Saturday, February 09, 2008

Why Some People Like Ron Paul: Part the Third

It isn't just that Ron Paul shreds John McCain on Iraq in particular, and foreign policy more generally.

It's also McCain's smugness combined with his lack of imagination, his historical ignorance, and his pandering amorality-- all of which Paul shines light on.

Harrogate hopes that McCain does indeed tell the American People through the summer that it's cool for America to be in Iraq for 100 years.

Delegates, Super Delegates, and Proportional Rep.

I am trying to bring together an explanation of a few topic here: Delegates, Super Delegates, Proportional Representation, and some problems with the primary strategies so far.

The delegate count can be developed through impartial standards, but they take time discern. Depending on the primary or caucus, delegates can be awarded by receiving delegates, proportional to the votes counted, in congressional districts. In addition, some delegates are awarded by "winning the state." It may take time to count the delegates, hence the prediction, because people vote by precinct and county so it takes time to count the delegates. Texas is the odd state as it incorporates a primary and caucus and super delegates.

For the Democrats, the districts delegates are awarded in proportion to the vote in the congressional district. In order to have really win a district, you need to gain greater than 66% of the vote in a district. If you fail to gain the 2/3 vote, then the delegates get split evenly with the winner receiving a slight edge. This makes a huge difference when there are say 20 delegates. A 67% to 32% vote can result in 14 - 6 split; a 55% - 45% split may result in a 11 - 9 split; in Missouri, where the vote was so close, they split an equal amount of delegates.

For example, even though Obama lost in New York and Massachusetts Clinton did not finish above the 66% necessary to gain the maximum number of votes in a lot of districts in NYC, meaning that Clinton could not gain an advantage in those states. However, in states like Georgia and Illinois, Obama beat Clinton with a higher percentage of the vote, crossing the 66% threshold in multiple districts. This means that in states where Obama won and where there were a lot of delegates at state, Obama won his in a greater percentage and received more delegates while he prevented Clinton from gaining the same advantage.

As of tonight, even before the two caucuses and one primary, most sources and the campaigns agree that Obama has a slight advantage. However, this is only projected as they are still counting provisional ballots in California and the final tally won't be known for two weeks. As for the caucuses in Washington and Nebraska and the primary in Louisiana, it is projected that Obama will win 36 delegates while Clinton will win 17 delegates, increasing his advantage. Yet, a proportion victory by Clinton in Ohio would mean that they may be tied again. I have no idea about the Super Delegate vote. But, because Obama is winning more states and may have the edge in pledged delegates but not Super Delegates (as of this moment), DNC Chief Dean is concerned, as he should be. There is no precedent for this: if the candidates are even or close in delegates, how do you judge so you do not rip apart the party: population, states won, super delegate support, prospects for victory in the general election? What if a candidate has two of the four qualities? Three of four?

Super Delegates:
Super Delegates are "elite" members of the party. They include current Democratic members of Congress (House & Senate), Democratic Governors, Former Presidents and VPS (Carter, Clinton, Gore, Mondale), and other important Democratic figures (Howard Dean, maybe Terry McCaulife). Some members of Congress, e.g. Barbara Boxter, stated they would vote how the people in their state vote. Others will vote their "conscience," e.g. Senator Martinez from New Jersey, who supports Hillary Clinton and is not concerned about how his state voted. (I know New Jersey went to Clinton but he stated he would support her regardless.) Remember, some Super Delegates do not have a constituency to represent so they must vote their conscience.

The best way to describe the difference between the Delegates and the Super Delegates is the difference between the House and the Senate. The delegates awarded in the states are the House; the Super Delegates the Senate. These people are the "wise elders" that "debate the issues." Their support can be crucial for a candidate. In 1984 the super delegates favored Mondale over Hart, and Mondale won the nomination. Yet, in 2004, Dean received the support but lost to Kerry. It seems that sometimes they try to set the agenda, as many supported Clinton well before the primaries started. Some support her no matter what; others supported her because they thought she would be the nominee and wanted to get in at the ground floor for their benefit. Yet, if a candidate "pledges" their support, it is not final until the convention. They can switch at any time, which is important for Super Delegates that "pledged" for Edwards. In theory, they are there to try and ensure the candidate of choice wins. Yet, I think that they are only to exist in theory and they are not to be divisive or decisive, which they may or may not be the case in this election. It is too early to say as the most have not committed. (They comprise 1/5 of the total number of delegates.)

It is also important to know that Super Delegates do not like to be wrong, as VP Gore was in 2004 when he supported Dean. Their credibility is at stake and they must choose the winner.

Proportional Representation
The Democrats rely on a proportional standard because it provides a sense of fairness in the election process. In all of my reading on Democratic theory, proportional representation seems preferred to "first past the post" or "winner take all" because it protects minorities and includes more voices that finish above a 15% threshold. A proportional system works much better for deciding the choice of the people since it ensures that a candidate can stay in the race if they do not finish well in some states. Not all candidates can finish first, especially in the beginning. Also, research suggests that in proportional systems, citizens feel better about their government, even opposing parties. But you need a political culture to nurture this type of system and angst against the proportional system may result from our reliance on a winner take all system.

In a "winner take all system," a candidate who wins a plurality of the vote (maybe 35%) wins all of the delegates. The problem with this is that more people voted against the person than voted for the person. It is certainly hard to call this type of election democratic.

The Current Election
There seem to be many problems in this election. I know that this is an understatement, but here is what I am thinking:
(1) Before the primaries started, Clinton was the presumed nominee, the presumed president, and, consequently, she received a lot of initial support from Super Delegates, even before the candidates went through one primary. She did not have this support in 2004.

A few political pundits and advisers did not think that Obama would be ready in 2008 and he should wait for 2012. This would be problematic for him because if Hillary were to win in 2008, Obama may not have a chance until 2016 and, even if the stars were to align, it seems unlikely a political party would dominate for 16 years. As of know, four years may be too much with Iraq, the War on Terror, Social Security, Health Care, the Economy, etc.

(2) When Obama announced he was running, Clinton did not approve and gave him the proverbial cold shoulder on the floor of the Senate. Obama is relying on the fact that Clinton has a "high floor" but "low ceiling"-- she has a lot of support, but there is a limit to that support as there are polls that show she has a high disapproval rating. Of course these are polls, but they do indicate a problem for her. Obama is taking advantage of this low ceiling for her political support and with his style, he may be able to capitalize.
[And please note: to state that Clinton has a "low ceiling" is in no relation to "glass ceiling" and has nothing to do with her gender. This is a political term though there are many people who don't know this and read gender into this. If a candidate decides to run, they must determine how much support they may be able to achieve. If you have a "low ceiling" you find find a time-- Greek word of Kairos-- to know when to run. Clinton is running now because there is such low support for Republicans.]

3) The proportional representation is not "the problem." "The problem" is that there are two candidates still in the race and both candidates are fundraising well. Remember, "Super Tuesday was to be decisive for one candidate. However, it ended as a tie, causing both camps to reach out further to donors. This is not normally to be expected since usually one candidate starts to fall behind at this point in the campaign and leaves the campaign.

On top of this, the Clinton camp made a strategic error by allocating a lot of its money on the general election and not the primary, working under the assumption that she would be the nominee. According to the Obama camp, he needed to win Iowa to remain in the race-- it was this or nothing. He did and propelled himself into the national debate. He showed that he could be a viable candidate and that he had support (the $32 million in January, as well as the wins in delegate wins in Nevada, New Hampshire, as well as wins in South Carolina & Super Tuesday.)

