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Obama pushes forward while others continue to fight the battles of yesteryear
May 11, 2008 12:06 PM   Subscribe

Party Like It’s 2008 [SLNYTOE] Almost every wrong prediction about this election cycle has come from those trying to force the round peg of this year’s campaign into the square holes of past political wars. That’s why race keeps being portrayed as dooming Mr. Obama — surely Jeremiah Wright = Willie Horton! — no matter what the voters say to the contrary.

Yes, a single-link NY Times Op-Ed by former theater critic turned Op-Ed writer extraordinaire, Frank Rich. A somewhat hopeful, nevertheless very clear-eyed view of what's different about this year's election, the gathering cultural forces at work, and perhaps an object lesson for those who would stand in the way, they should think again.
posted by psmealey (144 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm hopeful that 2008 will be remembered as a definitive year in American politics- as the year we turned away from all the previously reliable tactics mentioned in the article and Americans instead decided to start basing politics on substance rather than presentation, political artillery fire, or old-line methods of thinking.

Then again, I'm also hopeful that Americans will someday awaken to the reality of how incredibly destructive the mass production of beef is to the environment, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.
posted by baphomet at 12:47 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


What amazes me about this election is the media's obsession on inane nontrovercies like the Jeremiah Wright "scandal". I mean, how could this hurt him in the general election? Why would people determine their vote based on the comments of a pastor when there are huge differences on the Iraq war, health care policy, etc, between John McCain and Obama? But the argument is that this goes too his "electibility" and therefore it's a fair issue to bring up in the race between him and Hillary.

It's like before the 2006 election when a couple of days before the election the only thing on the news was John Kerry's "botched joke". The republicans hammered it and hammered it and what happened? They were destroyed. Because, and here's the thing, people aren't that stupid.

So why does the media keep hammering this stuff? My theory is that while people might not change their vote on these things, they do get people to tune in. But another major part of it is the behind-the-scenes 'driving' of stories by campaigns. If you're in a high-profile political campaign if you can convince a journalist that some story is "juicy" they'll likely run with it, not because it matters but because it's a good way for the journalist themselves to further suck up to politicians and get more "juciy" stories (right out of their oppo-research book) as well as better access for interviews and stuff.

The end result is a pretty fucked up "freakshow" MSM that doesn't do anyone any good, except for advertisers of course.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bob Herbert: Seeds of Destruction
“There’s a pattern emerging here,” said Mrs. Clinton.

There is, indeed. There was a name for it when the Republicans were using that kind of lousy rhetoric to good effect: it was called the Southern strategy, although it was hardly limited to the South. Now the Clintons, in their desperation to find some way — any way — back to the White House, have leapt aboard that sorry train.

He can’t win! Don’t you understand? He’s black! He’s black!
posted by homunculus at 1:27 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Merry Quitsmas! Oh, not yet? When?
posted by rlk at 1:45 PM on May 11, 2008


I'd like to believe this kind of crap won't work this year. But the fact is, the Republican crap-slinging machine has only begun to gear up. Yes, people have been scared awake by the disasters of the last seven years, so they're not being lulled by the flags/race/terra crap. But once the volume and frequency gets cranked up, I'm afraid it'll be 1988 all over again.
posted by PlusDistance at 1:53 PM on May 11, 2008


I have an acquaintance who is fond of bringing out these non-issues. His excuse is that while he would never make an electoral decision based on something so stupid, other people are. Of course he can't name a single person who would do so. That's because for the most part, I agree with delmoi: people aren't that stupid. The people who claim this stuff matters somehow usually have already made their decision for other reasons.

These things only matter in the first degree to the press and pundit class. They matter to the rest of us because the press uses them as an excuse to avoid DOING THEIR JOBS and covering the stuff that matters.
posted by grouse at 2:09 PM on May 11, 2008


I certainly will vote for Obama in November. I'd feel a little better if he weren't so dismissive of "the '60s generation" because we're still here and in great numbers, and didn't act as if he'd be happy to work with the Republicans. Because they won't work with him. Other than that, he's a marvelous voice and presence and a great step toward regaining our moral standing in the wolrd. Only a step, but a wonderful first one.
posted by etaoin at 2:19 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Win all the swing states, but lose the convention by a popular nose count, minus a few states. I wonder if the democratic leadership understands the statistical opportunity they miss when they treat a swing state vote the same as a red or blue state vote.
posted by Brian B. at 2:21 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid it will be 1968 all over again.
posted by phrontist at 2:21 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Win all the swing states, but lose the convention by a popular nose count, minus a few states. I wonder if the democratic leadership understands the statistical opportunity they miss when they treat a swing state vote the same as a red or blue state vote.

You're assuming the states up for play will be the same as they were the last few times around.
posted by phrontist at 2:22 PM on May 11, 2008


You're assuming the states up for play will be the same as they were the last few times around.

That's all we need to assume to make the best assumption.
posted by Brian B. at 2:26 PM on May 11, 2008


delmoi has it - people just aren't that stupid - but I think you miss the whole picture, sadly.

The first part of this is that, while very few people are likely to change their vote, or even decide their vote, based on Jeremiah Wright, it's still great fodder for the GOP to use to turn out their own base, which is why they keep hammering on it. Hardcore partisans are happy to live in a vacuum which will demonize their opponents. I know I bought into the whole non-starting McCain lobbyist sex scandal a while back (and I'm still not sure we've heard the last of that) because of confirmation-bias. The more hate one side can bring for the other side, the more riled up their base gets for election day, which does effect the outcome a great deal.

Secondly, the undecideds. While I agree that anyone, particularly living in Bush's America, who hasn't made up their mind already is probably the least deserving person to pay attention to, there are some undecideds who aren't confused by the candidates' stances, but rather unsure on where they themselves stand, or more likely, how they prioritize the issues. It's possible to be pro-life and still prefer Obama's economic plan. It's possible to be anti-war and anti-welfare state. While Wright isn't going tp swing a lot of these voters either, the contraversies allow the campaigns to set conventional wisdom, and once that's determined - and once it is, it's almost impossible to change - people will begin to decide based on "trustworthiness" and "personality" and a bunch of other factors they feel like they know even though they don't.

So yes, the scandals are silly, and people aren't stupid, but they still matter, because politics knows how to get to the worst of us.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:32 PM on May 11, 2008


But the fact is, the Republican crap-slinging machine has only begun to gear up.

iraq - katrina - housing collapse - record budget deficit - 4 dollar gas

let them fling their crap

all we have to do is to TELL THE TRUTH
posted by pyramid termite at 2:42 PM on May 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


SLNYTOE did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
posted by SPrintF at 2:43 PM on May 11, 2008 [7 favorites]


As long as Bill O'Really and Rush Limpdick have listeners, worrying will be the order of the day.
Never attribute to malice what can be easily explained by stupidity, and all that ...
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:14 PM on May 11, 2008


delmoi: . . . people are't that stupid.

Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.
Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.
posted by The Bellman at 3:24 PM on May 11, 2008 [4 favorites]


I thought he made this point rather well in his North Carolina victory speech:

Yes, we know what’s coming. We’ve seen it already. The same names and labels they always pin on everyone who doesn’t agree with all their ideas. The same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives by pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy in the hope that the media will play along. The attempts to play on our fears and exploit our differences to turn us against each other for pure political gain – to slice and dice this country into Red States and Blue States; blue-collar and white-collar; white and black, and brown.

This is what they will do – no matter which one of us is the nominee. The question, then, is not what kind of campaign they’ll run, it’s what kind of campaign we will run. It’s what we will do to make this year different. I didn’t get into race thinking that I could avoid this kind of politics, but I am running for President because this is the time to end it.

posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 3:31 PM on May 11, 2008 [5 favorites]


Sorry, "he" = Obama.
posted by The Loch Ness Monster at 3:33 PM on May 11, 2008


People aren't stupid. As in US voter-people?
I think 2000 and 2004 would seem to indicate otherwise.
posted by signal at 4:39 PM on May 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Newsweek: Team Obama Preps for Battle -- "How Obama and his team plan to handle the GOP onslaught this fall."
posted by ericb at 4:43 PM on May 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I enjoyed the heck out of Rich this morning, but now I think it is time for us to stop even talking about Wright and things like Wright even as strategic moment sin the campaign. We should start talking now about issues and plans and real differences between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama. And we should not stop talking about real issues and differences until after the election.
posted by mmahaffie at 5:18 PM on May 11, 2008


Win all the swing states, but lose the convention by a popular nose count, minus a few states. I wonder if the democratic leadership understands the statistical opportunity they miss when they treat a swing state vote the same as a red or blue state vote.

