Saturday, March 08, 2008

I'd LIke an Argument, please, Not Abuse or Contradiction

Just so we can refresh our skills for the days ahead...

Surrender. Endorsement. Wherein Harrogate Reads the Wall, and Refuses to Make the Same Mistake With Obama, That he Made With Phish

As all Readers know by now, it is Harrogate’s firm belief that both Obama and Clinton, in the event that they go all the way to Denver lacking the magic 2025, have very credible cases to make to the Superdelegates to give them the necessary tally to put them over the top.

And, it is no secret that Harrogate is more sympathetic to Clinton’s case. But there is no point in rehashing any of this.

But now is time for remembering the big picture, ending GOP rule. No organized political Party in the World has been responsible for more Death and Destruction than the American Republican Party over the last 8 years, and none promises to do more damage than the same, should their Rule continue. And even worse than the foreign policy of Chest Thumping Death-Dealing, is the economic and judicial "philosophies" that the GOP has brought to bear on this Nation.

And so. It is out of deference to the Surreal IntraParty Dynamic, that Harrogate hereby and forevermore officially switches his support from Clinton to Obama in this Primary. Since the Ohio and Texas primaries, the Rhetorics freighting television and throughout the Internet, including those on this site, have convinced Harrogate that should Clinton wind up with this nomination, the Media will continue to Assault her, and worse, more than half of the Obama people will abstain from the election on principle. Certainly the African American community will be Afflicted with feelings of having been subjected to racism by the Superdelegates, feelings that Obama himself would not have it in his Power to Allay, even if he were interested in so doing. And then there are the Andrew Sullivan, Daily Kos, Huff-Po elements, and all the rest, which pretty plainly speak for themselves. These all share the view that Clinton is Monstrous for continuing to stand in the way of Hope and Destiny and Change.

The writing on the Wall. The cold truth. The bulk of the Obama camp was spoken for very succinctly, by Dr. Power. Witness M.O.W.’s brief and thoroughly kissed-up-to visit to The Rhetorical Situation, the language that blogger used to describe Clinton, the appreciation with which Others received such language, all of this is quite normal in conventional discourse about this Primary. This is what we are looking at. To argue that it is unfair, ridiculous, patently deceitful, is a waste of time, the degree of truthfulness to the argument being as irrelevant as a Hedge Fund to a homeless man. What matters is, this Narrative has traction with enough people.

It would kill the Dems for Clinton to carry the banner. Yes Power was off the record, but she said what she felt, and it doesn’t take much time watching television or websurfing, to see that she speaks for a huge, huge element of potential Democratic voters. Rather than being mad at Power, Obama and Clinton ought both to thank her. Yea, Harrogate thanks Dr. Power, and wishes her well in all her future endeavors.

And so, Senator Clinton, Harrogate throws himself on the Mercy of your better Nature, and asks you to drop out of this race. Please understand that you cannot catch him numerically by way of delegates. And that the popular vote in this race never mattered, will not matter in the discourse, unless Obama winds up winning it. However you feel about the way the math works, it is all about math and strategy, and you were not so adept at gaming the numbers as your opponent. To wit. There is simply no way you can emerge the Winner, however compelling you feel your case to be, without triggering a revolt within the Party and handing over the election to the GOP. Which is the worst case scenario, and you are right now very uniquely positioned to give us a shot at preventing it. If you drop out now it would be the most Beneficial Act to the Nation that a politician has made, in Harrogate's lifetime.

Do the right thing, Hill. Leave the race.

Interesting Thought Experiment

Sorry, M. While I know that this post is about the election, I found an article that presents an interesting scenario in relation to the divide on TRS and within the Democratic Party.

At Newsweek, Eleanor Clift provides an interesting though experiment on the Democratic Race and the candidates. If after the end of the primaries the candidates reach the convention without a super-majority support from the pledged delegates and the super delegates, will the Democratic party attempt to reach a settle by selecting a candidate not involved in the process to ensure the success and life of the party. This candidate would be, of course, Al Gore, a candidate that has already received the majority of popular vote in the country and has the necessary experience to lead the Party and the Country.

For this to happen, it would mean that neither candidate will win the nomination during the primaries and that, at the convention, neither candidate wins the nomination during the first vote. Since delegates, both pledged and super, have the ability to "vote their conscience," this may be an option for a second or third vote.

While I think that this article may be a trial balloon, it is a challenging piece. I see one major problem with this scenario-- it would be entirely undemocratic since Gore was not, as far as I know, on any of the ballots though he may had received some write-in votes and has always been in the conversation about the Presidency. A second major problem is what to do Senators Clinton and Obama and how they would react to the possibility of a third candidate.

Friday, March 07, 2008

A Proposal for the Weekend

Here is a call to my fellow Situationers, in the spirit of Supadiscomama's adieu before she travels. Be nice to one another. The candidates may be slinging mud, and it well may be naive for me to think that they would stop slinging mud for both the unity of the Democratic Party and the country. It is not, however, naive of me to think that the Situationers can be nice to one another--even if only for a weekend. And here's another thought: there are things going on in the world aside from the heart wrenching, gut stomping, knuckle clenching fight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Here's another call: let's all write about something else--at least for the weekend!

Campaign Strategies...or Strategeries...

Update: This post is not meant to be "divisive" or to "smear" candidates. Instead,it is to attempt to have a discussion on campaign tactics, which there are very few available at this point.

We are at an interesting point in the election. Senator Obama should win the caucus tomorrow in Wyoming and he has a slight advantage in Mississippi, where Senator Clinton is reduced to arguing that the State needs to elect a woman. Additionally, it seems that there is an eight delegate swing in favor of Senator Obama from adjusting the vote in Congressional Districts in California. He will also pick up vote in New York when the Empire state fixes the count where Senator Obama received 0% of the vote in NYC. Finally, the Obama campaign is working to pick up the Edwards delegates from John Edwards from Iowa. Though it is not set, Senator Obama will most likely win the caucus in Texas, diminishing not only Senator Clinton's win the in the primaries but from all of the vote from March 4th. Even though Senator Clinton won three states, she will have gained only three net delegates, lost ground from previous states, and will lose more ground this in the next four days.

What are their options on how they ought to run in their campaign?

Senator Clinton
(1) She could differentiate herself from Senator Obama on their positions and remain positive, which did not help her in February. Everyone knows that she is knowledgeable on policy but this does not mean that people want the Clinton presidency again.

(2) She could continue to offer the "Dream Ticket" line, as she did today, with her on top. This seems to ignore the delegate count and makes Senator Obama "wait his turn." I would argue that she is using this line because she will not win the vote in Wyoming and Mississippi. Further Senator Obama may not offer her what she needs against McCain against the fall (attack VP) and her recent comments on Senator's Obama experience undercuts the Dream Ticket (why select someone as VP shen they would not be ready for office if something were to happen).

Of course, Senator Obama would need to agree with the Dream Ticket and if he were consistent with his message, he would walk away from that option. Further, this "Dream Ticket" argument may not help her catch up on pledged delegates or Super Delegates.

(3) She could continue to attack him. Since it is very unlikely she will catch him in delegates, the goal of the attack would be to damage him in such a way that the Super Delegates could nothing but select Senator Clinton. The New Republic has more on this option and, according to this story, this does not bode well for the party. By the way, this may be why Senator Clinton launched the attack that she is ready to be Commander in Chief, Senator McCain is ready to be Commander on Chief, and why Senator Obama just delivered a speech. This explains the Kenneth Starr comments. This is also why before the vote in Ohio that the Clinton campaign accused Senator Obama of "political posturing" on NAFTA though it was in fact the Clinton Campaign that was guilty of this charge. You can read more here and here.

A variation is to force the Obama campaign to attack and then to say "He is attacking, running politics as usual," as a way to undercut his strength.

And for Senator Obama?

