Tag Archives: Clinton

Did Hillary Ride the Obama Wave?

The absence of news predicting a victor in next Tuesday’s Ohio and Texas primaries seems refreshing on this Saturday afternoon.
Might Clinton have quietly ridden the Obama tsunami to shore and renewed some traction? Or has Obama put this thing away? Here it is three days before, and I haven’t a clue.
If the races on Tusday are too close to call, which is what some reports are suggesting, a case could be made that Clinton has stopped the Obama surge. And if yes, what next?

Given the close race in Ohio that was predicted right after Wisconsin, my guess was that the midwestern populist message coming from Obama would have had him well ahead by now. Similarly in Texas as he quickly seemed to have caught Clinton, particularly with young latinos and anglo males, following Wisconsin, I thought the polls would by now be claiming a high single digit Obama lead.

If Clinton wins both Ohio and Texas, even by a hair, the race likely will last until Puerto Rico or beyond, and it will turn into the dogfight that Clinton people might covet at this late juncture as would McCain.

Obama, Clinton last night on immigration.

Not much separates Obama and Clinton on the issues, including immigration, though, once again, there is a significant difference in emphasis.

Obama’s emphasis is immigrant rights, which includes his defense of the Dream Act as a policy he would vigorously pursue as president. It is worth noting that just yesterday, the Maryland state senate in Annapolis held hearings on SB 591 that would afford in-state tuition to undocumented immigrant high school graduates. Ten other states have enacted similar policies, but the Dream Act would establish a federal mandate and include financial aid.

Obama’s emphasis on rights is important because democrats haven’t emphasized immigrant rights issues for more than 20 years (not really since Mondale). It is important to reclaim this way of framing the issue on moral and political grounds as well as tactically for the fall campaign. By framing immigration within a constitutional rights context, an attack line against McCain emerges: Bush threw away the constitution post 911, McCain would leave it in the trash, but Obama would retrieve it, dust it off and return it to its revered place…

Clinton, on the other hand, emphasized the virtual fence, which she described as a friendly/ compassionate alternative to the bricks and mortar fences being constructed along the US-Mexico border.  So on the one hand, Clinton seeks a less punitive immigration enforcement policy than Bush/McCain, but it is important to see that her emphasis remains on enforcement rather than services or rights.

In addition, the virtual fence opens a Pandora’s box into a surveillance society that would intrude on everyone’s rights, immigrants and citizens. The virtual fence is part of a larger immigration control complex that includes SBInet, US-Visit and Real ID. These acronyms describe a fully integrative project that will endeavor to monitor and control immigrants, and in the case of Real ID– all drivers– throughout the country. I would wish each candidate spoke to this component of the issue.

To her credit, Clinton spoke about the need for the federal government to compensate states and local governments for immigrant services they provide. An important point because were this to happen, there would be less support for local anti-immigrant ordinances.

Both Clinton and Obama favored comprehensive reform, but Obama suggested there are different kinds of comprehensive reform. This attempt to go beneath the “comprehensive reform” buzzword shows his attention to policy details.

Both candidates also spoke to the need to help Mexico with its own economy. Once again there are different approaches here. Although the candidates didn’t make the linkages to free trade, they are evident; Hopefully, Obama would follow through on fair-trade substitutes for NAFTA, which would provide greater incentive for Mexican workers to stay in Mexican jobs, rather than crossing the border without papers in search of jobs in the States.

In sum, a different narrative is at work in the two campaigns. Obama’s narrative more closely adheres to the story of American democracy adhering to constitutional rights. Obama here shows how language really does make a difference. By emphasizing the need to stop demonizing immigrants, he makes this compelling foundation for comprehensive immigration reform.

Clinton’s narrative is more a patchwork of micro policy, like a series of short stories, with allusions to personal anecdotes patched together in wonk-like fashion. It may come together but you don’t lose yourself in it.  Clearly, Clinton’s immigration policy would benefit from being more integrative and with a stronger master narrative.

