caustic acrostic
January 2, 2008 1:39 PM   Subscribe

The Iowa Scam. Christopher Hitchens confronts a system where "only 124,000 Democrats voted last time, less than a quarter of those eligible. So if Barack Obama, say, edges Hillary Clinton by 2,000 votes, he'll be hailed in headlines as a giant-killer despite the tiny margin."
posted by plexi (110 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
He refers to the American media as "our press and television". Does that mean he considers himself an American now? Good.
posted by Artw at 1:47 PM on January 2, 2008


Also relevant: an effort by the Clinton campaign to portray Obama's student recruitment as some kind of shady Chicago scam to sneak out-of-staters into the polls, even though college students are completely entitled to vote where they actually live.
posted by transona5 at 1:47 PM on January 2, 2008


You never know how they'll spin the results. They could say a 2000 vote win is a "giant-killer". They could say it's a "three-way race into New Hampshire", since they want to keep people interested. They could point to the recent DMR poll which had Obama leading and say "front-runner matches expected results". Fun, fun, fun.
posted by smackfu at 1:54 PM on January 2, 2008


an effort by the Clinton campaign to portray Obama's student recruitment as some kind of shady Chicago scam

Funny considering they're both from Chicago...
posted by clevershark at 2:03 PM on January 2, 2008


So can anybody tell me why in hell the major US parties give a fuck which state gets to hold their primaries first? Because I know that both parties are withholding delegates from a few states for wanting to hold primaries before New Hampshire and Iowa.

Seriously. Nothing against the good people of either state, but why is it in ANYONE else's best interest that they should vote first?
posted by Afroblanco at 2:12 PM on January 2, 2008


Because the national party doesn't like it when the state party says "fuck off"?
posted by smackfu at 2:15 PM on January 2, 2008


It's not clear to me why you've linked to Hitchens' blog post on the subject when he spends most of the time quoting Howard Kurtz's column from the Washington Post. Even the quote you use is pulled from Kurtz, not Hitchens....
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:17 PM on January 2, 2008



It's very important to vote first
posted by lathrop at 2:18 PM on January 2, 2008


So can anybody tell me why in hell the major US parties give a fuck which state gets to hold their primaries first?

It's probably one of those daft leftovers from when everyone did everything with horses, like your (to me) backwards and insane electoral college system, which has established itself to the point where people think it's the only way to do things.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on January 2, 2008


Vote early. Vote often.
posted by basicchannel at 2:33 PM on January 2, 2008


In 2000 Bush's people spun losing the election as, well, winning it. So I don't really get impressed that easily these days.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:35 PM on January 2, 2008


Does that mean he considers himself an American now? Good.

He converted to Americanism (became a legal citizen) last year.

I wonder if this means that people are afraid of Obama? That makes me want to like him.
posted by cell divide at 2:35 PM on January 2, 2008


So can anybody tell me why in hell the major US parties give a fuck which state gets to hold their primaries first?

Isn't that kind of obvious? Money and power. Do you really think anyone on the campaign trail would give a flying fuck about corn subsidies if Iowa didn't go first? Because it's a swing state, the parties are in checkmate, since the Democrats would never shun Iowa and have the anger roll over to the Republican candidate or vice-versa. Enjoy your E85, hippies, it cost you candidate Kerry and four more years of Chimpy McFuckstick.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:41 PM on January 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's only a scam if you pay attention. Haven't some really marginal candidates won Iowa? Only to be footnotes in the larger election picture later? The Iowa caucas story sells newspapers and eyeballs. Ignore early and often.
posted by telstar at 2:42 PM on January 2, 2008


So can anybody tell me why in hell the major US parties give a fuck which state gets to hold their primaries first?

Its Show Business, baby..... SHOWBUSINESS!
posted by R. Mutt at 2:45 PM on January 2, 2008


Is this Chimpy McFuckstick guy available for Bar Mitzvahs?
posted by docpops at 2:50 PM on January 2, 2008


Isn't that kind of obvious? Money and power. Do you really think anyone on the campaign trail would give a flying fuck about corn subsidies if Iowa didn't go first?

Right. I mean, that explains why Iowa wants to be the first state. But it doesn't explain why, at the national level, the parties care which state goes first.

This is still a mystery to me. I'm sure it has something to do with some back-room-arm-twisting-and-horse-trading, but I'd really like to know exactly what is going on here.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:50 PM on January 2, 2008


Haven't some really marginal candidates won Iowa?

They actually haven't been that bad, except that Tom Harkin destroyed the field in 1992. 76%! Bill Clinton: 3%! And Gephardt won in 1988, but he beat that Yankee Dukakis. Not any weirder than the NH results.
posted by smackfu at 2:52 PM on January 2, 2008


Dag, Chris! Why you gotta be such a hater!
posted by jaronson at 3:02 PM on January 2, 2008


But it doesn't explain why, at the national level, the parties care which state goes first.

Part of the reason is that different parties have different historical strengths and weaknesses in different states, and different strengths and weaknesses among those states with their current lineup of candidates.

Florida is a crucial state for Democrats, for example. It's a "blue" state, but with a narrow margin, a Southern location and a Republican governor (named Bush, BTW). Therefore, it's important, nationally, to support Democrats in Florida, which is why it was a big deal in 2007 when Florida was making noises about changing its schedule.

Democrats in, say, Vermont, which is not at risk and not as important from an electoral college perspective, aren't as big a priority.

That's not really answering the question directly, but speaks to the why's of some of the arm-twisting.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:28 PM on January 2, 2008


Why are we talking about this now and not six months ago?
Because Obama's going to win?
posted by bukharin at 3:30 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Right. I mean, that explains why Iowa wants to be the first state. But it doesn't explain why, at the national level, the parties care which state goes first.

I don't know why specific states are chosen to be the only ones that can hold their prmaries/caucuses before Feb 5 (other than that it's written into those states' laws), but it's not in the best interest of the Democratic party to have the formerly four month primary season to be shortened by states' manouvering for more influence through holding early primaries. Most especially because it effectively shortens the nominating races. This means that candidates with less money have less time to fund raise in between primaries and are knocked out early, so it becomes less of a primary season and more of an early nomination.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:54 PM on January 2, 2008


If you're interested, Washington Monthly today references the Slate piece and another assault on the weirdness of the Iowa caucus system from the NYTimes. They focus particularly on the way it manages to disenfranchise whole swaths of the electorate by making it impractical or impossible for them to participate, and the fact that the voting on the Democratic side anyway, isn't secret.

I thought it was worth mentioning here because there are some defenses of the process by Iowans in comments that I found enlightening. Having little idea how they're actually run, I found the initial criticisms pretty damning, but the locals do have some things to say on their behalf.
posted by Naberius at 3:57 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hillary Clinton proclaimed, “This is a process for Iowans. This needs to be all about Iowa, and people who live here, people who pay taxes here.”