(1) He can continue "the math" argument which seems to be the least compelling and least inspiring message available. A slight variation is to use the "electibility" argument, which is better but still flat. Senator Obama is at his best when he tries to inspire individuals to help change the system. Of course, Washington may tire of this approach.

(2) He can attack and face Clinton on her terms, i.e. bring a gun to a knife fight. Yet, this means his New Politics cannot work and takes away any advantage he has over the Clintons. David Brook's comments in The New York Times offers an interesting glimpse into Obama's options as does Matt Cooper from the I. Scooter Libby fame. One good way to think about this is if you are going to elect someone who relies on Clinton's tactics, elect a Clinton.

(3) He can stand "above" the fight while his surrogates attack the Clintons. This of course needs to be done on relevant information: National Security, Foreign Experience, and the Clinton "Vetting" argument since Clinton has no Commander in Chief or Executive Experience, has no foreign affairs experience, and is not vetted since she has not released her tax returns for the past eight years and the Clintons will not release the documents from the Clinton library that Senator Clinton was involved with (Health Care, Pardons).

Of course, the Obama surrogates need to be smarter than Harvard Professor Samantha Power's "Monster Comment," which by the way seems to be a hit-job by the reporter with whom Powers spoke since Powers asked this to be off the record and the reporter did not or would not clarify the context of the Monster comment. But I digress.

What do I think?

Senator Clinton will try line number two on the Dream Clinton for a few days but this will not work past this weekend. In the six weeks between Mississippi, Senator Clinton goes for victory by attempting to destroy Senator Obama. All of her comments point to this. And, if the economy is bad, she will attempt to use this anxiety as well as to continue to attack (falsely) about experience.

Senator Obama will try to avoid the fight, while raising questions on foreign service, experience, and secrecy. If he attacks, he will lose. If his surrogates attack, he may stand a chance. If he argues that the Clintons are the bridge to the past and he the future then he may win. Winning a bog state may help though gaining 100 pf the 350 uncommitted Super Delegates may put this out of reach.

Senator McCain is laughing at all of this by the way: Let Clinton beat Obama on categories where McCain will be Clinton.

Harrogate's Only Post of the Day: An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Dear Hillary Clinton:

Since you are a regular Reader of this Blog, Harrogate has no need to go into details convincing you that the Following Suggestion comes in Good Faith.

On Daily Kos a few days ago, Harrogate encountered a comment he can no longer find, in which the commenter sarcastically suggested that you yourself ought to pay for the Do-Overs in Michigan and Florida, if Do-Overs are to be done.

At first, Harrogate thought, more proof that a partisan-nut is born every minute. Since it was the DNC's screwup, they should pay for it. But now, this very morning, Harrogate has wisely reconsidered. By Bankrolling the Do-Overs you will accomplish at least three very important Rhetorical Acts:

1)You will ensure that Do-Overs happen, and Thus give yourself a legitimate chance to make up ground in the delegate count. This in turn may translate into putting extra pressure on Superdelegates to think about what it means that you are cleaning Obama's Clock in the popular Vote in all big States not named Illinois. And, to be clear, this sequence of Rhetorical Events can only be accomplished by way of Do-Overs, for Lo, there is no way that the Votes as they Are can legitimately be translated into seated delegates. If you are simply given the delegates based on those past primaries, Harrogate will have no choice but to look the Other way, and shed a bitter tear, while Angry Obama supporters Walk Out in Denver, something Obama himself would likely be powerless to stop.

2)You will be able to ensure that they don't switch to Caucuses, on the Duplicitous Plea that they are only doing it because caucuses are Cheaper. With your funding, they will have no choice but to do it Right, with Primaries.

3)You will be richly rewarded by the Voters in those Two States. There will indeed be a major return on Thy investment. Imagine the Rhetorical possibilities!!!! Imagine touring the States telling Voters, I put My Money Where My Mouth Is so that you could be Heard!!!! You wouldn't want to say it a lot, of course. Just a couple of times would do. But everyone would know that you had indeed risked practically your entire War Chest to Get a Legitimate Resolution to this clusterfuck (pardon Harrogate's language, Senator).

And, as a corrolary, you will see individual donations from within those states, and elsewhere throughout the Country, go a long way towards alleviating, if not totally neutralizing, the economic hit your campaign would be incurring.



Thursday, March 06, 2008

Some Background on Michigan and Florida

From The New York Review of Books.

While a revote in the Michigan and Florida may be bad, letting this go to the convention is worse. Of course, the third option of counting the original votes would mean relying on illegitimate elections and the fourth option of allowing Super Delegates to decide the election in favor of the pledge delegate winner without counting Michigan and Florida seems a tad dangerous, especially if this occurs before all of the states vote. But option four may be the least worst option if there is enough separation between the two candidates in terms of pledged delegates (say 100 net difference).

I doubt Florida will be in play for Democrats in the fall no matter what the outcome of this fiasco will be. However, because of economic problems, Michigan will remain blue regardless of whether or not the people voted.

Peace Out

I'll be absent from the Situation for a week or so as I head abroad. I'll be spending my last day before departure with Supa-T, basking in his innocence and joy. I hope that The Rhetorical Situation won't self-destruct as a result of the increasingly grumpy exchanges that are taking place. There's no reason to let the Clusterfuck that is this presidential campaign season cause us to resort to mean-spirited, defensive, and, ultimately, counterproductive in-fighting. I look forward to catching up on the smart, funny, and thoughtful posts that are the signature of the Situation upon my return. Au revoir!

Where is the Reverend John Todd?

I'm curious to read his take on the current issues at hand.

Here's a random thought

Most or all of us at the Situation are dissertating--some of us are finished, witness Southpaw and paperweight, and others among us are close to finished, such as Ms. Reads and Solon. The rest of us, however, are in the midst of the process if you will. I just had a random thought: perhaps if we expended as much energy writing our dissertations as we do responding to one another on the Situation we would all be much closer to being finished. I for one am quite certain I'd be further on my current chapter than I am. . . I think I'll go work on my dissertation now.

Beams in Eyes: Wherein Harrogate Defends Himself From Charges, Implicit or Explicit, that He Dismisses Reasons to Support Obama

Not to interrupt the fun of, Harrogate is practicing the politics of division day. But for those actually interested in what Harrogate has been writing about Barack Obama and his supporters, you might visit some of these links. If you're interested in something like that, anyway.

Some links are Posts by Harrogate specifically designed to Defend or Praise Obama. Some are Posted by Others, and in the Comments, you see Harrogate defending or praising Obama. There is indeed much to Praise, both Aesthetically and in terms of Policy. But today, Megs and Solon and Southpaw have all had a little fun with Harrogate, implying that he's giving Obama and his supporters no credit, while he himself engages in 'Uniquely Clintonista negativity,' Deploying destructive and disrespectful Rhetoric. The purpose of this Post is manifold, in obvious ways a gesture of self-serving defensiveness.

But it also stands as a challenge for Readers to ask themselves the extent to which they have themselves, on the one hand consistently stated and defended their preference, but on the Other hand been as fair as they could be in terms of how they have represented the Other Candidate.

Some of ye have been far more interested in "Clean Water" than Others, of course.

Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here.

