Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Presence and Absence

A few things strike me about the West Virginia results that are not getting much attention, even on the blogs.

First, it is not just that Hillary won the WV primary. Hillary won it with an incredible turn out. I'm looking at the NYT page with 93% reporting and her vote tally is 223,509. CNN is a little ahead of the Times on its count, its numbers being 97% and 232,773. To put this into perspective, Bill got 331,001 in 1992 and 327,812 in 1996, Al Gore got 295,497 in 2000 and Kerry got 326,541 in 2004. Thoise aren't primary numbers - those are general election totals. Her current (not final) numbers show her getting between 71% and 79% of what the last three Democratic presidential candidates got, and it's only the primary.

The fantasy that she's somehow not attractive to swing state voters needs to be laid to rest. Had Gore or Kerry won West Virginia - just that one state - they he would have won it all. (Caveat that Gore really did win Florida, of course...). Just as Obama appeals to AA voters, Hillary appeals to Scots-Irish whites. This is a benefit to the party because it means more votes in border states that have been red recently but can be moved back to the blue column.

Hillary is a presence in this election. People in primary states are turning out in the millions for her and are growing increasingly loyal as the political powers that be refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of her run and the reality of her support.

Second, there was the complete absence of the much lauded Obama machine bringing in new voters and transcending politics as usual. Again, here's some perspective. He currently has 86,861 WV votes (NYT) in a hotly contested campaign for the nomination. John McCain, in a "Hi, nice meeting you, give me money," victory lap in WV is currently at 83,791 votes, barely 3,000 behind the odds-on-favorite for Dem nomination. OK, I can see a loss in a state where demographics favor your opponent, but 41%? Of the front-running presumptive nominee? Who outspent Hillary 2-to-1 and has the entire MSM lined up singing his praises?

Where's the beef, Barry?

In contest after contest, we see him failing to turn out the massive numbers that his allegedly unstoppable movement says they command. We see dominance in highly restrictive caucuses. We see him turning out super-majorities of AA voters. We see him dominating urban areas where you have upper income liberals. We see the college aged children of those liberal families voting in university areas.

What we aren't seeing is any new coalitions for the Democratic Party coming out of his organizing. We aren't seeing his share of the electorate increase. If anything, it is declining, given his defeats in OH, TX, PA, IN and WV, and what looks like a royal shellacking in the works in KY. His Oregon numbers are equivocal, as it turns out, as people who claim to have voted already report voting for Hillary at the same rate as Obama. In a Nebraska primary held today, which was like Washington State's with no delegates awarded, he's barely 2 points ahead. This was a caucus state that went for him 60/40. Hmm, maybe he didn't have all that much support there? Maybe he won big there because the voters didn't turn out?

It is beginning to look like the main reason for Obama's red state caucus successes is the absence of voters, not the presence of new ones. I'm reminded of a tornado that tears through a landscape and can exert tremendous force, but when the motion slows, it vanishes, leaving nothing but destruction behind it.



Cathy said...

What an interesting post. BTD actually posted something similar a few days ago about how most of his his demographic numbers slipped between VA and NC.

(Kudos on your recent string of posts. I've read them all but real life has prevented me from extending the proper praise.)

Celebrating my first day as independent voter in almost 23 years. It feels great. But nowhere near as good as her speech/victory made me feel tonight. Sending our scorching letter to the DNC with our new registrations tomorrow will be icing on the proverbial cake.

Here's a question back to you and other about tonight's election in relation to this post. Hillary is definitely taking a more circumspect role toward in speeches. Media saw it as weakness or (barf) sucking up to be VP. But is it instead her understanding that she will be taking nomination and must console his supporters? Or is just calculation that going negative on him hurts her?

(Note: I don't want him as VP at this point. But she will have to do serious outreach to AA community if she takes this nomination. I'm not saying she did anything wrong - far from it - but for the sake of comity to history. I don't see her or Bill walking from it, regardless of the crap hurled their way.)

Pie Hole said...


Thank you for another stellar post. I just started visiting your site a couple of months ago. I keep coming back because I thoroughly appreciate your sensibility and insight, your style of writing and the subjects you choose to address.

I read Hillary bloggers all day long and I still don't have a very coherent sense as to why the Democratic establishment is so intent on anointing Obama. He can't possibly win the GE. I keep feeling that there's some kind of wacko master plan that I just can't figure out.

