Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'm Not Ignoring You, I'm Out of Town
Shilling for Obama will re-commence over the weekend.

I caught just enough of the debate between Hillary and Barack to notice that Senator Clinton still won't admit her Iraq vote was a mistake. I don't understand why that doesn't disqualify her. It's so obviously a huge mistake. In fact, what would be a bigger mistake for a Senator to make than to authorize an incompetent administration to conduct an unjustifiable war?

She's ready to go on Day 1 after making the most harmful mistake a Senator can make, while cynically trolling for votes to show she's not afraid to use force?

When has her judgment on the war *not* simply tracked right behind the popular opinion polls?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Delegate Count [UPDATED]
Numbers are updated to reflect Edwards dropping out, and to reflect other/undecided numbers that now will only have 2 places to go. Polls used are the most recent for each state, or the most recent national poll if no recent state poll is available.

Alabama -- Clinton 24, Obama 21 Undecided 7
Alaska -- Clinton 6, Obama 5, Undecided 2
American Samoa -- Clinton 2, Obama 1, Undecided 0
Arizona -- Clinton 21, Obama 15, Undecided 20
Arkansas -- Clinton 17, Obama 13, Undecided 5
California -- Clinton 159, Obama 148, Undecided 63
Colorado -- Clinton 18, Obama 19, Undecided 18
Connecticut -- Clinton 23, Obama 17, Undecided 8
Delaware -- Clinton 7, Obama 5, Undecided 3
Democrats Abroad -- Clinton 3, Obama 2, Undecided 2
Georgia -- Clinton 31, Obama 45, Undecided 11
Idaho -- Clinton 8, Obama 7, Undecided 3
Illinois -- Clinton 37, Obama 84, Undecided 32
Kansas -- Clinton 15, Obama 12, Undecided 5
Massachusetts -- Clinton 53, Obama 31, Undecided 9
Minnesota -- Clinton 29, Obama 24, Undecided 19
Missouri -- Clinton 32, Obama 27, Undecided 13
New Jersey -- Clinton 47, Obama 40, Undecided 20
New Mexico -- Clinton 12, Obama 9, Undecided 5
New York -- Clinton 125, Obama 88, Undecided 19
North Dakota -- Clinton 6, Obama 5, Undecided 2
Oklahoma -- Clinton 17, Obama 7, Undecided 14
Tennessee -- Clinton 33, Obama 24, Undecided 11
Utah -- Clinton 11, Obama 5, Undecided 7
Feb. 5 Totals-- Clinton 736, Obama 655, Undecided 297

Already Earned - Clinton 43, Obama 68, Edwards 26
Total Earned Del. after 2/5 -- Clinton 779, Obama 723, Edwards 26 with 297 to be determined between Obama and Clinton.
Where's Oprah?
Obviously, there's a huge gender gap in the Clinton-Obama matchup. So, why aren't we seeing Oprah hit the trail before Feb. 5? Does she not help with women? Just wondering.

Monday, January 28, 2008

"It is Time For a New Generation of Leadership"
In case you missed it, here's Ted Kennedy's speech today endorsing Obama. He goes right after the Clintons. The best line..."From the beginning, he opposed the war in Iraq. And let no one - no one - deny that truth."
What have you been listening to, reading, watching?

Weekend Box Office
1. Meet the Spartans
2. Rambo (you've gotta be kidding)
3. 27 Dresses
4. Cloverfield
5. Untraceable

Diving Bell and the Butterfly
I caught the new Julian Schnabel flick over the weekend. It really is quite good, harrowing, beautiful and - in all honesty - scares the hell out of me. But deserving of all the attention it's been getting.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