Once people lose themselves in Obama’s words, he’s got their vote.

obama-clinton debate observations, first hour

On the eve of what might be Hillary’s last stand in Texas; the media focus tonight is on John McCain. Perhaps McCain’s reported indiscretion will preserve Clinton’s political future by shifting attention away from the debate…?

Another note. With Lou Dobbs on air leading in to the debate, i’m expecting a focus on immigration/ NAFTA superhighway debate, as well as seeing both candidates are, well, evil.

OK, here it is.

8pm: Clinton starts out by talking about her first experiences in Austin 36 years ago doing voter registration. She mentions Barbara Jordan, Anne Richards, Texas icons, and doesn’t mention George McGovern, whose campaign was the reason she was there. Mentions need for sense of humor. If only she was serious about this point.

Obama appears presidential, very gracious, hits issues from Iraq to special interests, which is subtle shot at McCain, then also ends with Barbara Jordon quote. Jordan was big voice in Texas politics, on race, integrity and immigration.

Jorge Ramos (JR). First question on Cuba to HC
HC: chance for Raul Castro to change direction: release p prisoners, open press restrictions, open economy; she would wait and watch for changes.
Will you meet w/ him?
HC: not til evidence of change
CB: obama same Q
BO: would meet with raul. Chance to change relationship w/o preconditions, though yes preparations, w/ agenda that incl HR, press, … important to talk to enemies as well as friends; loosening restrictions on travel; won’t normalize til see changes, but sees normalization as goal, to happen in steps. JFK quote: “never fear to negotiate”
HC agrees, need to open diplomatic process; notes difference w/ BO: should pres. meet with leaders.
HC says not at beginning; also references JFK

Only a subtle, soft shot at BO here. HC being kind and positive. Cuba issue shows some real differences between the two in foreign policy

BO: of course, preparation needed; but bush is so bad, we need to undo damage, so pres needs to take extra step at this point in history.
BO gets last word here.

JK: how BO different from HC on economy?

BO: tax breaks companies investing in us; end tax cuts for wealthy; give them to mid class 75K or less tax cut. Close loopholes; on trade, trade should be “fair” trade; Green economy;
Obama noting democratic consensus on these issues and then emphasizes his ability to build coalitions and overcome special interests.

HC: agrees with BO on dem agenda;
Nice point: wealthy and well connected have had a pres for past 7 years; it’s time for the rest of you to have a president; calls for a trade prosecutor; tougher standards; (Clinton goes into more detail than BO); example mortgage crisis: moratorium on home foreclosures; freeze int rates years (real solid answer here); need to rebuild America (infrastructure) end bush’s war on science…
(HC trying to be “the happy warrior here)

Immigration Q:
Would u stop removal of parent in mixed status family?
HC: would consider it, need comprehensive reform;
Legalization; help Mexican economy; feds to help locals on health care…

BO: mostly agrees; immig being used as political football; need to tone down rhetoric; need to reconcile nation of laws and nation of immigs; safeguards for people with sp. surnames.. (1st time I have heard a rights based argument this year); should stop discriminatory feeds; and improve relationship w/ Mexico so mx is producing jobs in mx;

Border Fence (ut oh!):
HC and BO voted for construction of fence in 06;
HC: UT-Brownsville would have part of its campus cut off; says bush built a dumb fence; HC wants a smart fence (does she mean this? smart= virtual fence); bush plan is counter productive; need to listen to people along the border; they have answers; yep, she shifts to technology and smart fencing (SBInet?); eminent domain actions against landowners and municipalities;

BO we almost entirely agree: key is consult w/ local communities. Bush admn not real good at listening;
BP, surveillance and technology the better approach!!!! (See my earlier posts on this blog on privatization of border); must deal w/ constant influx; need comprehensive reform; immediately, pass the Dream Act (wow!, see my earlier post on in-state tuition on this blog); in my book, both candidates lose on virtual fence issue; neither see real dangers w/ privacy and social control.

