Senator John Kerry lashed out at the media today for their constant news coverage obsession with Rev. Wright and his recent string of interviews. And even though according to the L.A. Times it was a Hillary Clinton supporter who arranged the “spectacle” (as Obama called it) that was the Rev. Wright National Press Club event, the media continues to act as if Wright is a credible source to determine whether Obama is capable of being president. It’s clear that Rev. Wright and Hillary Clinton are both intent on not just destroying Barack Obama, but the Democratic Party as well. It won’t work if voters are smart enough to connect the dots.
Archive for April, 2008
Maybe Hillary Clinton and John McCain should become running mates? Not only are they using the same talking points against Obama on the campaign trail, they’re proposing the same plans! Weeks after John McCain announced a plan to cut an 18 cent gasoline tax that would do little to save people money on $4 gasoline, Hillary Clinton outlined the exact same program.
The problem? All of the pandering does little to save consumers money, and may actually result in even HIGHER gas prices. Anyone who has a basic understanding of economics would know that higher demand means higher prices. So by eliminating the 18 cent gasoline tax, demand would rise and so will price. The result: oil companies will make more money at the expense of our highways and consumers.
What else is wrong with the Hillary/McCain proposal? It would cost the federal government an estimated $9 billion over the 3 months that the “gas tax holiday” would occur. Not only would we not be repairing our highways over the summer, we would be putting our entire infrastructure at risk. The bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis last year proves we can not afford either Hillary or McCain to be president. It also would result in an estimated 300,000 job losses. So much for jump starting our economy, Hillary.
The race for the Democratic nomination is coming to a close. As the likely nominee, Barack Obama leads in every possible metric: popular vote, delegate count, number of states won, number of primaries won, and number of caucuses won. World War I was dubbed “The War to End All Wars”. Indiana is shaping up to be the “Primary to End All Primaries”… at least for the 2008 election season.
The reason I say that is because without the states of Indiana and North Carolina, it is not possible for Hillary Clinton to catch up in either the delegate count (for which she trails him by roughly 150 elected delegates) or the popular vote (which he leads by 500,000). If the polls are any indication, Hillary is looking to lose North Carolina by upwards of 150,000, which will erase the gains she made from winning Pennsylvania.
As such, Indiana is seen as a “tie-breaker”. No matter the outcome of the Indiana primary, Obama will lead in the popular vote and delegate count. Indiana and North Carolina (the 15th largest and 10th largest states, respectively) are the last major states to vote. After these two primaries on May 6, there are only small states with comparatively low populations: Kentucky (26th), Oregon (27th), West Virginia (37th), Montana (44th) and South Dakota (46th). Obama is favored in the second largest of these, Oregon, and the smallest two, Montana and South Dakota. Hillary will only gain a negligible amount of popular votes and delegates in these states.
Hillary’s last best hopes were in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania. Winning Indiana is not sufficient enough to do much, considering Obama’s win in North Carolina will come from a slightly larger state and with a much higher percentage of the vote. However, the polls in Indiana have Obama up anyway. Four recent polls had Obama up between 1 and 5 percent. He even was beating John McCain, according to an Indianapolis Star poll, in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964!
There are several reasons why Obama should be favored to win Indiana. First, Obama has never lost a state that borders Illinois. He won Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri by varying amounts of 1% to 17%. The second advantage that he has in Indiana is the number of black voters and where they are concentrated. While the percentage is smaller than Ohio and Pennsylvania, they will remain a key component of any victory. The third Obama advantage comes from the most impressive part of his campaign: his ability to motivate young voters.
1. Chicago spill-over: The biggest advantage Obama has in Indiana is the spill-over affect of his homestate and border state, Illinois. Northwest Indiana is an extension of Chicago, included by the U.S. Census as part of the metropolitan area reaching from Wisconsin to Michigan City, Indiana in LaPorte County (three counties to the east of the Illinois border).
Obama should carry the three Chicago suburban counties of Lake (Gary, Hammond), Porter (Portage) and LaPorte (Michigan City, LaPorte) with heavy turnout from African Americans, young and liberal voters. The demographics in this part of the state favor him heavily, and should easily counter more rural (and less populated) areas that will favor Hillary. The Chicago media market has influence in this part of the state.
The fourth county that will undoubtedly be affected by Chicago influence is St. Joseph County. This includes South Bend, Mishawaka and Notre Dame. While St. Joseph County is not technically part of the Chicago metropolitan area (it is outside of it by about 30 miles), St. Joseph County is safely inside Chicago’s sphere of economic, media and political influence. Combined, these four “Chicago spill-over” counties of Indiana make up a full 1/6 of the state’s population at an approximately 1,006,000. St. Joseph County will also be included in two other Obama advantage regions detailed below.