In my cynical attempt to lower expectations for Obama I seem to have foolishly ruled out the possibility that he would completely kick Hillary's butt, as he indeed did, 55-27. Who knows what will happen next.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Warning for Saturday
Lest you are confident Obama will win SC easily. Hillary is surging in the last 24-48 hours in tracking polls, just like in New Hampshire. If this trend continues, in which she picks off the undecideds, and it turns out that women are voting for her in the booth in greater numbers than they are polling for her on the phone (in front of their husbands and indignant Obama supporters), Hillary will not only make it a close race, she may win. That despite a shocking 20-point lead in the latest PPP poll. Obama really screwed up the expectations game in South Carolina, if you ask me. Unhelpfully, everyone seems to think he will coast to victory there.
More Clinton Dirty Tricks
Now trying to get the MI and FL delegates seated...
The Deep Thought That's Bugging Me Today Since Lunch
Yeah, actually I *can believe* it's not butter. What I would like to know is: what the hell *is* it?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Forgot About NAFTA
But that's another initiative Clinton was squarely behind that's not very popular these days in economically troubled states. I'm reminded of it because it's mentioned in a new Obama radio ad playing in South Carolina. It's a good one. Here's the transcript. I wouldn't mind seeing a TV ad along the same lines, but really to make news he needs to integrate this line of thinking into his speeches and debates.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

It's Annoying That...
...Obama's likely win in South Carolina will be spun as somehow less important because so many of the Democratic voters will be African-American, as if their votes really count less. Sounds to me like they're saying: he will only win because black Americans support opposed to regular America.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not That I Believe It
A new South Carolina poll has Obama up on Hillary 44-28, with Edwards at 15. Of course this "Public Policy Polling" firm had McCain beating Huckabee by 8 and he only won by 3. So there's no telling what will happen. And also, as the good Rev. Jesse Jackson (after Kenny B and I were just praising him for staying out of the spotlight in this race) just said on Hardball, if Obama wins South Carolina, but with 70% of the black vote, and only 20% of the white vote, he will have lost by winning. That's why he has to find a way to stay on the unity message. Would be nice to see a broad-based win.
Fighting Back
You have probably seen by now the contentious barbs Obama and Clinton threw at each other in last night's debate. Overall, I thought Obama did fair, considering Hillary's a pro at gutter politics and that he's not so great generally in the debate setting. But there's one lesson I wish Obama would learn, and it wouldn't be so hard: he played too much defense. One moment in particular made me cringe: when Hillary brought up Obama's voting record in IL - the (trivial, in my view) fact that he voted present about 100 times (out of 4,000 votes) - and framed it as the Senator not taking responsibility for his votes.

I would have much preferred for him to not spend one second explaining himself and instead declaring this: that he's not going to take lectures on legislative accountability from a Senator who voted for the Iraq War and now refuses to say it was a mistake, who refuses to take any responsibility for the extreme harm that has come to Americans and the world thanks to the vote that she cast to support President Bush in preparing to send hundreds of thousands of US troops in harm's way. We can already hear Republican attacks on her, that she was "for the War before she was against it". It would also have been a good time to bring up the quote he's been using in his speech, in which she apparently said she voted for the Bankruptcy Bill (the 2001 version) but she wished it wouldn't pass. I mean, the nerve of a person with her history of triangulation, and dissembling in the face of her own votes, to attack him for not being accountable is truly astounding.

Instead...he spent minutes explaining the minutiae of state legislative strategy in Illinois, never turning the question back to where it's much better suited - back on her.

And now Bill Clinton is still on tv now mis-quoting Obama's statement about Republicans being the party of ideas during the 90s. I'm sure that offends Bill. But that doesn't justify his repeatedly saying that Obama said they were "good ideas" when he clearly did not, and would not, have said it. Hillary's campaign - and her husband's involvement - is growing increasingly odious.
Bye Bye Fred
Dropped out.
Oscar Nominees
Read the list here. But we don't really need the ceremony for many awards. Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood) are locks, as is, I think, Cate Blanchett (in I'm Not There).

Nice to see both Sicko and No End in Sight getting Documentary nominations.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Why I am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The "Single Garment of Destiny"
Senator Obama gave a sermon at Dr. King's old church on the eve of MLK day, reminding me why I hope he wins, and believe he would offer the country a valuable perspective. It's worth reading the whole thing. But here's a little bit that stuck out to me because I was at a party last night where someone - I honestly forget who - made mention of Obama being homophobic. I presume that misperception is due to his sharing the stage at a couple of campaign events with various gospel artists, homophobes among them. In fact, if any candidate, it's John Edwards who has openly admitted that his church-going past leaves him unable to fully get on board with gay rights, due to the way he was brought up. Anyway, here's a passage of Obama's speech delivered to the largely African-American congregation of the famous Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
It's not easy to stand in somebody else's shoes. It's not easy to see past our differences. We've all encountered this in our own lives. But what makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart - that puts up walls between us.

