Thursday, January 17, 2008

Romney takes Michigan

Not a big surprise, but he had a more-than-comfortable margin at 39 to McCain's 30 percent of the voice. Romney is beginning to come off a bit like a politician who will say anything to get elected.

In Michigan, he was saying "Michigan is in my DNA," but as soon as that contest was over, he goes to South Carolina and all of a sudden, "What Michigan?"

Clinton's ascendancy (version 2.0) is troubling. Karl Rove the other night was licking his lips over the Clinton performance in Michigan, saying that the 39% who voted "Other" rather than voting for her, showed that she can barely win against "nobody." Typical for Rove, he was ignoring the fact that the other campaigns were telling their voters to vote for "Other" (really, "Uncommitted"), and that nothing can be concluded from an uncontested (by "everybody") contest! Rove is the king of spin, king of liars, and I hope he dies of asscancer.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Clinton Upset Stunner!

Clinton pulls out a surprise victory! I guess her passion finally showed, and the persistent message of experience and readiness finally had something to connect to the amorphous theme of "Change." I am thinking of the anger outburst at the NH debate where she insisted that change takes hard work and persistence. That and her 'emotional breakdown' yesterday might have sealed the deal.

I am glad that Obama is going to have to work for his victory, if it is coming now, and not just slide through unchallenged. I still dont want Hillary to win, as I still believe it is one of Karl Rove's wet dreams to get her as an opponent next fall.

I want Obama to sit down and have those marathon policy talks that Clinton was having, and talk about actual specifics instead of glowing but empty genereralities. It is also clear that the question oft asked in punditland of whether the Clintons want to be the ones to stop the possibility of the first 'real' black president, of being the team that stops that "dream" from being fulfilled, has been answered in the staunch affirmative.

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Monday, January 7, 2008

Republicans Fear Obama

Is that reason enough to support him? The CNN Political Ticker today reported that Obama "doesnt have the baggage" that Clinton has, would not bring out their base like she would, and is "potentially more electable than Bill Clinton" was.

The Obama wave even impresses the Repubs. As I noted yesterday, even the Republican candidates McCain and Huckabee made note of same on Saturday night. He has clearly inspired a wave of support, and by the latest polls has the momentum. (Said polls have both Clinton and Edwards slipping.) He even draws more Republican support than some Republican candidates. (Five percent vs. Hunter and Thompson, both at 1%.)

We'll see how long it lasts. This wave is sure to crash at some point. Frontrunner status comes with a great big target on your back. After tomorrow's results, in which Obama is sure to trounce his competition, I predict the Republican machine will get over their starry-eyed fascination and begin to attack in earnest. Maybe it will take them finding their own frontrunner first, but I don't think Obama will remain unchallenged for long (from that side).

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

NH Debate

The question for me during the debates last night was, what will any of this change?

Clinton we know, is trying to push the experience angle, and I think she did as good a job of pushing that point as she could have. The problem is, is anyone listening, does anyone care?
She had an angry outburst early on, answering my man Edwards' painting her as an agent of the status quo. She lit up and started to rant that she had spent her whole life making change, by working hard. It was a little poignant that all that just doesn't seem to be enough.

Obama was remarkable not for anything he said necessarily but for what was said about him, by the Republicans. Both McCain and Huckabee waxed poetic about the impressive movement that seems to have grown up around Obama, with young people, Independents and some Republicans moving to support him. Even the normally jaded punditocracy seems starry-eyed over the Obama phenomenon. He didn't make any mistakes, nor did he say anything that stood out particularly.

We saw Edwards come out fighting, and firmly attaching himself to the Obama coattails, and against Hillary. I still like the man for promising a zero-lobbyist zone around the whitehouse, not taking any PAC money, etc., but I am beginning to believe more and more that he is going to soon be an also-ran. I note that he has pledged to remain in the race "through the convention and on to the White House." I hope it happens, but unfortunately I'm not feeling it.

On the Republican side, Romney was the night's punching bag, with both McCain and Huckabee tossing jabs at Romney's flip-flopping on issues. I thought it remarkable that Romney defended the Pharmaceutical industry, basically calling himself out as the Corporate Republican on the stage. Huckabee's more-populist approach is a welcome contrast on that side of the isle.

Thompson, as usual, seemed half awake through the entire debate. Guiliani, I don't even remember speaking really, except repeating Ronald Reagan's name as often as he could. Ron Paul had some good sparring at the beginning, but the others started laughing at him at one point and he seemed to quiet down for the last half of the debate.

So, what changed? Not much. We knew Edwards would try to "triangulate" Hillary by aligning with Obama, and I think his attempt is a bit too transparent. Hillary is trying to tread water and stay alive, a position she wasn't anticipating. Obama just seemed to coast, although with the polls putting him even with Hillary, you'd think he'd come out a little more passionately.

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Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rush Attacks Huckabee

A consequence of living in the South is the predominance of right-wing talk on the radio. In California, there are all kinds of alternatives, progressive to way-progressive. But not here. So as a result of this, if you like talk radio, you are forced to listen to Rush, Hannity, and the others.

I consider it opposition research. Its good to know what really sets the other side off, so you can fight em at their own game.

Today, Rush went after Huckabee. A caller had the audacity to compare Huckabee to Ronald Reagan and Rush went ballistic. "Huckabee is NO Ronald Reagan!" he thundered, barely able to control himself. He went on to diss every one of the other Republican candidates, finally deciding not to decide. "If you pick a candidate this early, you're dead," he declared.