Is it possible that the Dem leadership wants to lose this election? Do they think they can salvage Obama, a la GW Bush, with the right VP? Do they expect the Hillary coalition to fall in line if Obama is the VP?

They've dug themselves in so deep, how will they save face if Hillary becomes the nominee? I don't expect, or want BO, to run as her VP. If he did, I don't believe he'd be able to muster the humility and respect the position would require of him. If Hillary becomes President can the good 'ole boy Dems park their egos and allow her to govern effectively?

Sorry to have more questions than answers. Thanks for reading.

lori said...


thank you once again for being the most substantive and reality based writer on the blogosphere. Even our beloved Digby has gotten a bit caught up in the Hullabaloo, so to speak. And Tristero and DDay are up floating in the Gulf Stream. Anyway, I've learned a lot from this site and appreciate that.

So, the nomination - what should we be doing? I've written Boxer, Feinstein, Berman, Dean, Pelosi and Reid and told them I won't be voting in the presidential race should obama be the nominee, Outside of volunteering for Clinton, what steps should we taking to shore up her opportunities in August?

CognitiveDissonance said...

Cathy, I didn't get the impression from her speech that she was conceding anything at all. To the contrary, she seemed to be talking directly to Superdelegates. She kept stressing her big arguments - namely, that she has won all the swing states that dems must win in the General, ones that Obama has done very poorly in. She stressed the importance of seating FL and MI, that this nomination won't be valid if they aren't counted. And I believe she also mentioned the popular vote, something she is now ahead in if FL/MI are counted. Even without them, she may pull ahead once the rest of the contests are finished.

I saw nothing in that speech that conceded anything, or that anyone could possibly construe as asking for the VP position. Personally, I don't think she wants it and shouldn't take it if offered. Why would she? She has more power in the Senate and could make more difference. Her speech reassured me that she is going to keep fighting until the end.

I think we really must stop listening to male pundits. They just don't get it. They are men, what would they know of the emotion so many women feel at what she is doing? How could they possibly understand how a woman feels when she is breaking new ground for other women? I've been in that position myself, and you feel very aware of the women who will follow behind you. VP is so trivial when you think about the sea change she is accomplishing here. But the boyz will never understand that. It would never even occur to them simply because they have never acknowledged that she is doing anything historic at all. They have yet to actually say on the air that Hillary Clinton is the first woman ever to win even a single primary in a presidential election, let alone to get as far as she has. Obama was not the first black to win a primary, and yet they've slobbered all over him from the get go. I will forever be angry about that. How dare they refuse to acknowledge what she has done. We all know. And we also know how petty and small they all look for not being big enough to say so.

Incidentally, I was looking at some numbers tonight. Anglachel is very correct to talk about how much Barry is slipping and how the momentum has gone to Hillary. I went back and checked the numbers from when the momentum change started, the first of March to the present. As of tonight, she has gotten almost 500,000 more votes than Barry, the supposedly presumptive nominee. I would say he is not the favorite these days. But what do I know?

CMike said...

It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. West Virginia has 5 electoral votes. Vice-President Gore won 266 electoral votes in 2000. Sen. Kerry won 251 electoral votes in 2004.

Gore would have won with West Virginia's 5 electoral votes, Kerry needed Ohio's 20.

Cathy said...

Cognitive D:

Don't worry; I didn't think she was conceding she could only be VP. (I should have made that clearer.)

It just struck me that she was going out of her way to be nice to him. Was it because she knows she will take it and wants to start he outreach? Or is she still slogging through the race and realizes going negative hurts her more due to MSM blowback?

It was more a tactical question (on a night where I can't sleep)

gendergappers said...


TV, radio and print all subdued trying to make it appear that WV never happened.

Remember when BO won, it was, "he pummeled her" or "slapped her down". When her huge lead was mentioned at all last night, it was usually with the explaination that it didn't matter how big it was - BO has won.

Keith with his sourest of sour faces, in introducing the coverage last night started out by announcing that some airport was selling HRC shirts etc at half price.

How do we get a move started to bring FL and MI votes awarded to Hillary?

lakelobos said...

The public narrative seldom fits reality; these primaries aren't any different.

Obama lost the Nevada caucuses, the only caucus he lost. The post caucus narrative was: Obama brought out many new voters.

Obama lost a vast majority of the swing states. The narrative is: he will be the party's nominee.

pm317 said...

We ought to discount his red state caucus victories completely when we evaluate the strengths of these candidates. As you so clearly write, there were no new voters but the absence of voters that made him the caucus king. So many myths. It will be a disaster in November if we ignore these realities.