We are told that those who differ from us on a few things are different from us on all things; that our problems are the fault of those who don't think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The welfare queen is taking our tax money. The immigrant is taking our jobs. The believer condemns the non-believer as immoral, and the non-believer chides the believer as intolerant.

For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays - on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.
And then this...
But if changing our hearts and minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It is not enough to bemoan the plight of poor children in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It is not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block much-needed reforms. It is not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of attack as way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together around a common effort.

The Scripture tells us that we are judged not just by word, but by deed. And if we are to truly bring about the unity that is so crucial in this time, we must find it within ourselves to act on what we know; to understand that living up to this country's ideals and its possibilities will require great effort and resources; sacrifice and stamina.

And that is what is at stake in the great political debate we are having today. The changes that are needed are not just a matter of tinkering at the edges, and they will not come if politicians simply tell us what we want to hear. All of us will be called upon to make some sacrifice. None of us will be exempt from responsibility. We will have to fight to fix our schools, but we will also have to challenge ourselves to be better parents. We will have to confront the biases in our criminal justice system, but we will also have to acknowledge the deep-seated violence that still resides in our own communities and marshal the will to break its grip.
It's a really good speech, and it highlights why I'm for him, I think. Because, mostly, I believe him. And while I'm at it, worth saying that, clearly, he didn't have to mention our gay brothers and sisters, not at all. The only reason to do that is because you think it's right.
One year from today will be Bush's last in office. Just saying.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hillary Wins Nevada
Bummer. Edwards is barely on the screen. South Carolina is a must-win for Obama, right? Hopefully Nevada won't cause too much of a bump. If she wins SC too, I would think there's no stopping her.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Gambling Vote
No time until this afternoon, but this may explain why Hillary is doing well - and likely will win - Nevada. Obama really needs to win out there.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bill Moyers and Shelby Steele on Race in America
Kenny B pointed me to last weekend's Bill Moyers Journal, specifically his interview with conservative Shelby Steele, who I'd never heard before. I listened to it yesterday and not sure what I think, apart from feeling like it's worth thinking about. You can read the transcript of the episode here - Steele comes in for the last half of the show. Here's a bit:
Whites know never tell blacks what you really think and what you really feel because you risk being seen as a racist. And the result of that is that to a degree, we as blacks live in a bubble. Nobody tells us the truth. Nobody tells us what they would do if they were in our situation. Nobody really helps us. They use us. They buy their own innocence with us. But they never tell us the truth. And we need to be told the truth very often.

You know, America is a great society, a great country. Has all sorts-- the values have gotten us to this place where we are the world's greatest society in many ways. Well, those values, yes, we had a history of terrible racism. But those same values will work for blacks. They will help us join the mainstream, become a part of it. But whites can't say that because then they seem to be judgmental. They're seen as racist. And so, no one says it to us.

BILL MOYERS: So you can understand though, why some whites would look to Obama as a redeemer from that--

SHELBY STEELE: They think that Obama is a way out of all of that. That he will bring an American redemption. And whites are very happy for that bargain and show gratitude and even affection for bargainers. Oprah Winfrey is the classic bargainer who has also a kind of magic about her that I think again reflects the aspirations of white America.
Barack Obama is the first black American to bring bargaining into the political arena. Barack Obama is saying, I'm going to give you the-- I'm going to treat you as though you're not a racist. And I'm going to simply ask you to treat me as though I'm not black. Treat me as just-as an individual. Well, it's a nice bargain. But boy, does it make blacks nervous. Our blackness is our power. We think. I don't think it is. But we have the-- that's the delusion I think.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think is your power?

SHELBY STEELE: I think our power is the same as it is for anybody, any other group - the collective energies, imagination of the individuals within the group. We're no better than what our individuals achieve. Identity should be the result of effort and achievement. It's not an agent. It's not going to bring you there.

BILL MOYERS: But you can't escape a part of your identity because it is about, as you say, blood and color. You can't escape that.

SHELBY STEELE: You can't escape it. And I certainly don't want to escape it. I, you know, I am black and happy to be so. But my identity is not my master. I'm my master. And I resent this, you know, civil rights leadership telling me what I should think and what issues I should support this way or that way. And that's where-- in-- black America, identity has become almost totalitarian.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Late-Night Thoughts
Given the incompetent governance of the last 7 years, Obama's answer in last night's debate about not being so much into the day-to-day management of the government was not the smartest, or the most confidence-building. Hillary's predictable attack today on the subject seems deserved.