Geez, that's disgusting. In '06 The republicans tried to disenfranchise Arizona college students by claiming they couldn't vote where they lived. It's nice to see Hillary Clinton is going to keep up with the shady tactics of Karl Rove, Bradley Schlozman and other republican voter suppression goons.

The only Iowans who would be offended by college students voting in the Iowa caucuses are the ones who don't want Obama to win, so it hardly matters anyway.
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on January 2, 2008


A sequential primary and caucus system will always have Iowa and New Hampshire first because by their respective laws they will always go first, even if that means Halloween of the prior year.

Human nature and media narrative gives the first states their disproportionate impact, and shapes the campaigns and candidates as much as the other way around. (Like him or not, Rudy Giuliani's campaign is quite radical in its insistence that someone with no appeal in Iowa or New Hampshire can realistically aspire to the Presidency.)

However, there is no law that says that there must be a sequential primary and caucus system. The national parties are private entities and can nominate their candidates in any way that they see fit. (The state parties' status as free private entities is less clear; many states dictate by law how state parties nominate their candidates.)

For most of American history, state and local Party leaders directly chose National Convention delegates. Those leaders were in turn selected months or years before the Presidential aspirants began to campaign and in processes which were largely restricted to Party activists and frequently dominated by special interests.

A national primary (which would probably be privately administered by the parties in some combination of direct mail and on-line voting) has a lot of appeal, but you need to carefully consider all that we'd be losing.

There are principled arguments in favor of the notion that two small(er) states ought to have a screening role. It fosters a serious local political community who take their decisions far beyond the level of sound bite. It allows candidates without a lot of money or media attention to sell themselves and become Presidential aspirants (think Mike Huckabee), and in a complementary doles out a desirable crushing to candidates who can succeed at raising money but actually have nothing to say that many people listening carefully want to hear (Phil Gramm is the famous example in 1996; Ron Paul a good current example.) Perhaps most importantly, it offers a tight enough playing field that second chances are routine and momentum is always reversible (think of the fall and rise of John McCain and Barack Obama this time around).
posted by MattD at 4:04 PM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Return of the Swift Boaters
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Right. I mean, that explains why Iowa wants to be the first state. But it doesn't explain why, at the national level, the parties care which state goes first.

Because Iowa and New Hampshire said so. And you may have noticed we're not exactly saturated in elected officials who like to challenge conventions.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:45 PM on January 2, 2008


What is going on in Iowa, anyway?

Includes why and how Iowa gets to be first, etc. Answers some questions posted in thread.
posted by absalom at 5:23 PM on January 2, 2008


It's still exciting that it's a three-way tie. Isn't that some kind of validation -- that the caucus has successfully blunted any one candidate's ability to unfairly dominate the process?

P.S. Here's a great blog following the Iowa caucuses
posted by destinyland at 6:16 PM on January 2, 2008


They're really trying to fuck with the college students? Do they have a fucking clue that those students are probably funding half of their higher ed system thanks to the customary crazy out of state tuition rates?
posted by mullingitover at 6:20 PM on January 2, 2008


Regarding caucuses, I don't actually hate them, but we were forced to try one by the national party in Wisconsin because the DNC got hepped up over our open primary system. That's a holdover of Wisconsin progressivism. You do not have to declare your party in order to vote, even if it's a primary to determine a nominee for a party. Obviously there's a risk of crossover voting when one field is weak or already decided.

Anyway, it's not a private vote in any way at all. You are all in a room (or a bunch of rooms, like a school) and where your body is determines who gets your vote as they whittle away the splinter ballots. I don' t object to that. It would be silly to do that by ballot. But Wisconsin did get to go back to its open primary, which does have privacy.

As for the order, it makes no sense at all (other than to their residents) that Iowa and New Hampshire completely own the first two slots. I've always wanted a rotating system with primaries/caucuses spread out rather evenly over 4ish months, and not starting at New Year's, either, but in February or even March like it used to be. Why shouldn't each state, over time, get a spot in the sun making those first winnowings?

From a party perspective (at least for the Dems), Florida is an example of a bad state to have first, though. It's a weird set of demographics, and a big state that's expensive to campaign in. New Hampshire and Iowa are also weird, but more homogeneously so, and NH in particular lends itself to the mythical "retail campaigning" where the candidates try to actually shake every voter's hand at least once. (Again, why do they get the privilege?) It's small so easy to contest. There are other states with those qualities, though, and especially for the Dems the NH voters tend to be off the mean.

So Hitchens has some points, but I don't see why primaries or especially caucuses need to be "one man one vote". It isn't the public that's voting, it's the party.
posted by dhartung at 6:34 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


MattD, there's nothing in your list of benefits for small "screeners" that precludes this role from rotating. And if necessary using a subset of a large state. Having grown up in CA and not being (entirely) white the system is bullshit.

BTW, I'm not attacking you since you seem to be doing a good job of laying out the issues. But, to use your word, are there "principled" reasons for having this screening role always be Iowa and New Hampshire?
posted by Wood at 7:13 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Slate has another good piece on Iowa too: Where the Iowa caucuses went wrong. --... Iowa's vaunted precinct caucuses—especially those of the Democratic Party—violate some of the most elemental values of a vibrant and open political process. As far as a mechanism for selecting a president is concerned, you might end up with Iowa's model if you set out to design a system that discouraged participation and violated basic democratic values....

and dhartung, why do some states have open primaries then if it's not the people but the party?
posted by amberglow at 7:15 PM on January 2, 2008


In the United States of Ssmithland we'd have a system where all the states that get the shaft on election day (i.e. where the polls don't close for another 3-5 hours, but the entire national media from CNN on down to Radio Free Dubuque has already called the election and your vote for President now means exactly squat) would get first dibs on the primary/caucus season.
posted by ssmith at 7:25 PM on January 2, 2008


It isn't the public that's voting, it's the party.

Which, of course, is the problem, given the ridiculous amount of media attention these absurdly undemocratic caucuses get. And even more "scandalous" than the low turnout is the horribly non-transparent refusal of the Democrats - but not the Republicans - to release their first count numbers. The Dems instead use a special formula to weigh the results according to past turnout, but *never* release the actual numbers of the first vote to the press. Here's some must-reading (from a former editorial page editor of the Des Moines Register and a former head of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council) about this interesting difference between the Democratic and Republican caucuses in Iowa.

Oh, and, um, fuck Iowa.
posted by mediareport at 7:32 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wood -- it can't rotate. As long as the state primaries and caucuses are used to select delegates Iowa and New Hampshire will go first by force of their own laws. 50% delegate penalties are about the only tool that the parties could use to try to force another result -- but of course that's not , because the (already tiny) number of delegates which Iowa and New Hampshire appoint are completely beside the point. (I believe that New Hampshire is already being penalized thus, with zero impact upon the importance of the primary.)

