletproof vests uttering phrases like "remarkable turnaround" with dozens of jets and hundreds of soldiers protecting their photo ops from suicide bombers... and that's just good politics.
posted by digaman at 1:40 PM on March 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


As long as we assume they will vote their party in the general election ... Then why didn't they try to encourage his nomination? It's a bit silly to suggest that they are voting for the candidate that they think has the best chance of beating McCain.

The answer is simple. Some of them actually believe the nonsense that Obama is a radical black Muslim Manchurian Candidate, and they view Hillary as the lesser evil, without regard for tactical considerations about whether Clinton or Obama is more electable, because they plan to vote for McCain in the fall anyway.
posted by jonp72 at 1:58 PM on March 17, 2008


jonp72 writes "The answer is simple. Some of them actually believe the nonsense that Obama is a radical black Muslim Manchurian Candidate, and they view Hillary as the lesser evil, without regard for tactical considerations about whether Clinton or Obama is more electable, because they plan to vote for McCain in the fall anyway."

Well, that's an interesting theory, but I'd like to see some polling data bear this out before believing it's true. It's a tactical move without regard for tactics, which makes it sort of strange.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:13 PM on March 17, 2008


Is that the same Bill Clinton that said if Hillary didn't win Ohio and Texas, "I don't think she can be" the nominee? Obama got more delegates in Texas.

I think either possible Democratic nominee will beat McCain. The Democratic turnouts have been huge, and the Democratic second-runner has often gotten more votes than McCain has.

I still say the smart move is to let the other party win and then ride to the nation's rescue 4 years from now.

People were saying that in 2004 and it didn't work out so well.

Cheney and McCain stroll around the Green Zone

They still have to sneak in unannounced, and McCain's market is now unsafe for Americans. Meanwhile Iranian President Ahmadinejad gets a red carpet welcome during a two-day visit. (And the administration still tries to push it's anti-Iran propaganda when Sunnis, who are unlikely to be supported by Shiite Iran, are responsible for the vast majority of American deaths in Iraq.)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:11 PM on March 17, 2008


three blind mice:
Obama is rated the most left-wing member of the Senate
Obama is rated the most left-wing member of the Senate by a certain specific hardcore conservative magazine.

A magazine which, in advance of the 2004 election, rated John Kerry as the most left-wing member of the Senate. And John Edwards the fourth-most.

Their methodology in determining these things is simple: "Who is the Democratic nominee for President?"

Sure, they don't actually say that. And they do give some ostensible reasoning designed to look reasonable as long as you don't look at it with a modicum of thought. But that's their methodology nonetheless.

As Pat Buchanan (!) has said, Barney Frank should be suing this magazine about this.
posted by Flunkie at 3:29 PM on March 17, 2008


Side benefit for the Dems: Of every 10 Republicans who switches parties for open primaries, one will forget to re-register before November.

Don't you get to vote from the entire roster of presidential candidates no matter what affiliation? I don't remember since I've been decline-to-state for many elections now, but I thought you could vote for whoever you want. In which case there's no benefit, there will just be a surprisingly large number of registered dems voting for McCain.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:35 PM on March 17, 2008


Don't you get to vote from the entire roster of presidential candidates no matter what affiliation?
Yes. And the world would be a better place if more Republicans realized this.
posted by Flunkie at 3:37 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


the internet is a terrible microcosm - we get seriously led astray assuming that what we find online is a representative sample of the real world.

Hell, I'd go beyond that and say that most people are seriously led astray assuming that their friends and families are a representative sample of the real world. (I don't know anyone who would cop to voting for W in 2004, but obviously there's millions and millions of people who did--I'm just not friends with any of them, which is perhaps expected given my geographic location, my socio-economic background, and my job.) I'm not sure that it makes any logical sense to assume that because (some) Republicans think Hillary is unelectable, that view is somehow more perceptive or correct than any Democrat's view--and obviously a lot of Democrats continue to disagree on which candidate is more electable.

I think it's just as plausible that really conservative pundits' hatred of all things Clintonian (and perhaps particularly Hillary) clouds their judgment on the matter much more than your average Democrat, who before this primary season were prone to say things like "I'd be happy with any of the front-runners, honestly."

There's probably a legitimate argument to be made that Obama has a better shot of capturing swing voters; and another legitimate argument to be made that capturing swing voters, rather than mobilizing certain segments of the base who would never vote Republican, is the best shot at the Presidency. I think that the argument that some die-hard conservatives who would never vote Democratic no matter the nominee are somehow a good judge of the issues that will speak to likely Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters and bring them to vote on election day is... less of a legitimate argument, to say the least.
posted by iminurmefi at 3:56 PM on March 17, 2008


I guess this is as good a place as any--does anyone know what the hell's going on in the Texas caucuses? It's been stuck around 41-44% reporting for two weeks. Is that going to change any time soon?
posted by schroedinger at 4:29 PM on March 17, 2008


I guess this is as good a place as any--does anyone know what the hell's going on in the Texas caucuses? It's been stuck around 41-44% reporting for two weeks. Is that going to change any time soon?

