Tag Archives: Pennsylvania Primary

Pennsylvania Results

Two take aways from this evenings’ results:

1) If Obama loses Indiana in 2 weeks, he could lose the nomination.  not sure how, but he could lose.

Clinton is not going to pull out; she is going to claim a big victory tonite, and is going to continue throwing the kitchen sink against Obama.  Problem for her is that she is out of money; her big donors are tapped out and it remains to be seen where her funds for advertising in the many mini media markets will come from.  Further, as Chuck Todd suggests, it is nearly impossible at this point for her to win the pledged delegate count.  

But continue she shall.

and here’s the argument:  Howard Wolfson says she is going to pull out an overall popular vote victory come Puerto Rico (counting Florida).  Considering the 2000 election (popular votes versus electoral votes) and, were Clinton to win the popular vote, she indeed could make a valid claim of entitlement for the nomination.  

And in the meantime, MSN’s Joe Scarboro makes a valid claim (1st time i ever said that) that Hillary keeps winning precisely because of her ‘take no prisoners” approach.  no kantian means to ends silliness. The stakes seem so high this time that voters just may want ends over means– get the bums out, no matter how nasty.


2)  the other key result tonite just may be that voters are daring obama to get tougher and even match hillary in playing dirty to win–kitchen sink and all– and then they will help him close it out. 

“Toughness” and fear are going to be big issues in the slog ahead.

is this really where we are?  it’s gut check time.



Richard Mellon Scaife and Hillary Clinton, Redux

Last weekend, Richard Mellon Scaife, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in the Pennsylvania Primary.

So Richard Mellon Scaife has paid huge amounts of money for evidence that Hillary is a lesbian, and is perhaps the biggest financier of the “right wing conspiracy” that came a few votes shy of removing Bill from office.  He is the right wing loon who has spent well over 200 million dollars to back nearly every cause that Hillary would say is an anathema to her 35 years in public life.  

Almost every newsworthy right winger of the last 30 years has been recipient of Scaife funding. This includes hundreds of millions of dollars to right wing causes through 3 foundations, Carthage, Allegheny, and the Sarah Scaife Foundations.  

Scaife alone is responsible for making it possible for right wing ideologues to translate the 1971 Powell Memo into the conservative revolution.

Back in 1994, according to an old Salon article, Heritage Foundation president Edwin Feulner Jr. told a meeting of supporters in 1994 that 20 years earlier,

 “Dick Scaife had the vision to see the need for a conservative intellectual movement in America. These organizations built the intellectual case that was necessary before political leaders like Newt Gingrich could translate their ideas into practical political alternatives.” 

These organizations include Heritage, the Hoover Foundation, American Enterprise Foundation, Cato, and more. Scaife veterans then filled the ranks of the Reagan and W Bush administrations and have distorted how the world and many Americans now view American democracy.

The damage is severe.  When Keith Olbermann asked Hillary about the Scaife endorsement this evening on Countdown, Clinton laughed and said she believed in “deathbed conversions.”  No conversion. The damage is institutional, long term, and it’s hardly  laughing matter.

Suppose Obama Wins Pennsylvania

According to Acel Moore writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer yesterday, Barack Obama might not only come close to Hillary, he just might win.  Moore bases his opinion on two things, anecdotes he has gathered in and around philly, and the recognition that Obama need win only 14 of 67 counties to capture the state, and his campaign is working this strategy to the bone.

Moore suggests that Pa. voters are more independent minded than were the voters in Ohio. He cites Greg Naylor, field operations director for Rep. Chaka Fattah, an early Obama supporter in Philly, as saying there is no doubt Obama will win Philly and thus upset the old dem. machine.

So, here’s the question: what will Hillary do is she loses Pennsylvania. Common sense and reasonable thinking suggests she drop out.  The alternative creates a specter of Richard Nixon, who, after the Supreme Court ordered he give over the tapes, still contemplated ignoring the Court, and staging a coup. Come to think of it, we have one of these folks in the White House right now.  This is Hillary’s choice: go out with the little class she has left, or go into the flames of infamy, and become the first documented Nixonian/ Bushian presidential candidate.  Indeed she is finally behaving like a president, just not the sort of president the country needs.

ABC Disneyfies Philadelphia Debate

ABC, owned by Disney, lived up to its parent company name last night, and the network ought to be sued for false advertising regarding the debate. By holding the debate in constitution hall and starting each segment with quotes from the constitution, the audience was made to feel it was witnessing an historic event, or minimally, some serious public dialogue.

Far from it.

Even Barack Obama was caught off guard. Here’s a guy who is trying to take the cartoon out of politics and was confronted with 90 minutes of the Roadrunner. Obama was hit with with so many figurative pianos and falling vaults that i almost expected to see the roadrunner beep beeping along side him on stage.

Jean Baudrillard wrote that disneyfication of politics strips politics of its real and original character, and replaces it with a more sanitized version.

“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, when in fact all of Los Angeles and the America surrounding it are no longer real, but of the order of the hyperreal and of simulation.”