Is Fred actually making a move? How high can he finish in South Carolina? I tend to think that Huck and Romney will split the crazy religious vote, Huck and Fred will split the crazy Southern vote, and Fred and Romney will split the crazy anti-immigrant vote, leaving McCain well positioned to win SC with the just-plain-crazy vote that's leftover. Still, I can't help but notice Fred's 3rd-place 14% in a new national poll, the highest I've seen for him in a while, and looks like he's sporting a new commercial set to show in SC. Maybe he can surprise? Even then is there a path to the nomination for him? Not without a floor fight.

Huckabee seems crazier and crazier the more the campaign goes on.

Edwards has to hate the way that - 2 states in - everyone's basically declaring it a 2-person race, with him out of it. He deserves better. But since he's not getting it, what's his plan? Is he serious about the convention-talk? Or will 3rd place in NV and SC spell the end? If not, what's he really up to? My prediction? As long as he gets delegates in both states he continues. If he gets shut out, he gets out. Otherwise, the first 5 questions he will get every day will be some version of "When are you dropping out?" and "Why have you not dropped out yet?" That's not the kind of coverage you want in a campaign.
The Limbaugh Test
Rush Limbaugh is telling his listeners, with some urgency, that 2 of the candidates for the Republican nomination - McCain and Huckabee - are simply unacceptable to his version of the conservative movement:
“I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party, it’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.”
He can't be too thrilled then with the latest national primary polls that show those 2 battling for the lead. Take, for instance, the last CBS poll (pdf) of "Republican primary voters" taken Jan. 9-12.
McCain 33
Huckabee 18
Giuliani 10
Romney 8
Thompson 8
Paul 6
As you can see, those 2 unacceptable Republican candidates are polling at 51% -- if we include Ron Paul, who presumably also fails the Limbaugh test, that makes 57% of GOP voters actively choosing candidates who would "destroy the Republican Party." Only 26% are choosing one of the others he would find acceptable. Given the dwindling Republican Party identifiers these days, that's quite the marginalization of Limbaugh-style wingnuttia. What is 30% of 30%, anyway? Whatever it is, that would seem to be the remaining size of the pro-torture, anti-immigration, anti-environment contingent in America today. Better yet, that low number represents the odds today that Rush has of avoiding his GOP doomsday.

Just thought you might like that bit of good news on a Wednesday. Democrats have a tough choice these days, but the Republicans are cracking at the seams. Since they will likely eventually pull themselves together one way or another, we should enjoy this meltdown while it lasts.
It's the Bad News Playoffs
Which news is worse and will move on to the next round? The highest inflation rate in 17 years? Or the outbreak of a horrific drug-resistant strain of staph infection?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Michigan Exit Polls
Some got leaked here. Romney 35, McCain 29, Huckabee 15. If it holds up, I think it's good news, keeping the McCain train from rolling unfettered. I guess we'll see. Anybody watching the Democratic debate tonight?
Mike Huckabee Now Running on the Taliban Platform
Info at my other place here.
Late-Night Deep Thought, Part II
I'm no fan of McCain - if for no other reason than he would keep us in Iraq forever. But one thing would come from his nomination that's not so bad: the environmental question would be over.*Both parties* will have nominated a candidate that believes in global warming - believes in the role of GHGs - and believes that it's high-freakin time we did something about it. Should be the final nail in the denialists' coffin. The American people will have spoken on that, anyway, no matter what November brings.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What have you been watching, listening to, reading?

Weekend Box Office
1. The Bucket List
2. First Sunday
3. Juno
4. National Treasure
5. Alvin (still...?)

I Saw Movies

Like Jenifer said last week, The Orphanage is really good. Yeah, lots of ghost movie cliches, but they pretty much all worked on me. Spooky.

Also saw Juno, which was good - maybe not great. Funny-charming and not completely utterly predictable.