The TX Dems said they will have the caucus results on 3/29 at the state convention. HRC wants the state convention postponed.
posted by birdherder at 4:40 PM on March 17, 2008


Hell, I'd go beyond that and say that most people are seriously led astray assuming that their friends and families are a representative sample of the real world.

well, of course, but one hopes people are at least ostensibly aware whether they live in a red state vs a blue state, or are in a college town vs a rural area, etc. I think people tend to imagine the internet being more of a cross-section. But you're right that we certainly don't pay enough attention to how different so much of the country is from the people in our local neighborhood...

Well, that's an interesting theory, but I'd like to see some polling data bear this out before believing it's true. It's a tactical move without regard for tactics, which makes it sort of strange.

Wasn't that what the original post was? I too often think people must be more conspiratorial than they end up being as I said, but I think the simple answer is that McCain is the Repub nominee for sure, so right now the presidency could go to McCain, Clinton, or Obama. Voting for Clinton in the primary means you would like to narrow the field to McCain or CLinton, while voting for Obama means you want to narrow it to McCain or Obama. McCain can be the number one choice, but their strategy could simply be to have an impact on the second choice, rather than take the risk that everyone will agree with them that once it's narrowed to McCain/Obama, McCain's the obvious choice. The safer bet is the to have the lesser of two evils in the number two spot already so that even if you lose, you don't lose by as much.

In other words, they may not feel certain the majority has the same opinion they do, and they're being pragmatic rather than manipulative.
posted by mdn at 4:46 PM on March 17, 2008


schroedinger: I guess this is as good a place as any--does anyone know what the hell's going on in the Texas caucuses? It's been stuck around 41-44% reporting for two weeks. Is that going to change any time soon?

I know the Clinton campaign asked them to delay counting, but Texas Dems just released a statement saying they wouldn't, so maybe the counting will be finished soon.
posted by OmieWise at 5:05 PM on March 17, 2008


A few months ago, I was fairly neutral about my opinion of the Clinton candidacy. I was a casual Obama supporter, but had faith in both candidates and was looking pragmatically at electability. Of course, at that point, I also had the hope that at a tight primary would still be civil since these were members of the same party and the Clintons had a legacy to uphold.

Things that have changed my opinion since that time:
a) The week before Super Tuesday, where Bill Clinton went on the attack and race was raised by their campaign in a negative way.

b) The immediate attempt by the Clinton campaign, after Super Tuesday, to recast the perception of superdelegates in an effort to establish legitimacy in the event she would need them to push her over the top.

c) The demeaning "Obama could be my Vice President" line.

d) Hillary's "not as far as I know" non-response to the question of whether Obama was a Muslim.

e) The 3 AM phone call ad.

f) An "endorsement" by the ghost of Ann Richards in Texas.

g) Geraldine Ferraro.

h) Clinton's appearance on Rush, effectively treating him and his audience as supporters and encouraging an (albeit unenforceable) violation of the election oath where Republicans cross over to vote for Hillary.

i) Threats to the Democratic party of withholding donations by Clinton donors in regards to the Michigan and Florida primaries.

And things for which the campaign can't directly be held responsible, but that theoretically aid her cause:
j) The release of the Obama traditional garb photo.

k) The horrendous and inaccurate email forward about Obama's roots and religion.

I never thought I'd be contemplating a protest vote against a Democratic candidate, but when the general election arrives, I will seriously consider not only the candidate, but also their path to the ticket.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:54 PM on March 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


l) Dancing around over the release of earmark lists, even though Obama has released his.
posted by VulcanMike at 6:58 PM on March 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I never thought I'd be contemplating a protest vote against a Democratic candidate, but when the general election arrives, I will seriously consider not only the candidate, but also their path to the ticket.