What the parties can do is adopt a national private nomination process -- a two- or three-round vote, where a transferable vote or other mechanism might enable a candidate with modest but enthusiastic support to survive to a later round.

Such a switch is more likely than many people think.

The concentration of delegate selection on February 5 creates a distinct possibility that either or both parties might not have a candidate with a clear majority of delegates going into the convention. (It's possible on the Republican side because of the there will be three or even four viable candidates going into February 5; it's possible on the Democratic side because even with two candidates the proportional representation system, and the large block of superdelegates, makes it mathematically much easier to fall below a majority.)

I suspect that either party, facing this, might ultimately choose to ditch the primary and caucus selected delegates in favor of a national primary held later this spring. No one wants a brokered convention to say the least of multiple ballots.
posted by MattD at 8:00 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want regional or national primaries, and contested conventions.

The earlier it's decided the more disenfranchised millions of us are.

Related Iowa news: The woman who switched from Clinton to Obama (and was featured in one of his ads) is now switching again-- to either Edwards or Richardson.

Her decision has way way too much power, compared to mine and compared to the majority of the population.
posted by amberglow at 8:30 PM on January 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


(and i don't want delegates or the electoral college anymore--it's way way past time for that to go and for us to have direct elections--primaries and general)
posted by amberglow at 8:33 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


open primary-related: Did Obama Build It? Will The Non-Dems Come? Who Decides Iowa--If the gold standard Des Moines Register poll is right, then a Barack Obama Field of Dreams depends on non-Democrats deciding who should win the Iowa Democratic caucus. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:56 PM on January 2, 2008


They're really trying to fuck with the college students?

Fun fact: in 2000, the share of Democratic caucus-goers under-30 was 9%. It was up to 17% in 2004 though.
posted by smackfu at 9:04 PM on January 2, 2008


"Does that mean he considers himself an American now? Good."

Hitchens recently got his American citizenship papers.

It looks like the chainsmoking, perpetually intoxicated Hitchens has discovered that his best, most profitable fit in this world is to become the newest Ugly American.

Indeed, it was his hubris, arrogance, provocation, and overblown hawkishness to make the British media to write him off and largely disregard him, as opposed to his far more balanced, religious brother. Indeed, it's hard to look at Christopher Hitchens' aggressive, oftentimes angry form of atheism entirely from a reasoned, intellectual perspective.

As a whole, he comes off as a kind of "rebel without a clue"... a big kid with a closetful of repressed, largely unresolved issues.

Honestly, it took the obviously flawed, arrogant, so-called "intellectualism" of Hitchens as a debate partnerto reliably make George Galloway appear to be an upstanding, respectable public servant. If Galloway's reputation is -- deservedly -- on the skids lately, a lot of the reason for it is a lack of Hitchens on his itinerary.

For someone who is now one of us, he has repeatedly viewed Americans with a great deal of crass, patronizing disrespect, in part because many of them don't want to be an empire / the world's policeman, and can personally see and feel the signs that continuing to follow that path will lead to inevitable structural weakness and decline.

As a permanent resident of the Washington political beltway circuit, Hitchens has been completely isolated from the actual difficulties and hardships of American life, and has reaped only the financial and societal rewards. He is intellectualism, with all of the ism, but a distressing, disturbing lack of the intellectual.

His supposed intellectualism has led him from a being an open proponent of Trotskyism to becoming an apologist and advocate for neoconservatism. The only obvious reason anyone can see for this complete aboutface is that neoconservatism paid better. In short, he's a walking agenda with a disturbing lack of respect for others, for reason, and for basic common sense.

But then again, if he did have common sense, he probably wouldn't be a puffy, chainsmoking alcoholic.
posted by markkraft at 9:09 PM on January 2, 2008 [5 favorites]


a puffy, chainsmoking alcoholic.

And they say Michael Moore is fat!
posted by Wolof at 12:19 AM on January 3, 2008


Derail, sorry, but he also wrote this piece of shit. Can't stand Hitchens. Must be because I have ovaries and no sense of humour.
posted by tiny crocodile at 4:28 AM on January 3, 2008


Metafilter: ovaries and no sense of humor.
posted by mephron at 6:00 AM on January 3, 2008


his far more balanced, religious brother

O_o either you're not referring to Peter Hitchens, or you haven't had much exposure to the British media, which tends to back away slowly, hands in the air when it sees the spittle-flecked, ranting, royalist loon approaching.
posted by bifter at 6:59 AM on January 3, 2008


Fuck, theres two of them?

I have to say that America is very, very welcome to Christopher, and if we could arrange his conversion to some kind of organised religion while he's there it would be all the better.
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on January 3, 2008


Iowa should be marginalized. A better state to use would be Ohio. The demographics there more closely mirror the total US demographics
posted by prk14 at 8:46 AM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Sure... what do they need subsidising?
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Rock and Roll.
posted by smackfu at 9:14 AM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pff. You can't build a city on that.
posted by Artw at 9:15 AM on January 3, 2008 [4 favorites]




MSNBC is already announcing numbers, but it's only 7:30 there, no? How could a caucus be over so quickly, given the weird and protracted process? Entrance poll numbers?

and they're saying turnout is up (at least in Des Moines) but that it's Independents and GOPers crossing over more than Democrats.

as of now: NBC: Early Iowa results show Huckabee leading Romney, Obama atop Clinton, Edwards

(i predict Obama, Edwards, Clinton & Huckabee, Romney, McCain--but i want Edwards to win)
posted by amberglow at 5:47 PM on January 3, 2008


from there: ...At one Democratic caucus site, Westridge Elementary School in west Des Moines, there was heavy turnout, with 267 people registering. In 2004, only 86 Iowans participated there. ...
On MSNBC, they said it was an overwhelmingly GOP neighborhood.
posted by amberglow at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2008


and NBC's own official results page has Edwards, Clinton, Obama so far -- w00!
posted by amberglow at 5:51 PM on January 3, 2008


Iowa Hearts Huckabees, i guess--they're all calling it for him.
posted by amberglow at 6:06 PM on January 3, 2008


Scenes from today's Iowa Caucuses
posted by homunculus at 7:14 PM on January 3, 2008


Given the large margin for Obama, would he have won even if non-Democrat votes were discounted?
posted by Anything at 9:40 PM on January 3, 2008


I caucused tonight. I checked for a new earlier for a new Metafilter story, but realized just now this one would probably be it for ongoing discussions.

For one thing, tonight made me realize that the caucuses aren't really "un-democratic" at all, rather they operate like an instant runoff election (or rather a runoff election 30 minutes later). Since Iowa isn't a "winner take all" election, the candidates get whatever delegates they are awarded, so Edwards and Clinton don't leave "empty handed".