Negative or Charisma and some other BS

Let me begin by first saying, that the inspiration for this post is taken from Dan Abrams report last night on Tuesday's primaries, despite briefly searching for the clip I could not find it--likewise, although, I like to have a little wit in my comments I'm just going to put it out there with no BS. Basically his report was titled: Sen. Clinton wins by being negative, Sen. Obama wins by charisma. While watching that report, which I unfortunately was unable to finish because a brief but welcomed drop in from some friends, I found myself questioning several things that at one time or another have been addressed on the RTS. First of all, there is little doubt that Sen. Obama is a charismatic guy that simply put can talk a good fucking game. With that said, Sen. Obama is where is he because he is a politician just like all those other politicos that he claims are the root of all evil in the country. Likewise, if he is to be the "man" that leads this country, the man is going to have to play a little pocket pool with the anciente regime in order to get he policies approved; if he doesn't it is going to be four years of stupidity resulting in the country not being any better off than we are now--so my friends, you best not start the beatification process quite yet because I don't want to see y'all crushed by the reality of your disillusionment. With that said, this is not say that I trust Sen. Clinton any more that I trust Sen. Obama. After all, I have witnessed her trickery in person in 2003 when she spoke at my old alma mater when she contradicted herself with every breadth while being questioned by the international audience there. Nonetheless whether you like her or "fucking hate her" as I have heard many family members and friends state, it is ridiculous that she gets no credit for being, brace yourself now, a good politician that low and behold people may actually like, just like they love Mr. Charisma. And that the reason she has done well in this whole democratic process is that she has a persona that some like, and therefore want to vote for her based on her personality and record, just as the other half of the party bases there choices on Mr. Charisma. Even though I'm beginning to loose my train of thought there, the complete polarization and discuss expressed towards Sen. Clinton compared to Sen. Obama's divinity is utterly fucking fascinating to me. So my question is, can anyone logically explain that to me why this is???? I know the "gender" discussion has been done before on the RTS but honestly that seems to be the only logical answer to me in this fucking patriarchal society in which we live. So can some of the Clinton hater's enlighten me as to why I am to "fucking hate that bitch" and not vote for her for the good of the party if she is the nominee without you spouting of "anciente regime" bullshit (yes as an Early Modernist scholar I'm taking liberties with this phrase that think is still highly applicable today) or without being overwhelmed by your prejudices? Simply put: convince to hate her as you do and as most seem to be doing here lately with all the [t]he[i]r "negativity."

With those asshole remarks made, I still have beef with this whole caucus crap. I really trying to understand how a small fraction of the 4.2 million people who voted in Tex-ass primary Tuesday, don't amount to much in comparison to the caucus results??? Is that not basically in line with the same elitist political structure that everyone is bitching about now, in which the privileging of a few outweigh the needs and wants of the many???

Numeric Narratives: What Superdelegates Must By Definition Do

What the bloggers for The Rhetorical Situation are best at, best in the blogosphere, is affirming the Importance of Narrative. And, we are the Best at analyzing Narrative.

We are also really, really good-looking.

And so, here are Some Competing Narratives which All Superdelegates Will be Citing. Some Supers for Obama and Clinton will say:

1)Mine is the Best Candidate for President.
2)Mine has the best chance of beating McCain.

These are for the most part, intellectually honest Narratives. Here are some much more problematic ones.

3)I'm going the way people in my district/state went. But, if you feel this is the way you need to go, then you've got to be just as disgusted with Kerry and Kennedy as with any Clintonista who might buck the will of their constituency. It also calls into question, why do we even have superdelegates, if their only purpose is to parrot what others are doing? Why not just assign higher numbers of delegates to each state, to make it possible for candidates to hit their magic numbers solely through the voting process?

4)(Obama only) "Something is happening." Totally stupid. Or, "Do I really want to be the one who denied the first African American Presidential candidacy"? Also a ridiculous Warrant sucking at the tit of Identity Politics.

What are some other Narratives, or Evaluations of the Narratives Harrogate has mentioned?

Don't Muddy the Waters (or the Message)

Because I am quite certain that both Senators Clinton and Obama read the Situation on a regular basis, I want to urge each of them to read Amy Walter's article entitled "Democrats Should tie McCain to Bush." Walter makes the argument that several of us at the Situation have been making for weeks: Clinton and Obama need to be mindful of the ultimate goal--to get a Democrat in the White House. As Harrogate as poignantly argued for months, this election should be a referendum on the past 8 years; we should be talking about the mistakes that the Bush administration has made and how the Democrats can fix them. Instead, the election, thus far, has been about identity and individual message, both of which are important in an election. But, as Walter reminds us, after a messy run for the Democratic nomination there will be an even messier run for the Presidency. Clinton and Obama need to avoid muddying the waters at all costs. The competition cannot get too ugly between them because any dirt that they dig up on each other will be used as fodder against the winner by John McCain and the Republicans. While they will continue to point out one another's strengths and weaknesses (and rightfully so, it is a campaign after all), I agree with Walter's argument that they need to focus on making a case as to why each is the candidate to beat McCain in a national election.

So here are my instructions to Senators Clinton and Obama: stay on task! Do what you feel you need to do to win, but do it cleanly and fairly. Attack Bush, McCain, and the Republicans at large. But avoid attacking each other. And if you are the winner, be gracious and humble; ask the loser to help you campaign and remind the Democratic voters of the task at hand. If you are the winner, be equally gracious and humble; if the winner asks for your support, give it wholeheartedly and publicly in any and every way possible.

The Michigan and Florida Clusterfuck: Rumblings of a Do-Over Getting Louder

UPDATE: Harrogate now links to the Wall Street Journal for this story, since FOX apparently took it's write-up down. No matter. The same asshole owns both Media outlets.

But, it is a good writeup of the growing impetus for Do-Overs.

But anyway. What has happened with the DNC here, and the way people have responded to it, speaks very, very poorly about human beings generally. Here are some sad things we have learned about Americans, through this process:

1)We practice Slavish idolatry to Rules in this society, no Matter how Stoopid those Rules, or the Penalties emanating from those Rules, are: Now, Harrogate understands we need ordered liberty. But you've got a problem on your hands when a National Election is being impacted by a gross technicality with nothing of value to back it up, excepting the old standby, them's the rules.

As Cool Hand Luke once beautifully put it, "Calling it your job don't make it right, boss." For lo, at the end of the fortnight, there was never a credible case to be made for "punishing" states for moving their primaries closer to the Holy Trinity, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. But, the rules were put in place to "protect" these, what Harrogate is now out of frustration calling dipshit states. And the candidates slavishly signed pledges to abide by these stupid rules.

But why was the "punishment" so exaggeratedly weird, you ask? Well, that brings us to something else terrible about human beings:

2)John Stuart Mill's depressing worldview continues to infect western civilization. In the end, people only really care about "consequences" and "results": No matter where ye go on the blogosphere, you will see the same excuse over and over agaian: Well, the DNC didn't think it was going to end up like this, they anticipated a clear frontrunner by now.

So, it's okay to screw over millions of people and make a joke of your entire process, so long as you don't have to face any consequences for it. So sayeth the once great Howard Dean, every time he opens his mouth in defense of what the DNC has done here.

3)Human are easily lied to: To wit, many of us still buy into the Warrant behind the DNC's Sacred Rule: Namely, that it is in the country's interest that Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina have their primaries/caucuses well ahead of all other states. This is an ignorant lie and yet we allow ourselves to be sold this lie.

4)Most people only care about what's in their self interest: This is obviously the big one. You hear talk of African-American groups screaming about racially-charged disenfranchisement, if the delegates are seated as is. Okay, fine.

(the blight of skin otherwise known as Donna Brazille, who has always done the Party so well, has been for months threatening a walkout at the Convention if Michigan and Florida play a role in Obama not getting the nomination. And actually, Ms. Brazille and anyone intellecutally dishonest enough to take her seriously at this point, will likely walk out if Obama is not the nominee, for any reason whatever).

Great. But does that mean these same groups of people will be screaming about voter disenfranchisement if the states do not hold a do-over? Of course they would not, will not.

Obama himself and almost all of his supporters, have been on record a lot in recent months saying, wait a minute now, rules are rules, and so we cannot seat these delegates. If you've got a problem, take it up with your state representatives during the next local elections.

What bullshit. Does anyone this side of a vegetative state believe they would have these same ersatz positions, were the broader situations reversed?