To cathy: I did not see any concession in her speech -- media wants to portray it as such because they want to give the impression it is all over. She has always been very gracious in her victory speeches to him. She was actually directly talking to the SDs and at one point even telling them that we'll win if they nominate her(should you nominate me, we'll win in Nov.. paraphrasing, implication being we may not if they don't). She always says those tactical things like party unity, work for the nominee, and so on.. she has to say it at this point to make nice -- he does not but he should too -- he is getting away because nobody is holding him accountable.

Shainzona said...

re: caucuses...A very interesting comparison on the Nebraska caucus versus its primary and some interesting "rulz".


wellinever said...

Re: where's the beef?

Re: earlier posts on the White Whale, the Creative Class, and the importance of tackling real issues -

for your consideration:

Senator Obama posed with Don Cheadle on the cover of Vanity Fair's July 2007 Africa issue.

Mr Cheadle as you will recall played Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of the hotel in Hotel Rwanda (2004).

Mr Rusesabagina was a guest of honor at a luncheon at the Belgian Embassy in DC a few years ago. The other guest of honor was Senator Obama.

Who never showed up.

After much waiting, someone called the Senator's office, only to be told that "we didn't know it was important".

Obviously Senator Obama is not responsible for the mistakes made by his staff. Though it is telling that the importance of a photo shoot with a fellow member of the creative class did not escape his handlers. Oh, the virtuality of it all.

orionATL said...


what a picture that analogy brings to mind!

Hank Gillette said...

I'm sure it's cathartic for you to write these posts, but at some point you'll have to face the reality that Obama is going to be the nominee.

The only way that Clinton could get the nomination is for the super delegates to override the pledged delegate count. They are not doing that.

Obama has taken the lead in super delegates. He is picking up 4-5 super delegate endorsements every day now. Several super delegates have switched from Hillary to Obama. Yesterday, a pledged delegate said that he was switching from Hillary to Obama (remember, Hillary said that they could do that).

The only way Hillary can claim a lead in the popular vote (which is irrelevant) is by counting two invalid primaries, and giving Obama zero votes from Michigan.

While Hillary did get a big win in West Virginia, she'll get a net gain of about 10 pledged delegates. Obama will likely pick up more super delegates this week than that.

Hillary's campaign is $20 million in debt. So much for the "frugal" tag that you gave her.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I can't speak for Anglachel or for any readers but myself, Hank, but how about this deal:

I'll accept the reality that Obama will be the nominee if you'll accept the reality that he will lose to McCain in November.

BTW, the purpose of the superdelegates is to prevent mistakes like the unfolding one from happening--although whether or not they will fulfill that purpose remains to be seen.

I begin to think the Democratic Party should abolish presidential caucuses AND primaries and just go back to the "smoke-filled rooms".

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

When the Stevensonian wing of the Democratic Party is allowed to choose the Democratic presidential nominee, the Republicans win the White House.

lori said...


She's always incredibly gracious to him, though she is willing to slap back. But you go back to even the early debates, and there is a warmth whenever she refers to him. In her 60 Minutes interview, she talked about still having a picture of him and his wife up in her office. I think the Clintons like the Obamas though I don't think it's mutual. Watch her when they stand next to each other on a stage - she'll turn very easily and touch him and smile.

She is very aware that if she wants to be the nominee, she cannot have anything in her past that his constituents can honestly hold against her - and she doesn't go there. She has to get African American votes if she's the nominee. So the graciousness and the warmth has been very consistent through out the race - not that the OFB will ever admit it.

missplsd said...


That's a very sad story, though I haven't seen any corroboration of it elsewhere on the internet. Do you care to share your source? It obviously shows terrible judgment on the part of Obama and/or his staff.

But . . . but . . . is this really an issue? Politicians are opportunists. Does it really surprise you that one would show up for a photo shoot but not a luncheon in the middle of an election season?

Politicians also make mistakes. Our calculation has to come down to whether the kinds of mistakes they are likely to make -- their vulnerabilities, if you will -- are likely to be devastating for us. I just don't think this gaffe rises to that level.

I would also caution Clinton supporters to be careful about casting stones like this as they try to reach out to disaffected members of the party and Obama supporters. After all, Clinton didn't read the classified 2002 NIE because she didn't think it was important. And she then voted for the AUMF because she didn't know there was dissent within the intelligence community about Iraqi WMD. That kind of error in judgment is a mistake with teeth.

jacilyn said...