Excessive fundraising now may be a problem for the Democrats for the rest of the year. Though supporters can donate again in the general election, how many people will have the money to do this in a recession?

A winner takes all system gives you a nominee sooner. It also gives you buyer's remorse sooner. This is what may happen to McCain. It depends on the alternative.

4) Another Clinton Strategic Error: Further, in an impartial commentary from someone who teaches classes on political communication and campaigns, the Clinton team made another strategic error by its South Carolina strategy (use of race and the reliance on Bill to reach out to the Black vote). As one Clinton campaign surrogate stated, Obama would not win another state because he would be the "black candidate" and only receive supports of blacks, making whites and Latinos choose Clinton. This has not happened, and Obama is closing on multiple demographic groups except the 50 and older group.

Further, the South Carolina strategy divided the Democrats in Congress and the Democratic Establishment, allowing some Super Delegates the opportunity to change candidates. Some, like Ted Kennedy, objected to the tactics and decided to support Obama and not remain neutral, even though the Clintons asked him too. This "endorsement" was crucial, not for the Latino vote though it may help; it was crucial because it made Obama to be a viable and desirable alternative. Hence, the focus of "change" is change from the Clinton tactics (the South Carolina speech).

There is a history of interjecting race in the South Carolina primary. In 2000, the Rove strategy was to make calls asking voters in they knew that McCain had a black, illegitimate baby. McCain lost South Carolina and was out of the race soon after.

5) Obama has yet to make the major mistake. You could call Michelle Obama's comments a mistake; however, she never stated she would not support Clinton. Further, this is not necessarily an explicit attack on Clinton and it did not come from Barack. In fact, not to use this point too often, the Clintons failed to support other candidates in the past so her comments reflect something that the Clintons did themselves. [Also, negative campaigning is not a mistake and differentiating oneself from another candidate, which he does often, is not a negative comment.]

The Clinton camp tried to pressure Obama to make the mistake-- hence the five debates, one debate a week. They feel that, if pressured, he will make a mistake. This is one reason why he only agreed to two. Besides, if he needed to campaign, and if she does have fundraising problems, why give her free air time.

6) Early Voting: One major problem in the primaries, Republican and Democratic, have been early voting. In Florida, some early voting went to Rudy. In California, some early voting went to Clinton though the momentum swing to Obama. I still think Clinton would have one but there were 2,000,000 votes cast early. Some of these votes would have moved to Obama if people voted on election day. This is why the polls were closer than the votes.

Again, this is post is not to favor one or another. It is a review of some of the major issues.

Ann Coulter: the Green-Blooded Saga of her Influence Continues

What a pickle for a media critic like Harrogate, who most wishes that everyone ignored Ann Coulter, and yet on this blog is now commenting on her. But the truth is, Coulter is someone conservatives listen to and her language, in time, tends to find a way to seep into the rhetorics of more austere, respected conservative writers and pundits. Because of this she has to be taken seriously.

Look, for example, at what she said about Barack Obama on Friday. From Media Matters, some snippets:
On February 8, less than 12 hours after her appearance on NBC's Today show, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter delivered a speech to the Young America's Foundation in which she referred to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (IL) as "B. Hussein Obama" and asserted, "His strongest selling point is that he is one of the least dangerous people I know named Hussein." As the blog Think Progress noted, Coulter went on to say: "Other than that, Barack's really been kind of coasting on his record, since his first big accomplishment of being born half-black.

During the February 8 speech, Coulter also said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "wanted 'I Am Woman' " as her campaign song, "but that was already taken by [former Sen.] John Edwards [D-NC]." As Media Matters for America noted, in a March 2, 2007, speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Coulter said she could not "really talk about" Edwards because "you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.'" The CPAC audience applauded her comment.

Media Matters notes that several newspapers dropped her column as a result of this speech. Good. Coulter's been doing this kind of thing for years. And with respect to Obama specifically, she's had this "B. Hussein Obama" thing going for over a year. These emphases on his name, these moves attempting to tether the man to radical Islam. And Harrogate sees it catching on with columnists and bloggers at (to whom she contributes), and in cesspools like Little Green Footballs, where it is routinely predicted that Barack Obama--a story of American decency and hard-earned success by any measure--is secretly planning to impose Sharia Law on the United States.

Ann Coulter is a blight of human skin, period. And Harrogate wonders if it is at all possible to be a decent human being and a fan of hers at the same time. Harrogate wishes like hell that Obama would swing back at her, even though he suspects that such a move would be considered Un-Presidential by his campaign. And perhaps this is the correct interpretation: the idea of Obama having to deal with someone like Ann Coulter is, after all, deeply unfortunate.

Harrogate would remind Obama, though, that John Kerry probably didn't help himself by refusing to lower himself to addressing the Swift Liars.

Heresthetics in the Democratic Primaries

Since Super Tuesday, one of the most interesting aspects of the Clinton and OBama campaigns has been focused on heresthetics. Heresthetics, a termed coined by William Riker, is when a rhetor manipulates situations aspects in order to get a desired result. For example, in the march on Selma during the Civil Rights Era, Martin Luther King Jr. allowed women and children to march because, first, he knew that the marchers meet violent resistance, second, he knew that the marches would receive media attention, and, third, he believed that the images of violence (water hoses, attacks dogs, and beatings) would cause the national audience to see the images and support the protesters and their search for full Civil Rights. The ethics of this strategy can certainly be debated; however, the images from Selma were very persuasive and helped to turn the tide against the South.

Since Super Tuesday, heresthtics has dominated both campaigns. Here are two important examples that benefited the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

Wednesday: The Clinton campaign announced that Hillary donated $5,000,000 to her campaign and that her staff would go with out pay. The Obama campaign swallowed the bait and announced it raised four million by Wednesday and five million by Thursday. Of course, on Thursday, Hillary announced that it too raised $7,000,000 by Thursday.
The purpose of the loan announcement was to secure fundraising and to try to define the Clinton campaign as the underdog and the Obama campaign as the establishment. The Clinton campaign succeeding in the first but did not in the second.

Thursday: The Obama campaign "Accidentally" released a memo that it predicted that even though the Democratic race would be close, it believed it would have a small lead by the end of the primaries. Whether or not their math is correct is one thing. However, the point of the released memo is remind the DNC that it needs to discern how the Super Delegate situation, as well as the Florida and Michigan fiascoes, will be figured out before the convention. Since the memo, Obama picked up a few Super Delegates. On Fox and Friends this morning, they reported that one Clinton supporter switched to Obama.

When McCain Wins the Presidency, Part I

When John McCain wins the Presidency, and those not poisoned by the GOP Kool-Aid resignedly gear up for vainly counseling against (among other things) war with Iran and a Radical Conservative Shift on the Supreme Court: there will be much "analysis" about how the Democrats managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, this time.

Highlighted, of course, will be the Democrats clusterfuck primary, which probably won't be settled until the Denver convention. And after it is settled you can expect significant numbers to take their metaphoric balls and go home, since their candidate did not get in. But for his part, Harrogate will look back on this election year as a moment when he learned never to underestimate the degree of moral and intellectual vacuousness to which Americans of all persuasions will stoop at even the gentlest prodding.

Take, first, Hillary Clinton's decision to run in the first place, knowing full well that while she commanded the resources and name recognition to drive good candidates out of the race, she is also a Target of unprecedented proportions--indeed, the only American politico that it is fully sanctioned for the MSM, the intellectual elite, the Talk Radio Blowhard, and the rural redneck to openly bash on a base personal level.