Same with Hillary Clinton. Her plea on behalf of the voters is thoroughly underpinned by by results of the voting in those states. And her heightened enthusiasm for a Do-0ver likely stems from her Happy Awareness that, in the incdreasingly likely event that they schedule the Do-Over, she will be able to engage in lots of I Won 'em Before And I'll Win 'em Again--type Rhetoric.

And, there is little doubt in Harrogate's mind that she will win both of them again, if they hold full-on primaries in each, like they need to. Because, these are big states not named Illinois [or Georgia, which of course the Dems stand, as always, to do very well in come General Election time] with very large working-class (Michigan) and old-people (Florida) demographics.

The Crazy is Gonna Get You

This morning, as Harrogate and Supa-T were watching Sesame Street, Harrogate made the following exclamation: "This is the stupidest Mr. Noodle skit I've ever seen. I mean, how long is it really going to take for him to figure out that it's his elbow? He's a grown man! He's wearing a wedding ring!" I laughed for a very long time.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

A Texas Delegate

Here's someone who actually is going to be an Obama delegate. She, and a few other people I know and have read today, have a totally different take on the night. Maybe it was their precincts, or maybe, if you're a single woman and can stay later, the experience is a different one. It sounds like the disorganization was still there, at least in part. But at least there were people to double check the counts!

(Oh, and I should mention that it's not the Obama part I'm drawing your attention to. It's the caucus experience, as she describes it.)

New Rule

Stop using the "-gate" suffix to indicate a scandal. It's overdone and annoying.

"Republicans can go where ever it is that Republicans go"

I'm sorry to say it, but the caucus for which you all suffered was well worth it, if only to read M's report including the line above. Certainly, we can agree that this is the new motto of the Situation, one that provides unity in a time of increasing division. (And, no, I don't want Hillary out, so don't call me MegsMatthews!)

Knowing full well that the higher-ups in our party read and react to our blog, I hereby call for two things:

1. Sexiness--I mean, order--in the Texas caucus the next time around.

2. A joint ticket for 2008. Either way. Seriously. I know that solon, among others--ahem, Harrogate--will have to hold their noses, as it were, to cast that vote. I know, at least, that paperweight is with me. Talk about sex appeal. It's a sure winner. And then Republicans can go where ever it is that Republicans go.

And that's today's word.

The disorder of the caucus

To follow in line with my fellow bloggers about the caucus experience in the great state of Tex-ass, the word of the night was disorder, much like the word of the day during the primary voting. Although there was a reasonable turnout for the caucus, a far cry from the 3" thick ledgers of eligible voters that the administrators possessed, they were not adequately prepared to handle this meager number of devoted citizens. Rather than huddling us all like cattle into a quiet and adequately lit stalls/rooms with seating and such--spaces conducive to discussion--we forced to remain outdoors, on this cool and somewhat refreshing Tex-ass night--although my blood has thinned during my 2nd tenure in this state it was not necessarily the best location for those that were forced to haul their children along or for our seniors. At the moment we were to divide by party and then divide into lines alphabetically, the masses ascended upon their respective tables in complete disarray--the English would have been disgusted by our inability to form an appropriate que. But unlike Harrogate's experience, there was at least one person attempting to check the names off the people who were diligently but aimlessly filling in the appropriate information. Much like my fellow bloggers, upon providing my "John Hancock" I to drifted away back into the abyss from which I came because of the inability of the staff to inform me or my fellow caucusers if any more was to be done. I left somewhat content that I had at least appeared but still a bit disenfranchised by the experience as whole.

What further complicates the event for me was the primary voting in which I was asked if I intended to caucus that evening. Upon responding yes, the precinct worker took her black stamp and marked VOTED in both the caucus ledger and the primary ledger. After inquiring about this action, she informed me that my vote had been counted for both the primary and the caucus, and that I did not have to return to the caucus that evening. Even though I have no way of knowing, I am sure others were told the same and did not return to the caucus that evening . Thus this adds to the confusion of the process in which the cross referencing of the names between the leaflets and the ledgers will not match.

In general terms, and I know my statement will disappoint salon and megs, the process was a waist of FUCKING time--time that I could have used sitting around drinking a damn beer!

Barack Obama Versus Saturday Night Live?

Okay, so Harrogate's trying hard to be productive today, but still he can't resist linking to this very provocative post by Big Tent Democrat over at Talk Left.

Apparently, Obama called Lorne Michaels to complain about the SNL skits over the last two weeks. BTD's analysis is pretty good here, even an Obama supporter would likely recognize the Spoof-Ripe quality of Matthews and Olbermann's sputterings over Clinton not conceding after last night. But, will Michaels and his Actors chicken out in the wake of Obama's call?

Check it out, O Readers. Harrogate reports, you decide.

Harrogate Goes A Caucusing: Inadequately Manifests His Latent Potential for Community Leadership

Well, Harrogate has to agree with supadiscomama that caucusing is a little boring, at least Texas-style caucusing. But much of this has to do with the extent to which one belongs to one's given community. But the biggest issue of the night, for Harrogate, was the supreme lack of readiness at his precinct. The numbers just washed away the readiness. Let Harrogate explain:

First of all, the precinct Harrogate attended experienced a bumper turnout of Democratic caucusers (Republican caucusers were of course much smaller in number, and were being re-directed "that way, down the hall and to your left"), upwards of 200 people were counted before the signing in was over. This in itself, like the Junior Mint, in "Very Refreshing."

Conversation about sheer numerics rippled among us. Interestingly, though, there was practically zero dicsussion about the reason we were there. It was like the thang that dare not speak its name. The people running Harrogate's precinct were woefully unorganized, though. They brought in "another table" and said, Obama people sign in at this table, Clinton people go over there. And so that's what was done. But Readers, there were no poll workers at the tables. Who will verify these sign-ins, we asked amongst ourselves? "What is my registration number," others asked, to nobody in particular.

Suddenly Harrogate found himself in the middle of things, people asking him questions. Maybe there's something about Harrogate that creates a sense that he knows what he's doing. It would be amusing for those who know Harrogate, to think so. "Who's verifying all of this, Harrogate? What's to stop people from signing in people who are not here? How do we know that they're going to check this in the end? Why are we talking to you? Where is an official of some kind?"

Harrogate answered these questions as best he could. See that guy standing way over there, moving around looking important but not really doing anything?, Harrogate asked. Well, he's going to fill in the numbers against the ledger that he's got. If you didn't vote in the precinct primary, then your sign-in won't count. And lo, there is nothing at all to stop people from signing in absentees.

And so Harrogate went to the Precinct captain and said on behalf of many, O Captain My Captain, we are distressed. We are distressed by the lack of poll workers at these tables. Many people are signing in their addresses and their phone numbers and their Presidential preferences, and simply leaving. Can they be confident their declarations will be logged?

"Do not be thus distressed," replieth the Captain, "for in Truth, I have my ledger and will make sure all is well. I will fill in the numbers at the end."

And so Harrogate decided to trust his fellow man, inept though the entire system was proving to be. At the same time, Harrogate suddenly found himself standing between two people talking about their desires to be delegates. We will nominate one another, they said happily. Harrogate was lost, at this point. He knew absolutely noone there. Perhaps if this were an eighteenth century New England township in which Harrogate had been born and raised, it would be different. But things being as they are, it makes no difference to Harrogate wich Clintonista gets to be a delegate from the Clinton vote count. How would Harrogate know who is honest and true and a lover of puppies? And so Harrogate, not being in tune with the members of his Community, and harboring no interest in being a delegate himself, went away.

He went away feeling that Maybe his sign-in counted. He went away thinking gee, solon and megs might be disappointed, since there were no debates, no speeches, no efforts to persuade in the Presidential Stage of the Caucus. Perhaps they speechified when the moved into the Local Platform element of the Caucus, when they were ferreting out Delegates. But for the hour that Harrogate caucused for the very first time, there was only goodwill among Democrats, and a desire for votes to count.