The only way that Clinton could get the nomination is for the super delegates to override the pledged delegate count.

You misunderstand the rules. If it goes to the superdelegates, that is, if Obama fails to win 2209 delegates, then they are to vote for what is best for the party.

That isn't "overriding" anything, because the rules aren't set up that way.

If the rules were set up that way, so that the one with the most pledged delegates automatically wins, there would be no need for superdelegates.

Obama has gamed the system and his supporters are the first to mock Clinton supporters who point out that she would be the winner under less convoluted nomination schemes. So any argument based on the idea that "rules as they are written don't really count for anything because they're not legitimate" is an argument that relies on ignorance.

(If I am the ignorant one here, I hope someone will correct me.)

Alice said...

I just saw the video from Obama's tour of an auto plant in Michigan. A woman employee asked him a question about their future as auto workers and he dismissively answered her with a one word. "Sweetie". I have always hated that word and the way he used it was as sexist and condescending as it could have been stated. Not only did he dismiss the woman employee with such disdain, but he never did address her question. I wonder if the media would be so uninterested if Hillary had dismissively referred to a black male employee as "boy". Silly question

Shainzona said...

Alice - wasn't that unbelievable. I loved her closing line about "this sweetie never got an answer to her question." Here it is for all to watch and be astonished!


Hank Gillette said...

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said:

I'll accept the reality that Obama will be the nominee if you'll accept the reality that he will lose to McCain in November.

Why would I accept that? That Obama will be the nominee is a fact. That he will lose in November is just an opinion.

I don't think anyone can predict what will happen in an election six months away, but I think it's much more likely that Obama is going to win, and possibly win big.

I think the upcoming election could signal a major upheaval in the balance of power between Republicans and Democrats. Look at the last three special Congressional elections. All of them were in red districts, at least two of the races had associations to Obama, and the Democrat won every time.

I'm hoping that after November 2008, the Republicans will look at the 1974 election as the "good old days".

Hank Gillette said...

jacilyn said:

You misunderstand the rules. If it goes to the superdelegates, that is, if Obama fails to win 2209 delegates, then they are to vote for what is best for the party.

You misinterpreted my meaning (the fault may be mine). I'm not saying that the super delegates would be doing anything wrong in in overriding (or reversing) the pledged delegate count. I'm saying that they aren't doing it. Obama's gaining super delegate support, including some that previously were supporting Hillary.

And the magic number is still 2025, because whoever has that number will ultimately decide the fate of Michigan and Florida. Florigan's delegates will not be seated if seating them would change the results.

Cathy said...


Our opinion that he will not in November is just as valid as your opinion that he has the votes to win the nomination.

He does not have those votes. You extrapolate from you understand to be the DNC's current willingness to write off two states to say the 2209 number doesn't matter.

Similarly we study past elections, current voting, and the electoral college to realize he has a snowball's chance in hell come November.

Given that our opinions are based on fact and don't involve disenfranchising voters, I'll take them any day of the week.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Gillette, I've got three words for your confidence:


gendergappers said...

Will covering up his dismal showing in WV by covering it with John Edward's body make it go away.

If you needed a poster boy for misogyny - there's Obama calling a woman "sweety".

missplsd said...

Please! Of course it's sexist to call women by diminutive terms like "sweetie." (It's also very much a part of the culture in regions of the midwest and south -- and among some of the people this blog heralds as the true heart of the Democratic party.) But a "poster boy of misogyny"? This just doesn't make sense! Have you met your candidate's husband, by any chance?

There is a terrible, swelling tide of misogyny this campaign season. People have said and written repulsive and hateful things about Hillary Clinton. But by equating this impolite moment, twice repeated, with real hatred toward women, you are doing a disservice to feminists who want their concerns to be taken seriously. (I personally resent that you have diminished my credibility.)

FYI, from the reporter's station's website:

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has apologized to WXYZ reporter Peggy Agar for calling her "sweetie" during a campaign stop Wednesday in Sterling Heights.

Obama apologized in a voicemail he left on Agar's cell phone at 3:16 p.m:

"Hi Peggy. This is Barack Obama. I'm calling to apologize on two fronts. One was you didn't get your question answered and I apologize. I thought that we had set up interviews with all the local stations. I guess we got it with your station but you weren't the reporter that got the interview. And so, I broke my word. I apologize for that and I will make up for it.