Q: 30 million in US speak Spanish; any downside to a bilingual nation?
HC: English remain common unifying language; not official language; yes bilingual.
BO: important learn English, binding ourselves as a nation; and important to learn a 2nd language;

So little difference between BO and HC on issues thus far. BO close enough to HC on details, though she wins on micro-analysis by a little; so why, if things continue this evening along these lines, will this debate ostensibly cement the nomination for Obama?

I think, what it comes down to is narrative; BO has one; HC doesn’t. The BO story is the subtext in every answer he gives; BO embeds emotive and visionary language even in policy responses; she doesn’t; for BO– a little less detail; but more narrative; see. language does count! more comprehensive in the respect that each response is a thread in a large quilt that BO is weaving during the campaign; one response connects to the next to tell the story; his responses are more vital; compare this w/ HC’s technocratic responses; He really is the Kennedy to her Humphrey this eve.

Q
Is BO all hat–no cattle? (Wow, see my previous blog on Hillary and barack!)

BO: gives details on legislation he has helped pass; not talk but action;

Ok, now they are beginning to have at it.

BOshe is suggesting all my supporters and editorial bds have been duped….
He ju-jitsu’s HC’s attacks before she has time to develop them. Very clever response;

Reporters trying to strike up some blood.

BO slams down the plagiarism line; “silly season in politics.” people want to know about jobs, health care…
BO gives specifics…

HC digs into the mud on plagiarism issue; campaign by Xerox; here it comes, and my guess here is that she has made a fundamental mistake here, unless she baits him to lose his cool…; her choice was to stay positive and go out in style, or just go.

I think BO just knocked out HC on her turf–health care

End of the hour.

i missed some of HC’s final statement; came in at end; from what i heard, it sounded like a graceful concession (but then everybody stood up?). why does she get human only when she senses her own political demise?

Potomac Primary Makes Clinton Toast?

Here in Baltimore, you’d think Obama had already won the nomination. On Monday, about 11,000 people cut school and cut out of work to see Obama at the First Mariner Arena. Obama was 2 1/2 hours late which meant that many folks who parked cars at a meter, found their cars had been towed. But they didn’t mind much, which is my point, given the Obama experience they had just witnessed.

On Tuesday, these and many more folks braved the rain and icy roads to give Obama 60% of the vote to Clinton’s 37%.

Perhaps the Clinton camp already sees the writing on the wall. They seemed to have conceded the Potomac primary in the days leading to the vote, even tho they needed a virginia win and needed Maryland to be close.

Consider as perhaps indicative that there was no big pre-primary ‘fire up the troops’ rally for Clinton in Baltimore or College Park, Fredrick or anywhere elsin MD. Sure, Chelsea was spotted at Baltimore’s Belvedere Square Market (which has amazing homemade soups and breads) and Hillary addressed workers at a White Marsh factory, but not much else, and Bill was disappointingly quiet.

Perhaps no firing up because Clinton is already toast.

I think the Potomac Primaries will go down in the political history books for the 08 campaign as marking the beginning of the end for Hillary Clinton’s presidential ambitions.

As of this morning, she faces a delegate and financial crunch. And given the blogosphere’s persuasive demands for transparency this primary season, the Clinton chore wrestling superdelegates (behind closed doors) away from a clear Obama mandate will be closely scrutinized and documented. And the Clintons probably do not want to be remembered for playing Bush to Obama’s Gore. Thus an all the more urgent situation for Hillary since she must now win about 57% of all the remaining delegates.

The potomic primaries might also be remarkable for signalling a progressive resurgence that actually and finally reaches the levers of power.

In addition to Obama, Donna Edwards victory in Maryland’s 4th CD is a victory, according to Kos, not only for “more democrats” but “better democrats.” Donna Edwards beat a democratic incumbent by telling voters in PG county that he was not progressive enough and was too far to the right of the dem party, and it worked. A similar message failed in 2006 when Edwards lost in her first run against Albert Wynn. The times are a changin.