And so, O Readers, Harrogate bids thee adieu. He will return late this evening with erudite analysis of what happened in the Four States last night. Until then, happy blogging, and remain on the lookout for news of Southpaw's new romance novel. Word is, he's releasing sometime this Spring.


Sexy is as sexy does

Here is one voter's account of the Texas caucus:
We caucus in Texas because it gets people involved. We had almost 25% of our precinct show up in person! That is huge for a caucus. 451 people in a gymnasium, fired up and happy to be there, both Clinton and Obama folks. And we met each other and formed relationships. We discussed resolutions ranging from paper trails for voting machines to human rights, and passed resolutions that we pass on to the state level and eventually national. It is very energizing, exciting, and involving. It gets people active, and is direct democracy at its best. This organization is what forms grassroots parties, and is what has the potential to one day win us Texas from the Republicans. I'm actually no longer sure why we bother to have a primary. That is the part that makes less sense to me now.
This does sound sexy (a word that has, thanks to our very own megsg-h, become synonymous with caucusing), but I know no one whose experience mirrors this. I caucused and was eager to experience that which is described above. You know, just to be part of it, even just once. But, alas, I decided to leave after signing my name and stating my preference. Nobody else was staying. It seemed clear that the majority of caucusers were not interested in making the experience sexy. So I followed the sheep out the door.

M and Wild Man Caucus

I have to admit that caucusing was rather anti-climatic for me. I arrived at our caucus site with Wild Man in tow, fully prepared to leave at a moments notice should Wild Man show signs a global meltdown--bedtime is a sacred thing in our household, and no one was particularly happy that our bedtime ritual was being interrupted by the "Democratic Process." But, as we were dedicated to having our voices heard, we chose to interrupt our nightly routine, and Wild Man was well behaved and obliging, if not a bit confused to be allowed to run around a church courtyard in his pajamas in the dark. Our experience was much like Supadiscomama's: we stood around outside until we were given directions from a woman who said "Democrats vote here and here, and Republicans can go where ever it is that Republicans go." I found this quite amusing, especially given the fact that there wasn't a single Republican at our precinct. Once we figured out where to line up, we joined the line, and we made it through rather quickly. We filled out the necessary paperwork and voted. It was interesting to see the process at work, but it was not particularly sexy, I have to say.

Thus, after debating the feasibility of going all day long, I did successfully caucus--at least I am fairly certain I did. I did not stay for the whole rigamarole, although I did very explicitly ask if I needed to stay to make sure my vote counted. I was assured by two people that my vote would indeed count and that I only needed to stay if I wanted to be a delegate. As I had no desire to be a delegate, I chose to take a sleepy Wild Man home. The rest of our evening was fairly normal, and Wild Man, thankfully, went to bed without incident, although it was considerably later than his normal bedtime. So ends my caucus experience.

*As as aside, I don't find the Texas Caucus remotely democratic as the time of day it takes place necessarily excludes too many people. I debated all day whether or not to go primarily because if both my husband and I wanted to caucus that meant we had to take Wild Man out with us at a time of night that is usually spent reading stories and snuggling on the couch. Disrupting such a process is risky as Wild Man is not a good sleeper. Furthermore, while in the grand scheme of things the disruption to our life was minimal, I know many people were unable to caucus because of work, class, lack of transportation, and physical issues. As Supadiscomama said, this process is bullshit. But I digress.

The Morning After...

Here is what we know:

Hillary gains the symbolic victory by winning 3 states to Obama's one as she won the popular vote in three and the delegate vote in two.

According to MSNBC, Senator Clinton gained 9 delegates in Ohio.

According to the State of Texas, she will gain four delegates from the primary. However, Senator Obama leads in the caucus by 4% and there are 32 delegates to be awarded. This will reduce Senator Clinton's net from Texas.

Senator Clinton won three delegates in Rhode Island and Senator Obama won three in Vermont.

Two important developments:
(1) On the CBS Early Show, Senator Clinton stated she would be open to a ticket with Senator Obama, but Clinton will need to be the President on the ticket. Senator Obama states it is premature to discuss a split ticket and he will continue on for the nomination. I do not think Senator Obama is going to accept that the VP position while he maintains an 100+ delegate lead.

(2)On the Today Show, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton would be open to a revote in Florida and Michigan. There is no plan in place for this. I will try to post more on the merits of this idea late.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Obama's speech

Transcends Clinton by congratulating her for her victory in Ohio and Rhode Island. But counters with that what we know know is that we will still have the same delegate lead tomorrow as we did today (paraphrase)-->Narrative- its the delegates that matter and we will win or tie with delegates tonight.

After this, it is his usual victory/ stump speech.

Interesting: he states that "in the weeks to come, we will begin a great debate about the future of the country with a man who has served it greatly and loves it dearly." Like Clinton, he is turning attention to the general election and he is connecting McCain to Bush and Bush's policies (though I do not think he can use the pun John W. McCain as Clinton could.)

Senator Obama also connected Senator Clinton with McCain as both reject changing the status quo, both reject the language of change as "just words," and the desire of the people for change. This is new as it recognizes Clinton is still a threat so he should not get ahead of himself and he diminishes Clinton by connecting her to McCain, making him the authentic Democratic.

Overall it is a little flat. Of course, it is a concession speech. Clinton may take the popular vote in Texas, but she will not win the delegate count in the primary or the caucus.It is hard to get a red on this: Senator Clinton is up by 60,000 votes but the Senator Obama strongholds are very slow to report-- some have 15% in as of now. I think Clinton will win though.

Clinton's Speech

It is an Ohio victory speech, but she is making the case that she won the big states and the important swing state of Ohio. She is getting better on her use of the rhetoric of empowerment though she undercuts this message with her "solutions" line. She also relies on the her image as a fighter and her stances on health care and the economy. Interesting, she announced she is ready for a fight and a debate with McCain and she will not quit before all of the voices are heard.

Her campaign chose wisely to speak when she did, before Senator Obama and before the East coast tucked in for the night.

What is the definition of victory?

Counting the votes in Texas will continue throughout the night. If you want to check the vote, examine a Texas State Site that gives the vote and delegate total. Senator Clinton is ahead in the popular vote but Senator Obama is ahead in the delegate count.

But here may be the competing narratives:

The Clinton camp will state it won the night as it won Ohio, may win Texas, and created enough doubt in the caucus portion of Texas- hence the allegations about problems in voting. If the Clinton camp can discount the caucus and Obama's victory, then it can claim victory.

The Obama camp will declare victory in the delegate count for the night, winning Vermont and Texas (because of the Texas caucus). The Obama camp will have a strong lead at the end of the evening. Tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday some Super Delegates will announce their support for Senator Obama.

Senator Clinton may gain a few delegates tonight but it will not be enough to close the gap and Senator Obama will win more in Wyoming and Mississippi than Senator Clinton will win tonight. However, Senator Clinton will continue to campaign through June.

The Clinton camp has a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. I do not think she will drop out anytime soon.

Question: is Senator Clinton fighting for the Presidency? The VP? Health Care Mandates?

State of the Nation: Some Interesting Stories

Two states down, two states to go. I still think Ohio and Texas will split. Senator Clinton is doing much better than expected in Ohio, especially in the rural areas. Senator Obama is doing well in Texas, but the urban vote is not in. With 29% of the vote, they are tied.

Check that. Three down, one to go: Texas. Clinton holds a 2 - 1 advantage as she just won Ohio.

There are major problems with the vote today in Ohio and Texas as both campaigns have cried foul on the other. You can read the Clinton complaints against Obama here. You can read other complaints from The Columbus Dispatch.

Senator Obama's campaign is suing to keep open polls in Ohio. Senator Clinton's campaign is threaten legal action with the caucus. Both sides claim intimidation.