The Greatest Award Show Eva
If only they were all as fabulous as The Golden Globes this year. Somebody get up on a freakin podium and tell us who was nominated and who won. It shouldn't take more than 30 minutes. This year, it didn't. Here is a list of winners. The version of the awards I saw was on CNN during Larry King. He basically talked over them - "oh, was that ever a good movie"; "maybe the best performance OF ALL TIME - trust me". It was hilarious.
Late-Night Deep Thought After Reading the News
It's really depressing how easily the campaign has derailed into largely irrelevant non-issues: first, crying; now, who loves and respects Dr. King more. So many important things to deal with, hard to believe these kind of spats are going to decide the nomination. For the record, the more I think about it, the more I tend to agree with some version of this.

Mostly I wish they would talk more about their respective plans for the economy, the war, and health care reform. If we had a decent press corps, they'd demand the discussion be focused on those things. But I would settle for more run-of-the-mill character generalities. This stuff is just getting silly, and it's hard not to blame all three of them.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The "Stupid" Virus Mutates
into Lawrence O'Donnell.

His piece is so wrong on so many levels, but let's just start with the most fundamental: strategy. If you want Obama to be the nominee, and think you need Edwards supporters to put him over the top, the absolute last thing you should do is berate and deride Edwards for staying in the race, especially with such vitriol and intent to humiliate.

I remember back in the Dean days too, it was common for his supporters to absolutely blast Gephardt, Kerry and Edwards supporters for being so off in their choice. Yeah Dean was ahead for a little while so we felt on top of the world, but some of us forgot - he was ahead with only about 20% of the vote! We kind of needed some of the others, and instead many Deaniacs made pretty much everyone else hate us. He didn't so much fall off once the primaries came around, he failed to add anyone else's supporters or any undecideds, similar to what happened to Obama in the last day of New Hampshire - he met most of his poll estimates, but Hillary got all the undecideds in the end.

Politics is about persuasion and consensus. Obama people should be looking to inspire Edwards supporters to believe in him as well, in the event their candidate does leave the race, or his supporters decide to leave him. This idiocy by O'Donnell will not do that, and will of course do exactly the opposite - making it, in political terms, totally f'ing stupid. People on the fence will gravitate toward the guy being kicked if they like and respect him - same as they did with Hillary. And his supporters will not have a good feeling about moving to your side if you've been calling them losers. Hillary couldn't have scripted it any better. What's worse, O'Donnell's piece is so hateful he will probably get some attention and media interviews from it.

For the record, I have no qualms with anyone who wants to stay in a primary race for any reason, especially a candidate getting delegates. That's what primaries are for. And if Obama can't beat both of them, he doesn't deserve it. Primaries are different. In the general we need to come together, which is why Nader is a jerk who I blame for Gore's electoral college defeat. If Nader wants to run, he should do it like Kucinich, inside the primary. If Edwards wants to stay until the convention, good for him. He's a powerful voice for change and he's getting delegates,which is what it's all about. In fact he could get enough delegates to keep both of the other 2 from winning the nomination without a floor fight. There are plenty of reasons for him to stay in. I do wish he would be smarter and not send any more support Hillary's way by attacking her on foolish grounds. And at any rate, who's to say Edwards people would go to Obama? I don't think that's at all settled. In fact the exit polls are showing that Edwards supporters and Hillary's are more alike than Edwards and Obama's.

Why do so many pundit types not seem to understand that for the most part, Democrats like and admire all three candidates, and many are having trouble deciding between them?? (In my opinion that's what makes the polls so tricky with support so soft). Bashing any one of them in any way that could be perceived as unfair is a huge mistake. Especially on such a personal level. I don't think this piece could be much dumber. You see what happens, Larry?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mitt in Michigan
An interesting idea for Democrats...
Um, What?
There's a virus going around made of stupid.
New York Attorney General [and Hillary Clinton supporter] Andrew Cuomo used some words with a very troublesome racial history, apparently in reference to Barack Obama. [See update below.]

"[The New Hampshire primary]'s not a TV crazed race. Frankly you can't buy your way into it," Cuomo said, according to Albany Times Union reporter Rick Karlin. He then added, "You can't shuck and jive at a press conference."
No, he didn't catch it from Jesse Jackson, Jr. He caught it from this woman.

I'm nearly speechless. It's not funny, and it's not insightful, to suggest lynching black people, or refer to their speech as a "shuck and jive". This is not a tyranny of political correctness to point out.