I'm pretty sure they understand political disaster they'd have on their hands if they took the presidential slot away from the rightful winner, especially if that person happened to be the first African American to win it. These decisions don't take place in a vacuum.

Also, it's absurd to think that primary victories determine who would do better in a general election; half the voters who will vote in the general aren't participating. The vast majority of the voters will vote for the Democrat regardless of their primary preference, etc.

Also, bringing up Bayesian analysis here (as you do) is a total non-Sequiter. We have real, actual general election matchup polling, and guess what: Both Hillary and Obama beat McCain in the Electoral College, although some of the states they win are different
posted by delmoi at 5:44 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


The very real problem that the Dems face is that Hillary has gone "scorched earth". She'd rather destroy the party than lose the nomination. She's gone so far as to suggest that McCain would be a better president than Obama. Her rabid supporters have all come out saying that they'll vote for McCain if they Dem political strongmen don't override the public vote and give give her the nod.

I hate to say it kids, but the Clintons have fucked us. McCain will take the election because Hillary can't be a graceful loser. She's gonna take her ball, and her "hardworking Americans, white Americans" and go the fuck home.

She's going to be the ultimate example of the Boomer Me Generation. If she can't get what she wants, she's going to throw a tantrum. Only her tantrum is going to destroy the Democratic party. I've heard dozens of people on places like NPR say that if Obama gets the nomination, they'll all vote for McCain.

Never mind that a vote for McCain is a vote for Bush Version 3, and the Supreme Court nominations alone will change this country for next 2 generations. Never mind that it's a vote for someone who's idea of diplomacy is at the pointed end of a ICBM. Never mind that it's a vote for someone who said that torture isn't so bad. Someone who believes that Gitmo is a rational response, someone who will continue to make America the most hated superpower in the world.

Hillary didn't get her way, and her supporters are going to hold their breath until the whole country turns blue.

Thanks, Hillary.
posted by dejah420 at 5:51 PM on May 11, 2008 [11 favorites]


The American electorate is as dumb as a bucket full of rocks, but even that’s not enough to give the Republicans the edge this time around. More than that, I suspect the power players behind the scenes see Obama as better serving their real interests. There’s always a designated loser and this time around its crazy John McCain.
posted by Huplescat at 5:58 PM on May 11, 2008


I wonder how many people would really switch from Hillary to McCain. It feels like another tactic - another way to show that Obama is unelectable.

I wonder this, because I cannot even begin to wonder how anyone who calls themselves a "Democrat" could make such a reversal. It's clear that Clinton and Obama are much closer to each other on the issues than Clinton and McCain. What would justify voting for a candidate whose positions on issues are polar to one's own?

It seems hard to understand how someone would rather vote for McCain over Obama without citing race as a factor. (There, I said it.)
posted by elwoodwiles at 6:05 PM on May 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


People aren't stupid. As in US voter-people?
I think 2000 and 2004 would seem to indicate otherwise.


Just for the sake of historical accuracy: Gore won the popular vote in 2000; what was stupid -- criminally so -- is that the Democrats didn't fight Bush's appointment by the Supreme Court. 2004 arguably came down to Ohio, which was probably stolen.
posted by scody at 6:13 PM on May 11, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many people would really switch from Hillary to McCain.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: not many.
posted by aqhong at 6:18 PM on May 11, 2008


2004 arguably came down to Ohio, which was probably stolen.

Well, since nothing much has changed w/r/t voting machine trickery, voter ID and other suppression tactics, I think it's very safe to say that IF you believe the last election was stolen, there's no reason to doubt that the next one will also be stolen.

Who's stopping it from happening? How?
posted by rokusan at 6:21 PM on May 11, 2008


Judge Him by His Laws
posted by homunculus at 6:35 PM on May 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


Who's stopping it from happening? How?

Well, for one thing, democrats are running the elections in Ohio now, so if Ohio is stolen, it will be the democrats doing the stealing. But in actuality the secretary of state ran on a voting-rights, clean election platform.

Basically the entire Ohio republican government got tossed out on it's ass in '06.
posted by delmoi at 6:49 PM on May 11, 2008


I like Obama, I'll vote for him. And he'll probably be president, because he's an excellent politician. But ll this "wonderful new age" crap is silly.

Just as silly as acting like Americans of the last ~20 years invented dirty, superficial politics. As usual in these kind of things, you can substitute "human beings throughout time" for the negative traits attributed to contemporary Americans. This is not to excuse Bush and the dumbasses who vote for him, but the lack of historical perspective gets a little tiresome and tends to make me tune out.

As for the Wright thing, i think it's over. I also think Obama somewhat reaped what he sewed with all his "we worship an awesome god in the blue states," anti-gay-marriage religious pandering.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:54 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


anti-gay-marriage religious pandering

Uh, what?
posted by aqhong at 7:04 PM on May 11, 2008


The American electorate is as dumb as a bucket full of rocks, but even that’s not enough to give the Republicans the edge this time around.

I'm not so sure. But I do think that the difference this time around can be the people. If we sit by and watch, the country will go to hell. It's gonna get ugly.
posted by cashman at 7:08 PM on May 11, 2008


I think it's very safe to say that IF you believe the last election was stolen, there's no reason to doubt that the next one will also be stolen.

Sure; between the chicanery of Diebold, the general evil of the GOP leadership, and the general idiocy of the Democratic leadership, I figure that yet another stolen election could very well be in the cards. But this is not the same as saying that the American public is uniformly stupid as evidenced by the notion that we, collectively, voted for Bush by overwhelming (or even underwhelming) majorities -- because we demonstrably didn't do any such thing. That was the point I was addressing.

Besides, I have the feeling that the Republicans won't even need to resort to stealing the election this time around. The psychodrama of Hillary's scorched-earth tactics may quite possibly do their work for them.
posted by scody at 7:14 PM on May 11, 2008


Also, bringing up Bayesian analysis here (as you do) is a total non-Sequiter. We have real, actual general election matchup polling, and guess what: Both Hillary and Obama beat McCain in the Electoral College, although some of the states they win are different

Well yeah. And add to that that the swing states in 2004 were a bit of a different set from 2000. And many of the so-called "red states" were blue for Wm. Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Congress was won by the Democrats in 2006 through aggressive grass-roots campaigning and challenging Republican incumbent advantage on Republican turf, and did much better than expectations.

The other factor that has me in shock, is that throughout the primary process, the Democrats have broken record after record in primary voter participation. The shocker for me was my home state of Indiana which drew as many Democratic voters as voted for Kerry in the 2004 general election. That's huge. I still think McCain is going to win, but he's going to have to spend money and energy there or write off three contested congressional seats and the governor's office. And I don't think that's unique to Indiana. The voter participation surge hopefully means that Republicans can't take anything for granted, and hopefully the map will look more like 1992.

Obama has extremely strong fundraising, and can afford to target McCain. A backroom deal to give Clinton the nomination seems quite stupid to me.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:23 PM on May 11, 2008


reaped what he sewed

I believe it was a coat of many colors, you cynical so and so!
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:27 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyone who witnessed the results of the 2004 election and then can say "Voters aren't that stupid" has lost all touch with reality.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of things that could be said about 2000. But 2004 was simple. It was easy. It was straightforward.

Look what happened.

It should not have even been CLOSE. It should have been a 1984 landslide.

Most democrats think 2008 is going to be a landslide.

When the numbers come in the day after the election in November... then come talk to me about how "people aren't that stupid".

It should scare the holy shit out of all of you that about half of people voted for Bush in 2004. it should scare the holy shit out of all of you that about half of people will vote for McCain.

"Voters just aren't that stupid"????

Jesus Delmoi, I like you and agree with much you say, but that's the height of naivete. Perhaps the epitome of it.

The general election is going to be brutal, and there's more than a small chance that McCain will win, even without voting shenanigans.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:27 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


SLNYTOE did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

*fires off a C&D letter*
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:34 PM on May 11, 2008 [3 favorites]


scody: Besides, I have the feeling that the Republicans won't even need to resort to stealing the election this time around. The psychodrama of Hillary's scorched-earth tactics may quite possibly do their work for them.

The thing is, I don't see that many people are buying what H. Clinton is selling on that point. Her campaign is in debt, superdelegates are getting sick and tired of Wm. and Carville's tantrums, she sticks her foot in her mouth every other time she speaks, her campaign staff seems to be a revolving door, and she's not winning or controlling her losses by the margins she needs. I think she looses more by dragging it out than Obama.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:46 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ynoxas writes "There are dozens, if not hundreds, of things that could be said about 2000. But 2004 was simple. It was easy. It was straightforward."

