Tag Archives: primaries

Hillary’s Choice

Hopefully, when the primaries are a thing of the past, the Obama campaign will look at his closest opponent and thank Hillary Clinton for being a worthy sparring partner. Like a good sparring partner, Clinton has helped Obama brush up on some weaknesses while also burnishing his strengths. Clinton tagged Obama for his relationship with Jeremiah Wright, and he responded with one of the most profoundly optimistic and realistic speeches about race that the country has seen in a very long time.  If it weren’t for Clinton’s unruly tactics making Reverand Wright into a hot button issue, the Obama campaign would not have responded with “The Speech,” which the candidate wrote himself. Hey, even JFK had Sorensen.     But at some point, sparring partners need to know when to get out of the ring.  It is time. Clinton is behind by 700,000+ in the popular vote, and even her advisors concede she cannot catch Obama with pledged delegates.  Her only hope was to combine huge wins in Pennsylvania and re-votes in Florida and Michigan.  No more.     Now that the re-votes are no longer being considered, Clinton’s only hope is for Obama to self immolate, which is not a likely scenario.  O yea, and her campaign is also in debt.In the meantime, she has a choice.  She can continue to scorch the earth not only under Obama but under all democrats, or she can turn her energy towards Bush and McCain.  We would all thank her for scorching their earth, not ours.

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Hesitating on the Brink of History

On the day of the Texas and Ohio primaries, America stands on the cusp of making Obama the presumptive nominee, and is hesitating.

Why the hesitation? Could be a resurgence of Clinton’s human face and sense of humor, signified by a successful cameo on SNL; or of Hillary’s “politics of fear,” as she assumes the LBJ stature she has longed for all campaign by casting Obama as a bomb loving Barry Goldwater in her version of LBJ’s 1964 Daisy Girl commercial, which shows sleeping babies and a “red phone” alert.

Or perhaps, Clinton has caught the Obama campaign in some good old fashioned hypocrisy over NAFTA that wouldn’t register if transparency weren’t the Obama calling card. Apparently, someone in Obama’s campaign contacted a Canadian official (what a boneheaded move), to assure Canada that Barack’s anti-NAFTA rhetoric was all hat and no cattle.

And perhaps it is something else.

Whatever the reason for hesitation–a moment of high tension atop the polls showing Obama and Clinton deadheats in both Texas and Ohio (give or take)– perhaps a collective exhale would propel the Obama rocket through the remainder of its journey, or blow away the fantasy that perhaps was never real.

I Know Populists: Hillary is no Populist

Hillary a populist? Won’t float.

I went to school in Madison, Wisconsin. I know progressive populists. Hillary is no progressive populist.

Clinton’s latest pre-March 4 strategy has her tacking to the left of Obama with a populist progressive message that might well resonate in Ohio. And she is hitting Obama with an “all hat/no cattle” version of Mondale’s 1984 “where’s the beef” taunt of Gary Hart to appeal to the longhorns in Texas.

Neither strategy is likely to be effective overall. Here’e why. The populist pitch is a too obvious play for an Edwards endorsement and rust belt Ohio votes. It runs afoul of the many links out there to Hillary’s corporate donors– as compared to Obama– in oil, pharmaceutical, and credit card industries. She will likely drop this pitch like a lead ballon should Edwards endorse Barack. She’ll certainly drop it should she win Ohio and Texas and suddenly become viable again.

On a related front, Hillary’s populist appeal is being undercut by Marc Penn’s insistance that there is no difference between super and elected delegates. It is difficult for a populist to credibly pin her hopes for the nomination on unelected delegates. And pushing to change rules she had agreed on in Florida and Michigan doesn’t help her to counter questions about her commitment to electoral fairness.

I also think it is difficult for a populist Clinton campaign to defend its absence a couple evenings ago from the telecom immunity vote in the Senate. Hillary was in DC at the time; perhaps she just didn’t want to offend her populist telecom donors?

Similarly difficult to attach an ‘all hat-no cattle’ Bush reference, on the intellectual heavyweight Obama. Any implict comparison between Obama and Bush works to Obama’s favor, even in Texas. Bush has done more to dumb-down America’s view of Texans than anyone since Yosemite Sam. Obama should invite the comparison and then poetically swat it away.

Hillary is not even the populist within her family. Bill is the Clinton populist. Bill’s “bubba factor” back in ’92 appealed to crossover voters, who happen to be voting now for Obama.

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!!

Barack, Beware the Wave

President Gary Hart would tell you, beware the wave!
Hart, the 1984 candidate of “new ideas,” rode the crest of popular, new generational appeal. After four years of Reagan, Hart offered something new against the establishment candidate Walter Mondale. He offered “new ideas,” however vague.

Keep in mind, after Hart rode high during primary season, Mondale came away with the nomination by hording supedelegates, and by asking a simple question– “where’s the beef?” that appealed to the public’s lingering doubts about Hart’s “new ideas.” (Hart later came away with Donna Rice).

Lesson for Barack? Beware the overconfidence that can follow sudden “rock star” status on the eve of what looks to be another big primary night. Beware cocky arrogance that will turn a now fawning press against you–instantly– and beware the clinton version of the mondale question that will no doubt be asked in some upcoming debate, “where’s the beef?” For Mondale, that question was all it took to reclaim the lead and for the Hart campaign to unravel quickly and unglamorously.