It is without any grounds whatever, but Hillary Clinton is hated by a hell of a lot of people. Knowing this, the right thing to have done, for the country, would have been to fight for good things in the Senate.

And then of course, take an entire nation winking and nodding and participating in the attacks on this woman. Perhaps the Obama cult should include in its Talking Points:

To heighten our chances of getting what we want, can we find it within ourselves to countenance, and even stoop to the level of employing, the discourses of Hannity and Limbaugh and Coulter?


There is what is coming to look more and more like a Cult movement surrounding Barack Obama. Harrogate has made it clear that he likes Obama very much: Obama inspires with his advocacies for decency in government, his ability to articulate the importance of imagination in government, and the like. But as the months progress it is becoming increasingly evident that Team Obama is quite willing to deliver this nation back into the hands of the GOP. Michelle Obama's comment that she would need to "think about" whether to support a Hillary Clinton candidacy is only a blip on the screen. More representative is what you see when you tour the blogosphere: Obama supporters crying racism while charging the Clintons with playing the race card simultaneously, all the while sounding more like Republican Pundits every day in the way they discuss not only Hillary Clinton, but increasingly, national policy as well.

Many of them have gone too far to reverse course now.

Finally, and perhaps most damningly of all, there is a television and Print Media that acts as though the last seven years have not happened, as if this election is taking place outside of any context whatsoever. A refusal to let the election be any kind of referendum. Instead, such drivel as, 'well that's the past Administration, we're electing a new President now': but has anyone learned anything from the past seven years, or shall we repeat them? Will the punditocracy finally acknowledge the pattern when the drums of war with Iran begin in 2010, just before the midterm elections? Of course not because they will be the ones beating the drums.

Ah, the joys of venting. Now back to hoping against hope that the GOP albatross hangs heavier on McCain's neck than Harrogate supposes.

A Word on the NBC/Chelsea Clinton Fiasco

Harrogate won't belabor the actual thing that was said, nor shall he ignore it. By now most following the Democratic primary are aware of NBC News Personality David Schuster's comments about Chelsea Clinton: “doesn’t it seem," Schuster asked, "like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?” Now, Schuster has been suspended and the Clintons are threatening to boycott NBC News.

There have of course been apologies in the wake of Schuster's suspension. Matthews, Olbermann, the network President, the whole lot of them. But at this point, is there really any point at all in these people apologizing? Does Schuster being gone matter? Is there going to be anything different about this network's collective spewage tomorrow?

But the apology was too little too late for the Clinton campaign. On a conference call today communications director Howard Wolfson said NBC hosts including “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, have shown a “pattern” of making offensive comments about the Clintons and later apologizing. “It’s the kind of thing that should never be said on a national news network,” Wolfson said.

Exactly. Harrogate agrees that if Chelsea Clinton is going to continue to actively campaign, then it is reasonable for the press to pressure her to talk to them. But it is not reasonable to say she is being pimped out. Nor is it decent. It is, though, par the course for NBC.

Friday, February 08, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Whatever else you do this weekend, make sure to watch this Obama "Yes We Can" video. Beautiful!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Debate Update, Florida and Michigan again?, Super Delegates

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, an oddly named newspaper, Obama and Clinton will have two more debates. One of them will be in Ohio before the March 4th primary.

Because of virtual tie between Obama and Clinton, rumors are swirling that there may be a redo in Michigan and Florida. I have no idea how to judge whether or not this would be fair to the candidates or to the voters.... but not including them gives more power to the Super Delegates, which leads to...

Unless one candidate has a major break-through, which is unlikely, Super Delegates will vote "their conscience." Is it fair that Super Delegates can vote when the people in Florida and Michigan cannot? Is it fair that the Super Delegates, especially congressional Democrats support a candidate that did not receive the support of their constituencies?

Since Mutt is out

I mean Mitt....

The Big Rush does not know what to do. On his show today, the stated that he may start a fundraising effort for.... Hillary Clinton. He seems concerned about her fundraising and is trying to figure out a way for Republicans to win in 2008.

"Sleep, Papa, Sleep: I'll Avenge You": Good Riddance to Romney, Big Love Style

Ahh yes. To quote solon, who first wrote those magic words, "Romney is pissed"

Among bloggers there is a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Harrogate understands. It's hard for them. Now they bear the weight of supporting arch-liberal John McCain.

So this song goes out not just to Mitt Romney, but all Townhallers whose dreams of continuing a pro-torture Presidency have now been irrevocably smashed. Yea, to the Townhallers who understand, even if the rest of us do not, that every time two men kiss, a heterosexual marriage ends in divorce.

Verily, Harrogate dedicates this song to the Townhallers, who cannot for the life of them understand why Americans won't try something different and give a chance to a Teflon, Pampered CEO President who also panders to social conservatives. And this song especially goes out to Hugh Hewitt, who would have been Romney's Chief Liar (errr.... Press Secretary).

Finally, consider this. Romney has five sons. Tonight, which one will be Alby, standing over his bed, bug-eyed, thoughts of Mike Huckabee swirling in his diseased and pampered brain, all while intoning "sleep Papa, sleep, I'll avenge you"?

UPDATE: Hewitt now has an official statement on the Townhall Blog, which you can go to through Harrogate's above-provided link. When you go there, allow youself to gloat that Romney's head-pimp, who very recently entertained dreams of lying to reporters and calling it service to his country, has been put in this position. After indulging this pleasure, become Rhetorically serious, and note how Hugh implicitly blames anti-Mormon bigotry as the primary cause of what has gone down. Hewitt hails the College Station speech as a beaon for religious liberty, too. What a joke these people collectively are.

Maybe in 2012... Romney Surrenders

Much to Harrogate's regret, Mitt Romney will drop out of the race today. He will announce his decision at CPAC,where he will argue the he is a conservative leader in the field and the people should keep him in mind for 2012.

Romney point is that he he stays on in the race it will make it harder for the Republicans to unite to defeat the Democrats in the fall. In a press release he announced:
"If I fight on in the campaign, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Barack Obama would win. And in this time of way, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender of terror."

A nice touch: both surrender and treason. And then there were two...

One note on his speech: Radio Host Laura Ingraham introduced Romney, saying he was the "Conservative's Conservative," which is a shot to McCain. But this comment, and his speech where Romney stated the same point, has a few implications: (1) Romney's conversion narrative to conservative was not sincere; (2) While the "Conservatives" are ideological pure, the Republicans grew tired of Conservatism, whether compassionate or not; (3) Romney will be ready to run on November, which means he may not believe McCain can win.

What is a Huckster to do? Do you concede to McCain or do you attempt to fight McCain?

I hope Tony's okay....

Big Mob round-up in NYC.

Better Know a Lobbyist, Pt 1

The Colbert Report has added a new segment, Better Know a Lobbyist. First up, the Human Rights Campaign.

Colbert: "I can no longer use the word trombone."

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dean, Delegates, and Doom...?

On NY1, Howard Dean stated that there will not be a brokered convention. The issue will be resolved before Denver, even if he needs to ask one of the two candidates to drop out. Here is what Dean said:
“The idea that we can afford to have a big fight at the convention and then win the race in the next eight weeks, I think, is not a good scenario. So, after the primaries are over, the last primary is June 8th in Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico I think, there may be another state with there - and after that if we don’t have a nominee, I think we will have a nominee sometime in the middle of March or April. But if we don’t, then we’re going to have to get the candidates together and make some kind of an arrangement. Because I don’t think we can afford to have a brokered convention, that would not be good news for either party."