No, it wasn't. If you were opposed to the war and Bush in general, then there wasn't much to deliberate, but war didn't start in Iraq until 2003. A lot of the polling was favoring Bush in 2004, despite his propensity to fuck everything up. It took a while, but people finally came around. First in 2006, and even more this time around. But 2004 was too early. People don't like to admit they've been had.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:56 PM on May 11, 2008


ynoxas: But 2004 was simple. It was easy. It was straightforward.

Look what happened.

It should not have even been CLOSE. It should have been a 1984 landslide.


That would have been possibly true only if A) we had a proper press, rather than a corps of lapdogs; B) the Democrats had opposed the war from the start (and if they knew how to run a goddamn campaign, to boot); and C) those adjustable-rate mortgages had started to reset in 2003 rather than 2007.

There is no doubting that our political system is a travesty, and that it both promotes and reflects a certain brand of aggressive ignorance that is held by a consistent minority of the population (Saddam was behind 9/11! Evolution is just a theory!). Having said that, it is a travesty that's been arrived at for historical, social, and economic reasons far more complex than simply declaring that Most Americans Are Stupid, Y'all. High on my list of suspects would be the corporate lock on virtually all mass media and a winner-takes-all election system that enforces two-party rule and guarantees the irrelevance of progressive third parties (particularly the historical absence of an independent labor party not tied to ruling-class interests).

KirkJobSluder: I think she looses more by dragging it out than Obama.

Oh I agree with you; I think this is true by any reasonable analysis of the situation. Hillary Clinton, however, is showing that she has a Dubya-like immunity to reason's charms. Her insistence on staying in the race ostensibly to allow "all the voters to be heard" is a little like a baseball coach insisting that a playoff series go to seven games after the other team's already won four, on the grounds that he's got players who haven't had a chance to come off the bench yet.

She is obsessively political to the point of being captive to her ambition -- thus she appears uninterested in any damage she does to her party, and blind to the damage she's doing to herself. She's Lady Macbeth in a pantsuit.
posted by scody at 8:18 PM on May 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


elwoodwiles wrote: "It's clear that Clinton and Obama are much closer to each other on the issues than Clinton and McCain. "

I'm not so sure about that.

Clinton, as you may recall, has spent the past few weeks falling over herself to close the ideological and policy gap between her and McCain. Wasn't it two weeks ago that she was talking about "obliterating" Iran? (really, Hil? Even the women and children? It takes a village to raise a child, and then a nuke to kill them all, apparently.) Or making a useless (and possibly extremely harmful) gasoline tax cut? Or bragging about how she has the support of hardworking whites?

I think it's pretty obvious that Clinton is trying to run to McCain's right. Or at least alongside him. I don't know about you, but I'm not interested in another 4 years of Republican mismanagement, even if one of the Republican candidates happens to mistakenly have a "D" in front of her name.
posted by Avenger at 8:19 PM on May 11, 2008


But this is not the same as saying that the American public is uniformly stupid as evidenced by the notion that we, collectively, voted for Bush by overwhelming (or even underwhelming) majorities -- because we demonstrably didn't do any such thing. That was the point I was addressing.

My remark (which you were responding to originally) wasn't just about how many people voted for Bush, but also about the fact that you chose not to do anything about one glaring and another likely stolen election. This isn't just on the Democratic leadership or Bush voters, but on all US citizens who care more deeply about the results of American Idol than the presidential election.
posted by signal at 8:26 PM on May 11, 2008


I have deliberately refused to wade into the discussions about the Democratic primaries and 2008 election here and elsewhere. Guess it's high time I waded into the muck and said what I think about strategy.

There is a great degree of hand wringing on the Democratic side about how the Republicans are going to come at Obama, or how Hillary is going to break the party, backroom dealings to overturn the will of the voters, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Diebold, Reverend Wright and Bittergate....

Please, just pause for a moment and take a deep breath. Set all that stuff aside for a moment and take a step back. First of all, Obama is the nominee. As we speak, Hillary is figuring out how to exit while saving face.

Frank Rich is telling you that Obama will run a post-partisan, new line thinking campaign and he's right about that, but he hasn't told you what that campaign will look like, other than to say it will be very well funded.

Obama has said "it is not about what kind of campaign they will run, it's about what kind of campaign we will run." So, what kind of campaign will Obama run? What will be the narrative, what will the messaging be, how will Obama pivot from the vile attacks we all know are in store?

The early narrative: John McCain is an honorable man, but wrong. Wrong man at the wrong time, with horribly wrong positions. Obama is the man for the new century -- bringing in new voters, building new coalitions, laser focused on solutions and bridging the divides of the past. The messaging: Preface everything said about McCain with the fact that we honor his service to America (in essence, this is a backhanded compliment...what they're implying and not saying is is that his best days are behind him.) Do not brook name calling -- it's juvenile and counter-productive. Insulate Obama from character attacks by taking the high road -- not initiating attacks, only counterpunching -- and closing every rejoinder by reminding voters that the "nontroversy" tit-for-tat doesn't solve their problems. (He did exactly this in the debates against Hillary, even against the moderators at times.)

That's the early narrative. Change means new thinking, we can't solve problems wth the thinking that created them, yadda yadda. McCain is yesterday, Obama is tomorrow. Taking the high road and being selective on counterpunching makes it much more effective...like a good changeup makes a fastball seem that much faster to the hitter.

As for the most vile attacks on Obama: Republicans cannot win a national election on race anymore. They will try to paint him as a racist, and it will backfire on them. They'll lose two votes for every one they gain on that score. It would be ugly and they would pay for it at the ballot box.

The biggest challenge for Obama's campaign will not be how to beat McCain on the merits, and (for once) it will not be the Democratic candidate who has a charm deficit. The challenge will be getting voters to pivot along with Obama, to turn the conversation from nonsense about race and age, into questions about how has the better ideas on Iraq, the economy, healthcare and education.

Will voters follow Obama's leadership, or will they follow the lead of the cable news bobbleheads into petty bickering and nonsense?

Here's my advice to Democrats...if you want your guy to win, talk about issues (like your candidate does). If you want to lose, talk about gaffes and race, bring up Hagee every time the GOP brings up Wright, and every time the say "B. Hussein" call your opponent "Bushie McSame III." Loudly decry Republican racism. If you play the victim, you'll look like one.

If you want to win, fight your battle, not theirs. Kick that dirt off your shoulder. All you have to do is not get distracted. Keep people focused on what's really at stake. Your candidate embodies the change you seek -- follow his lead. Organize, take nothing for granted, but don't freak out over every little thing.

And, like your candidate, stop handwringing about what Republicans are going to do to him. Obama has just accomplished what no Republican ever has....he has beaten the Clintons. He is about to become a historic figure, who will be the first black nominee for President of the United States. These are no easy feats, and he made them look easy.

If you're a Democrat with Obama as your standard bearer, your worries are minor compared to the GOP. They're facing the top political talent of a generation, who raises funds like Jesus raised Lazarus, who could redraw the political map for a generation -- and they're running to succeed the least popular president in a century, during a recession and a housing crisis, with a 71 year old candidate who agrees with him 95% of the time.
posted by edverb at 8:32 PM on May 11, 2008 [37 favorites]


the fact that you chose not to do anything about one glaring and another likely stolen election.

Who, exactly, are you addressing by the use of "you," here? The hundreds of thousands of us who protested (in the face of near-total media indifference, by the way)? We don't get to vote for the Supreme Court, nor the party machinery of the Democrats, nor do we have any direct say over the abolition of the ridiculous Electoral College, nor say in the way elections are run (they're controlled not at the state level, but at a county level -- so there are literally thousands of election boards in the U.S.). Believe me, as a progressive activist since I was a teenager in the Reagan era, I would have loved to have seen millions of people country break into full-scale revolt after 2000 (and after the invasion of Iraq, and after a second stolen election). So if you have a good idea as to how to make it happen, I invite you to the U.S. to lead the way! Evidently it would be a relatively simple matter; we're just all too dazzled by American Idol to have worked out the details.
posted by scody at 8:43 PM on May 11, 2008


read: millions of people in this country...
posted by scody at 8:44 PM on May 11, 2008


Jesus Delmoi, I like you and agree with much you say, but that's the height of naivete. Perhaps the epitome of it.

The general election is going to be brutal, and there's more than a small chance that McCain will win, even without voting shenanigans.


Oh please. I know voters may be stupid, but my point is that they are not that stupid. i.e. stupid enough to agree with a politicians positions but not vote for them because of this idiotic bullshit. (That said, there may be a slim number of people swayed by this crap, but not enough to swing an election)

That would have been possibly true only if A) we had a proper press, rather than a corps of lapdogs; B) the Democrats had opposed the war from the start (and if they knew how to run a goddamn campaign, to boot); and C) those adjustable-rate mortgages had started to reset in 2003 rather than 2007.