The other thing about it, and I doubt it would change, is that the caucuses are FUN. You probably wouldn't find too many Iowa democrats wanting to change the system. You get to meet other democrats from around your area, and so on. I wasn't too excited about going this time, but I really enjoyed it once I got there. The actual act of caucusing is much more fun then voting in a normal election.

The scale of the caucus this time was huge as well. There were actually caucuses for two precincts in the same building, because it was thought the original venue would be to small. In 2004, which was considered a "high turnout" election there were about 50-70 people or so in my precinct (IIRC). At the one I went too today there were 328. As far as secret vote tallies go, all the numbers are announced to the participants, and media and observers can get those numbers too. Nothing is secret, it's just not collated for you by the Iowa Democratic party.

Given the large margin for Obama, would he have won even if non-Democrat votes were discounted?

Technically, everyone at the democratic caucus is a democrat. Now, it's true that they might not have gotten out of bed in the morning a democrat, but in order to vote, you have to register as a Dem. And a lot of people never change back. The caucus is a great way to bring new people to the party, and get them interested in politics as democrats.

I caucused for Obama. I liked Edwards, but really I just wanted someone who could beat Hillary, who I do not like at all. There are a lot of good things about Obama, but the same could be said about Edwards.
posted by delmoi at 10:16 PM on January 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama with 10% in Iowa? This is very, very exciting to me. I'm actually going to watch the New Hampshire primary now with clenched fists and lots of yelling.

I still think back to when I was a whee toddler and the Dukakis/Bush results were coming in. Yes, get off my lawn or yes I was a toddler while you were reviewing your pension. Anyhoo, as a whee toddler I was shocked, mind you, SHOCKED, when the states started coming in as Bush. I was like... but... Dukakis is so much better...?? I did not hear about the rape ads or the kitty rubbing and all the other campaign smears. I think it was that night that I became fully dissatisfied and enamored at the same time with the political process.

2004 really blew my mind. One because such a shitty candidate won the primary, and two when even frankenstein lost the election to a tree stump. I really did not expect to get passion back for the electoral process so quickly.

But wow... Obama with a 10% margin in Iowa. Just think about that! New Hampshire's going to be very exciting.
posted by cavalier at 5:00 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


"New Hampshire's going to be very exciting."

This is the first time anyone's ever thought this about the state of New Hampshire, ever.
posted by Eideteker at 6:18 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]




I caucused tonight.

I'm glad you participated, but 200k mostly rural white people who were able to go to a certain place at an exact time (and not all of whom are Democrats, as the numbers showed) should not have so much power to determine the Democratic Party nominee (i've read the Iowans have 20 times the voting power as the rest of us), and all who got under 15% were shut out, and thus had to leave the race entirely, eliminating valid choices too early and shutting the rest of us out.

It's wrong, and it disenfranchises everyone who had to work a shift that night or stay home with the kids or had a sick relative at home or simply didn't have the time or even were 5 minutes late getting there that night.
Voting should be all day, at the very least, and it must be secret. This game Iowa plays is damaging, and public persuasion to get people to move over to another candidate in front of others in their community is not proper in any way, shape, or form, nor is the promise of food or transportation or babysitting, etc. We eliminated that kind of stuff because of the Tammany Hall days of graft here in NY, when they used to purchase votes with money, beer, and food -- but Iowa still does it, sadly.

No urban issues were discussed at all--that's wrong too. Nothing about many many pressing issues to millions of Americans. ...

NH has giant problems too as an early state, but at least it's kinda normal voting.

I've heard repeatedly that many of the voters in Iowa (it is a Red state) were actual Republican voters (if not registered as such) gaming the whole thing. The young turnout was only up 3%, i read--which doesn't cover the percentage differences, nor the turnout differences from every other year.
posted by amberglow at 11:14 AM on January 4, 2008


I'm thrilled tho, that Huckabee's win is giving the GOP such heart attacks. : >

And i'm disappointed for Edwards, and happy Clinton was 3rd. Clinton's now gonna go after Obama with everything she has--she has to knock him out to get anywhere, and she's still the DC Establishment pick.
posted by amberglow at 11:16 AM on January 4, 2008




And read this--ugh. According to Sen. Obama, the biggest problem in Washington is that Democrats have shown themselves to be so unwilling to work with the Republicans and opposing interest groups that they, um, have happily passed Bill after Bill after Bill that the Republicans and those interest groups wanted them to pass from 2001-2006 and have allowed the Republican minority to block Bill after Bill after Bill (without even a real filibuster) even after the Democrats took over Congress.

Let me try and say the following, very politely and with the utmost courtesy I can muster right now.

Is there any real progressive who actually believes this nonsensical drivel?
... The reality of course is exactly the opposite. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:28 AM on January 4, 2008


Dodd has dropped out of the race, but he says he'll keep fighting against retroactive immunity for the telecoms who engaged in illegal domestic surveillance.
posted by homunculus at 11:43 AM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


(his refusal to accept the reality of who the GOP really is gives me chills for the future and for any progress at all, let alone reversing the backsliding)
posted by amberglow at 11:44 AM on January 4, 2008


The GOP ticket looks like it'll be McCain/Huckabee now, i think. (Romney would have been much easier to beat, considering the media still creams for McCain)

McCain's latest: 100 Years In Iraq ‘Would Be Fine With Me,’ Even ‘A Million Years’
posted by amberglow at 11:59 AM on January 4, 2008


the GOP establishment on Huckabee supporters: "you corn-sucking idiots"
posted by amberglow at 12:05 PM on January 4, 2008



I'm glad you participated, but 200k mostly rural white people who were able to go to a certain place at an exact time (and not all of whom are Democrats, as the numbers showed)


What exactly is wrong with being "mostly white"? One of the reasons I'm glad Obama won was so that we could put to rest this obnoxious canard implying that Iowans are all racist or something because they are "mostly white"

As far as "not all democrats", well, you have to register as a democrat to get in, so they are technically democrats when they vote. In may states (such as NH), you independents can primary in either party. That's why you're hearing talk about "independents" voting for Obama. They were independents, but no more.

Voting should be all day, at the very least, and it must be secret. that makes sense in a general election where people might really get upset or whatever, but I'm not sure what the problem is in a caucus. In theory, everyone is a member of the party and they are deciding as a community who to support.

and all who got under 15% were shut out, and thus had to leave the race entirely

If you're talking about Biden, who from what I understand got decent support that's kind of missing the point. A caucus system actually gives minor candidates much more opportunity to get votes, because it works just like runoff voting, essentially. Voters don't need to worry at all about if they're guy stands a chance in the first round. In a primary, a voter might never even try supporting Biden or Dodd.

And they didn't need to leave the race. They could have concentrated on NH and gotten a normal percentage.

I've heard repeatedly that many of the voters in Iowa (it is a Red state) were actual Republican voters (if not registered as such) gaming the whole thing.