"Second apology is for using the word 'sweetie.' That's a bad habit of mine. I do it sometimes with all kinds of people. I mean no disrespect and so I am duly chastened on that front. Feel free to call me back. I expect that my press team will be happy to try to make it up to you whenever we are in Detroit next."

I don't think this means Obama is a great guy, but I wish Clinton would take the time to apologize for her gaffes and misstatements when she has offended people.

Shainzona said...

I was absolutely dumbfounded at Obama saying "sweetie" to the reporter - and I know (intuitively) that his "apology" was only to try and diffuse the outrage that was, rightfully, building.

It wasn't just the word - it was his smarmy and dismissive way of saying it. The guy is creepy, IMHO and I think it reflects his true "character" (or lack, thereof).

Other Lisa said...

Mssplsd (ack, your handle is hard), this is the first time that I recall Obama apologizing for anything like this. HRC has apologized repeatedly for her gaffes (not sure about the infamous "hard working...white working class" one, but I could cite you a few others).

Suggest you check out the conversation at Shakesville to get a read on just how angry women (and men too) are about this kind of thing.

It's a pattern with Obama, and that's the problem. If this had been the only incident, I think most of us would shrug it off.

missplsd said...

Other Lisa, I don't blame you for taking it seriously as a signal about Obama's deficient feminism, though to me it's a less important signal than his obvious affectional ties to strong, feminist women and his record and promises on women's issues. But I can't accept the notion that this is misogynist, and particularly that a slip like this makes him the "poster boy for misogyny." It's hard for me to understand the reactions of some of the commenters here and on other blogs, especially when they adulate Bill Clinton, who famously arranged for his staff to bring a subordinate to a hotel room where he told her that he "loved her curves" and asked that she "kiss" his exposed, erect penis.

And I never see Sen. Clinton admitting that she was wrong or apologizing -- whether it's about something important like the AUMF vote or something silly like the Bosnian snipers canard or the "change you can Xerox" quip. I suppose it's possible that the MSM just doesn't cover her apologies, but I am a fairly attentive person, and she is my Senator.

jalc said...

A fascinating post Anglachel, his demographic numbers have slipped, not a lot - but they have drained. Edwards may or may not help. We'll see.

I note Obama supporters are lecturing again. I keep hearing the message Obama has won, Get Over it Clinton supporters.

Just speaking for myself as just one Clinton supporter, I am over it. I am long over it *sigh*. I am so over it, I no longer care whether Obama wins the GE or not.

He has won the nomination without my vote, and he can win the GE without my vote *shrug*. I also keep on hearing that Obama doesn't want or need my vote anyway.

Most of the Clinton-voters will rally around him when the time comes, as you all keep saying over and over and over. I get it. I do.

I just don't care.

So, why do Obama supporters then have to be so cruel?

Whats the hurry? Clinton is no threat.

Plenty of time, another month or even two, won't hurt anyone, least of all Obama.

So why not let the Clinton-supporters watch Clinton to the end of her race and see her cross the finish-line? Its not like there are all that many of us anyway. Not enough to count in the GE.

The media isn't even covering her. According to the Obama story, she will be ancient history soon enough, and it might be our last opportunity to see her on the national stage.

What do you care how we discuss the math or demographics or polls? What does it matter what we think or feel?

For me, as soon as he is officially declared the nominee, I am leaving the Party. I will be sitting it out in November, watching from way up the back of the bus, with family in Florida, since its now a safe red state.

But like Obama and Kennedy, the Party and *everybody* says, we're just statistical outliers, and atypical. So, therefore, hence, ergo...there's no need for Obama supporters to get into any angst.

Chill out.

gendergappers said...

Shainzona wrote: "It wasn't just the word - it was his smarmy and dismissive way of saying it. The guy is creepy, IMHO and I think it reflects his true "character" (or lack, thereof)."

Well said. I've heard the media apologists say it was just a common way, a HABIT to say that word to a woman. Wanna bet how long I could get away with publically calling him BOY? That's a habit I have so does that make it right?

NO. His whole demeanor is insufferable and does not bode well for women.

Other lisa has it right: "It's a pattern with Obama, and that's the problem. If this had been the only incident, I think most of us would shrug it off."

And now he's added another Democratic loser to his entourage. I'm betting he'll wear a robe at his coronation and everyone will be forced to kneel.

gendergappers said...