Let's not forget, Kerry supported the war in '04 and actually claimed he would have invaded but "done everything different". He also claimed that he would solve the war problem by getting other countries involved, and if they didn't? Well, he gave a Bushean insistence that it would happen. It was ridiculous. I still think Dean would have done better against Bush then Kerry.
posted by delmoi at 8:48 PM on May 11, 2008


Kerry supported the war in '04 and actually claimed he would have invaded but "done everything different".

Yep. Classic "Republican lite" strategy.
posted by scody at 9:00 PM on May 11, 2008


Despite months of prognostcation by the media,pundits, bloggers and those of us playing the home version of the game, I don't see how any of this has been unpredictable. The only surprise was Iowa. After that we could have pulled a Madden football style "computer matchup" and got the exact same results.

I remember in January, the common wisdom was that Obama would run the Table In February, and that Clinton would come back with wins in Ohio and Texas. Despite this being pretty much exactly what happened, the whole time The media acted as if the whole thing was some thrilling unexpected development. Meanwhile missing the real story over and over. For example Obama actually won Texas, but that didn't fit the dramatic arc of that news cycle, despite being the one fact being the true gauge of how this thing is playing out. No matter what happens The Obama Campaign is based on winning delegates. After Texas, (that same week it came out that he won more delegates in California than expected) I knew that he was playing a game of cold hard math, and none of the other hoopla was going to matter.

My other indicator of just how off the popular reporting is during this campaign is the repeated comparisons to pre-watergate politics. That was almost 40 freaking years ago. I'm not saying that history isn't relevant, everything that's happened since then is also relevant. The world has has changed in major ways multiple times since then. Presidential politics and our collective perception of what a president even is has changed multiple times since then. Nixon happened. Reagan happened in a major way. Clinton happened, then Clinton Happened again with an intern. We're still confused about 2000, and in the meantime we've had 9/11, 5 years of war, swiftboating, A complete 180 in the economy and America's standing in the world, and Hurricane Katrina.

After all that if the best you can do is McGovern comparisons, you should turn in your press pass.

I think the real story is Obama's campaign, which will be studied and mimicked for years to come. Versus Hillary Clinton's terrible campaign, which will also be studied as a model of how not to run a campaign. I've seen blockwatch captain campaigns that ran a tighter ship than she has. A lot of careers are over after this one.

And the big story that outshines everything is America's First Black President. And not in the petty "Hard working white Americans" polling numbers way that we're seeing. I'm talking big picture "History Of The Nation" type importance. Doesn't matter if Obama wins or loses, that's the story.

What polling numbers can't show is that For Clinton to win, she had to be bigger than that story. She wasn't. For McCain to win, he has to be bigger than that story. So far he's not showing it. For Obama to win, he doesn't have to be bigger than that story, he has to BE that story, which is a monumental task in and of itself. Whatever happens will be all sorts of historic and unprecedented.

If Obama wins, everything since JFK becomes a footnote. This is why Bill Clinton is out there looking like a red-faced amateur right now, and why Hillary has devolved into whatever she's passing herself off as this week. It's why Rev. Wright had to make such an ass of himself. The more real the possibility of Obama getting elected gets, the more it eclipses everything and everyone around it. We saw a taste of it Iowa, until Clinton smacked the pressed out of it, but that was nothing compared to him winning the nomination.

My prediction is that Obama-mania hasn't yet become part of the collective national psyche, but if he wins the nomination it'll be inescapable. Like after 9/11 when we stuck american flags on every available surface...Bootleg t-shirts in Times Square....that kind of thing.

Considering that he has put together the type of organization to perfectly capitalize on that sort of thing, I wouldn't bet money against him at this point...
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:33 PM on May 11, 2008 [6 favorites]


sorry for all the typos up there, I hit post when I meant to hit preview. Hope it makes a little sense. I'd also like to add that I don't think of any of what I said as reasons that Obama should win or anyone should vote for him. I just think these are things that affect the General election in a way that poll numbers aren't showing, and I don't really hear anyone mentioning in the press.
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:47 PM on May 11, 2008


billyfleetwood writes "I've seen blockwatch captain campaigns that ran a tighter ship than she has. A lot of careers are over after this one."

I don't know about that. I'm pretty sure that the whole dirty campaign "ending" with Penn being replaced was orchestrated. It's a perfect move. You poison the well with the vilest sort of attacks, claiming that this is just what the "other side" will do, then your main strategist who looks like Jabba the Hut on TV hits the airwaves a bunch to defend the "kitchen sink" strategy. After much noise and a mini scandal involving conflict of interest, he finally gets the boot, and thereby all the blame and negativity sticks to him, and he goes away (but not really). Then you transform into a working class hero and pretend not to notice as the crap your guy previously stirred up starts to get regurgitated in the media through little asides by surrogates and a press conference with a black liberation preacher. I can easily see how this got worked out and sold, and how this is would work most of the time. But I agree with Rich that it won't really work this time, not enough. Even so, Penn, et al, were just doing the jobs they were paid to do, and I don't think they will be hurting for clients. I mean, I think these guys are pretty worthless, but I don't think that's a measure of their success in their chosen profession, even if the conventional wisdom didn't work this time. It surely will some time very soon.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:07 PM on May 11, 2008


Also, bringing up Bayesian analysis here (as you do) is a total non-Sequiter. We have real, actual general election matchup polling, and guess what: Both Hillary and Obama beat McCain in the Electoral College, although some of the states they win are different

Non sequitur to what argument? It's a state-by-state race. General polls mean nothing for the necessary swing states because they go both ways on subtle personality differences. The electoral factor is so apparent since Gore lost that I don't bother to debate it with novices who think that votes count nationally in general elections. (I spent a lot of time explaining it before Nader complicated the issue though, although Obama supporters seem far less idealistic than protest voters for Nader). Also, as for Bayesian analysis, I replied thus as a necessity, as a fact check to someone who implied that prior elections were statistically not important. I beg to differ, but you can pretend they don't matter if that helps cheerleading. You may fool someone, and that's what politics are all about, so good luck.

Hillary didn't get her way, and her supporters are going to hold their breath until the whole country turns blue.

Well, if someone doesn't feel Obama has the experience to get their way in Congress or elsewhere, then you can point out that his ambitions can't wait, or give them the line change. They might just take the bait. Hillary supporters who have been waiting their entire lives for a hardcore pro-choice candidate will no doubt see an opportunity in McCain winning over Obama, because he will probably be too old to run for serious re-election. Then Hillary can win. If Obama was McCain's loser, they wouldn't pick him twice in a row. The more likely scenario is that Hillary supporters who aren't excited about Obama winning for personal reasons will have better things to do on election day, like go bowling for the first time.
posted by Brian B. at 10:19 PM on May 11, 2008


Obama has just accomplished what no Republican ever has....he has beaten the Clintons.

Wow, thats the first time a comment in a political discussion on MeFi made be blink..I dare say an epiphany. Well done, sir.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 10:29 PM on May 11, 2008


Just to re-emphasize: I don't think the Clinton strategists should have jobs again, but of course they will, and what they do probably will work again. The game to them is win at any cost, and that's the way politics does work a lot of the time - shouldn't, but does. Carville, for one, will never go away, unfortunately, like some bizarre cajun gargoyle that comments from the rafters. I think people are sick enough of it right now to give something else a try. I've been sick of it for a long time, and it's difficult picturing the Democratic Party without the Clintons at the top, though I've about had it with both of them now. But it probably will still be a difficult four years coming up, and the temptation will be to politics as usual the next time around, not to mention the rest of this campaign.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:31 PM on May 11, 2008


Brian B. writes "Hillary supporters who have been waiting their entire lives for a hardcore pro-choice candidate will no doubt see an opportunity in McCain winning over Obama, because he will probably be too old to run for serious re-election. Then Hillary can win."

Those sorts of strategies have been employed before, but I don't think it speaks well of any candidate who employs them. It implies that Clinton's ambitions are more important than her stated policy goals, or the party she claims to champion.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:34 PM on May 11, 2008


If you're a Democrat with Obama as your standard bearer, your worries are minor compared to the GOP.

Thanks for some much needed common sense, edverb. There's way too much of this kind of stuff from Obama supporters:
Hillary supporters who have been waiting their entire lives for a hardcore pro-choice candidate will no doubt see an opportunity in McCain winning over Obama, because he will probably be too old to run for serious re-election. Then Hillary can win.
I just don't understand this kind of paranoia. It's as if "She had the gall to oppose Obama, she must be insane and evil." Did I miss Obama being anti-abortion?
posted by msalt at 11:06 PM on May 11, 2008


I've heard dozens of people on places like NPR say that if Obama gets the nomination, they'll all vote for McCain.
And if Hillary gets the nomination, how will the Obama-ists vote?
posted by Cranberry at 12:11 AM on May 12, 2008


And if Hillary gets the nomination, how will the Obama-ists vote?