We went for gore in 2000 and bush won in 2004 by about 10,000 votes. Calling it a "red" state is preposterous, especially given the fact that nearly twice as many democrats turned up last night then republicans. Something like 240k vs. 130k. And it's absurd to think that republicans are "gaming" the system, whatever that's supposed to mean.
According to Sen. Obama, the biggest problem in Washington is that Democrats have shown themselves to be so unwilling to work with the Republicans and opposing interest groups that they, um, have happily passed Bill after Bill after Bill that the Republicans and those interest groups wanted them to pass from 2001-2006 and have allowed the Republican minority to block Bill after Bill after Bill (without even a real filibuster) even after the Democrats took over Congress.
Yawn, deeply nested 4th generation cut'n'pastes by crazy DKoser's livid that Obama isn't the second coming of Howard Dean. Whatever. The fact that Obama is willing to listen to the other side doesn't make him weak. The fact that he has essentially the same policies as Clinton and Edwards means that he'll do the same things as them while standing a much better chance of getting elected and getting his stuff through congress. The republicans can still filibuster and fuck things up.

Besides, weren't you bashing Edwards a couple of months ago anyway? Are you for Hillary or what?

It may be that a partisan demagogue could get through the primaries and on to the general. I really liked Howard Dean, but he wasn't running, and none of the candidates, save Gravel and Kucinich were willing to pick up the torch, and they both pretty much sucked anyway. I liked Richardson, Biden, and Dodd, but they were not champions of anti-partisanship either.

And Edwards aimed his rhetoric at "corporations" not the Republican party either.

The fact that you don't like a persons Rhetoric or Style isn't really a good reason to vote against them. The fact that Obama did so well shows that harsh partisanship might fire up the base, but it won't win elections.

Anyway, Iowa is just one state, it gets a lot of media attention, but as far as "official" impact it's not that much.
posted by delmoi at 1:30 PM on January 4, 2008


Wow. The front page of Digg is free of Ron Paul for the first time in ages.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on January 4, 2008


Anti-Game Candidates Do Poorly in Iowa Caucuses - a rather unique focus.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on January 4, 2008


What exactly is wrong with being "mostly white"?

The population of Iowa is in no way representative of the country as a whole. 95% are non-Hispanic and non-minority. That's what wrong.

As far as "not all democrats", well, you have to register as a democrat to get in, so they are technically democrats when they vote. In may states (such as NH), you independents can primary in either party. That's why you're hearing talk about "independents" voting for Obama. They were independents, but no more.

Instant "Democrats" for 2 hours one night. Not right--especially for a Democratic Party contest in which the Democratic Party Presidential candidate was being chosen. Independents should not be voting in Party primaries, which are not for the general public. That should be obvious to all. These were not contests to pick general Presidential candidates, but for Parties to vote for their preferred Presidential candidates.

Voting should be all day, at the very least, and it must be secret. that makes sense in a general election where people might really get upset or whatever, but I'm not sure what the problem is in a caucus. In theory, everyone is a member of the party and they are deciding as a community who to support.

Note your own contradiction. Anyone could have gone and caucused and decided--and communities don't have the vote--citizens do individually. In a primary/caucus, people who are members of that party do--or should have. One Person, One Vote is ignored in the Iowa Democratic Caucus and that's wrong.

A caucus system actually gives minor candidates much more opportunity to get votes, because it works just like runoff voting, essentially. Voters don't need to worry at all about if they're guy stands a chance in the first round. In a primary, a voter might never even try supporting Biden or Dodd.

It's exactly the opposite because of both the way the Caucus is structured, and because of the immense media attention paid to Iowa alone. A media frenzy, actually. "In the first round" is not how the final results are recorded (which is how it should be), and it's not how delegates are awarded.

Calling it a "red" state is preposterous, especially given the fact that nearly twice as many democrats turned up last night then republicans. Something like 240k vs. 130k. And it's absurd to think that republicans are "gaming" the system, whatever that's supposed to mean.

Twice as many Democrats did not show up last night--Many of those people were not Democrats until that very moment. And there's no indication that they will vote that way in the general, nor that the new people had any committment to the party at all, which is not who should be deciding a specific party's candidate. I would never go vote in a GOP primary--it's not right, and it's not something i should be deciding. I don't understand why that's not clear to all.

The fact that he has essentially the same policies as Clinton and Edwards means that he'll do the same things as them while standing a much better chance of getting elected and getting his stuff through congress. The republicans can still filibuster and fuck things up.

Besides, weren't you bashing Edwards a couple of months ago anyway? Are you for Hillary or what?


He has the same policies as Clinton and not Edwards--not by a long shot. He doesn't have a better chance of being elected, and has never been truly challenged in any race for any office. I'm for Edwards, and bash all 3 of them. A long-standing pattern of statements and allowing the GOP to run this country into the ground is very important and you'd do well to not dismiss Obama's own words and non-actions. You can't state he'll do good if he never has. You can't believe that he'll stop the GOP if he never even tried.

The Republicans can filibuster, but they don't. They only threaten to, and the Democrats cave in to the threat alone. The 60 vote thing is bullshit--entirely.

Anyway, Iowa is just one state, it gets a lot of media attention, but as far as "official" impact it's not that much.

You're wrong. The official impact is in eliminating the vast vast majority of Democrats' (and Republicans') opportunity to choose their own candidate fairly, and to have their voice heard. 300,000 people just forced multiple candidates out of the race entirely--in a country of 300 million plus.
posted by amberglow at 2:09 PM on January 4, 2008


i'm not very happy with the primary system in general, but I have a soft spot for caucuses. secret ballots are important in some contexts, but so is demanding accountability; if Iowans are going to have the first say in our national elections, they should damn well have to own their votes and tell each other and us why.

plus, it's not like there's rampant intimidation going on. since when are democratic citizens such big weanies that they're unable to stick up for their beliefs? oh, wait....
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:20 PM on January 4, 2008


Iowa is set up to be gamed--and there are absolutely no procedures in place to stop it at all.

Republicans could have gone to the Democratic caucus specifically to make the easiest to beat the candidate. Democrats could have gone to the GOP caucus specifically to make the easiest to beat the candidate. Anyone could go do that in Iowa (and in any open primary with immediate party registration -- or no requirements for registration, as NH is, which is also wrong).
posted by amberglow at 2:22 PM on January 4, 2008


Republicans could have gone to the Democratic caucus specifically to make the easiest to beat the candidate. Democrats could have gone to the GOP caucus specifically to make the easiest to beat the candidate.

'Could have' is a far cry from 'did.' In any case, this is much more likely in a situation where one party has an incumbent in office. Moreover, the whole objection depends heavily on a deep distrust of our fellow citizens, who will anyway be voting together with us in the general elections. It's much more likely that independents and moderates switch parties to participate in the most interesting contest, or pick their overall favorite; in this case a relatively moderate democrat, Obama.