Last evening was a spectacle in which lapel pins rather than the constitutional rule of law signified patriotism; condemning comments about bitterness rather than having a basic understanding of the economy signified whether or not a candidate was qualified to lead us out of recession; and questions about affiliations with former members of the 60’s radical weather underground replaced discussions about the real terrorists in pakistan, afghanistan and saudi arabia.   And affiliations with Reverand Wright replaced torture and domestic spying as signifiers of unethical and immoral behavior.

It offered the most juvenile politics in its most crass, zero sum form, where complex issues were reduced to afterthoughts and questions were framed so as to appeal to the audience’s lowest, most carniverous appetites. 

So, the real test for ABC was whether Donald and Goofy (george and charlie) facilitated the required number of train wrecks as to please advertisers. For the rest of us, and for at least one of the candidates, rubbernecking quickly turned into a pain in the neck.

Hillary Clinton’s Barry Goldwater Moment Has Arrived

It may soon be time for Hillary Clinton to withdraw from the race, according to Barney Frank, Ed Rendell and Joe Biden. Barney and Ed are Hillary supporters. Joe never endorsed, but was quite generous to Hillary during his bid.

These folks are suggesting that the time has come for the robust competition between Clinton and Obama to end. Biden has said that Hillary should fold her tent unless she wins PA. by 20 points. Rendell suggests that the Clinton inspired “bitter-gate” has failed to turn the tide in Pa. for Hillary, and might spell, at most, a couple more points for Hillary in Pennsylvania. He also said that Obama still would win Pennsylvania in November. Barney Frank suggests the loser (Hillary) should drop out of the race on or before June 3, the final day of primary voting.

So here it is: the ghosts of Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott and James Rhodes making their way down Pennsylvania Avenue to advise the president to resign. Only now its Barney, Ed and Joe, three vocal and respected elected leaders, coalescing around the idea that the end game is here for Hillary; they are telling her that her dream of becoming president is over and she must now board that plane for san clamente, where she belongs. Hey, Nixon listened; will she?

Hillary and Barack on Gun Toting, Church Goers

Hillary has even less credibility with her gun experiences than Mitt Romney. Let’s face it, as Theda Skocpol writes in a TPM post, it is simply ludicrous for 109 million dollar Hillary to denigrate Barack for elitism. ust doesn’t float, and makes Hilary look desperately ridiculous. I am looking forward to the photos of her– Minnie Pearl from grand olde opry style– in hinting gear, with shot gun an dead fowl slung around her shoulder.

Listen, Obama’s point had nothing to do with his being an elitist, althoug it probably does having some to to do with the awkwardness of empathy and the clumsy way in which folks have never been poor talk about the poor. Not all that different from Howard Dean’s 2004 comments about NASCAR and confederate flags.

Obama’s point, however is an important one to discuss. It is about the cultural ramifications of economic populism. When hard times hit already impoverished communities, how do people react, and how should these reactions be responded to by political leaders.

Obama gave examples of people being hit economically, turning to cultural activities that give them sustenance and a sense of comfort. Like comfort food on a cold, dreary day, certain activities that folks have been doing since childhood, fill a void. And political leaders that speak respectfully to these people and about these activities, might expect their vote.

All Obama did was name this phenomena; all Clinton did was to cynically exploit it.

How Immigrants Might Play Into Sirota’s “Race Chasm” Argument

David Sirota made news with his recent In These Times piece about the “race chasm” in America. It’s an important article to read.

Sirota argues that Obama wins in states where race politics is not an issue, and that Clinton wins in states where it is an issue.  Race politics exist in states in which the African American population is between 7-17% of the population. In states with less than 7%, like Iowa, Obama wins ostensibly between he is perceived as voters as the most qualified candidate rather than as the “black” candidate. Similarly he wins states like Mississippi because the black population is large enough so as to offset the racial based voting among some disquieted whites.

The Hillary camp exploits the race chasm in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana by reminding voters, not too subtly that Obama is black. Her campaign does this most explicitly by exploiting the Wright affair.

For a moment, let me discuss the implication in Sirota’s piece that states with low black and high black populations have somehow transcended ugly race politics. Specifically, I wish to focus on low black population states. Consider Iowa for example. that a 2007 University of Iowa poll among likely 2008 primary voters found that 49% considered undocumented immigration to be a very important issue. Consider Iowa’s white population is about 94% and its foreign born population stands at about 4%, although it has doubled since 2000.

Without having examined the matter as extensively as Sirota, I suggest the following preliminary argument and invite reader responses to it: 1) Race politics is deep seated and deeply embedded in American culture; 2) it exists on both sides of Sirota’s chasm–low and high black population states– 3) it plays itself out differently in low and high black density states; 4) immigration is a race politics issue; 5) it becomes a scapegoat for racial politics in states that have lower density black populations.

In sum, immigration is a proxy issue for race in states with low black populations. The thing the Clinton campaign forgets, however, is that although the race anxiety being fomented in chasm states may shake loose some Hillary votes in the upcoming primary states, these voters likely would vote Republican in the fall. Hillary’s sympathetic positions on immigration, I believe, would be sufficient to prevent Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Indiana’s “Reagan Dems” from ever voting for her in the general election. 

See http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/04/02/obama_the_dynamic_whose_name_m/