2. The black vote: Since blacks are so heavily Democrat, they will make up a larger percent of the primary electorate than their overall percent of the state’s population. In other words, even though blacks make up roughly 12% of St. Joseph County, they will probably make up about 20% of the vote in the Democratic primary. Lake County, which includes Gary and Hammond, has a surprisingly low black population considering the stereotypes (although still significant). 25% of Lake County’s nearly 500,000 residents are African American. Marion County will be the single largest county where Obama will get his votes. 24% of its nearly 900,000 residents are African American.
3. College towns: Despite widespread belief that Indiana is a farm state, most of its 6.3 million residents live in cities and towns. It also has an above-average number of high school and college graduates in the United States. Many of these towns are lifted up by large numbers of college students from in and out of state, as well as international students. Again, this is an Obama advantage. Obama tends to do better in states where voters are more educated.
Obama will win the college towns of Bloomington (IU – 40,000 students), West Lafayette (Purdue – 40,000 students), Muncie (Ball State – 20,000 students), Indianapolis (Butler – 5,000 students; IUPUI – 30,000 students), and South Bend (Notre Dame – 12,000 students; IUSB – 7,500 students). Indiana also has an extensive community college system known as Ivy Tech which accounts for 110,000 students across 23 campuses.
With all of the talk of the “tide turning”, as Hillary Clinton puts it, the media lost focus on a huge story in Pennsylvania’s primary yesterday. No, it was not Clinton’s 9 point win where she only managed to reduce her 160+ delegate deficit by roughly 12. Not only was Hillary expected to win, she led by as much as 30% just a few months ago. Her “win” was not significant enough to turn any tide or dismount the all-but-certain nominee, Barack Obama.
It was in the Republican primary where real news was made. For all of the talk of division in the Democratic Party, despite record turnout and hundreds of thousands of new voters, very few Republicans turned out to vote yesterday in Pennsylvania. Those that did didn’t seem to care much for John McCain. The Republican nominee, who no longer is being challenged, got less than 75% of the vote in the Pennsylvania primary. While the media questions if Hillary supporters will back Obama in the fall, maybe they should be asking if the nearly 30% of Republicans who voted against John McCain will vote for him in the fall?
John McCain – 576,088 72.7%
Ron Paul – 125,810 15.9%
Mike Huckabee – 90,002 11.4%
Now consider this: Ron Paul has hinted that he may run as an independent in the fall. If he does that, a full 16% of the Republican Party could presumably defect. On top of the 10-15 percent that Obama will win, McCain would be looking at losing 25-30% of the Republican base. I’m all for Ron Paul running as a third party. He’s a good man with a few ideas that I agree with. His position on the war is far more in line with the Democrats than it is with John McCain (who epitomizes the pro-war point of view).
Edit: I might add that if it weren’t for Hillary and her stubborn supporters who fail to comprehend basic math, Democrats could more easily exploit McCain’s weaknesses among Republicans. Instead, they appear to be more interested in an intra-party civil war.
It’s now past 8 p.m. on the East coast and in the state of Pennsylvania. Polls have closed in the state and none of the media has called the race for Senator Clinton. As I have noted on this site for many weeks, Hillary needed a 20%+ win in order to make a legitimate claim on the nomination. It appears that, at best, she may only win by less than 5% in a state where just two months ago she was favored by the 20% that she needs to win by. It looks like Obama is well positioned to end this race in two weeks by winning Indiana (which I would now say favors him) and North Carolina. More updates to come…
8:51 p.m. – NBC calls PA for Hillary. This was not unexpected. Right now the numbers are 55-45% with Philadelphia yet to report. Obama could conceivably hold her to a few points. The fact remains that her lead won’t nearly be enough to mean a thing.
9:03 p.m. - The latest numbes are 52-48. It’s clear there won’t be the blowout that Hillary needed. If you are a Hillary supporter, you should realize that your candidate is not going to be the nominee. Stop the bleeding. Unite or die. That’s what the Democratic Party faces in the next two weeks when Indiana and North Carolina votes. Bring it on, Hillary. Indiana is Obama country.
The (not so) great senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe, who believes that global warming is a myth, was “honored” by the oil and natural gas industry with an award. The headline from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment reads “A Tireless Advocate of Efforts to Grow State’s Oil and Natural Gas Economy”. This guy used to be the chairman of this committee before the Democrats took over. And people wonder why gas prices are as high as they are? With friends like Bush, Cheney, Inhofe and DeLay, the oil industry never had any worry in the world.
U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) this week was honored with the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association’s (OIPA) “2008 Friend of the Wildcatter” award for his service to Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry. Inhofe, who serves as ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has long supported efforts to increase domestic production.The award recognizes Inhofe as ” ‘Friend of the Wildcatter’ for voting consistently in the 110th Congress to grow the economy, protect Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry jobs, and increase domestic exploration and production.”