The animosity converged on a conference call when Senator Obama's top lawyer Bob Bauer called in to a conference call that Howard Wolfson was running to discuss the probles with caucuses. Bob Bauer attacked the Clinton camp for undermining the caucus process in Texas as well as in Iowa, Nevada, and all the other caucuses. According to The New York Times election coverage blog (at 8:36pm: The Caucus Lament) Even Senator Clinton and Terry McCaulife attacked the caucuses today to undermine it in Texas. Howard Wolfson attacked Bauer for calling in and attacked him to make sure all voters can contribute to the democratic process. At the end of the conversation, Howard Wolfson promises to call the Obama conference call.

The phone call, if you listen to it at Politico, is interesting drama but extremely bad for both campaigns and for the Democrats. All of this is bad, which may be good for Senator Clinton as the caucus portion of the vote seems "corrupt." If one is corrupt, then others may be...

If you would like to read it, the transcript is available through Slate.

Republican crossover vote in Ohio is big, for Senator Clinton.

The racial bloc voting seems disturbing. According to Andrew Sullivan:
MSNBC's exit polls, state one in five Ohioans said race was important in their vote. And they broke 57 to 43 for the Clintons.

Some of this is the rural vote in the Southeast. But it may be a worry in the GE. Also, it may be a concern with the economic problems.

Finally, there is a behind-the-scenes battle for Super Delegates. According to Politico, Senator Clinton is trying to persuade some Super Delegates to not publicly support a candidate. Clinton is trying to argue that if she were to win three states tonight, the Super Delegates should wait before they go public. Yet, as Tom Brokaw is reporting on MSNBC, 50 Super Delegates will publicly endorse Senator Obama over the next few weeks though these 50 Super Delegates are not rock stars, i.e. no Richardson or Edwards.

The Super Delegates will be the only way a candidate wins.

Bonus- one news story to look forward to: Senator Obama never announced his fundraising total for February. Look for this message to be released this week to regain focus on his campaign.

This just in from CNN

Roland Martin, reporting on Anderson Cooper 360, just announced that "in one caucus in College Station, Texas: four years ago, four people showed up; this time, two hundred people." Well done, Aggieland.

Holy Rolling

An Israeli psychology professor at Jerusalem's Hebrew University has published a study that argues that Moses may have been under the influence of a hallucinogenic plant when he received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Awesome.


Caucusing is pretty boring. I showed up with Supadiscotoddler in tow, wondering if he'd allow me to actually participate in the caucus at all. After voting, Supa-T and I hung around and waited. Other caucusers (is that a word?) were milling about, chatting with each other. I was chasing Supa-T around and blocking his path to the parking lot. When the line formed, I was at the end--of course. At that point I had to hold Supa-T, and, although I am a spry 31 years old, my poor back is that of an 81-year-old woman. After about 15 minutes, Supa-T felt like he weighed 300 instead of 30 pounds. We finally made it to the sign-up sheet, and I indicated my choice. A pretty decent number of people were seated in the caucus room, so I felt no guilt about zipping out of there as soon as I was finished. I didn't know anyone there--I have no preference about who is elected as a delegate. 45 minutes of standing in line with a toddler balanced on my hip greatly diminished my excitement for the process.

I would guess that about 60 people showed up at my caucus location--a small percentage of the number of registered voters in the represented precincts, I'm sure. Whatever the results, the caucus does not represent the majority of the voters in this area. Some didn't show up out of pure laziness, of course. But a large number of people didn't show up because of work, family, or other responsibilities that kept them away. In fact, an elderly couple who did show up had to leave before indicating their preference because the man simply couldn't handle the physical strain of standing in line. It is unfair that these people's votes only partially "count." It's a bullshit practice, and it needs to be changed.

In the end, I'm glad I went. Supa-T, with the exception of a few minor outbursts, handled everything quite well. Now I'll just wait for the results with everyone else. Nighty night!

Huckabee Honors George Brett

Growing up in Kansas City, I was a big fan of Royals baseball. And George Brett was my favorite player. I was thrilled to hear Huckabee honor Brett this evening when he bowed out of the Republican primary race. I was not at Brett's last professional baseball game, as it was an away game. But I was there for his last one at Kauffman stadium. For his final at-bat in Kansas City, the only city for which he ever played professional ball, he hit a home run. But I didn't see it!

Here's why: I watched Brett fly out in the seventh inning. I did not think that he would have another chance at the plate. So I left, disappointed. When I got home, my dad asked me if I had seen Brett's last homerun. I asked, "what homerun?" Yes, the Royals had a string of hits, allowing Brett one last chance to bat in the ninth inning. And he drove it home. I'm sure it was a hit that he will never forget; I wish it was one that I could remember.

"While My Ukulele Gently Weeps"

I think this take on Harrison's classic does a better job "tether[ing] into the tensions between plagiarism, channeling, and tribute" than Harrogate's earlier Phish post. At the very least, it shows a more serious attempt to revise the original Beatles version. In so doing, Jake Shimabukuro proclaims to the world,

I do not plagiarize!! This is no second-rate cover!!

And what better way to channel an artist than to collaborate with his or her composition, as Shimabukuro does here. This is tribute. To cover a song poorly is not.

Clinton, Obama, and Political T-Shirts

Like Harrogate, I'm intrigued by the political t-shirt, and while I can't see myself purchasing one (that would be making my choice of candidate a little too public for me), I have been doing a little shopping. After a quick search at a popular on-line t-shirt site, I am horrified (yes, that is right--horrified) at some of the t-shirts out there. I was so horrified, in fact, that I had to keep looking to see if I could find one about Obama that was equally horrifying as all of the ones about Clinton. Here are a few of the most horrifying. Oh, and lest Solon accuse me of limiting people's right to free speech, I want to make it clear that I am not horrified that such t-shirts exists; I am horrified by the inflammatory rhetoric and speech that is behind these t-shirts. (*Note: for some reason I can't upload the most horrifying; go to, and you can find them simply by searching for Hillary Clinton. Interestingly enough the negative Hillary shirts show up on the first page, but if you search for Barack Obama you don't see a negative shirt until the 10th or 11th page.)

So I actually think this one is fairly innocuous.

There is an entire line of shirts calling Hillary the devil and the anti-Christ.

I find the use of Rosie the Riveter particularly troubling--can't we leave this image of female strength alone?
Here is another image of Hillary as the devil. And the really horrifying ones read: "If only Hillary had married OJ instead"; "Just Remember, Even Bill Didn't Want Her"; and "Bros before Hos" with an image of Obama above an image of Clinton. And to be fair there are a few horrific anti-Obama shirts out there, most of which play on his supposed Muslim connection. The most horrifying in my mind has an image of Obama's face superimposed over an image of Osama Bin Laden and reads "Osama Obama." I find all of these particularly troubling because the American public keeps calling for an end to "negative campaigning." What is this, if not negative?

Harrogate Goes on The Record : A Voting Narrative Wherein the Lovely Mrs. Harrogate, and Project Runway, Factor Prominently

Last week on Project Runway when the loathesome Tim Gunn visited (the now Aufed) Chris, one of "Sissybear's" friends was sporting a tee shirt proclaiming, "I'm hot for Hillary." Mrs. Harrogate was delighted, and given the Harrogate household's plethora of disposable income, will likely be purchasing one of these tee-shirts in the near-distant future.

Harrogate, too, went on the record today as "hot for Hillary." For those interested in a ground-level snapshot of Primary Day in South Central Texas Town, this one's for ye.

On the way to his precinct, about a mile away from it actually, Harrogate passed a large roadside gathering of jubilant Mexican-American men and women sporting Clinton banners and soliciting drivers to Honk for Hillary. As Harrogate told Mrs. Harrogate on the phone, this spectacle was interesting to behold after listening for weeks to television pundits talk up Clinton's strength with that demographic. There it was in the flesh, as it were.