Yep. 2008 seems different. Obama’s “yes we can” bromide is suddenly being felt in people’s bones (and up chris mathews leg). i never would have guessed.

Is Clinton toast?

According to the Potomac, the toaster is plugged in, fired up and ready to go!!

Should Edwards Endorse?

from comment I added on firedoglake post

As a former Edwards supporter, I now support Obama, so an Edwards endorsement wouldn’t affect my vote.
I do think an endorsement of Obama helps further solidify Obama’s progressive change credentials; a Clinton endorsement might seem opportunistic.

I also think that Edwards’ support is fragmented among at least three candidates: his progressive change message to Obama; his economic populism message– which crosses party lines to include some white conservative huckabee-like populists split between obama and clinton, and some even going to Huck. Finally, folks concerned about the details of Edwards health care policy are likely to go to Clinton, because their proposals almost match. The issue of mandates here is likely to scrape some edwards supporters away from obama.

should he endorse? sure. the obama wave is continuing to swell and edwards would do well by his message, supporters and himself to going with this flow.

I join the chorus that believes edwards would make a terrific AG!

waddya think? leave comments below

Hillary and Hubert

As the ’08 campaign settles into a marathon pace, some salient lessons from the 1968 primary campaign are once again worth noting.

Last year, campaign junkies started looking to 1968 for comparisons. The question was whether Barack or John or Hillary were the ’08 version of Bobby Kennedy in 68. I thought Edwards was Bobby Kennedy. They spoke economic justice and parted their hair the same. Barack was Gene McCarthy, the anti-war upstart, (or JFK for the now cliched 1960 comparison), and Hillary was Hubert Humphrey.

As the primary season takes form, Hillary is looking more and more like Hubert Humphrey. It is worth another glance.

Consider the following shared characteristics:

1) progressive precursor. Early in their public careers, both Hillary and Hubert were active in progressive causes, Humphrey’s advocacy of civil rights in 1948 and Hillary’s work for children at the Children’s Defense Fund brought each to national attention and brought public attention to progressive causes.

2) supplicant. Later, each spent 2 terms (almost 2 terms for HHH) in close proximity to the White House, a somewhat abused supplicant to a powerful president (think LBJ/ Vietnam, and Bill/Monica), and each suffered great personal pain and public condemnation for their loyalty. Humphrey’s loyalty to LBJ ultimately showed weakness and a lack of principle and doomed any chance he had in becoming president. Anti war democrats never forgave Humphrey; many women never forgave Clinton. residual effect on Hillary?

2) circumventing the will of the people. In terms of strategy, in 1968, Humphrey wrested the nomination with a strategy relying on non-primary delegates, a precursor to Clinton’s focus on super delegates. Hillary is currently losing the pledged delegate contest (tho barely) and her campaign (using Bill and Chelsea) is increasingly leaning on super-delegates to cast their lot with her before the end of the primary season. Given a deadlock in pledged delegates or a narrow loss to Obama, Clinton is relying on super-delegates to get the nomination.

4) religion/race demagogue. For some other similarities, it is worth noting that Humphrey previously had run for president against John F Kennedy, to whom Obama is compared. Like the Clinton’s, Humphrey’s thirst for power in 1960, twisted his thinking into exploiting JFK’s Catholicism in Wisconsin and West Virginia to Humphrey’s advantage. It backfired. The Clinton’s took similar action against Obama in S.C., to similar effect.

5) blind ambition. Humphrey’s personal ambition blinded him to the riots taking place outside the Chicago convention hall. His inability to take a principled stand against the police abuse of anti war protesters left the party divided and doomed his candidacy. Now? Many observers note a similarly principle-starved Clinton campaign.

6) personal style. Finally,they both share a style on the stump that exude a sense of happy and upbeat competence, which never quite rings true.

Humphrey’s ’68 debacle brought us Nixon and Watergate. At this low ebb after seven years of Cheney/Bush, can we as a country survive a McCain/Nixon presidency?