[UPDATE: Thanks to Lewberry for this link that shows Cuomo apparently was not referring directly to Obama in his remarks. I think you can argue that there couldn't be anyone else he was thinking of, actively campaigning for Hillary and all....but in any case good to read more of it in context. Still, is there a non-offensive use of "shuck and jive"? I hadn't thought so...but what do I know. Either way, I don't think it will make it into my regular vocabulary.]
Who Cares?
John Kerry is endorsing Obama. And Josh Marshall says "the big question" is who will Al Gore endorse? I say who freaking cares. They should all keep their traps shut, or at least let their preference be known in a low-key way. I suppose Oprah's endorsement might have helped. But short of that - someone popular, influential, and outside of politics - these endorsements are a waste of time at best. At worst, and more likely in my opinion, it's a turn-off. Anyway, how can you be the candidate of change and fundamentally alter American presidential politics if your campaign is riding in on the shoulders of the last 2 Democratic nominees? If you're Al Gore and you want Obama to get the nod, I say - in the immortal words of Elmer Fudd - be vewy vewy quiet.

Seriously, Kerry's damaged goods, fairly or not, and even he knows it - it's why he's not running himself. Why on Earth would you appear on stage with him?
Highlights possible theories for why the polls between Iowa and New Hampshire predicted the NH outcome so poorly on the Democratic side. Given all the choices, I go for this explanation: undecided voters at the end - many of whom were picking Clinton in pre-Iowa polls when she had a big lead - were not significantly covered in media reports of the polls, neither was the softness of Obama's support. (The same polls everyone's whining about being so wrong did warn that there were 20% undecided and 30% of Obama's supporters saying they could change their mind.) People deciding on the last day went (back) to Clinton.

No, that doesn't make me feel any better, but it does make some sense. The stories about Hillary under attack for getting choked up simply came later, and swayed more voters, than the story of Obama's surge. It resonated.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Yet Another Way of Looking at New Hampshire
Obama actually wins NH right now, in terms of the delegate count. He and Hillary each garnered 9 awarded by primary voters. Obama has 3 of the 5 superdelegates to Hillary's 2. So NH's 27 delegates are awarded: Obama 12, Clinton 11, Edwards 4.

2,025 delegates are needed to win the nomination.
What's Wrong With People?
Here's a hint - free advice for Obama people: how about we try changing the subject from the thing being talked about non-stop during Hillary's amazing 24-hour comeback, instead of keeping it up like this.
One Way of Looking at New Hampshire Results

State-wide vote in combined Democratic and Republican primaries

Clinton 112,238 - 21.8%
Obama 104,757 - 20.3%
McCain 88,447 - 17.1%
Romney 75,202 - 14.6%
Edwards 48,666 - 9.4%
Huckabee 26,760 - 5.2%
Giuliani 20,283 - 3.9%
Paul 18,245 - 3.5%
Richardson 13,245 - 2.6%
Kucinich 3,912 - 0.8%
Thompson 2,884 - 0.6%
Hunter 1,220 - 0.2%

A precinct or 2 still outstanding from the totals I used here, but the point is, Democratic primary voters outnumbered Republican 282,000 - 233,000 (55% - 45%). I would have thought it might be an even larger margin, but I would take a 10-point Democratic victory in New Hampshire in November. And it's pretty remarkable that our top 2 candidates both outpace the Republican winner.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Predictions [UPDATE]
[UPDATE: Wow. Clinton looking good with 20% counted. Up by 6. How could polls have been so far off I wonder? I assume she will hold on...these things never seem to turn around.

2nd UPDATE: Obama's not coming back. Down 4 with 47% in. Also, MSNBC says women went for Clinton by 13 points, and men went for Obama by 12, and women made up 57% of the voters. I'm no genius, but that tells me Clinton wins. What a shock! Last polls showed Obama up by 10.]

Based on absolutely nothing:

Obama 38
Clinton 34
Edwards 23
Richardson 4

McCain 33
Romney 31
Huckabee 15
Paul 11
Giuliani 7
Thompson 2

Will Obama and Clinton both have more votes than McCain?
New Hampshire
Dems are turning out more than Republicans. Republicans are turning out more than Dems. Take all turnout reports with a grain of salt.