Found this posted on a Democratic list:

"If Al Gore, to a lesser degree - and John Kerry , to a greater degree had fought for the job with just one half of the determination and tenacity Hillary Clinton is / has fought for it --
Bush would've been just a footnote in the trash heap of History."

orionATL said...

missplsd -

you have misrepresented yourself (in comments in the preceeding post) a one who is not an obama supporter.

to whit:

[ I don't support Obama, so I'm not going to discuss his response or his previous support for the gas tax holiday. My only point is that it is silly for Anglachel and other commenters to use this proposal as a sign of Clinton's commitment to the needs of working people...]

you clearly are an obama supporter; no other explanation explains so well your persistent challenging of clinton actions and clinton supporters' comments.

it does not speak well of your character that you were dishonest about your affiliation with obama.

as for your comment:

[And I never see Sen. Clinton admitting that she was wrong or apologizing -- whether it's about something important like the AUMF vote or something silly like the Bosnian snipers canard or the "change you can Xerox" quip. I suppose it's possible that the MSM just doesn't cover her apologies, but I am a fairly attentive person, and she is my Senator.]

go watch the last debate between the two candidates and listen as clinton responds to citizen "tom's" question about her bosnia comments.

Hank Gillette said...

gendergappers said:

If you needed a poster boy for misogyny - there's Obama calling a woman "sweety".

If that makes Obama a poster boy for misogyny, then what would you call John McCain who:

Laughed when a supported asked him, "How do we beat the bitch?".

In a prepared speech, told an extremely offensive joke about an 18 year old Chelsea Clinton.

Reportedly called his wife Cindy a c*nt in front of witnesses after she made a joke about his thinning hair.

Alice said...

And why should we think we have to do anything about the problems in this country. Let Obama make a speech about it and all is well. Everytime there is mention of a problem, Obama states that he gave a speech on that issue. And to think I use to actually work and do things. What a waste of my time. I only had to give a speech or say I gave a speech and it is the same as doing something. Silly me. It does ease the burden of having to do anything. And I magically feel I have done something. It is magic! I can feel the change as I type. And HOPE too. It has transcended all work. My GOD it is the essence of faith. I believe and it has come to pass.

Potato Head said...

OT, but congrats on getting mentioned in Gene Lyons column this week.

missplsd said...

I also keep on hearing that Obama doesn't want or need my vote anyway.

Where do you hear this except from Donna Brazile? Personally, I hear endless calls for unity and discussion of how much Obama needs to control defections.

As for Brazile, I agree that she's said some terrible, demeaning things (though I interpret them slightly differently from you) -- and I think Obama should cut ties with her. But let's treat the "stay home" email as what it was: an impatient and sarcastic response to a series of angry emails, not an actual reflection of her conscious strategy. (I also have yet to see any convincing corroboration that she actually wrote this.)

you have misrepresented yourself (in comments in the preceeding post) a one who is not an obama supporter.

you clearly are an obama supporter; no other explanation explains so well your persistent challenging of clinton actions and clinton supporters' comments.

it does not speak well of your character that you were dishonest about your affiliation with obama.

Are you attempting to parody my discussion of Clinton's motives in proposing the gas tax holiday? I'm confused. (I suppose one distinction I can name is that lots of credible commentators think Obama is a weak candidate while no credible commentators believe her proposal would lower the price of gas.)

You are free to believe what you want, I suppose, but I would appreciate it if you didn't use your baseless suspicions to assail my character. We don't know each other.

I am not an Obama supporter. I have no affiliation with his campaign: I have never given him money, voted for him, attended a speech, put up a sticker, worn a t-shirt. I doubt I will ever do any of these things, though I will likely vote for him if he is the nominee and my state comes into play.

I am also not a Clinton supporter. I assume that's been clear in my posts, and that it's what's made Anglachel call me a troll. (She did not respond, by the way, to what I thought was a rather polite email asking how I could more productively engage with her readers.) As with Obama, despite my misgivings, I will likely vote for her if she is the nominee and my state comes into play.

I know some of you find my criticisms of Clinton threatening, but in my view, it can only sharpen your positions and strategy to hear divergent arguments. My criticism of Clinton does not make me an Obama fan. There are more than two positions for this switch.