The question is moot.
posted by scody at 12:34 AM on May 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


And if Hillary gets the nomination

She won't. She can't. It's over.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:45 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for some much needed common sense, edverb. There's way too much of this kind of stuff from Obama supporters:

No, I think the argument here is that the Democratic party is setting its self up for failure by not nominating Clinton because she does somewhat better in 2000 and 2004 "battleground" states, and the Democrats should focus on gaming the electoral college system.

The problem is that putting the hopes of the party on swinging just enough states to get an EC victory has been a losing strategy for the Democrats since 2000, not just for the White House, but also for the equally critical congressional majority. 2006 showed that by fighting in 50 states, the Democrats can win "impossible" victories. So why not capitalize on the success in organizing and voting that made 2006 possible?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:11 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


How can Senator Clinton claim to be more "electable" than Senator Obama if she lost to him in, you know, elections? He leads her in the popular vote, states, delegates, and super delegates. Her strategy of convincing the super delegates she'd do better against McCain has already failed, since more and more super delegates are declaring for Obama after Michigan and North Carolina, even with her expected to win the West Virginia primary this week.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:33 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama has just accomplished what no Republican ever has....he has beaten the Clintons.

edverb, I'm as big a fan of Obama as anyone, but factually this is incorrect:

John Paul Hammerschmidt beat him for an Arkansas House seat in 1974; and Frank D. White interrupted his career as governor for a term in 1980.

The unbeaten mythology is part of the Clinton flim flam. They can be beaten, and they've just been beaten again. I'm waiting eagerly for them to go away; we've had enough of politics as used-car-salesmanship for one generation.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:57 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


How can Senator Clinton claim to be more "electable" than Senator Obama if she lost to him in, you know, elections?

Because of Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. You can't count on winning the presidency in 2008 without winning most of these states. Obama has won mostly red states, presumed to be Republican until proven otherwise in a major election. Again, Obama supporters are shown to be naive.
posted by Brian B. at 7:12 AM on May 12, 2008


Even if he'd won Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio in the primaries, that doesn't guarantee he'd win them in the general election. A lot of people just need to learn about him. Exposure. Every place he has a chance to go into, he can go in and a lot of times gain lots of ground.

Clinton had name recognition. A lot of people don't pay attention, and when they go in the booth, just look for a name they are familiar with. I had friends in Ohio who were clueless as to the many crappy things Hillary Clinton's campaign was involved with. They just knew the name "Clinton", from years of hearing the name on the scene. I was disgusted, but that's how uninvolved some people are. He'll be able to familiarize himself with more people though, as time goes on.

In Florida, a lot of people didn't vote, knowing their vote wouldn't count. Him campaigning heavily here would definitely make a difference.

See here's the thing - if Hillary would quit and start using her name recognition to increase awareness of Barack, that would help. But the armies of people who will be out spreading the word will help also.

I think you're naive if you don't realize that while it will get ugly and some of America's racist old ghosts will come out of the floorboards, that there will be a drive to get Obama elected unlike anything seen in decades.

If he gets the nomination, which I wish would hurry up and formally happen.
posted by cashman at 7:34 AM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Even if he'd won Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio

Both Florida and Ohio are locks for the Republicans, no matter who's in the race. The media markets and election processes are well under Republican control in those states. That's a given. And it's among the many reasons why Clinton's wins in those states are irrelevant.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:40 AM on May 12, 2008


Saturday Night Live: Message from Hillary Clinton
posted by kirkaracha at 7:46 AM on May 12, 2008


Brian B.: The big question is, how much is the gap between Clinton and Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania predictive of a lack of success in the general election, especially given that both Obama and Clinton are quite successful at getting people to the polls in record numbers, and swamping the Republican party participation? 4-1 in Pennsylvania. 2-1 in Ohio. How many Clinton voters are really going to stay home rather than vote for Obama?

And you know something. "Fuck the South," Democrats who put their faith into gaming the EC with control of big superstates and picking up a handful of "battleground" states were proven wrong when a party leadership determined to fight on the ground picked up a congressional majority in presumed Republican stronghold states. It's time for them to either sit down and shut up, or join in on the fundraising and voter registration drives. We have no time for proven stupid strategy.

saulgoodman: Democrats won control of the election process in Ohio in 2006. But I'm not willing to consider any state currently a "lock" for the Republicans while the Democrats are beating them from 2-1 to 4-1 to the ballot boxes this primary season. That's the undereported story of the primary season.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:53 AM on May 12, 2008


KirkJobSluder: I would love to be proved wrong. But at the very least, arguing for any strategy in the general that assumes wins in Ohio and Florida are likely seems pretty risky. Better to build a strategy that doesn't depend on wins in those states, but then still devote a reasonable amount of energy to trying to swing them.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:04 AM on May 12, 2008


Oh, I'm not saying that the Democrats should assume wins anywhere. But critics of Obama's electability in those states should pat attention to the fact when you count raw vote totals, Obama has been blowing out McCain during the entire primary season. To me, it looks like every state is in play.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:20 AM on May 12, 2008


Hillary supporters who have been waiting their entire lives for a hardcore pro-choice candidate will no doubt see an opportunity in McCain winning over Obama, because he will probably be too old to run for serious re-election. Then Hillary can win.

Clinton and Obama have a nearly identical voting record on pro-choice issues. Both are rated 100% by NARAL and 0% by NRLC. It's ludicrous that certain people think that only women can be "hardcore" pro-choice.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2008


Democrats who put their faith into gaming the EC with control of big superstates and picking up a handful of "battleground" states were proven wrong when a party leadership determined to fight on the ground picked up a congressional majority in presumed Republican stronghold states.

It's a darn good thing, too. The continued entrenchment of the red state/blue state schism will eventually make this country completely ungovernable, if it's not there already. Some hardcore Dems do not like what they call religious pandering from Obama, but his entreaties to those erstwhile conservatives are an absolutely essential step in bringing them back into the fold based on real values issues (not nec. abortion, but FDR type issues like: poverty, war, healthcare, veterans' benefits, etc.) and not on phony values issues (flag pins, pledge of allegiance, school prayer, etc.).

It should surprise no one that the DLC Dems (of which the Clintons are charter members) opposed Howard Dean's election as president of the DNC, and fought the 50 state strategy. They are vested leaders of the status quo, and they lose their power when the party becomes, again democratized. I think that Obama is the natural standard bearer of this movement, and I expect to see an electoral map very different than what we saw in 2000 and 2004.

As much as I like to think somewhat fondly of the Clintons and their years in the White House, and I mostly think that they think they have the country's best interests at heart, they and their ilk are every bit as much part of the problem in this country as the Tom DeLays and Karl Roves. Divide and conquer: keep us all yapping at each other about manufactured red team vs blue team bullshit, and they keep their jobs.
posted by psmealey at 8:54 AM on May 12, 2008


Ron Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain
posted by homunculus at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2008


Maybe it's because I'm not in the tank for Obama, but am I the only one that thinks this is a weak-ass GYOB chatfilter lame FPP?
posted by Heminator at 9:44 AM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ron Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain

The blimps circling overhead should have tipped him off.
posted by msalt at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2008


I the only one that thinks this is a weak-ass GYOB chatfilter lame FPP?

No, you're not. Congratulations, sir, you are not alone.
posted by psmealey at 10:09 AM on May 12, 2008


It's a real problem, though. If only there were a way to avoid clicking on FPPs that you wouldn't like or enjoy. I'll ask Matt and Josh if they can come up with something.
posted by psmealey at 10:12 AM on May 12, 2008


I don't even think it needs "religious pandering." There are constellations of local progressive groups that could greatly benefit from some networking.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:27 AM on May 12, 2008


homunculus writes: Ron Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain

Wow. The comments in this story have to be the most entertaining thing I've read all week... seems we're only days away from Ron Paul springing his carefully-laid trap, in which an overwhelming number of McCain's pledged delegates suddenly switch sides in a coup the likes of which hasn't been seen since Lincoln's nomination some century-and-a-half ago. Indeed, his 19 pledged delegates are but the leading reconnaissance force for the 600 (!) that are merely awaiting the word to execute their coup de grace and bring their exulted leader to an at-the-buzzer victory.

when you talk about biggots...lets remember history and the democrat slave owners. Lets remember that blacks used to be republicans until the desperate dems use $$ as a carrot on a stick. many blacks voted for Eisenhower but then the hillbilly kennedys came into office and gave welfare new meaning and taxes skyrocked

Shine on, you beacon of freedom you.