If you are in this situation, what do you do? Here are the facts as of February 5th:

Obama has a lead with pledged delegates.
Clinton has a lead with pledged delegates and super delegates.
Obama has won more states.
Clinton has won the popular vote.

There is no likelihood that there will be a joint ticket. These candidates do not like one another. And, with Bill Clinton there, it would cause a stir.

Between now and the beginning of June, there are 1738 delegates available through primaries, caucuses, and Super Duper Delegates.

Obama will win Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, Maine, D.C. Virgina, Maryland, Washington, and Hawaii. By win, I do not mean a decisive victory, but proportional victory of 599 votes.

Texas is a partial primary, mostly caucus beast of a hybrid and I have no idea what will happen.

Clinton will run well in, and possibly win Pennsylvania, and Ohio. But again, the win will be proportional and Obama will do very well. I say this tentatively because of Obama's victories in February and because of Clinton's financial problems. Even the Clinton camp is conceding that Obama will win the other states in Feb, though this may be political posturing. There are 680 delegates available in this mess.

After April, there will be 459 delegates remaining before the convention. This means:
  • No one candidate will have the nomination based on delegates alone.
  • Obama may be in the lead with delegates and Clinton with Super Delegates and Population, though by that time, Obama may gain on the Super Delegate count.
If you are DNC Chief Dean, what do you do? What matters more: delegates? Super Delegates? The voice of the people? The traditional electoral establishment? Who can beat the Republicans? Who will keep the base and independents? The Young or Old?

How do you prevent a split?

How much is your candidate worth?

According to Kate Phillips at The New York Times, Hillary Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million during the month of January. Since, as the article reports, Clinton has maxed out her primary donors (individuals can contribute up to $2300 per election-- and the primary is separate from the general), and may consider another loan to help with the February and March primaries. This tactic helped Senator Kerry to win the nomination in 2004.

While reading about this, I found the net worth of the Presidential Candidates. From Salon and Think on These Things:


Net Worth

Mitt and Ann Romney $202 million
John and Elizabeth Edwards $54.7 million
Rudy Giuliani $52.2 million
John and Cindy McCain $40.4 million
Hillary and Bill Clinton $34.9 million
Fred Thompson $8.1 million
Barack and Michelle Obama $1.3 million

A Post-Super Tuesday Vocabulary Lesson

The Top Five Words/ Phrases after Super Tuesday by Anna Marie Cox.

Let's not forget about the current administration

This story on waterboarding prompts me to ask "Is anyone really surprised by anything the current administration does anymore?" I say let's line up all the politicians, George Bush included, who say that waterboarding isn't torture, and let them experience it for themselves. If after experiencing it for 15 minutes (which, I daresay, is a much shorter period than any of the 3 individuals whom the CIA now admits they used this "legal" form of questioning), they can still say it isn't torture, we can talk.

Here's a tip to the CIA, the FBI, the Republicans, and President Bush: if the tactic you favor was also used by the Spanish Inquisition, it probably is torture.

The Morning After

For the Democrats:

According to The Washington Post:
Obama won 13 states and received 539 delegates from the 22 states (+14 from New Mexico)
Clinton won 8 states and received 540 delegates (+12 from New Mexico)

New Mexico has not been decided, though Obama leads lead 49% to 48% with 92% of the vote count. Yet, at this point in time, Missouri switched from Clinton to Obama. Last night, MSNBC stated Obama would win the delegate count 14 - 12.

I do not have any numbers on the popular vote; however, I imagine that Clinton won this. I will try to get this later in the day. Along with Michigan and Florida, the popular vote v. delegate count is the 800lbs gorilla(s) in the room. This is not good for the Democratic Party.

The main objective for both campaigns is to be able to claim the argument of the inevitable: I will be the nominee, so vote for me.

Overall Delegate Lead:
Clinton: 12 States, 803 delegates (Plus 12). CNN has Clinton with 783 delegates.
Obama: 15 States, 742 (Plus 14). CNN has Obama 709 delegates.
Edwards has 26 delegates.

Clinton has the lead in "Super Delegates" but these are not committed, yet. According to CNN, Obama has a 603 - 590 lead in pledge delegates.

Obama may win Maine, Nebraska, and Louisiana (caucus states), as well as D.C., Maryland, Virgina, and Wisconsin. But remember Clinton fans, with proportional representation Obama victories will not shut Clinton out. She will still receive her share.

I am not sure about Washington and Hawaii.

Fundraising is key, and Obama will win that in February.

The key is which candidate can position him/herself for March 4th: Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, and Vermont. Also, what about Tuesday, April 22 when the Keystone state gets its opportunity.

Ohio and Texas will be interesting because the winner there will claim that they can win that state in the general election, which may or may not be true. Maybe Ohio, probably not Texas. Hence, the argument of inevitability.

As for the Republicans::
The Republican Elites are suffering with McCain, but this is the house that they built. When you make Terrorism and Iraq the most important issue for seven years, you get McCain. While you rely on a CEO type (Bush) to run the country and he fails, you rule out Romney. When you make everything about religion, you get Huckabee.

Conservatives that demand ideological purity are cringing with McCain. Yet, Rush, what do you expect? You argued for "strength" and disregarded "economic responsibility" hence McCain.


Last Democrats Standing and Fox News

Yesterday Solon pointed out that Hillary Clinton has challenged Barack Obama to more debates, and he rightly suggested that if Obama found himself behind, he might well take her up on an entire round of them. At this point Harrogate predicts that is exactly what will happen, which is arguably very good for the country except....

Last night Harrogate was watching A Daily Show, and Jon Stewart's guest was Chris Wallace. Wallace revealed that if Obama agrees to debate, that the first one is scheduled to be held by Fox News. Hmmmm, said Stewart, does this mean the Dems' boycott of Fox is over? There was never a boycott, Wallace informed us all, it was just John Edwards, who Wallace went on to describe, in his characteristic Fair and Balanced manner, as a panderer and a demogogue.

So, with Edwards out of the way Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama jump right in with Fox as though it's a legitimate format for them to be debating in? How disappointed Harrogate will be in both candidates when they stoop this low in hopes on conquering.

One more reason to be proud of John Edwards. He was a pretty bad Senator, but he's been speaking a hell of a lot of truth for the last few years. And the need for Dems to boycott Fox, which does everything in its power to hatchet them 24/7, is part of that truth.

Romney Couldn't Buy Super Duper Tsunami Biggie-Sized Tuesday

Yesterday, Huckabee friend and supporter Chuck Norris released a column provocatively entitled, "Will Romney Buy The White House?"

It is worth the read.

It is estimated that he already has used $35 million of his roughly $250 million personal fortune. And if Mitt makes the cut to be the Republican nominee, during the next 10 months, he surely will surpass Ross Perot's $60 million infusion into his own 1992 candidacy. To me, such excessive self-financing of one's campaign is not only a competitive injustice that rivals the use of steroids by athletes but also a fundamental flaw in the general race for president, which requires better campaign finance reform.

Yea, Harrogate has long felt Publicly Financed Federal Campaigns would be the way to go. Note the great line in the great movie Bulworth, when Warren Beatty says: "If you want a Senator who's not on the take, give him free air time so we won't have to fake." Now, some might argue that since Romney is spending so much of his own money, it actually opens the possibility of him being less on the take. But to invert a formula recently deployed by Hillary Clinton, this quibble might address the prose-governance of Beatty's argument, but not the poetic spirit of it, which reminds us that there needs to be an economically level playing field in the area of elections. Will there ever be a totally level playing field? Of course not, but it is always something worth striving for.