The two Democratic candidates have virtually identical policy positions; voting for someone with wildly different positions on many important issues, such as McCain, because of sour grapes about how the campaign in the primary went for your guy would be borderline insanity. How could the fact that the Clintons are skilled at underhanded political maneuvering (skills, by the by, which would continue to serve them well should Hillary win the White House) outweigh health care, the economy, and Iraq? Please, please, be a responsible voting citizen.
posted by Kwine at 8:03 PM on March 17, 2008


I live down here in Fl. I travel around the state quite a bit. Bridge tournaments.
Many of the competitors are female retirees. At this time last year they were actively talking up Hillary with the same adoration they had 50 years ago for Crosby and Sinatra. In the last three months there has been a sea change.
Many of these same women are now bitterly opposed to Hillary. Some are even using the 'B' word- bitch- when they refer to her. Not a good sign for Dems.
posted by notreally at 8:07 PM on March 17, 2008


One more and then I'm done...
m) The endorsement of the Republican candidate, saying that her and McCain are qualified to lead and all Obama had was a speech he gave in 2002.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:30 PM on March 17, 2008


mdn writes "In other words, they may not feel certain the majority has the same opinion they do, and they're being pragmatic rather than manipulative."

I think you're giving them too much credit, and I see no basis for it. It's pure conjecture. OTOH, we do know that several Republican media pundits have urged their listeners to vote for Clinton, so there is at least some reasoning behind it, a deliberate strategy spelled out.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:34 PM on March 17, 2008


> Don't you get to vote from the entire roster of presidential candidates no matter what affiliation?

Yes. And the world would be a better place if more Republicans realized this.


Um. Democrats, too. The entrenched two party system is probably what's going to kill us.

No matter who wins, we get a little deeper in the hole.
posted by codswallop at 10:21 PM on March 17, 2008


Oh, America, what won't you pervert and beshitterate?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:59 PM on March 17, 2008


Please, please, be a responsible voting citizen.

Define responsible. If it's responsible to be a candidate whose dirty tricks against an opponent in the same party make you look like a good republican, we're screwed. That candidate might get elected, but will have a hell of a time getting re-elected. What then? President DeLay? I sometimes wonder if we wouldn't be better off with one term of McCain, then see who the dems can serve up against him in '12.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:35 AM on March 18, 2008


The US political system is in absolutely no position to "export democracy" to other countries, and this proves it. I lived in Hungary during he changeover from the Communist period, and I remember being asked to translate for delegations of US young republicans coming over to advise budding Hungarian politicians on "freedom." (In my defense, I refused to do the job or shake the hand of the delegation leader, saying "Sorry. I eat with that hand.")

The result was that the center right wing in Hungarian political life now uses the Newt Gingrich / Karl Rove playbook as its model. It is becoming hard to explain that there is any political victory in the US that is not somehow "fixed."

It's hard enough trying to explain the primary system (not to mention the electoral college) to earnest, curious outsiders without having to explain how people like Rush (and Hillary) see the democratic system as a weakness to be exploited and perverted.
posted by zaelic at 3:44 AM on March 18, 2008


While Clinton's positions on paper may be close to Obama's, I trust her far less to actually implement any of them.
posted by drezdn at 6:06 AM on March 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


I suppose this is for the good of the party, but it leads to issues like the obvious uncomfortable-ness between Bush and McCain. There was a lot of blood in the water back when they were campaigning against one another, and just smiling and pretending it isn't there doesn't fool anyone. --Quin

Heh.
posted by mecran01 at 6:46 AM on March 18, 2008


How could the fact that the Clintons are skilled at underhanded political maneuvering ...

I don't understand why people are so sure Obama isn't skilled at exactly the same thing. When Clinton is accused of some kind of dirty play, people jump on it, while when Obama is accused of the same thing, people say, man, those Clintons must be behind this accusation, it's just ridiculous. Why is that? He is a politician too. I'm not saying Clinton is clean, but I think there's plenty of mud thrown at her, too; and I would say the same thing about Obama. There are scandals on his side too.

I think you're giving them too much credit, and I see no basis for it. It's pure conjecture

Imagine you had to choose between micky d's hamburger, skinless chicken, or sushi. You love hamburger and it is already on the ticket. Vote for your second choice. You can either vote based on what you think will have the least chance of beating the burger, or you can vote on what you think will be the best second choice. If you hate sushi, but you are not sure if everyone in america still hates it, it may not make sense to vote for it.

Or put another way: would you feel safe voting for huckabee so he was the nominee because obviously our guy could beat him? You'd still be taking the risk that maybe, somehow, huckabee would end up in the fuckin' white house.
posted by mdn at 7:23 AM on March 18, 2008


Nah, the GOP is gaming the system. Again. While Rome burns.

Yes, it's the Republicans. And Karl Rove! Or whoever it is they have now instead of Karl Rove. And AIPAC! And chemtrails! And fluoridation! It is certainly never, ever the Democrats' uncanny, time-tested ability to bite themselves in the ass. It's everyone else's fault!

You can feel proud knowing that it's people like you that enable the post-2k Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory year after year.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:28 AM on March 18, 2008


It's also the fault of the people who enable and assist the Republicans in their infantilization of politics by marginalizing their critics as losers.