(PS- I got my picks wrong in the MeTa thread, but I got exactly the result I was hoping for; one of the few times being wrong feels like a blessing.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 2:30 PM on January 4, 2008


Moreover, the whole objection depends heavily on a deep distrust of our fellow citizens,

Trust, but verify (even if it was Reagan who said it)

I have deep distrust for a good reason--the ongoing Southern Strategy, and vote suppression and racist policies of the GOP, and the crimes and dirty tricks they play every single election cycle.

One guy who was jailed for phonejamming for the GOP in NH wrote a book -- "How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative,"-- this is the money quote from him: "After 10 full years inside the GOP, 90 days among honest criminals wasn't really any great ordeal."

Rollins, who is now Huckabee's campaign manager, bribed black ministers in NJ to suppress the Democratic vote--and brags about it to this day. -- Christine Todd Whitman's campaign made payments to black ministers and Democratic Party workers in exchange for promises not to rally votes for Gov. Jim Florio in the final stages of the New Jersey gubernatorial race, her campaign manager said today.
The manager, Edward J. Rollins, said the campaign funneled about $500,000 in such "walking around money" from the state Republican Party. Those efforts to depress the vote in urban, heavily Democratic areas, he said, were important in Mrs. Whitman's narrow upset victory. ...


I could go on forever about this. This is not a polite, nice parlor game. This can't be stopped or overcome with "hope" or "bipartisanship". And the GOP even does this shit to their own--see what they did to McCain in 2000. Obama can't change how they operate, and i don't have faith he'll fight effectively against it--or against anything they do.
posted by amberglow at 3:03 PM on January 4, 2008


again, these are his own words-- and he's absolutely wrong: ...According to the [implicitly false, remember] storyline that drives many advocacy groups and Democratic activists - a storyline often reflected in comments on this blog - we are up against a sharply partisan, radically conservative, take-no-prisoners Republican party. ...

He won't even acknowledge what the GOP themselves brag about and are proud of.
posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on January 4, 2008


Instant "Democrats" for 2 hours one night. Not right--especially for a Democratic Party contest in which the Democratic Party Presidential candidate was being chosen.

Well, I don't know how "instant" it is. I registered to caucus in 2000, I had been an independent and I've never switched back. I bet a lot of the people who signed up last night are going to stay Democratic, especially if their guy wins.

And ultimately I don't think it makes a lot of sense to try to distinguish between "Democrats" and "Non-democrats". The only reasonable definition would be official party affiliation, and like I said, everyone was "officially" a democrat.

How long do you think people should have to be registered in a party before they can vote in a party?

Note your own contradiction ...In a primary/caucus, people who are members of that party do--or should have.

Again, those people are members of the democratic party. Being a democrat doesn't mean you agree with every single Democratic plank. I'm opposed to telecom immunity and funding for Iraq, unlike Harry Reid and Nancy Peloci. I'm much more liberal then the average Dem, and people only have two choices.

In my view, anyone willing to sign up as a member of the democratic party is a member of the democratic party. I don't think we need a 'grace period'

Twice as many Democrats did not show up last night--Many of those people were not Democrats until that very moment.

Again, I just don't see what the deal is. If you are registered as a democrat, you're a democrat. You're actually arguing for a much less democratic system at the same time you're demanding "more" (or at least a more formal system). If we only allowed people to vote in primaries if they'd been active in the party for years, it would discourage a huge percentage of voters. Holding a day long primary, but requiring a (what, 6 month? 4 year?) waiting period would drastically reduce turnout IMO.

He doesn't have a better chance of being elected, and has never been truly challenged in any race for any office.

He's won tough primaries, as far as real races against the republicans, well; he'll probably never have one.

300,000 people just forced multiple candidates out of the race entirely--in a country of 300 million plus.

None of those candidates really stood a chance in any other states either. All they did was waste podium space. Maybe if Edwards had been able to have a real debate with Hillary and Obama, he'd have done better (or maybe not).

Bill Clinton chose to make his stand in New Hampshire. Rudy Guiliani is choosing Florida. And if we ran a nation-wide primary Edwards would have no chance whatsoever, and the MSM would have far, far more power to shape the primary.

I honestly doubt that there is any "Optimal" solution that everyone would agree was best. I kind of like the idea of a multi-party parliament where people vote for a party to represent them, and coalitions are formed. Our two-party duopoly kind of sucks.

Oh, and as far as secret ballots are concerned, I'm not really sure if we still need it. In the era of Diebold I think it might be causing more harm then good. I'd rather have a verifiable ballot then a secret one.
posted by delmoi at 3:21 PM on January 4, 2008


I can't vote in my New York Democratic primary unless i've already previously officially registered as a Democrat. I can't vote in the general election either unless i'm an already previously registered voter. We have deadlines for eligibility and voting too--the vast majority of states do. There are many many very good reasons why you shouldn't just be able to walk in and vote in a primary, and our voting history in this country has demanded many of them. Of course, the GOP are now adding even more, with their voter id laws intended to suppress minority votes popping up all over.

He's won tough primaries, as far as real races against the republicans, well; he'll probably never have one.
No, he hasn't--ever. And this Iowa Caucus was his very first tough contest of any sort--and it wasn't as tough as it should have been on him--see the media treatment of Edwards and Clinton for the treatment Obama should and will be exposed to. And i'm telling you that the GOP will do anythiing to win--legal or not--you should know that already. A weak GOP candidate won't even matter to them--they win by sliming and destroying opponents, and by cheating. It's fact. And the media always helps them do it too.
posted by amberglow at 3:33 PM on January 4, 2008


amberglow is killing my buzz!!!!!

Edwards is just another smiley glad hand though, so I don't see how he would do a better job then Obama. Hell I'd vote for Hillary if I thought the media would even give her a chance at seeming normal.

As far as primaries, I'm on board, it's pretty crappy that 2 or 3 states determine our candidate -- I'm thinking of the mind numbing rage I felt when Kerry was announced. Like, ok, we can go with Dean, or with WES CLARK!! swoon, but then they came up with Kerry.... what?!?

Why can't 12 or 16 states do a primary on the same day?
posted by cavalier at 3:35 PM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


sorry, cavalier, but this is really really important--and hope and inspiration aren't enough, given this hostile political and media environment, and given the stakes. I can't support someone who ignores realilty and who refuses to fight for progress, and refuses even to stop everything the GOP has done and are still doing and will continue to do-- and who runs against his own party. I live in the "reality-based" community, not dreamland.