Just before moving into a Rhetorically clever tie-in with the sub-prime housing crisis, Norris also writes:
The truth is, for Mitt, that his presidential run is the biggest investment gamble of his life. And with the White House appraising at roughly $106 million, he's betting his largest wager on owning the Oval Office.

Well, stuff to chew on at any rate. Of course, Norris's Huckabee bias is out there for all to see. But the issue he addresses is rendered nonetheless serious thereby. Fortunately, last night's results sent a signal that,even among Republicans, money alone cannot be translated directly into votes.

A Couple of Final Thoughts on the Night

Wow, Huckabee won several states. And he may have had the line of the night, when he told a crowd "They keep saying this is a two person race--they're right, and we're in it."

That said it would be very shocking at this point if either Huckabee or Romney overcame McCain's Raw Numbers, not to mention his Momentum. Harrogate's calling it now. It's going to be John "My Friends" McCain for the GOP nomination.

Suck it, Rush Limbaugh.

California numbers still rolling in, but it looks like no major upsets anywhere for either of the Democrats. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama had good nights. Hillary Clinton has an edge, but Obama is in the thick of it, and white men are apparently flocking to him.

Will Texas and Ohio decide this thang? Could it be that Harrogate and Mrs. Harrogate will cast deciding votes for the Democratic nomination, all from the heart of Bush Country? Harrogate has made it no secret he prefers Hillary Clinton.

But let him say this. He just watched Obama's speech in Chicago, and all that can be said is WOW.

It was a goosebump inspiring oration. The line that really riled Harrogate up was when Obama said (he's said it before, but still): "We are who we've been waiting for." Barack Obama is without question the most gifted political speaker, at least in Presidential Politics, that Harrogate has ever seen.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hey Harrogate...

Did you notice the rhetorical shift in Hillary's speech?

According to Politico:

Hillary's victory speech this evening didn't say much new, but it sounded different from almost everything else she's said this year.

It's a little hard to pin down, but the rhetoric was flowerier, more rhythmic:

She said she'd work for "people on the day shift, the night shift, the late shift with the crying baby," and for "all those who aren’t in the headlines but have always written America’s story."

And the final flourish was, well, Obama-esque.

"Give us this nation to heal, this world to lead, this moment to seize," she said. "I know we’re ready."

Obama's memorable, similar promise: "A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”

Hey, are you going to criticize Hillary's "Unity Schtick???"

Do you think she knows she is in trouble? Obama won close to 100 delegates in New York and is cleaning up in caucus states, you know, states where there is deliberation....

Orange Underground Sayeth: "If Noone Sees It, It Never Really Happened"

To begin with his face is Oranged Out. His identity is top secret. He is part of a movement. Something is happening here.

He says, for example, that when you commit the obligatory random act of Cheetos, you must always commit said act against The Man: Never the innocent. This is an initiation process. He is waiting for your videos.

Harrogate, downthread, has already linked to the subversive Cheetos Cookbook. So if there is disenfrancheesement at play here, it will not be because Harrogate hoarded information for himself and a close circle.

Particularly stimulating for our Rhetorical purposes is the Orange Agent's claim, "Remember: if noone sees it, it never really happened." Herein lies the warrant of this entire campaign.

As the hour draws near....

It is almost 9pm on the east coast. Have there been many surprises so far?

Huckabee seems to be doing much better than expected. The same with McCain.

On the Democratic side, it is too early to tell much of anything. Even the polls that closed at 8pm est have not revealed much.

Any thoughts?

More Primary Debates?

Over at Swampland, it seems the the Clinton camp has challenged the Obama camp to a series of debates (four in total- one in Ohio and one in Texas) and one may be on Fox. This strategy is an attempt to play on Clinton's strengths as she is better is smaller settings rather than speaking engagements while Obama has been better with speeches than debates, though both did very well in the last debate.

This suggests three consequences of Super Tuesday and beyond:
1) Nothing will be decided as tonight will be close.
2) Clinton is attempting to make up for fund-raising problems as a debate would be free advertising.
3) If this is not about fundraising, then Clinton is challenging from a point of weakness. Maybe the Clinton camp is covering all basis, however, typically you challenge an opponent to debate when you perceive that you are behind in the race.

The Obama camp has not accepted the offer. If he is behind after tonight, then he has every opportunity, especially since it would look bad if Clinton changes her mind. If he wins, he can state that the people "know their positions"and may only agree to one or two if any at all.

Howard Dean Wavering on Michigan and Florida

Howard Dean is on Hardball right now and is wavering as to whether or not Michigan or Florida ought to count. It seems that, at first, he said the votes would not count. Now, he states that the people should decide the nominee and that an electoral commission made up by Democrats across the country will decide.

The Democratic Party- Finding Ways to Lose Elections Since 1968.

Who made Huckabee?

O'Brien v. Stewart v. Colbert.

Of course, Fox and Friends made the same claim.

Let the games begin...

Huckabee wins West Virginia. Romney is pissed....

In a state that is part caucus, part primary, the winning candidate needs to receive 50% of the vote. In the first round of voting, Romney received over 40% of the vote, while the remaining 60% was divided between the Huckster, McCain, and Paul,. In the second round, all of the McCain support transfered to Huckabee, meaning the Huckster received 52%, Romney 47%, and McCain 1%.

The Romney campaign responded to Huckabee with the following press release:

"Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain's inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney's campaign of conservative change.

"Governor Romney had enough respect for the Republican voters of West Virginia to make an appeal to them about the future of the party based on issues. This is why he led on today's first ballot. Sadly, Senator McCain cut a Washington backroom deal in a way that once again underscores his legacy of working against Republicans who are interested in championing conservative policies and rebuilding the party."

A Little Radiohead for the Soul

Similar, in ways, to Robert Browning's insane poem "Porphyria's Lover." How can a song built around the line, "We hope that you choke" be so damned gorgeous?

From Droughts to Miracles: What a Great Question!!!

Slate's review of the National, Virtual, Super-Spectacular, Town-Hall Meeting.

A Response to Stanley Fish (And, by Proxy, Solon)

Good ole Stanley Fish. His literary criticism can be tedious, but he does a good job here of boiling the issue down to its most basic elements. The invocation of Dick Morris is especially appropriate.

One thing that is weak about Fish's argument though, is his comparing hatred of Hillary Clinton to hatred of George W. Bush: a 'Reader-Response' pouring of one's own "angst" into an empty vessel.

"BDS" is one of the most Rhetorically Destructive memes floating around out there (Word is Bill O'Reilly coined it). If all people hated about George W. Bush was that he is from Texas, affects machismo, and smirks a lot, then you would have a slightly better comparison to the treatment Hillary Clinton has received.

The 'BDS' myth trivializes, even obliterates, two important truths that Harrogate will here articulate:

1)We understand it is fun to make fun of Bush as an individual, but we also understand he is perfectly representative of the GOP Platform overall; and far more importantly

2)The actual things this Republican Administration has done, not Bush's smirks nor his affected machismo nor the shots of clearing brush etc., is the cause of concern, and has been from the beginning. "BDS" explicitly charged critics with irrationality, but what people are pissed off about is stuff like the stoopid Tax Cuts, Iraq, Nepotism, Institutionalized American Torture, the internal gutting of government agencies like FEMA and the Department of Education, etc.