At the actual polling site, there were no people celebrating Hillary Clinton. There were small gatherings of Obama partisans, as well as Ron Paul partisans. An Obama guy approached Harrogate and handed him an Obama bumper-sticker as well as a pamphlet. Harrogate cheerfully accepted both. Obama guy asked, are you voting for Obama? Harrogate replieth no, but Harrogate hereby accepts these signifiers, the bumper sticker to be displayed in case Obama wins the nomination. Obama guy laughed good-naturedly,and the two interlocutors take a moment to ventilate themselves about the importance of Republicans losing.

Harrogate proceeded to go inside and get himself on the record as "Hot for Hillary." Afterwards, he logged a complaint to a poll worker about the caucuses. We have a small child, Harrogate whined. Caucusing from 7:15-9:15 is difficult stuff. The poll worker understood, she herself has a small child and will not be attending the caucus, though her husband will.

But then, on returning home, Harrogate and Mrs. Harrogate had a telephone conversation in which they decided they will caucus anyway. It's once every blue moon, they reasoned, and besides, word is if you get there early, you can sign in your choice, and get out of there before the little one gets too cranky about Democracy getting in the way of "Nigh-Nigh" time. So, little Harrogate will make an official appearance at a red-blooded American caucus!

So, solon will get his much-coveted frontline reportage of what happens at the caucus, perhaps from Mrs. Harrogate.

Eyes of Texas are upon you..

Good morning Texas. Happy Voting Day!!! Here are a few quick hits:

Senator Clinton appeared on The Daily Show last night and did well. She pushed the big state argument, noted that primaries normally continue into June, and state we should let the people vote. She also stated she would like a bi-partisan cabinet and called for unity. Hmmmmm.

Also, Senator Clinton learns the language of empowerment, finally. Her new slogan in Ohio, "Who would you hire?" which plays to her experience and her economic message. She also shows she can hear the people. While I don't agree with mixing business metaphors with politics-- I also hate it in education and cringe when students say they are consumers-- at least Senator Clinton learned to focus on the moment and displayed that she may be able to develop a movement.

At Slate, Christopher Hitchens laments the decline of our political language.

According to TNR: The key numbers for tonight-213 and 52. 213 is the number of delegates Senator Clinton needs tonight and 52 is the delegate advantage that she needs to win to catch up. According to The New Republic, Senator Clinton needs to win over 57% of the delegates in every contest to catch up.

Enjoy the day!!!

Paying Back Phish and Barack Obama for an Earlier Post

Recently Harrogate compared his experience with Barack Obama to his past experience with Phish. Throughout the 90s, Harrogate avoided listening to Phish because the fans got on his nerves, you couldn't get them to talk about most other music, all they were interested in doing was coming up with a way of getting on board the next Phish tour.

And the Rhetoric these fans deployed, you'd have thought Phish invented not just Rock N' Roll, not just the concept of the Jam Band, not just Psychedelic Rock. No, you'd have thought they invented Music itself. More, they invented Art. Lo, like John Cusack's character in Being John Malkovich, their Art "raised issues."

As Harrogate said, it tended to get on one's nerves, to make one throw up in one's mouth, a little bit.

But time went by and Harrogate, on Pete's Couch and on the sly as it were, made time to listen to the band, and he distinctly enjoyed it. And still does.

Here is a wonderful performance by Phish, of one of the Beatles' greatest songs, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Actually, this post is Poetically Profound, for it also tethers into the tensions between plagiarism, channeling, and tribute, all of which has been addressed by the Board Members of the Rhetorical Situation.

Phish does not plagiarize "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," but they sure as hell do it justice.

Enjoy, Readers. Enjoy.

Monday, March 03, 2008

All Quiet on the Central Texas Front

Tomorrow is the day that voters in Rhode Island and Vermont will choose the Democratic Nominee for President. Oh, and voters in Ohio and Texas may have some say in the matter as well though most people are quite unsure of how the vote in Texas will go tomorrow. The Texas Observer has a "How To" guide on the caucus portion of the Texas vote. It seems that it involves voting once, going home & drinking, then returning to a caucus site, a dodgeball tournament, followed by a two-step competition, and then a final round consisting of a Rochambeau tournament.

By the way, if anyone caucuses tomorrow night, please post your observations and comments about the process. I would love to be there for the caucus portion.

MSNBC is billing tomorrow as the Second Super Tuesday. However, what is more interesting is that during almost every commercial break FOX has been running commercials on MSNBC for its own election coverage tomorrow night.

To review: here is what we know about the Democratic campaign.
According to MSNBC, the delegate count is 1,194 - 1,037. CNN posits that the delegate count is 1,378 to 1,269. Senator Obama has 1,184 pledged delegates and 194 Super Delegates; Senator Clinton has 1,031 pledged delegates and 231 Super Delegates. The New York Times has the count as Senator Obama 1,303.5 and Senator Clinton 1,212.

Including Super Delegates, there are 444 delegates at stake tomorrow though some of the Super Delegates have committed their vote. On March 8th, 18 delegates will be available in the all important Wyoming caucus. On March 11th, Mississippi will hold its primary with 40 total delegates available. Based on demographics and previous support, Senator Obama is expected to win both Wyoming and Mississippi.

After March 11th, there will only be seven more contests with 693 delegates available and, unless one candidate drops or or suspends his or her campaign, neither will reach the magic number without some help from Super Delegates. If both candidates stay in the race, both candidates will need more help from the Super Delegates. It is also important to note that Senator Clinton needs over 65% of the delegates in the remaining states just to catch up with Senator Obama. This includes everything from Rhode Island tomorrow to Puerto Rico on June 7th.

Tomorrow night will most likely be a split in terms of delegates. Here are the likely scenarios: Senator Clinton will win Rhode Island and Senator Obama will win Vermont, giving Senator Obama a slight advantage in delegates (5 at the most). As for Texas and Ohio, it is very unclear. A storm moving through Ohio may decrease some voter turnout or people will risk it because of their passion. In Texas, Obama has a slight advantage because African American districts will give him more delegates than the Latino districts because the delegate count is based on how the Texas state districts voted in the 2004 Presidential Election. Though President Clinton may be ahead in the popular vote because of a high Latino turnout, the delegate count in the primary will be close and it will not give either candidate an advantage.

As for the caucus, plan for chaos. Or maybe a riot. A report from The New Republic is not promising as some caucus sites are at senior activity centers that have only 35 parking spots and have scheduled bridge and ballroom dancing when the caucus will take place. I think dodgeball would be a better choice.

It is believed that no matter who wins the primary portion of Texas, Senator Obama will win the caucus. This makes sense because of Senator Obama's ground game. But this means that Texas will be a wash, leaving Ohio as a small or moderate win for Senator Clinton.

A best case scenario for Senator Clinton: she wins the popular vote in three states and she diminishes the delegate lead by 10 - 15. Further, she adds two more big states to her cause and helps her argument with the Super Delegates. Three victories would change the narrative about her campaign (that it is not the mess that it seems like) and allows her more support with Super Delegates or at least prevents more from leaving her. Finally, Michigan and Florida enter the conversation, again. But, a victory only allows her to continue to Pennsylvania, which means two more losses before this vote in April.

Best case for Senator Obama: A 2 - 2 split, giving Senator Obama the advantage in the delegate count for the night at around 10. This means that Senator Obama holds off Clinton in two states she led by over 20% two weeks ago. This also means that he continues with the momentum and dries up some of Clinton's donors who become skeptical of her viability. Additionally, he win will the next two and have a 15 - 2 winning streak as he heads into the Keystone state, where his ground troops are already in play. It is highly unlikely that Senator Obama wins 3 - 1. I don't think he will take Rhode Island and he will most likely not catch up in Ohio.

Other than the vote, here are a few important factors to consider:
(1)Senator Clinton announced that she has no plans to drop out after the vote Tuesday. Of course, why would she say anything else and chance the fact that some voters may not vote for her and donors turn away from her.