This sums it up for me, and makes me not want Obama--... Since declaring for President, this person has called Social Security a 'crisis', attacked trial lawyers, associated unapologetically with vicious homophobes, portrayed Gore and Kerry as excessively polarizing losers, boasted as his central achievement an irrelevant ethics bill, ran against the DC establishment while taking huge amounts of cash from DC, undermined Ned Lamont in 2006, criticized NAFTA while voting for a NAFTA-style trade agreement, compiled opposition research on the most effective liberal pundit in the country, refused to promise that American troops would be out of Iraq by 2013, and endorsed the central plank of the Bush-Cheney foreign policy doctrine, the war on terror.

How would you react? You could concoct a 'theory of change' and argue that all of this is just deceptive, and the candidate is worth supporting anyway. You could make arguments that this person can change the electoral map, with no evidence, and support him for that reason. Or you could decide that this person means what he says and is running a campaign promising the country premised on conservative ideas such as the war on terror, maintaining an American presence in Iraq, and 'fixing' Social Security....

posted by amberglow at 3:42 PM on January 4, 2008




again, these are his own words-- and he's absolutely wrong:

Your right, he was wrong about Roberts. And go back through my posting history, and you'll find plenty of posts bashing Obama. But edwards was wrong about the Iraq War. And as long as we're linking to pull quotes, check this out:
Consider a bill into which Obama clearly put his heart and soul. The problem he wanted to address was that too many confessions, rather than being voluntary, were coerced — by beating the daylights out of the accused....The bill itself aroused immediate opposition. There were Republicans who were automatically tough on crime and Democrats who feared being thought soft on crime. There were death penalty abolitionists, some of whom worried that Obama's bill, by preventing the execution of innocents, would deprive them of their best argument. Vigorous opposition came from the police, too many of whom had become accustomed to using muscle to "solve" crimes. And the incoming governor, Rod Blagojevich, announced that he was against it.

....He responded with an all-out campaign of cajolery....The police proved to be Obama's toughest opponent, [but] by showing officers that he shared many of their concerns, even going so far as to help pass other legislation they wanted, he was able to quiet the fears of many.

Obama proved persuasive enough that the bill passed both houses of the legislature, the Senate by an incredible 35 to 0. Then he talked Blagojevich into signing the bill, making Illinois the first state to require such videotaping.
posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on January 4, 2008


Err, sorry this.
posted by delmoi at 3:50 PM on January 4, 2008


This is not a polite, nice parlor game. This can't be stopped or overcome with "hope" or "bipartisanship".

I'm sorry, amberglow: I forgot that, as an NJ resident, you can afford to be at war with most of the rest of the country without fear of reprisal. Your local politics means that the GOP has a completely different face than it does in much of the rest of the country. Here in Tennessee, we have to live with 'the enemy' and recognize them as neighbors, parents, coworkers, and friends. Corruption is bad, no question, but it's not like all 50 million Republicans deserve to be tarred with that same brush.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:54 PM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Freepers attack Obama
posted by homunculus at 3:57 PM on January 4, 2008


Here in Tennessee, we have to live with 'the enemy' and recognize them as neighbors, parents, coworkers, and friends. Corruption is bad, no question, but it's not like all 50 million Republicans deserve to be tarred with that same brush.
If they vote for the GOP and their hateful, directly damaging and hurtful policies, they do deserve to be tarred with that same brush. With every single vote and donation, they directly are harming ME, those i love, and millions of others. They are hurting all of us, no matter how lovely they might be individually as people. This is a political thread and we're discussing voting and politics--keep that in mind as well.

This is not abstract, and the damage being done is not confined to DC or Congress. I'm sorry that's not understandable to people who aren't directly in their line of fire (even tho the whole country actually is).

It's bad enough that the GOP is racist and homophobic and xenophobic and warmongering and thoroughly corrupt, etc--i'll be damned if i'll support ANY Democratic candidate who plays ANY one of those games--and when it comes to homophobia and religion, Obama has already shown it's fine to throw me under the bus.

He responded with an all-out campaign of cajolery....The police proved to be Obama's toughest opponent, [but] by showing officers that he shared many of their concerns, even going so far as to help pass other legislation they wanted, he was able to quiet the fears of many.
What was the other legislation? What kind of trade-offs are possible about universal healthcare or ending Iraq or stopping unfair trade deals or civil rights or equal rights or justice or opportunity? What can Obama give to HMOs (his own donors) to make them agree to cut their profits and stop denying care as a policy? What can Obama trade to Republicans who refuse to allow even future timelines for withdrawal from Iraq? What can Obama do to change the entire MO of the GOP in DC when he doesn't even see them as obstructionist or partisan?
posted by amberglow at 4:36 PM on January 4, 2008




Dirty Politics 2008
posted by homunculus at 7:44 PM on January 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


amberglow: You still haven't answered my question: How long should you have to be registered as a democrat before you should be able to vote in a primary? Just how "democratic" should you have to be?

The reason I'm asking is that you seem to be asking for both more and less "democracy". You want people to be able to vote all day and do absentee balloting, but you're also demanding restrictions that would prevent all but the most hard-core liberals from voting in the Dem primary. Since America has a two-party duopoly, preventing independents from voting in primaries essentially disenfranchises them from making anything other then a (potentially lame) binary choice on election day.
posted by delmoi at 12:49 AM on January 5, 2008


I was wondering what exactly Hillary was going to do now that she's lost Iowa. I mean where can she go, right? Well it turns out that her main focus now will be to attack Obama
Hillary's aides point to Obama's extremely progressive record as a community organizer, state senator and candidate for Congress, his alliances with "left-wing" intellectuals in Chicago's Hyde Park community, and his liberal voting record on criminal defendants' rights as subjects for examination.

Along the same lines, ABC reported that Clinton aides gave the network various examples, of Obama's controversial stands. The aides cited Obama's past assertion that he would support ending mandatory minimum sentences for federal crimes, pointing to a 2004 statement at an NAACP-sponsored debate: "Mandatory minimums take too much discretion away from judges."
God what a Bitch. The sooner these two pathetic losers (Bill and Hillary) leave the scene the better.
posted by delmoi at 1:02 AM on January 5, 2008




Ron Paul's finally make an appearance in the British press... go libertarian web nerds, you can do it!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:14 AM on January 5, 2008




Actually, looks like Hillary decided not to go negative against Obama.
posted by delmoi at 1:51 PM on January 5, 2008


amberglow: You still haven't answered my question: How long should you have to be registered as a democrat before you should be able to vote in a primary? Just how "democratic" should you have to be?

Here's the answer: at least enough time to have previously registered as a D or R and gotten a mailer directing you to a specific primary/caucus. Again: Primaries are not general elections and they are not for any single person who wants to show up at 7 in Iowa one night. And it's not about how liberal or die-hard you are--it's about showing the most modest desire to take part in inter-party dealings, and to have a say in picking one party's candidate.

Independents and Registered Independents choose not to be D or R for many reasons. That choice has real consequences, given our 2-party-dominant system. Third parties have all sorts of things like nominating conventions and other things too, like the 2 parties.