Harrogate wonders about the veracity of his friend Solon's claim, "some supporters of Hillary would say any criticism falls under the irrational category." Harrogate was initially tempted to say, he has actually seen this tendency evinced broadly by Obama supporters, but Harrogate decided not to say that. :-)

In all seriousness, Stanley, let us not insult one another's intelligence through the proliferation of straw men. Harrogate has yet to meet a Hillary Clinton supporter, or see one on television or the blogosphere, who dismisses as irrational any and all criticisms of the candidate.

Of course there are likely a handful of true believers out there for her, as with all candidates, who will brook no criticism.

Ron Paul has the most of these by far.

The Irrationality of Hillary Haters

From The New York Times, Stanley Fish on those who hate Hillary. It attempts to distinguish between good and bad attacks on Hillary (good = attacks on policy, attacks on judgment; bad = hating her because she is a feminist and not a feminist). It is interesting as it attempts to dissociate between rational criticisms and irrational hatred though, some supporters of Hillary would say any criticism falls under the irrational category just as detractors of Hillary would say that their dislike is perfectly rational.

It is worth the few minutes though.

More Patriot Bashing

How the Giants beat the Patriots: a cartoon by Kurt Snibbe.

Thoughts on Orange Underground: "Chester Is Serious As Hell"

If you click on this all the way to You Tube you will notice that a commenter very early on wrote, "Chester is serious as hell." Now there's a prospective Board member for The Rhetorical Situation!

Anyway, Harrogate absolutely loves this commercial. It is impelled with multiple issues. First off, what exactly is it that Felicia did to upset the blonde woman? And what word, or combination of words, would Faithful Readers use to describe the emotion Felicia is expressing when she puts her hand on her hip and drops her head to the side, immediately after being told, 'other people are trying to do their laundry too'? Exasperation? Resignation? Melancholy?

And then by contrast, how would we describe her emotions on heeding Chester's advice and Oranging up the antagonist's whites? Elation? Satisfaction? The thrill of having crossed the point of no return?

And finally, O Readers, who in the hell is that old guy hanging out with Chester? And why does Chester disappear after Felicia gives in to her Poe-esque "Imp of the Perverse"? Perhaps, at the end of the proverbial day, Chester the Talking Cheetah is not meant to be taken as an objectively real entity but simply Felicia's Imp--or rather, the Imp in us all, the Imp that Cheetos feeds so amply.

Here is the link to Orange Underground: the subversive cookbook.

Why polls do not matter...

According to Talking Points Memo: Zogby has his final California number as Obama 49%, Clinton 36%. SurveyUSA has Obama 42%, Clinton 52%.

More Gloating

In Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle, columnist Bob Matthews has a few titles from the naitonal media on the Giant's improbable win:
He's a Super Mann. ... Giant Piece of History. ... 18 wins, 1 Giant loss. ... Patriots Dream Year Left With Giant Hole. ... 18-1 and Done. ... Giants are the 1. ... A perfect, Giant surprise. ... Eli in Peyton Place.

I like 18 wins, 1 Giant loss and Eli in Peyton Place...

Why Spy-Gate will not end...

Greg Easterbrook, who writes the best weekly column on the NFL-- Tuesday Morning Quarterback--, has a very interesting article on why the New England Patriot's scandal of Spy-Gate will not end....

It is a very interesting piece, one that calls into question the Patriot's first SuperBowl victory against the St. Louis Rams. If the recent reports are true (IF TRUE), that a cameraman by the name of Matt Walsh recorded the St. Louis Rams' last practice before the SuperBowl, then the NFL has a major black eye:
Mike Fish reported on ESPN that St. Louis' walk-through was devoted to red zone plays -- all new plays and new formations the Rams had not shown during the season. Going into that Super Bowl, the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" was the league's highest-scoring team. In that game, St. Louis was held to a field goal in the first half. The Rams kept getting bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming. If the Patriots secretly taped the Rams' walk-through, then stopped the red zone plays the Rams showed in that walk-through, then won that Super Bowl by three points, then logic says New England materially benefited from cheating in the Super Bowl. If true, this would be the worst sports scandal since the Black Sox.

Congress will begin to investigate Spy-Gate. According to Easterbrook:
Most NFL teams play in publicly subsidized stadiums, and NFL games are aired over public airwaves controlled by federal licenses. The licenses, among other things, prohibit any pre-arrangement or artifice in what is presented as live competition. If a Super Bowl were affected by cheating, that would be a legitimate matter of concern to Congress. Plus, the recent lesson learned via baseball and steroids was that Major League Baseball did not clean up its own house until Congress put some pressure on.

Ticker-Tape Parades and Elections?

In the heels of their SuperBowl Victory, the New England Patriots.... wait I mean The New York Football Giants will have a ticker-tape parade in Manhattan this morning. It is expected that One Million people will be there.

Of course, the ticker-tape parade is altering voting as people cannot get to the polling places. Voters are being told to go to other areas to vote.

Let the conspiracies begin.... who will this help?

I do wonder if anyone is trying to get the crowd to vote. In the old days, politicians would get people out to vote through bribery. Vote for me and get some food and drinks... alcoholic beverages of course. Why do we not do this today?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Fundraising, Again

According to MSNBC, the Clinton Campaign $13.5 million in January. The Obama Campaign raised $32 million. This difference is important for two reasons:

(1) Obama has the funds to run ads through February and the beginning of March. He is planning on an ad blitz for 2/12. His ads have been running all night in NYC, where he needs some help.

(2) Obama may have possibly tapped out his resources early. His push in January may mean that people will not have funds in February to give, especially in the economy is not good. This may burt both candidates though.

(3) If Clinton does not win big tomorrow, potential support may go to Obama. Clinton is best described by having a "high floor, low ceiling." People like her and she has support, but there is a limit to that support. With limited funds, the ceiling may get lower.

Fun With Mitt Romney: Caption This Photo

The Paranoid Style of Talk Left's Postings

I tried to avoid this. However, while writing my last piece, I saw a draft in progress by Harrogate and it needed a response.

Recently, because of Harrogate's love of all things Talk Left, I started to read the web site. To be kind about the site, I think that the arguments are not well developed; the comments, worse. The arguments and the comments remind me of Richard Hofstadter's article "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" as everything that Obama does is a threat to the Clintons, progressive ideas in America, and the Democratic Party. Further, the media is complicit in this campaign. But I digress..

The three most striking features of the arguments and the comments on Talk Left are that they (1) rely on conspiracy or a paranoid style, (2) provide insufficient evidence, and (3) demand Ideological Purity.

(1) The Nature of the Conspiracy: Since Obama's victory in Iowa, one of the Most cited claims against Obama is that he is the "Media's darling." (It is interesting to note how "Media" is the
vague term normally used by the Right, especially on Fox News and the National Review, to attack the liberal media. I mean, no media ever supports Hillary, and certainly not The New York Times and the countless other papers when they endorsed her. But again, I digress.)

Yet, the claim that the media favors Obama and not Clinton presents itself as a conspiracy in the compaign. Hillary is the force of good; however, the media favors Obama and threatens the democratic process of people choosing their leaders. The positive media coverage, according to the Clinton advocates, means that more people like Obama. While you can bring forth the Marxist claim of false consciousness or the Platonic view of "Truth," let's examine the characterization of persuasion in this claim.