Indeed, I have repeatedly criticized Obama on this blog. If my criticism has been too muted for your tastes, I have four reasons: (1) I don't have a lot to add to the resounding criticism here; (2) I don't wish to be associated with some of the commenters' hostile and, I believe, wrongheaded ideas, such as the idea that Obama is a racist; (3) I dislike and fear Obama less than you do; and (4) I came to this blog to learn more about Clinton supporters, and to offer an alternate perspective, not to confirm your beliefs. (Frankly, I think some of you have let the echo chamber here amplify certain distortions about Obama to the point where you can no longer effectively analyze Clinton's merits, Obama's deficits, and vice versa.)

orionATL said...

missplsd -

to repeat:

[you have misrepresented yourself (in comments in the preceding post) a one who is not an obama supporter.

to whit:

"I don't support Obama, so I'm not going to discuss his response or his previous support for the gas tax holiday. My only point is that it is silly for Anglachel and other commenters to use this proposal as a sign of Clinton's commitment to the needs of working people..."

you clearly are an obama supporter; no other explanation explains so well your persistent challenging of clinton actions and clinton supporters' comments.]

your protestations and your actions, missplsd, are not aligned with each other.

and there is really no need for your deceit. it's perfectly alright to support obama, to argue for his positions and against clinton's.

what do you hope to gain from hiding your allegiance?

credibility perhaps?

missplsd said...

I stand corrected. I apologize for overlooking Clinton's apology about the Bosnia story. I hadn't seen the debate or read about her apology.

I note, however, that Clinton describes her remarks as "not as accurate as [she had] been in the past" and blamed her mendacity on sleeplessness. This apology is no less robust than Obama's to the reporter, which a number of you have described as hollow. (The full text of the apology is below.)

SENATOR CLINTON: Well, Tom, I can tell you that I may be a lot of things, but I'm not dumb. And I wrote about going to Bosnia in my book in 2004. I laid it all out there. And you're right. On a couple of occasions in the last weeks I just said some things that weren't in keeping with what I knew to be the case and what I had written about in my book. And, you know, I'm embarrassed by it. I have apologized for it. I've said it was a mistake. And it is, I hope, something that you can look over, because clearly I am proud that I went to Bosnia. It was a war zone.

General Wesley Clark is here in the audience with me as one of my major supporters. He and I were talking about it before I came out. You know, our soldiers were there to try to police and keep the peace in a very dangerous area. They were totally in battle gear. There were concerns about the potential dangers. The former president of Bosnia has said that he was worried about the safety of the situation.

So I know that it is something that some people have said, "Wait a minute. What happened here?" But I have talked about this and written about it. And then, unfortunately, on a few occasions I was not as accurate as I have been in the past.

But I know too that, you know, being able to rely on my experience of having gone to Bosnia, gone to more than 80 countries, having represented the United States in so many different settings gives me a tremendous advantage going into this campaign, particularly against Senator McCain.

So I will either try to get more sleep, Tom, or, you know, have somebody who, you know, is there as a reminder to me. You know, you can go back for the past 15 months. We both have said things that, you know, turned out not to be accurate. You know, that happens when you're talking as much as we have talked.

But you know, I'm very sorry that I said it. And I have said that, you know, it just didn't jibe with what I had written about and knew to be the truth.

missplsd said...

your protestations and your actions, missplsd, are not aligned with each other.

and there is really no need for your deceit. it's perfectly alright to support obama, to argue for his positions and against clinton's.

what do you hope to gain from hiding your allegiance?

credibility perhaps?

I really don't know how to respond to this. I have explained my positions as carefully as I can; if you don't believe me, there's probably nothing more I can do. But I urge you not to get too wrapped up in concerns about whom I support. I'm just a random person on the internet. And even if I were an Obama supporter, it wouldn't undermine the arguments I've made here -- e.g., about the gas tax -- which largely go without response.

CMike said...

We've taken the troll's bait two threads in a row. Spit it out people and be done with it!

orionATL said...

cmike -


as they say on the web "it's a waste of bandwidth" - whatever that is.

missplsd said...

I don't understand the point of this blog if you don't want to have honest discussion of the issues with people who share your purported values. (I say "purported" because I am less and less convinced that some of you share my left-feminist perspective.) You can call me a troll but it's not going to make my arguments any weaker. These are arguments with which you have to engage at some point, whether Clinton becomes the nominee and you seek my support or Obama becomes the nominee and you seek to rebuild the Democratic party or some alternative.

I have tried to explain my positions and investments clearly. I have apologized when I've been wrong or when I've offended people. I have carefully considered some of the more thoughtful posters' (Other Lisa comes to mind) arguments. I don't know what more I can do to prove myself to you.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Y'all check out the "Pocket Guide to the Obamaniac Behavior Cycle" over at No Quarter. :D

CMike said...

Ivory Bill Woodpecker,

I take it you're referring to this.