Meanwhile, Democrat Barack Obama just gave a career-defining speech that ennobled the national dialogue by marginalizing no one, not even his opponents. After 7 years of King Baby Liar and his cronies wrecking the world, it was like seeing an adult finally walk onto the national stage.
posted by digaman at 10:05 AM on March 18, 2008 [2 favorites]


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWe7wTVbLUU
posted by digaman at 10:05 AM on March 18, 2008


Transcript

Vey impressed by this.
posted by Artw at 10:30 AM on March 18, 2008


There's some discussion of it in the still open thread on Obama & Race if you're interested.
posted by mdn at 11:00 AM on March 18, 2008


Tempted to give it it's own FPP, it deserves one. I doubt it would survive though.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on March 18, 2008


Meanwhile, Democrat Barack Obama just gave a career-defining speech that ennobled the national dialogue by marginalizing no one, not even his opponents. After 7 years of King Baby Liar and his cronies wrecking the world, it was like seeing an adult finally walk onto the national stage.

Team Clinton would have us believe that those are just pretty words, digaman. At that level of politics, I'm not sure what that criticism even means. Words (and leadership by example) are sometimes enough to change hearts and minds on what until not so long ago were deeply entrenched attitudes and behaviors. If many centuries' worth of evil and oppression could be reversed (if only a little) by a small but vocal group of people working in the deep South in the 1950s, I'm willing to bet that even fewer people can reverse a handful of decades's worth of small mindedness and name-calling in a few years.

To put it another way, I'll take the guy with the flowery rhetoric -- on the theory that he can recruit some practical people into his administration to put some deeds behind these words -- over the one who seems hell-bent on preserving the status quo (or the status quo + some healthcare coverage). No contest.

"Change" means more than just artifice, more than a superficial fact of having the first black man or white woman as President, it means starting to remake how we think about government and what it can do.
posted by psmealey at 11:33 AM on March 18, 2008


Meta
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on March 18, 2008


# “Team Clinton would have us believe that those are just pretty words, digaman.”

Ask Clinton if these were just pretty words.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 12:51 PM on March 18, 2008


Hillary's Plan To Elect McCain And A Right Wing Supreme Court
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on March 18, 2008


Ask Clinton if these were just pretty words.

As a temp job when I first got to DC years ago I got assigned to go work in the office of the UN Conference on Women. I was very excited, thrilled in fact to get the opportunity to work for this group. When I arrived at the office I was a bit confused. It appeared to be mostly a storage space with some posters of women and a big picture of Hillary Clinton, the Chairwoman. I was informed that the office was actually shared with a couple of other organizations. My task for the day would be reconciling the receipts and updating the much neglected bookkeeping. I am not a bookkeeper. I am not an accountant. I am not even particularly good at keeping my checking account balances. The numbers were a mess. Clearly no one was doing anything to make sure bills were paid. I could tell very little about anything actually being done by the organization at all. This was a couple of years after the speech breaks the guidelines links above, but from my limited experience, those were indeed just pretty words.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:10 PM on March 18, 2008


It's certainly never, ever the Democrats' uncanny, time-tested ability to bite themselves in the ass. It's everyone else's fault!

Krrrlson, I think it's great you hang around to challenge the groupthink and all, but something is wrong with you if you can't see that the premise of the post is pretty damn credible. The batshit insane rightwing pundits are deliberately and clearly encouraging supporters to fuck with the democratic primaries, and the fact that this is what they're willing to do in open daylight strongly suggests that there is a wide vein of rock solid truth to the idea of more shadowy republican machinations and conspiracies.

The aforementioned time-tested ability you've mentioned also has some demonstrated reality, but when you wave it around like that, it turns into a scarlet salty smelly fish.
posted by namespan at 1:30 PM on March 18, 2008


The two Democratic candidates have virtually identical policy positions

Not precisely true. They have many virtually identical positions, but it doesn't mean there aren't real differentiations. The tech positions alone mean a good deal, not only for the specific impacts on that sector but also as evidence of solid policy thinking and advisement in arenas that still mean little in the arena of political theater -- and game beyond the obvious ability to speak and communicate effectively.

Transcript.

Vey impressed by this


Damn. Obama has just proven he can turn attacks into opportunities. And hit a home run while doing it.
posted by namespan at 2:06 PM on March 18, 2008


Totally weak Clinton non-response: "I didn't hear it. He should say something about that guy. Who is bad."
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on March 18, 2008


You can feel proud knowing that it's people like you that enable the post-2k Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory year after year.

And the Nazis. Don't forget the Nazis. And anti-Semites. And the gayz. And whatever other enemies floating around in that diseased brain of yours.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 PM on March 18, 2008


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