Talk Left's claim of "Media Darling" relies on the "Hypodermic Needle" model of persuasion, which has been discredited long ago. Media messages do not cause people to accept views. The communication research suggests an agenda setting function of the press, where the press does not tell people how to think but what to think about. While the media may show Obama in a positive way, making people think that they should reconsider who they should vote for, positive coverage of Obama does not mean that he is gaining votes.

Further, it contains a very low characterization of the American citizen and hostility toward those that favor Obama-- you are a dupe of the media if you support him. Of Course, if this were the case, then how did the wise Clinton supporters break the chains and escape the cave to see the "truth" about the candidates? The logical implications of Talk Left's position is that almost everyone who watches the news would favor Obama; yet, since the site is full of Clinton supporters, we can see this argument does not stand.

Second, maybe the claims on Talk Left do not stand tests of evidence that high school students ought to learn. Further, this line of argument rests of a dangerous "Either/ Or" fallacy.

For example, one claim by "Big Tent Democrat," who ironically seems to demand ideological purity for the progressive cause within the Democratic Party, relies on this claim as evidence: [Citing Paul Krugman] "By my count, 3 of my last 10 columns have criticized Barack Obama."

Well, let's examine the claim: Here is Paul Krugman's archive. Four of his last Five articles, "Clinton, Obama, Insurance," "The Edwards Effect," "Lessons of 1992," and "Debunking the Reagan Myth," criticize Barack Obama and contain Hillary Clinton Talking Points. Since January 21st, 80% of his articles attack Obama. And if this piece of evidence does not stand to the tests of evidence (reliability, bias), it is safe to say that the other pieces of evidence do not either.

By closely examining this claim, we see a dangerous "Either/Or" Fallacy as well as no criterion to judge whether or not a candidate receives criticism in the press. The count on Maureen Dowd may be correct if you think that every positive comment on Obama is a negative comment for Hillary, which is oddly similar to the way in which Conservatives state that the Equal Time Provision will censor them. The same may be true with Frank Rich. Though he is more openly against Hillary, there is a "you are either with us or against us" nature to these claims. You are either for Hillary or think she is evil. If you like Obama, you think Hillary is evil, right talk left?

Also, Harrogate finds rich the idea that Dowd and Rich attack Hillary on personal grounds; Krugman on policy. First, does Harrogate remember that Ethos, Logos, and Pathos are connected? For example, an attack on health care means that Obama is political naive and does not remember the past. It also means he is inexperienced and knows little. As Krugman attacks Obama on supporting Reagan, he suggests the same. While Krugman may implicitly attack Obama's character, he still attacks his character. Second, claims against character are perfectly reasonable when they are important. I am sure Harrogate would attack Bush for incompetence, would he not, which is an attack on character. When the candidates have very similar positions, then attacks on character, especially POLITICAL JUDGMENT, becomes necessary. This of course, refers to Iraq, where Obama had sense to speak out against it while Hillary supported the Draconian measures of the Bush Administration. To argue that we should exclude character is to attempt to avoid making Hillary's poor judgment important to the election.

Finally, the writers and comments rest on the idea of ideological purity. In the second portion of Harrogate's post, there is a video clip of Michelle Obama. In response of whether or not Michelle Obama would actively campaign for Hillary Clinton, Obama stated, "I would have to think about it. I would have to think about policies, who are pro-cho..... [THERE IS A BREAK IN THE CLIP HERE], her tone."

In response, Big Tent Democrat wrote:
This is what we do NOT need. Imagine if Bill Clinton had said that? Michelle Obama needs to straighten this out immediately. Really bad stuff from the Obama campaign.

First, there is an obvious break in the tape. It goes from "Pro-Cho..." to "Her Tone." It is interesting to note that it sounds like Michelle Obama is stating Pro-Choice, but that portioned is edited. I mean, it is not as is the Clinton campaign has tried to argue that an Obama administration would not look after the rights of women. Oh wait. The Clinton campaign has distorted Obama's record here. And here. Okay. we get it. Only Hillary can speak for women; no one else.

Second, this quote chastises Michelle Obama for not adhering to Party Line. Michelle Obama must "straighten out" her position? The Clinton campaign attacks her husband for using drugs and suggesting, because he is black, that he may have been a drug dealer, but no matter. It does not matter that blacks should have a voice in the party; Jessie Jackson won South Carolina. Blacks, and gays, need to follow party line (but don't question DOMA). Michelle Obama must follow party line. It does not matter what your interests are; it only matters what the interests of the Clintons, I mean the Democrats, are. How different is this comment from Sean Hannity's, Mark Levin's, or Rush Limbaugh's attacks on McCain as to whether or not McCain is a conservative. "When you look into the abyss..." But I digress....

Third, and finally, Big Tent Dem. wrote: "imagine if Bill Clinton did this." While this implies the media conspiracy, it also makes me wonder. Imagine if Bill Clinton swallowed his pride and advocated for Al Gore in 2000 or John Kerry in 2004. Oh wait, that would threaten the Clinton Legacy in 2000 and Hillary's rise to power in 2008. When the party needed Bill Clinton to avoid President Bush, Clinton was no where to be found. But, now Big Tent Democrat expects every Democrat to get in line with Clinton?

Odd, but appropriate

After finding the Hallmark Channel, I watched some of the Hillary Clinton's National Town-Hall
(ugh... the irony seems so silly)....Debate, er, I'm sorry, conversation....She is half-way through the Super Tuesday States and is taking a question from Illinois....

The theatrics of this is just silly... Clinton is watching a room full of people clapping for her and she is making silly comments about knowing everyone in the room... and answering a question about Iran and Women's Rights..... both foreign policy and gender....

But, the reason I posted is due to the fact the program description for the Hallmark Channel between 9 - 11 pm est is for "A Season for Miracles" which is about how "A Woman tries to care for her sister's children." Think about it as an apt description of her policy goals.

Oh. And her answer on Iran is about opening negotiations, which I believed she rebuked Obama on in one of the debates. And, well, then women are important for foreign policy because, "where women are free, have full participation in those countries, we are more likely to have a better relationship." Two things: (1) the same could be said for "freedom of speech" but that would be outside of her scope of her campaign about making gender a bug issue... oh wait... she said she would not play the gender card...and (2) What is our policy on Saudi Arabia?

The next question is (by a woman) about ending the war and bringing the peace to the US.... Harrogate-- how does one "win the peace" without establishing that "Unity Schtick?"

Also... she stated that she would have to Ask the Dept. of Defense to draw up a withdrawal plan, citing that the Bush administration would not have created one because the Bush admin. does not plan well... But this is very disingenuously since there are multiple plans about invasion and withdrawal...

Third question (asked by a woman) about immigration.... I will stop now.... The transparency seems lacking.

In Lieu of Super Tuesday, A Few Words on Media Darlinghood

Since both of these Media Darlinghood stories have been brought to Harrogate's attention through the efforts of the same blogger, a word of credit is in order. More and more Harrogate finds himself enjoying Big Tent Democrat's Posts over at TalkLeft. Certainly, BTD hasn't been nearly the Hillary Clinton partisan that Jeralyn has been, but unlike many others sympathetic to Obama's campaign, he has at least maintained a degree of objectivity.

That being said,Darlinghood Story #1: Ezra Klein is responding to this simple observation by Paul Krugman:

By my count, 3 of my last 10 columns have criticized Barack Obama.
7 of Frank Rich’s 10 last columns, and 6 of Maureen Dowd’s last 10 columns, have criticized Hillary Clinton. But, of course, that’s different: Hillary is eeevil, and deserves it.