You're asking that Primaries and Caucuses be totally open to all comers, but not asking that they be open to all candidates--why is that? Why not just have one State Primary that's not either D or R, including all candidates of all sorts? Let there be 100 candidates at each Iowa Caucus spot. You accept the restrictions on the most important part of them--only one party's candidates--and the horrible and undemocratic total elimination of all who don't get 15%--and that they don't even directly choose state delegates even, etc...-- yet you want them open to all walkups? Too weird.

You guys there get all the attention and your stupid setup has far far far more power to pick the candidate (and to eliminate candidates) than any other state in the country. This walkup thing just makes it more stupid, given that they are Party Caucuses and not general elections.


Now how about you answer my Obama question--What was the other legislation Obama agreed o in order to get the IL Cops to agree to what he wanted? And why do none of the articles mention it?
posted by amberglow at 3:26 PM on January 5, 2008


oop--Obama agreed to in order to get the IL cops...
posted by amberglow at 3:27 PM on January 5, 2008


Fox News: populism’s win is America’s loss

They so hate Huckabee, and he's not even a true populist.
posted by amberglow at 3:38 PM on January 5, 2008


and someone answer me this: Why does Obama have absolutely no national Union support?
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on January 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's another group for Obama to speak against and disassociate himself from: Nurses Launch National 'CheneyCare' Campaign
posted by amberglow at 3:47 PM on January 5, 2008


from 04: ... Over the weekend, I heard Barack Obama interviewed on the Rhandi Rhodes show. He wanted to talk about points of commonality he could find with the GOP. She wanted to talk about counting all the votes in Ohio. She wanted to talk about voter election fraud. He said to her, "Oh, you're going to keep gnawing that bone." Gnawing that bone? That's our leadership. ...

there are years of this kind of thing from him--years. Even in the face of demonstrated GOP crimes over and over. He's always been derisive to all who wanted them stopped.
posted by amberglow at 4:17 PM on January 5, 2008




Richardson should not be there at all either, if Kucinich isn't.

Clinton just had a great line--they asked her about likeability and she said "we elected Bush because he was seen as likeable and someone we wanted to have a beer with, and because he said he was a uniter, not a divider"
posted by amberglow at 7:03 PM on January 5, 2008


this is good: ...One way of steering politicians is to force them to play to the corporate media’s version of reality. Fictions like “the problem with Washington is excessive partisanship”. The reality is that the problem with Washington is the Republican Party and the Conservative movement’s infrastructure.

The lure of subscribing to the corporate media’s version of reality can be seductive. Because corporate media controls most voters’ access to information, making nice with the corporate media can be very good to a cooperative candidate.

But this allows the corporate media, the Conservative think tanks and the corporations that fund them, to shape policy. ...
posted by amberglow at 8:01 PM on January 5, 2008


You're asking that Primaries and Caucuses be totally open to all comers, but not asking that they be open to all candidates--why is that? Why not just have one State Primary that's not either D or R, including all candidates of all sorts? Let there be 100 candidates at each Iowa Caucus spot.

That doesn't really make any sense to me. I mean, I understand what you're saying, but I don't see how that could fit into a national, two-party system that would allow people to pick the president.

You accept the restrictions on the most important part of them--only one party's candidates--and the horrible and undemocratic total elimination of all who don't get 15%

Well, in the end, only one person can be president. You say that that's horrible, but I don't really see why it is. It doesn't seem horrible to me. You seem to be arguing based on some initial premise about what constitutes ideal democracy, and that anything that deviates from that ideal is morally wrong. I however, that there are many forms of democracy that all have tradeoffs. I don't think the Democratic caucus system in Iowa has any negative practical tradeoffs. The fact that you need to get above 15% doesn't really matter to me, because in the end only one person can get the nomination. I don't think that people who are not going to win should get to "keep" votes that have no meaning. That just seems unimportant.

And again, I just don't see why it matters how long a person has been registered, I really don't. I feel like it's inconsistent for you to argue for "more democracy" and at the same time place artificial barriers and try to determine who is and isn't a "real" party member. That inconsistency makes it hard to argue against.
posted by delmoi at 8:52 PM on January 5, 2008


I'm still waiting for the answer about Obama, btw. I'll be here all year.

I don't think the Democratic caucus system in Iowa has any negative practical tradeoffs. The fact that you need to get above 15% doesn't really matter to me, because in the end only one person can get the nomination. I don't think that people who are not going to win should get to "keep" votes that have no meaning. That just seems unimportant.

And again, I just don't see why it matters how long a person has been registered, I really don't. I feel like it's inconsistent for you to argue for "more democracy" and at the same time place artificial barriers and try to determine who is and isn't a "real" party member.

The whole world sees the negative practical tradeoffs in Iowa, and they've been clear and loudly broadcast for years. Saying you don't think people who are not going to win should get to "keep" votes is anti-democratic entirely, as well. A regular primary allocates state delegates to candidates according to their vote totals--Iowa doesn't. More democracy means one person, one vote first and foremost--Iowa doesn't allow those votes to be either secret -- or counted. Iowa uses community persuasion to run their caucus and to allocate county delegates--the real delegate selection is then done in secret without voter participation, and that's absolutely wrong too. More democracy would mean that Iowa would count people's votes and allocate delegates according to that count. More democracy means more people voting in a clear and fair manner clearly counted. More democracy means more people participate in a fair, and accurately counted process. More democracy means more people vote in general elections, and those votes are counted. More democracy means many things--Iowa restricts entirely democracy for participants -- and especially for non-participants--meaning all those who can't get there at a specific time.

The party registration thing is specifically for PARTY CAUCUSES and PRIMARIES. I don't see why you are hung up on the difference--i've explained it more than once. If you can't even bother to get off your ass to previously register for a Party, you should not be deciding who is that Party's candidate. It's crystal-clear.

You speak as if there shouldn't be any rules about voting at all, yet you accept -- without question -- and don't see anything wrong with -- those arbitrary rules that make Iowa's Democratic caucuses the most unfair and undemocratic out of all the states.

Again, i'd love to hear what legislation Obama gave cops in return for what he wanted.
posted by amberglow at 10:33 PM on January 5, 2008


The Audacity of Hope Lying on National TV: WHO IS JIM DEMERS?-- ...In Saturday’s debate, in the face of an explicit charge from Clinton, Obama denied that his New Hampshire co-chair Jim Demers is a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry: “That’s not so.”

In fact, as you can see here, it is a true fact that Demers is registered to lobby for Pfizer and PhRMA. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:50 AM on January 6, 2008


"I still matter! I still matter!"
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on January 6, 2008


"I still matter! I still matter!"

Much more of Paul's long record of racist statements are coming out--and i think he'll run 3rd-party instead of as a Republican really soon.
posted by amberglow at 4:16 PM on January 7, 2008


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