Basically all this means that the right-wing Republicans are floundering around with no clear candidate, unlike previous years when the entire machine lined up behind Bush from the start. McCain is too liberal, Romney has a liberal record despite now positioning himself as a conservative. Huckabee is also too liberal, in some ways more similar to John Edwards than Ronald Reagan. Guiliani is weak on social conservative issues, and Thompson just seeming not to give a shit anymore.

As an observer, this mess is fantastic to watch. Its almost more fun to watch than watching the Democrats battle for their slot.

Hillary is flopping around the bottom of the rowboat, trying to pick a message that includes "experience," "ready," and "change" all at the same time.

Obama, as I predicted, has gone ahead and started using some of Edwards' populist language, which is good if he actually backs up the rhetoric down the line. Notice that Edwards actually walks the walk. He has taken NO money from PACs, and is using public financing for his campaign. This may in fact doom the effort unless he can surge in N.H. and pick up momentum (and subsequent donations), because he is about to run out of money. But based on the reactions of crowds, Obama seems to really have captured the imagination of more than a few believers, and may swallow Edwards whole.

I cannot wait until Tuesday, when we will see what happens with N.H.'s primary voting. My prediction right now is for a comfortable Obama victory with Edwards and Hillary again basically battling for a distant second. Id tend to think Edwards would weaken in N.H. due to different demographics than Iowa, but HillyBilly just doesn't seem to be closing the sale.

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Friday, January 4, 2008

An Open Letter to the Clinton Supporters

There would be no greater gift that we Democrats could give the Republicans this fall than to nominate Hillary Clinton as our candidate for the presidency. I listen to a lot of right-wing talk radio, and believe me, they'd like nothing less.

Make no mistake, they would attack Obama, and Edwards, without a doubt. You would hear "Hussein" and "Trial Lawyer" more than "Liberal" and "Taxes". (You may yet!) But there is nobody that raises the ire of the right wing attack dogs, the blood right-wing machoconservative base of the Republican evil-right, than our old dear Lady.

I saw Hilly at UCSB back in the '92 days, and her speech before the entire campus was a huge hit. I, at that time, was a koolaid-drinking Clintonite of the Nth degree. I even thought NAFTA was a good idea. :P

In any event, I've been a Clinton supporter, and am still a supporter of Bill Clinton's. I think he did a fantastic job as president, considering the distractions he had to deal with. Was he perfect? Hardly. But the fact that he left us a budget surplus and expanding economy, he did pretty damn good.

Now Hilary, she is no Bill. Fully half the population has already said they wont vote for her. Why start yourself out with a huge strategic disadvantage? Not only is the population predisposed not to vote for her, but the right-wing machine is salivating at the mouth over the prospect.

Its time for the Clinton-supporters to give up on HillyBilly. In an election about Change, nobody wants to Change Back.

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To me, the discussion between baseball, football, someone elses' football, and the like misses the boat. Pro sports are BORING compared to my "sport" of choice, the big-time of all big-times: presidential politics.

OK, i can see many of you laffing out loud at that. :P But since I was a kid I always watched the presidential "season" on tv with rapt attention. I would even make my own electoral maps, etc.

Anyways, THIS season is particularly fun because there was no clear frontrunner, and each candidate has various strategic weaknesses and its just a lot of fun to watch it all play out. To me, anyway. :P

I say "was" no clear frontrunner, because last night Iowa made their picks. On the Democratic side, Obama raped and killed both Edwards (my pick) and Clinton, the once-annointed queen who crashed and burned, landing in third. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney, the GOPs presumed favorite, also crashed and burned, losing to Mike Huckabee, a look-im-a-Christian-too former preacher and former Governor of Billy and Hilly Clinton's home state of Arkansas! Billy and Mike are even from the same home town, Hope.

Being an Edwards man, I was glad to see him come out on top of HillyBilly. I can't think of a worse disaster for Democrats than to make her the Democrat's candidate for the presidency. All you have to do is listen to a little right-wing talk radio, and they cannot wait to sink their teeth into her. There would be no bigger strategic mistake than to give that gift to the Republicans, for nothing else would motivate their base with such Devil-fighting glee than to make her the Democratic choice.

As I say, I am an Edwards man. I am glad to FINALLY see a Democrat with a little backbone, call out the system for what it is: Totally CORRUPT. The govt has been bought and payed for, and ONLY Edwards has been ballsy enough to SAY SO. He also has experience actually fighting corporate evil-doers in court, and winning!

It would be exciting to see a truly populist message such as his succeed. Obama seems to have the momentum, however, especially in the corporate media. Even NPR cut off Edwards' "victory" speech halfway through, just to blather about the horserace aspects of the event.

Obama, unfortunately, appears to me to be a very very good speech maker, but what else is there? We hear he is for "change", but change to what? I think Obama will probably try to pick up some of Edwards' populism, trying to steal his thunder a bit. On the other hand, what Obama is doing seems to be working, so why mess with it?

Iowa this year was also remarkable for amazingly high turnout, up 93% on the Democratic side compared with '04: 239,000. Only about half of that showed up to caucus on the Republican side.

As humiliating as it must have been for HillyBilly to lose, I hope she sticks around as long as possible. It gives the right-wing machine something to gnash their teeth over while the process rolls on....

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