Coverage of Hillary is maddening - sexist, petty, contemptuous. When she is strong and disciplined she's portrayed as a cold, heartless woman; raise her voice a little and she's out-of-control angry; show a little bit of emotion and she's suddenly weak, or - if not to be believed - even more coldly calculating. Meanwhile, the men are alternatively passionate or warmly sensitive, not angry or weak. Jeebus people!

I found Edwards' response yesterday very disappointing, and read it the way Todd Gitlin does. Makes me feel better about my move to Obama.

Still, Hillary makes it difficult to rally around her with moves like this one, taking up Republican talking points to criticize Obama on taxes of all things. I'm not sure her campaign quite gets the intensifying Democratic opposition to Clintonian ideological triangulation. Say what you will about Obama's naivety or determination to build consensus, he at least doesn't try and win independent votes by framing progressive positions as the enemy. In fact, the governing philosophies we are choosing between are actually pretty well laid out. I thought the last ABC debate did a great job of doing that.

Not sure why - if you're Hillary - you want to campaign as LBJ over JFK, and even spell out that comparison, but that seems to be what she's doing. Obama's no JFK (yet). Still, it seems dumb to continue to re-run both Humphrey's and Nixon's failed 1960 campaigns, going so far as to *argue against raising the hopes of the American people.* If Obama's taking the mantle of JFK in this opposition, she's the one that's painted their difference in a way that asks for it, seemingly forgetting that for all of LBJ's legislative accomplishments, the torch was passed to a new generation, not to a seasoned back-room veteran of beltway battles. In fact, her comparison might be a bit more apt than she intends...rather makes Obama's point if you ask me. Surely she wouldn't say Democrats made a mistake nominating Kennedy as opposed to LBJ in 1960. And yet her recent comments read like she does in fact believe that.

Monday, January 07, 2008

What have you been reading, watching, listening to? Anyone had time to make it through any interesting holiday gifts? I've started reading Bill Bryson's short book about Shakespeare. So far that's about it. Any post-holiday recommendations?

Weekend Box Office
1. National Treasre
2. I am Legend
3. Juno
4. Alvin
5. One Missed Call

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Republican Debate
I didn't see it, but thinking it must have been worth it. Just read Josh Marshall's live blog here and here. Here's one of my favorite lines:
Mitt's inner humorlessness did not serve him well.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Election Notes and Speculation Thread
I've been leaning Obama for a while now, though flirting with Edwards and frankly not too anti-Hillary.

Edwards has been the strongest in substance so far, with the clearest presentation of the challenges that face most Americans every day, and of the corporate interests that stand in the way of addressing them. He would be a great President. Or - now - a great Senator. He might be the most determined to bring about change of all three.

Hillary would also be a strong President - she's smart and tough and knows how the system works, and can be used to piecemeal solutions together - a la Bill. That also makes her a great Senator. And it really pisses me off the way media types and the right wing are gloating over her loss.

Obama has something else. Can I be swayed by mere rhetoric of change if beautiful enough? Can I be motivated by talk of a more unified country when it seems a pipedream? Can I be inspired by the excitement of young supporters and their increased engagement in politics? By the sight of a black American claiming victory in US politics? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

I don't know if he would be as successful a President as Hillary Clinton or John Edwards, I really don't. But Obama's is the presidency I want to see.

I don't have to decide until Feb. 5. Depending on how the other primaries go, I could still vote for Edwards. But I'm on board now - Obama '08.

Now, for your weekend speculation, let's think about Lewberry's question. VP choices, for Obama? for Hillary? Edwards? While we're at it...who might McCain's running mate be? Huckabee's?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"They Said This Day Would Never Come"
A perfect opening to an amazing speech by Obama.
If You're Following At Home
This looks to be a decent place to see caucus results on the Democratic side, but you never can tell which sites will be up to date and which running behind.

Update: Looks like Obama might win...pretty remarkable really. We'll see where we go from here. If he actually becomes the nominee it will be an amazing historic moment. If he becomes the President, it will be a truly awe-inspiring development to witness.