Talk about a dubious award. Why Inhofe would either accept or tout this is beyond comprehension.
Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein wrote an excellent piece yesterday on CNN’s website, describing what a Hillary Clinton presidency would look like:
The answer by now seems obvious: It will look like her presidential campaign, which in turn looks increasingly like the first Clinton presidency.
Which is to say, high-minded ideals, lowered execution, half truths, outright lies (and imaginary flights), take-no prisoners politics, some very good policy ideas, a presidential spouse given to wallowing in anger and self-pity, and a succession of aides and surrogates pushed under the bus when things don’t go right. Which is to say, often.
And endless psychodrama: the essential Clintonian experience that mesmerizes the press, confuses the citizenry, confounds members of both parties in Congress (not to mention the Clintons themselves, at times) and pretty much keeps the rest of the world constantly amused and fixated.
He describes the failure of Hillary Clinton on the national level with healthcare and as a candidate for president, not to mention the most pivotal vote of her Senate career – authorizing the Iraq war:
Hillary Clinton has now presided over two disastrous national enterprises, the most important professional undertakings of her adult life, both of which she began with ample wind at her back: the healthcare reform of her husband’s presidency, and now her own campaign for the White House. These two failures -– and the demonizing of her opponents in both instances –- may be the best indication of the kind of President she would be, especially when confronted (inevitably) by unanticipated difficulty and/or entrenched opposition to her ideas and programs.
It is exactly under such circumstances that she usually resorts to the worst excesses that mark her in full warrior-mode — and all its scorched-earth, truth-be-damned manifestations. Bosnia, anyone? Smearing the women involved (or even thought to be involved) sexually with her husband. Responding to Barack Obama with the same mindset, disdain, and arsenal as she did Karl Rove and Lee Atwater, as if Obama’s politics and methodologies were as mendacious and vicious as theirs–and her own. Tax information kept secret (in 1992 to hide her profits from trading in cattle futures; in 2008 to shield the identities of Bill’s foreign clients.) A campaign that openly boasts of throwing “the kitchen sink” at her opponent.
What you see is what you get: Hillary’s cynical view of the larger interests of the Democratic Party, exhibited in her 3 a. m. red telephone ad. And her simultaneous, incongruous suggestion that Barack Obama –- notwithstanding his supposed lack of national security qualifications to be commander-in-chief -– would make a good vice president on her ticket.
The assumption of many senatorial colleagues, former Clinton aides, and reporters (including this one) was that her presidential campaign would be much different from the one she and Bill Clinton waged through the White House years.
In A Woman in Charge, I wrote about her ability to evolve, observable especially in the years before she met Bill Clinton and in the Senate: to learn from her mistakes. Events have proven me wrong on that count.
The 2008 Clinton campaign, in fact, has been an exercise in devolution, back to the angry, demonizing, accusatory Hillary Clinton of the worst days of the Clinton presidency, flailing, and furtive, and disingenuous; and, as in the White House years, putting forth programs and ideas worthy of respect and deserving of the kind of substantive debate she claims she wants her race against Barrack Obama to be based upon.
Barack Obama came to South Bend on April 9, 2008 for a campaign rally at Washington High School. Obama was greeted with an endorsement from South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke, as well as Congressman Tim Roemer. Obama’s visit was the first stop in a 3 day bus tour of Indiana ahead of the state’s May 6 primary.
Barack Obama faced yet another day of attacks from his opponents (Hillary and McCain), while the media pounced as well, with CNN mischaracterizing what he said:
MUNCIE, Indiana (CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama on Saturday tried to clarify what he meant when he said some small-town Pennsylvanians are “bitter” people who “cling to guns and religion.”
Talk about hacking a quote and misconstruing it to create a fake controversy for headlines. What Obama actually said was:
Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long, and they feel so betrayed by government, and when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by — it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama (laugher), then that adds another layer of skepticism (laughter). [...]
But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Instead of being responsible journalists, CNN’s writers devoted an entire six words out of two paragraphs that he spoke. If you are going to write an article on a speech, at least give a decent portion and some context. You don’t take a word like “bitter”, attribute it to “small-town Pennsylvanians” and say they cling to guns. What he said was that many small towns are economically depressed. The jobs have gone overseas (or to Mexico), they haven’t come back despite promises from the Clintons and Bush’s. Many Americans ARE bitter about the disparity between rich and poor in this country. To say otherwise, like Hillary and McCain are, is to be an elitist. By the way, for Hillary to call Obama an elitist when she just released tax returns showing that she earned $110 million over six years… talk about irony.