Paul/LaRouche '08!
posted by Mayor West at 10:37 AM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't even think it needs "religious pandering." There are constellations of local progressive groups that could greatly benefit from some networking.

Absolutely. When I was working on the death penalty moratorium, our grassroots group's strongest and most reliable allies were frequently other groups and individuals whose stances were driven at least in part by their religious faith. We didn't have to share the same spiritual beliefs to share the same political goal.
posted by scody at 10:42 AM on May 12, 2008


(that is, the moratorium in Illinois in 2000, not the national moratorium in 1972... my politics weren't quite that formed at the age of 3.)
posted by scody at 10:45 AM on May 12, 2008


Senator Clinton's campaign is similar to the invasion of Iraq. She tried to "shock and awe" her opponents on Super Tuesday, didn't have a plan in case that didn't work, and has had a series of different rationales for her campaign.

Ron Paul's forces quietly plot GOP convention revolt against McCain

Barr announces Libertarian White House bid
posted by kirkaracha at 10:50 AM on May 12, 2008


Oh, Bob Barr. I was wondering what Roseanne was up to.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Like I said, Senator Clinton is not convincing the superdelegates. Obama's picked up 20 superdelegates since last Tuesday's primaries in North Carolina and Indiana ("Clinton has netted 1.5 since then"), and picked up four today.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:58 PM on May 12, 2008


Barr!
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:07 PM on May 12, 2008


Obama's schedule is already starting to develop a general election feel to it:

Tuesday - Cape Giradeau, Missouri
Wednesday – Macomb County and Grand Rapids, Michigan
Friday – South Dakota
Saturday and Sunday – Oregon
Next week – Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach County and Miami
posted by cashman at 4:35 PM on May 12, 2008


Olbermann reported last week that Wolfson is already shopping for a book deal.
Posted by Florida


Primary Colors II? I'll go see it if they get Emma Thompson to play Hillary again.
posted by psmealey at 6:54 PM on May 12, 2008


I'll see it if they get Emma Watson.
posted by aqhong at 7:32 PM on May 12, 2008


I remember in January, the common wisdom was that Obama would run the Table In February, and that Clinton would come back with wins in Ohio and Texas

Winning Wisconsin was a surprise, and if you ask me that's basically where he won the nomination. After that, Hillary's ultimate victory became unlikely. After failing to make up the margin in Texas and OH, it was all she wrote. Even a 20 point victory in PA wouldn't have helped her in the elected delegate count.

I don't know about that. I'm pretty sure that the whole dirty campaign "ending" with Penn being replaced was orchestrated. It's a perfect move. You poison the well with the vilest sort of attacks, claiming that this is just what the "other side" will do, then your main strategist who looks like Jabba the Hut on TV hits the airwaves a bunch to defend the "kitchen sink" strategy. After much noise and a mini scandal involving conflict of interest, he finally gets the boot, and thereby all the blame and negativity sticks to him, and he goes away (but not really).

Except he wasn't fired, he was demoted, and the negativity didn't go away, it got worse. There is no way Penn was some sort of rovian double play. Come on.

Non sequitur to what argument? -- Brian B.

Are you kidding? A Non sequitur is a is a comment that has nothing to do with prior comments, which means it's not attached to anything argued prior. So the answer to the question "what argument?" is "no argument.".

In order to know Bayesian analysis you'd need to be able to answer the question "What is the probability of Obama beating McCain in 2008 and Kerry beating Bush in 2004" and also the question "What is the probability of Kerry beating bush in 2004" Now, you could say that the probability of Kerry beating bush is 1 in states he won and 0 in states he didn't because it already happened, but...

If you did that it would be impossible to calculate the odds of Obama beating McCain in states that Kerry lost, because it would require a divide by zero. In states Kerry won, obama's probability would be the same as if Kerry had no won, because you are dividing by 1, which is the multiplicative identity.

Now you might say that the probability of Kerry winning is X <>The question is moot.

Bwahaha, holly crap that's funny.
posted by delmoi at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2008


Shit... Looks like the HTML got mangled. The rest of my post should read:
Now you might say that the probability of Kerry winning is X < 1, which is the probability you would arrive at if you somehow ran the election over and over again then divided the number of times Kerry won by the total number of runs, but obviously, that's impossible.

In other words, you don't know wtf you're talking about with Bayes' rule. I'm not saying that statistics should play no part, but I am saying you're an innumerate moron who couldn't possibly apply statistical probability in an appropriate way.

The question is moot.

Bwahaha, holly crap that's funny.
posted by delmoi at 7:53 PM on May 12, 2008


Hillary Rehearses Hand Gestures from voice actress Rosemary Watson's "That Hillary Show".

I laughed, anyway. (1st link is to YouTube)
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:39 PM on May 12, 2008


Oh, I love that woman.
posted by aqhong at 11:17 PM on May 12, 2008


Are you kidding? A Non sequitur is a is a comment that has nothing to do with prior comments, which means it's not attached to anything argued prior. So the answer to the question "what argument?" is "no argument.".

Delmoi, apparently after I showed you how to spell non sequitur, you're now pretending to lecture me about its obviousness. Also, to repeat, my Bayesian analysis link was a reply to someone who claimed that no prior assumptions of previous voting conditions could be made (in order to wisely adjust votes from the swing states). I disagreed, giving the link as evidence against their claim. Get out much?
posted by Brian B. at 3:23 PM on May 13, 2008


Brian B., you misunderstand Bayesian analysis if you think it means that "assuming the states up for play will be the same as they were the last few times around" is "the best assumption" as you said earlier.
posted by grouse at 3:34 PM on May 13, 2008


Obama has won mostly red states, presumed to be Republican until proven otherwise in a major election. Again, Obama supporters are shown to be naive.

What's naive (or maybe just plain ignorant) is to believe that there is any correlation between winning your party's primary in a given state and winning that state in a general election. Do you really believe that Obama wouldn't win New York? Or that nominee Hillary would stand a chance in Ohio? No way. Hillary's whole rationale (irrationale?) is predicated on a patently false assertion. And she's smart enough to know it.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:01 PM on May 13, 2008


Brian B., you misunderstand Bayesian analysis if you think it means that "assuming the states up for play will be the same as they were the last few times around" is "the best assumption" as you said earlier.

Text is here.

Or that nominee Hillary would stand a chance in Ohio?

Yes, she could win Ohio in 2008 against McCain and would probably do so.
posted by Brian B. at 4:14 PM on May 13, 2008


Text is here.

Yes, indeed. That's the text that contains the misunderstanding of Bayesian analysis.
posted by grouse at 4:19 PM on May 13, 2008


Or that nominee Hillary would stand a chance in Ohio?

My bad. I meant Indiana. But you get the point. You can't honestly look at who has won which primaries and believe that it correlates to a win in the general election. It just doesn't work that way.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:47 PM on May 13, 2008


Yes, indeed. That's the text that contains the misunderstanding of Bayesian analysis.

That's the second time you avoided explaining why.
posted by Brian B. at 8:44 PM on May 13, 2008


But you get the point. You can't honestly look at who has won which primaries and believe that it correlates to a win in the general election. It just doesn't work that way.

It would be best to run the winner of the largest swing states in the general election, because those are the hardest to win, and they are typically very close.
posted by Brian B. at 8:49 PM on May 13, 2008


Racism alarms Obama's backers: Candidate's foot soldiers encounter name-calling, vandalism, bomb threats
posted by homunculus at 9:31 PM on May 13, 2008


It would be best to run the winner of the largest swing states in the general election, because those are the hardest to win, and they are typically very close.

Not necessarily.

In the 2004 primaries, Kerry won OH, MO, WV, and FL; he lost them all to Bush in the general (though, as previously mentioned, it's fair to argue that OH was stolen).

In the 2000 primaries, Gore likewise won OH, MO, WV and FL; he likewise lost all four to Bush in the general (though in that case, FL was... well, FL was the debacle we all know and love).

In the 1988 primaries, Dukakis won OH, WV, and FL (Gephardt won his home state of MO); he won WV in the general, but lost OH and FL to Papa Bush (I sense a trend here...).
posted by scody at 9:56 PM on May 13, 2008


That's the second time you avoided explaining why.

Well, it would be hard to correct your misconception since you have never explained why you believe Bayesian analysis means that "assuming the states up for play will be the same as they were the last few times around" is "the best assumption." In that, just bringing up Bayesian analysis with only a link to an encyclopedia entry on it is a bit like the Chewbacca defense. It doesn't actually help your argument.

If I may guess, I think you may be confused by the use of the term "prior." The prior does not mean "what happened last time." It refers to what is essentially a guess about what will happen the next time before you have any specific data for this case. The "prior" part refers to the guess being made before you have this additiional knowledge.