Senator Barack Obama : 618--35.96%
Senator John Edwards : 530--30.60%
Senator Hillary Clinton : 527--30.41%
Last Polls + A19 Prediction
ARG's Iowa poll today shows Clinton (34) - Obama (25) - Edwards (21).
Zogby's last 3-day tracking poll shows Obama (31) - Edwards (27) - Clinton (24)

Who knows. Over the last week, I've been prepared to predict each of them the winner. Hard not to see Hillary doing well, but tough to ignore the 2nd-choice status of Edwards, and Obama, especially with rumors of Biden and Richardson both making strategic decisions to push supporters in his direction. Still, here's the official Article 19 predictions, pulled out of my official Article 19 ass. It's based on signs of momentum and the thought that with all of those candidates spending all of that money to turn out caucus-goers, that turnout really should be higher than avg., which will help Obama. On the other hand, I could also see more people heading to the caucus in raw numbers to support Obama than the others, but his support being too concentrated and not broad enough across the state to win in the bizarre delegate system. Still, thinking that momentum + 2nd choice + turnout will have him at the top. Barely.

Obama -- 32.9%
Clinton -- 32.4%
Edwards -- 29.7%
Richardson -- 3%
Biden -- 2%

(Of course, you will remember that I once described Giuliani's chances in glowing terms, and called Huckabee's campaign over just prior to the straw poll that propelled him to a strong finish.) Let's hear your predictions in the comments.

I would not be surprised though by any order of finish among the three, and not really sure who I'm rooting for. Would like to see Obama and Edwards do well. The truth is that all 3 would make excellent candidates and great presidents. We just need to pick the one that can win in November.

Here's the fun part to watch for me. It looks like Fred wants out. He's all but announced he's quitting unless he gets a strong 3rd place in Iowa. But now it looks like he may in fact finish 3rd if he can squeak by McCain - they're practically tied in recent polls. If he beats him, it will do 2 interesting things: maybe make him stay in the race against his wishes, and slow down McCain, who seems to be on the move.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Which Is It?
Is David Letterman not as funny as he used to be? Or am I not?

At least I am not watching Leno. Go writers.
De-Coding the Iowa Polls
At, Mark Blumenthal has a helpful roundup of what we know (not very much) and don't know (lots) heading into tomorrow's caucus. One thing we do know is something about how turnout will effect results on the Democratic side:
On the Democratic side, it has long been clear that John Edwards does better in polls that include bigger percentages of past caucus goers, and more recent surveys show Hillary Clinton and especially Barack Obama doing better as the samples include more first-time caucus goers.

...(D)ifferences in method produce huge variation in the kinds of voters selected as likely caucus goers. And what is truly surprising is that those differences appear to be growing in the final round of surveys.
On the GOP side, he also reminds that in 1988, despite being far behind in single digits in most polls (as high as 17% in just one poll), Pat Robertson finished second with 25% in 1988. Good news for Huckabee?
More Iowa Caucus Info
Like Steve Benen says, the more you learn about the caucus process, the less there is to like about it.

First off, I was wrong in an earlier ramble when I mentioned the Republicans. It turns out they have a completely different - and more sensible, frankly - Iowa process. There is no realignment, no viability threshold. They vote by secret ballot and the results are counted and reported. Voila. The Democrats meanwhile have a process that is more exclusive, more secretive, more open to shenanigans, and generally more bizarre.

I would think that if we want to overhaul the primary process, a good first step might be to shine a bright light on the Democratic version of the Iowa caucus. Voting shouldn't be so interesting, and certainly not so difficult, so time-restricted, so manipulated. This process is not quaint, and definitely not worth the deference it's given. (Of course, as it is, I'll still be following closely)

Read Jeff Greenfield's piece in Slate.
Michael Moore Endorses John Edwards
Iowa Stuff
Because what else will we talk about for the next 2 days?

Kucinich has had enough of Edwards and is asking his supporters to back Obama. Nader is backing Edwards.

Who's ahead? Who knows. CNN's poll has Obama and Clinton out in front with Edwards 9 back. Insider Advantage has Edwards and Clinton neck and neck with Obama 7 behind. The Des Moines Register has Obama out in front on his own.

Obama is taking heat for criticizing the Gore and Kerry campaigns for being too polarizing, (though frankly I don't see the need to read his remarks that way) and for taking a bit of a shot at Edwards for being a trial lawyer.

Just a thought. In a sane world, this close a three-way race, in this quirky a voting system, would be seen for what it is: a tie. Then, more of the rest of us would have a say, things not having been decided. Instead, whichever candidate manages to eke out a tiny win will get a disproportional bump, and whichever ends in third will get an unfair negative spin. But that's the way it is.