Ezra Writes

I think Paul Krugman's got a point when he says that he gets a lot more flack for repeatedly criticizing Barack Obama than his colleagues do for continually lashing Hillary Clinton. Rich and Dowd go after Hillary largely on personality grounds -- she's cold, and calculating, and entitled, and overreaching. Krugman, by contrast, keeps slamming Obama on health care. The sense I get from some of those critiquing him is that they're tired of hearing about this disagreement and think Paul should get over it already. And that's a fair point. But while there are a lot of folks who accurately diagnose the illegitimacy of Dowd and Rich's critiques of Clinton, very few seem to notice or care that these attacks on her personal comportment are repetitive. Continual Hillary-bashing is somehow far less jarring than continual Obama-bashing. Maybe that's a strength of his.

This is such a rich piece of literature. First of all, it's hard to tell the difference between Maureen Dowd and Robert Novack in terms of subject matter: both are political gossips first and foremost. Second, the undeniable fact is that Hillary Clinton has been hammered by the Punditocracy from the beginning, and what's worse, the substance of the critique always revolves around broad, unsustainable claims about her personality. And then, Paul Krugman is one of the only high profile people to have been consistently critical of Media Darling Obama, and people are acting like he's being irrational? Krugman's complaint about Obama is substantive, but he's supposed to get over it? Yes, substantive criticism of what Obama actually stands for might deflect time away from talking about how "grasping" and "conniving" Hillary Clinton is.

And finally, the line, "Maybe that's a strength of his." Wow what a way to close out, Ezra. The point is not that people are behaving badly, it is that this bad behavior works to Obama's advantage.

Darlinghood Story #2. Look at Michelle Obama saying this:

BTD wisely noted in response to Michelle Obama's Bill Belichick-like behavior

This is what we do NOT need. Imagine if Bill Clinton had said that? Michelle Obama needs to straighten this out immediately. Really bad stuff from the Obama campaign.

This thread attracted an amazing 300 comments before Jeralyn finally closed the thread.

Why Super Tuesday Won't Matter

From Slate: Proportional Representation in the states will mean that Hillary and Barack will come very close to a tie.

Democrats and Health Care

In The New York Times, Paul Krugman discusses the differences between Hillary's and Obama's plans for health care. I have always wondered:

(1) What is the reason why health care needs to be universal?
(2) Why is a mandate necessary?
(3) What is the best way to argue for the mandates?
(4) What are the constraints to Health Care and how do your overcome those constraints?
(5) On what grounds can you penalize those that do not want health care or chose to seek other means to attain it?
(6) What role should the president, congress, and the American public play in formulating the country's policy on health care?

This post is not to differentiate between the two candidates and to favor one. However, it is to check the premises of the argument.

Hillary & Experience

Fareed Zakaria on Hillary's (wrong kind of) experience.

Making Plays, Making Plays, Making Plays. Making Plays! How the Giants Won, as Explained by Vince Vaughn

Clearly, while Belichick's guys were "out partying" during the leadup to the Super Bowl, celebrating their inevitable path to History, Tom Coughlin's guys were "running routes."

So sayeth Vince Vaugh.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

It's only a perfect season if....

You win every game. Sorry New England, try again next year.

And Coach Belichick showed what a jackass he truly is... he walked off the field before the game ended....

And one wierd state: the team that finished first is passing and with the quarterback that threw for the most yards during the season is 0 - 42 in terms of winning a Superbowl.

Sorry Tom. Well, not really since you are going home with a super model. Literally.

John McCain: Pro-Life, Pro-Cloning

Curious word choice for McCain at a Birmingham stump speech yesterday, during which he sought to reassure the GOP base of his pro-life credentials. "I’ve said a thousand times on this campaign trail, I’ve said as often as I can, that I want to find clones of Alito and Roberts," said McCain to a pundit from the National Review.

Also from the news story:

Tonight at a packed rally in Atlanta, McCain repeated the call for clones.

My friends [does anyone else join Harrogate in being sick and tired of hearing this windbag intone "My friends" before every Talking Point?], I want to tell you, I will try to find clones of Alito and Roberts. I will try to find people just like them."

Will stem cell research opponents take offense?

Hmmm. A good question by one (speaking of Freudian wordplay) Jack Tapper.

How can a Senator explicitly in favor of cloning be the GOP frontrunner?

Is the Senator's persistent use of the word "clone," when reaching out to social conservatives, a Freudian slip signalling his awkwardness with that demographic?

And BTW: Mormons are weird.

Super Tuesday, Not Super Sunday

I do not care about the game tonight. In the long run, it does not matter. But Tuesday, on the other hand...

Here are 10 things to think about for Tuesday.

(1) Because of the "winner takes all" approach for the Republicans, McCain win be on his way to win the Republican nomination. This is not surprise. Yet, what Reagan began, McCain will end.

(2) McCain's success will mean that Michael Bloomburg will not run. This means that Ron Paul may be the only third party candidate. Sigh.

(3) No democrat will win the nomination. In fact, a victory will not even be close. Texas, and more importantly, Ohio will play a larger role in picking the nomination.

(4) The key numbers are 60% - 40% or 55% - 45%. If Hillary gets closer or passes the 60% threshold on Tuesday, she will be the nominee. If Obama hits 40% and moves closer to 50%, he will be the nominee. He has deeper pockets and his momentum is gaining. If Super Tuesday were February 12th, Obama would win the aggregate. But, you play the game when scheduled.

(5) The key states on Tuesday will be California and Missouri. California may be close; Missouri picks winners (the state has picked 25 out of the last 26 presidents). from what I know, New York is a lot closer than people think because of Brooklyn and the Bronx.

(6) If Super Tuesday is closer to the 50% mark, then the Super Delegates will play a very large role. (Other than being completely ironic since the party of the people will not be chosen by the people), the Super Delegates will pick who they think will win the general election and not just the primary. This means that those the Super Delegates who have "pledged" may change their pledge.

(7) The role of independents. In some states independents cannot vote (closed primaries); in some states they participate in Democratic primaries and not Republican.

(8) A 100 delegate lead after Super Tuesday may be too hard to overcome with proportional representation in the Democratic primaries. The longer the race continues, the harder it will be for Clinton to win the nomination.

(9) Both Clinton and Obama will declare a victory. The public will not know who to believe.

(10) Mitt will still be a schmuck and Huckabee will take votes away from him. Today, on one of the talk shows, he argued against McCain-Feingold (campaign finance) because it is unconstitutional (which is it) and it hurts the Republican party (which makes him look like a schmuck for insisting that the Constitution serves one party). I would like to see him argue on what grounds the executive can hold people indefinitely in Cuba (he stated, in one debate, that they should double the size of the prison there.) Nice method of Constitutional interpretation-- rely on what ever methods that helps my party. No wonder why conservatives don't vote for you. Good Grief.

The Sunday Morning Read

Here is what is happening in the world:

Frank Rich
on the differences between Obama and Hillary, especially in relation to the Kennedys, Iraq, and John McCain.

George Will on the economy, foreign investors, and the American people.

Gallup Polls show Hillary Rising after the debate in California and Edwards leaving the race.

If the election were held today: Poll Data on the 2008 Presidential election.

Maureen Dowd on the fairy-tale, love-fest between Obama and Clinton. There will be no "dream team."

Peggy Noonan on the unconventional nature of the 2008 elections. This one is very interesting.