There is frequently not a single obvious way of choosing the prior. What happened the last few times is one way, and you can make an argument that it is the best way, but you haven't done that. Even if you did, it would still just be an argument—you aren't going to find universal agreement on the choice of prior so it is best not to frame claims about it so absolutely.

I don't think it is the best way, either. But even if it were, choosing a prior is not all we have to do to "make the best assumption." In Bayesian inference you have to look at the actual data as well.
posted by grouse at 3:21 AM on May 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Racism alarms Obama's backers: Candidate's foot soldiers encounter name-calling, vandalism, bomb threats

Yeah. Pathetic, but not surprising.

When I canvassed for Hillary Clinton in her 2000 Senate campaign, I went into some fairly depressed ("hardworking American, white American") areas in western New York, near Buffalo and in the upper Hudson Valley, NY State's own rust belt. I was completely unprepared for the level of hatred that was directed at us, people on her campaign. When I got a bit closer, I learned that they "hated her for what she stood for" (what? liberalism? progressivism? unanswerable... the mind reels). We were actually spit upon as we were doing our jobs. SPIT upon. Beyond the tepid showering they gave us, they cursed us and threatened us with physical violence. I do not pretend that this is the same as what Obama campaign members have faced, but I do think it comes from the same dark place.

This is why Hillary's pander to bigots is so hurtful. I had thought that she knew what it was like to be on the other side of that hatred and resentment, but it turns out she's only happy to marshal it for her own purpose if she can profit from it.

I don't know what disgusts me more. The bigotry, or those that cynically benefit from it.
posted by psmealey at 4:21 AM on May 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Lie down with bigots, wake up a racist; to me, Clinton has fully crossed the line.

How you act matters more than what you claim to "believe." Clinton has acted the part of a race-baiting populist for several months now, and that has determined her identity in my eyes.

I'm utterly disgusted by her; I will vote libertarian if she wins the nomination, and oppose her with the same ferocity I've opposed Bush if she wins the presidency.

Either the democratic party gets this right or the party is dead to me, which was pretty much the case already until Obama appeared asking me to give the party one last chance.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:45 AM on May 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Racism alarms Obama's backers: Candidate's foot soldiers encounter name-calling, vandalism, bomb threats

T-shirts for sale in Georgia compare Obama to ‘Curious George.’
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on May 14, 2008


T-shirts for sale in Georgia compare Obama to ‘Curious George.’

Racist or clueless moron? Charitably, I'll assume the latter. In view of that, is it a sign of progress that a white man can unabashedly use an age old racist stereotype to slag a black politician without being aware of its significance?

Those that don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it, I guess.
posted by psmealey at 8:17 AM on May 14, 2008


No Clinton supporters here have said they wouldn't support Obama; I count at least two Obama supporters in this topic alone who say they wouldn't support Clinton.

Don't take their fight so personally. They are both politicians, gollums close to the ring. Obama has been age-baiting McCain, only slightly more subtly than Hillary has been race-baiting Obama. It's not admirable in either, but anyone elected president is going to be ruthless and power-fixated. Obama had better be, or he will lose. Please get over it and focus on what they will do in office, or McCain will end up president and the Scalia court will rule for 50 years.
posted by msalt at 12:02 PM on May 14, 2008


Meanwhile, Democrats are 3-0 in congressional races this year picking up a seat that the Republicans have taken for granted since '95.
A GOP House leadership aide told Politico last week that "if we don't win in Mississippi, I think you are going to see a lot of people running around here looking for windows to jump out of."
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:14 PM on May 14, 2008


Statistically, Clinton supporters who won't support Obama (they say) far outnumber the reverse

I live in New York; my vote in protest will not hurt Hillary's chances, and it will spare me the cognitive dissonance of voting for a race-baiting warmonger

Period
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:04 PM on May 14, 2008


Edwards to endorse Obama.
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:36 PM on May 14, 2008


Why does Edwards hate hardworking, white Americans?
posted by psmealey at 2:48 PM on May 14, 2008


Well his father did work in a mill ...
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:58 PM on May 14, 2008


Clinton: It'd be 'terrible mistake' to pick McCain over Obama
"Hillary Clinton on Wednesday reiterated her vow to stay in the Democratic presidential race, but she said it would be a 'terrible mistake' for her supporters to vote for John McCain over Barack Obama.

Sen. Hillary Clinton vowed to stay in the race, saying she's 'not going anywhere.'

'Anybody who has ever voted for me or voted for Barack has much more in common in terms of what we want to see happen in our country and in the world with the other than they do with John McCain,' Clinton said on CNN's 'The Situation Room.'

'I'm going to work my heart out for whoever our nominee is. Obviously, I'm still hoping to be that nominee, but I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that anyone who supported me ... understands what a grave error it would be not to vote for Sen. Obama.'

Clinton was responding to a question from a CNN iReporter who asked why she thought so many of her supporters would choose McCain over Obama." Watch the question.
She's paving the way for her exit!
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on May 14, 2008


She's paving the way for her exit!

Or just showing some common sense.
posted by msalt at 3:27 PM on May 14, 2008


Common sense?

Clinton campaign: We're ahead in the popular vote
Four different scenarios of the total popular vote have been kicked around: (1) only counting primary contests without factoring in Florida and Michigan, whose contests were not sanctioned by the national party, (2) counting primary and caucus contests without Florida and Michigan, (3) counting primaries and contests and Florida but not Michigan, and (4) counting all primaries and caucuses including Florida and Michigan.

Clinton trails in all four counts, but by significantly different margins. In the first scenario she trails by by about 397,000, in the second she's behind 699,000, in the third she has a 405,000 vote deficit, and in the fourth scenario she trails by 77,000 votes.

The fourth scenario does not give Obama any votes out of Michigan, where he did not appear on the ballot.

The only scenario in which Clinton would appear to have the lead is a fifth scenario that only counts primary states – including both Florida and Michigan – and excludes any votes cast in the party’s caucuses. In that count, Clinton currently holds a lead of about 225,000 votes.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:22 PM on May 14, 2008


I wrote:
It would be best to run the winner of the largest swing states in the general election, because those are the hardest to win, and they are typically very close.

scody replied:
Not necessarily.

In the 2004 primaries, Kerry won OH, MO, WV, and FL; he lost them all to Bush in the general (though, as previously mentioned, it's fair to argue that OH was stolen).

In the 2000 primaries, Gore likewise won OH, MO, WV and FL; he likewise lost all four to Bush in the general (though in that case, FL was... well, FL was the debacle we all know and love).

In the 1988 primaries, Dukakis won OH, WV, and FL (Gephardt won his home state of MO); he won WV in the general, but lost OH and FL to Papa Bush (I sense a trend here...).


Like I said, hardest to win, so go with your best shot. You seem to disagree there.

grouse wrote:
There is frequently not a single obvious way of choosing the prior. What happened the last few times is one way, and you can make an argument that it is the best way, but you haven't done that. Even if you did, it would still just be an argument—you aren't going to find universal agreement on the choice of prior so it is best not to frame claims about it so absolutely.

Oh, now it's my fault again. Before you get too excited about correcting an omission, consider that if one is arguing for a new election prediction thats reflect the notion of the so-called swing states, then they have as an implicit assumption that the swing state designation is based on historical data. Therefore it can be loosely said that it is all we need to assume (in order) to make the best assumption(s) about them. Perhaps the link threw you off, believing that I was defining Bayesian analysis, rather than using the description to add value to my brief comment. Either way, you struggled with it after starting out so smug, and that's always worth my money.
posted by Brian B. at 4:56 PM on May 14, 2008


Like I said, hardest to win, so go with your best shot. You seem to disagree there.

Well, it's not so much that I disagree; it's that in 3 of the last 5 general elections, the strategy you say "would be best" demonstrably didn't work. I suspect the 1984 and 1980 primaries/elections would yield similar results.
posted by scody at 5:32 PM on May 14, 2008


Well, it's not so much that I disagree; it's that in 3 of the last 5 general elections, the strategy you say "would be best" demonstrably didn't work.

Uh, that's why they call them swing or battleground states. Do you seriously advocate putting up the second choice? I was being forgiving when I said that you seem to disagree, because your argument is quite laughable, and I'm still being generous. You don't even have any data to suggest that it would be closer, yet you say it wasn't best.
posted by Brian B. at 5:37 PM on May 14, 2008


Perhaps the link threw you off, believing that I was defining Bayesian analysis, rather than using the description to add value to my brief comment.

It does not add any value to your comment. It is a non sequitur.

Either way, you struggled with it after starting out so smug, and that's always worth my money.

I attempted to discuss this in good faith, but this attitude seems to indicate a good-faith discussion is not really something you're interested in. I think I'll bow out now, have fun.
posted by grouse at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2008


It does not add any value to your comment. It is a non sequitur.