(2) Former President Bill Clinton and Governor of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell state Senator Clinton needs to win both Texas and Ohio though it is unclear if this is delegate count or popular vote i.e. like Iraq, the meaning of victory is unclear. Gov. Rendell's comments may be more credible as former President Clinton's comment may just be politicking for the vote.

(3) In February, Howard Dean declared that the nomination would be secure by March or Mid April to avoid a fight at the convention. A fight is to be avoided at all costs.

(4) After Super Tuesday, concerned Super Delegates for Senator Clinton told The New York Times that she needed to win Texas and Ohio comfortable or they would switch their support. This will not occur, though "comfortable" is certainly undefined.

(5) Former Presidential Candidate Bill Richardson stated that tomorrow is "D-Day" and that the candidate with the most Delegates after Tuesday would be the presumed nominee while the candidate with fewer delegates should suspend or drop out. This is interesting since Richardson owes his career to the Clintons and, I would argue, may be one of the Super Delegates in number three above. This means that after the voting on 3/4, there will be a break on the uncommitted Super Delegates in favor of the candidate with the most pledged Delegates.

Knowing all of this: What is the best Narrative/ Argument After Tuesday?
(1) Both candidates continue the primary contest. If this is to occur, the negative tone between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton will diminish the chances of either candidate in the fall.

(2) An extended race means that the DNC will not be able to fundraise. While both candidates will raise money, this may hurt the DNC for the fall.

(3) An extended race means that the negative ads by the Democrats (the 3:00am ad)will haunt the Democrat candidate in the fall. A negative race now provides the Republicans with fodder for the fall.

(4) A consideration of the opposites: The attacks between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton will help the nominee because all of the attacks and refutations means that these arguments will be settled and off the table for the fall. Further, if they stay in they will only sharpen their political skills for the General Election.

(5) If both candidates stay in on the Democratic side, then they will get all of the news coverage, which is important because over the next seven weeks they will get all the attention while Senator McCain gets very little. This is key because Senator McCain may only be able to spend $5 million before the convention if he is pledged to public financing.

(6) Let all of the voters decide, this means Michigan and Florida though I am unsure as to what would happen in terms of the vote already taken and a possible new vote.

(7) It is best for someone in the party to have a Berry Goldwater Conversation with Senator Clinton to tell her that if she continues in the race it may lead to the destruction to the party's chances in the Fall. A similar argument is that if she attempts to take the nomination at the convention, then she will destroy the party (Senator Goldwater approached President Richard Nixon and told him he needed to step down because the Senate would no longer protect him for Watergate and an impeachment would occur.)

(8) Senator Clinton needs to stay in the race, especially if she wins 3 states tomorrow, because voters in the Democratic Party will have "Buyer's Remorse" with Senator Obama.

(9) If Senator Clinton wins Ohio and Texas, and then Pennsylvania, then she would have won the big states (except for Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, and Most likely North Carolina.) The Big state theory means the Super Delegates should vote for her. Though, this means Democrats in non-big states possess a vote that is not worth that of a Democrat in a big state. A similar argument is that Senator Clinton receives the authentic "Democratic" vote, while Senator Obama receives the support for Independents and some Democrats. Another similar argument is that Senator Clinton receives the beer drinking vote while Senator Obama receives the wine drinking, latte vote.

(10) Follow the math- The Senator Clinton campaign will never be able to catch up in delegates since they need to win each contest by a 60% - 40% or 65% - 35% split in delegates. Slate has a delegate calculator if you would like to do the Math. This means the Super Delegate should support Senator Obama. This has an "inevitable" feel to it, which is ironic for the ways in which the candidates ran their campaigns.

Did I miss anything?

Finally, a question: is it bad that the Super Delegates determine the race on Wednesday, before the vote in Pennsylvania and before the DNC determines what it needs to do in Michigan and Florida? The party knows it needs to settle things in Florida and Michigan to have a chance there in fall. An extended campaign makes this unlikely, which means that the DNC will give up the state in the general election.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Update on our friend Jack...

It didn't take long, but someone created a Jack Nicholson video for Obama. Well, um, there are a few clever spots and it is funny that someone took the time to do this. But, its still not well done. See for yourself.

What I want to see is who do the Nerds or the Griswalds endorse? The cast from Laugh In?

Thank you, Oxymoron

I had no idea that The Onion had it's own Youtube site. As per Oxy's recommendation, here's the latest report, "How Can We Make the War in Iraq More Eco-Friendly:

(If you're interested in the 2008 election results, you might want to click here.)

"The average woman spends 11 years out of the workforce taking care of family."

Leaving her without enough retirement money to take care of herself. Those 11 years are spend doing important work, caring for children or elderly parents. But they can also hurt her ability to retire.

Fact is, women are still earning less than men do, and they live longer. So they need to save even more for retirement. Unfortunately, those 11 years out of the workforce put a woman even further behind, costing her an average of $659,139 in earnings.
Granted, this comes from an Allstate ad on the back of this week's New Yorker, but it really got my attention. Allstate recommends three ways to close the retirement savings gap:
  1. Employed woman should participate in a company retirement program. (According to the ad, only 47% of employed women do.)
  2. Unemployed women should invest in a Spousal IRA. (If they don't have their own income, where is this investment coming from?)
  3. Employed women who participate in retirement programs become educated about their options, which often leads to increasing their contributions to said options.
Here's a web site, based on a book called Leaving Women Behind: Modern Families, Outdated Laws, that has a more comprehensive set of links about this issue and many others. And the book, by Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal and John Goodman and Celesate Colgan of the National Center for Policy Analysis, looks like a good read.

Nicholson and Clinton

Recently, Jack Nicholson endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton for President and released this commercial to how his support. If you have not seen it, it features Nicholson in his famous roles and asks questions about which candidate is best to lead from Day One, etc.

I always love campaign commercials and rely on them in class. This one falls under the odd and terrible side though, like the recent "We are the Ones" endorsement. Why is the Jack ad bad? Well, consider that it features him as a psycho, a psycho, a gangster, a rebel, and an army officer that denigrates women (i.e sexism from an approved source is okay, right?). It seems to be more of a tribute to Jack than Hillary.

But here is the commercial and maybe I am wrong, which happens more often than not.

A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy....

It is a Fight Club kinds of morning, as in "I am Jack's lack of imagination."

Saturday Night Live turned into simulacrum last night and charted us further into the electoral abyss as its opening sketch parodied the last Democratic Debate from MSNBC. We have now reached the point where last night was a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy. Overall, the skit was not too funny as it repeated the charges from last week's skit, which was much stronger. However, the sight of "Russert" and "Williams" playing the violins in response to Senator Clinton's complaints was a good moment.

After, the skit, Senator Hillary Clinton appeared and delivered an "Editorial Response" that looked forced & awkward, as if the writers and her campaign provided a scripted moment for her voters to see that she is human after all, which has helped her before. The important thing to take away: the Democratic race may likely not be over after Tuesday, even as they split the states 2 - 2, as Senator Clinton used her appearance to campaign for the votes in Pennsylvania.

TV Funhouse developed a cartoon about Senator Obama preventing Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson from campaigning for him and with him. You can watch it here. Again, it has its moments but the joke never develops.

America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani appeared on Weekend Update. He delivered the best line of the show as he compared his campaign to an SNL skit: "It started off strong and had no ending."

Unfortunately for SNL and the dear Ellen Page, who hosted the show, the entire episode was terrible. While watching Megs asked if the writers really were back from their strike.

On a side note, according to Time, after Tina Fey's "Bitch is the New Black Editorial," former President William Clinton called Tina Fey to thank her for her support.

Here are the Clinton clips:

Interesting: you can only get the clips from NBC. Apparently, NBC is prevented You Tube from broadcasting the clips.

#1 Political Issue: Bullshit