You don't seem to know what a non sequitur is.
posted by Brian B. at 5:59 PM on May 14, 2008


Brian B., if you would like to learn more about the other meanings of the phrase "non sequitur," I recommend using a professional dictionary instead of Wikipedia.
posted by grouse at 6:11 PM on May 14, 2008


Do you seriously advocate putting up the second choice? I was being forgiving when I said that you seem to disagree, because your argument is quite laughable, and I'm still being generous. You don't even have any data to suggest that it would be closer, yet you say it wasn't best.

Dude, I'm not making an argument. I'm simply observing that the strategy you claim "would be best" didn't exactly pan out in the majority of recent general elections.

It does not follow -- as you seem eager to pin on me -- that second place finishers in swing state primaries are therefore "better" to put up in the general election. I'm certainly not suggesting that the second place finisher to Gore in WV in 2000 (for the record, it was Bill Bradley) would have gone on to carry WV in the general election; I'm just observing that your "best" strategy only bore fruit 40% of the time in the past 20 years. This may say more about the general merits (or lack thereof) of Democratic election strategy and candidates and/or the general nastiness of GOP election strategy; it's entirely possible that the Dems could have run Jesus himself in any of those years and still not won the election.

But given that the situation that presently exists has no parallel in any of those years -- i.e., that the first-place finisher of the overall primary process finished second in some swing states -- what I really think is that your hand-wringing about who won the swing state primaries is just irrelevant. As you say, "you seem to disagree there."

In any case, as grouse says, you don't seem interested in a good faith discussion, so I'm going to bow out, too, and wander off to the kool-aid stand for more of that Starry-Eyed Strawberry.
posted by scody at 6:16 PM on May 14, 2008


Gaming the Electoral College by taking for granted liberal strongholds and scrapping for a handful of "swing" states has been a loosing strategy for the Democrats for the last 20 years! It didn't work in '80, in '84, or in '88. Clinton won both of his elections by an EC landslide that included states taken for granted as "red" in '00 and '04. And somewhere while the Dems were scrapping for swing states, they lost both houses of congress!

Since 2006, the Democrats have beaten an ongoing loosing streak by challenging the Republicans in every state. They make safe Republican districts contested and winning contested elections against better-funded incumbents.. This election isn't going to be a nice, friendly game where both parties claim most of the states before the convention and fight over "swing" states. This election is going to be total war.

The Democrats don't just need the "swing" states. They need a fucking mandate, a non-negotiable congressional majority in both houses, and governors who won't be a roadblock. And silly me, I take a look at the raw numbers that Obama and Clinton are pulling, compare them to the numbers that McCain is pulling, and I think it's possible. I look at the fact that the Republicans are 0-3 in defending their districts this year, and I think it's possible. I think it's possible if the Democrats continue to fight in all 50 states, challenging at every turn the red state/blue state narrative.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:50 PM on May 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


GOP Rep. Uses Term 'Tar Baby' In Memo About Obama, Election.
posted by ericb at 8:44 PM on May 14, 2008


Thus, this issue is a tar baby for anyone who touches it, with land mines everywhere."

That's definitely an unfortunate choice of words, but he didn't use it in the racially charged sense. He probably should have said "clusterfuck".
posted by psmealey at 4:13 AM on May 15, 2008


They need a fucking mandate, a non-negotiable congressional majority in both houses, and governors who won't be a roadblock. And silly me, I take a look at the raw numbers that Obama and Clinton are pulling, compare them to the numbers that McCain is pulling, and I think it's possible.

Amen. This is exactly what has been driving my own desire to see Obama elected. It's not his Messianic Pull™, it's not misogyny, it's not irrational Clinton hatred, it's that HRC's election strategy would in all likelihood be John Kerry, Part Deux. Even if she won, she would come into an utterly ungovernable situation. We need vast realignment here, and the only way to get there is to pursue a 50 state strategy. Even if Obama loses (God forbid), the downticket effect of this strategy will still be a net positive from what we have today.
posted by psmealey at 4:18 AM on May 15, 2008


Brian B., if you would like to learn more about the other meanings of the phrase "non sequitur," I recommend using a professional dictionary instead of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia was good enough for you. You wished this was a debate about facts, but there aren't any on the table as you discovered lately, so you now search for reasoning and attitude concerns. Couldn't wait to pounce? Every bad debate ends likes to end by accusing someone of non sequitur because it also shows off some Latin without saying anything.

Scody, you lost me. But at least you tried to explain yourself.
posted by Brian B. at 7:14 AM on May 15, 2008


Jon Stewart/Daily Show: Obama -- Not Their Kind of Guy [video | 07:40].
posted by ericb at 8:52 AM on May 15, 2008


President Bush Compares Obama’s Iran Diplomacy Statement To Appeasement Of Nazis
posted by homunculus at 10:04 AM on May 15, 2008


Christian Soldier Is Behind the Obama Smear Video
posted by homunculus at 1:52 PM on May 15, 2008


Sen. Joe Biden fires back at Bush, calling his comment "bullshit".
"This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement," Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.

"He's the guy who's weakened us. He's the guy that's increased the number of terrorists in the world. His policies have produced this vulnerability the United States has. His intelligence community pointed that out not me. The NIE has pointed that out and what are you talking about, is he going to fire Condi Rice? Condi Rice has talked about the need to sit down. So his first two appeasers are Rice and Gates. I hope he comes home and does something."
posted by psmealey at 2:25 PM on May 15, 2008


High Standards at the Washington Post Op-Ed page: A White Pride advocate is invited to argue that Barack Obama and John Edwards are girly gays
posted by homunculus at 5:15 PM on May 17, 2008


"blood equity"? - did someone mix up the klan newsletter with the washington post?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:41 PM on May 17, 2008


That would be: Kathleen Parker, racist, bigot, homophobe, self-promoter, and bad writer...

Isn't she disgusting? What the hell is going on at the Washington Post?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:26 AM on May 18, 2008


Obama Draws Record Crowd in Oregon -- 75,000!!!
posted by ericb at 8:04 PM on May 18, 2008


Obama Adopted by Native Americans
posted by homunculus at 9:06 PM on May 19, 2008


In the history of this country there are elections held, whose outcome are so profound they effect political discourse for the next eighty-plus years. In 1775 a new Continental Congress was elected bringing together Adams, Jefferson and few other note worthy persons. This Congress by the summer of 1776 ushered in a new era . Eighty five years later America was transformed again in 1861 with the start of Lincoln presidency ( and sadly Civil War) Eighty years later a man broke the two term precedent with a third term re election. Now we are near the end of another eighty-year cycle and before us stand three candidates, two who represent the political landscape of yesterday and one who has the audacity to hope for a new political discourse, a new political framework and the past prejudices, past power brokers are lining up to prevent what can not be prevented. If not know, within the next two elections a profound change will occur.. history tells us we can make it happen now or a little later.. but it will happen
posted by ljrsphb at 9:15 AM on May 22, 2008


Now we are near the end of another eighty-year cycle and before us stand three candidates, two who represent the political landscape of yesterday and one who has the audacity to hope for a new political discourse

You mean, Obama is the new Herbert Hoover?!?!?
posted by msalt at 10:27 AM on May 22, 2008


http://isbarackobamamuslim.com/
posted by aqhong at 4:51 PM on May 23, 2008


You mean, Obama is the new Herbert Hoover?!?!?

No silly, he's the new Teddy Roosevelt.
posted by homunculus at 11:28 PM on May 26, 2008


Best Bitch Slap EVAR
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on May 29, 2008


Obama's battles of yesteryear. The shrewdness of taking his name off the ballot in Michigan is making more sense when his hardball past is investigated.
posted by Brian B. at 6:41 PM on May 29, 2008


Scenes From Today's RBC Hillary Protest:
Howard Dean may hope that the "healing will begin today," but two blocks away from the northwest Washington Marriott where the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee is meeting right now to try to figure out Florida and Michigan, the Hillary protesters are occupying an utterly alternate (and healing-free) universe: a universe in which one of the big lawn rally's speakers yells that the Democratic Party no longer is in the business of "promoting equality and fairness for all"; in which a Hillary supporter with two poodles shouts, "Howard Dean is a leftist freak!"; in which a man exhibits a sign that reads "At least slaves were counted as 3/5ths a Citizen" and shows Dean whipping handcuffed people; and in which Larry Sinclair, the Minnesota man who took to YouTube to allege that Barack Obama had oral sex with him in the back of a limousine in 1999, is one of the belles of the ball.
posted by aqhong at 2:07 PM on May 31, 2008


Entitled to Their Opinions, Yes. But Their Facts?
posted by homunculus at 10:47 PM on June 1, 2008


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