Apparently, it comes from this Lavender Newswire post. Interesting site, this is the first time I've come across it.

Other Lisa said...

I am going to let this drop but I have to get in one more...there are a lot of people who find Obama's apology to the reporter less than satisfactory. He says that it's a "habit" of his that he needs to work on. So, a pattern of sexist and inappropriate behavior is a "habit." You know, like nail-biting.

Um, no.

missplsd said...

Other Lisa, I also find Obama's apology less than satisfactory. I only objected to some of the hyperbolic language on here (because I think it waters down the term misogyny) and the notion that this gaffe marks him with the devil's number. Habitual sexist language is no joke, but it's also minor next to some of the other indignities in this campaign -- not to mention the world.

I would also understand the sensitivity about this issue more if the Clinton supporters here seemed at all concerned about her use of "white Americans" as an appositive for "hardworking Americans." I can't understand why she hasn't apologized for this. And yes, I believe it reveals some subconscious baggage, just as Obama's "habit" does.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

*dons tinfoil hat*

IIRC, in 2005, at the height of his power, Chimperor Dubya tried to push through "reform" of Social Security [code for "give the Wall Street jackals the keys to the SS money"]. He received one of his all-too-rare rebukes from Congress.

Also, it has become obvious to all but the blindest of us that the GOP [the "Elephascist Party", as I like to call it] is now an asylum run by the inmates, and has been one at least since the Gingrich Congress was installed.

Also, the economy performed much better when Big Dog was Prez than under either of the Bushes.

Maybe the economic elite [I'll use the traditional collective term "Wall Street" from here on], or at least a faction of it, has decided they'd prefer a nominally Democratic president?

Here comes the Precious, a guy who only came onto the national scene four years ago with a speech, and has not served one full term as federal Senator, and he quickly becomes the best-funded contender?
"A netroot network of small donors funded him"--YEAH, RIGHT, and David Vitter's used diapers smell like freshly-baked cinnamon rolls.

With this huge war chest and a network of dedicated activists [cough *cultists and thugs* cough], he bolts to a string of victories. Then, when the previous favorite recovers from the shock and starts gaining ground, almost the entire corps of the party's elder statesmen start howling that she should drop out in favor of the newbie.

Anyone else smell "fix"?

Only Nixon could go to China.

Only a Democratic [nominally Democratic, in this particular decision] Democratic president like Big Dog could "end welfare as we know it".

Likewise, only another Democratic [nominally Democratic, in this particular decision] president could end Social Security as we know it.

I suspect the Precious may be Wall Street's Trojan Horse to raid Social Security. His ethnicity would only help here--if you criticize him, "why you must be a racist!"

If the Precious is nominated, start watching the behavior of the Corporate Holodeck Media. The CHM operatives have been kissing the butts of both McSame and the Precious.

If they keep kissing McCain's butt and start kicking Obama's, forget this post.

But if they keep kissing Obama's butt and start kicking McCain's--"he's too old", "his health is questionable", "he wants 100 more years in Iraq", "he has a hair-trigger temper; do you want his finger on The Button?"--then, folks, the fix is in.

Wall Street's Trojan Horse Prez will dismantle what pathetic remnants of the liberal social insurance and regulatory state, not to mention the Bill Of Rights, survive.

Say howdy to the New Democratic Party, with the same Chicago School economic policies as the GOP: sink-or-swim for the common citizen and socialism for the fat cats, but without all that buzz-killing church stuff. You'll be free to smoke pot and have sex with consenting farm animals, but Ceiling Cat help you if you get too sick or injured to work, or just can't find work. It's onto the truck and off to the Soylent Green plant for you, deadbeat, while the old business class elite and the new "creative class" elite party the night away on the upper floors, just like in Fritz Lang's "METROPOLIS".

So, whaddaya think?

orionATL said...

this comment is about numbers. it probably doesn't fit here but i don't know where else to put other than where i put it first, at kevin drum's "political animal".

maybe some folks here can offer some additional insight.

in an article posted on may 14 (12:33p), kevin drum referenced a set of maps at dKOS, crated by "dhinmi", about voting (and religious affiliation) in what he calls "appalachia".

one summary of these maps seems to be that obama does not have a "white voters" problem but that appalachia has an "obama problem".

this is all very clever political word play.

but there is some sort of cultural reality involved here. i am not sure that these maps do a good job of portraying that reality IN THE NATION as a whole. in fact, i think they maybe misleading.

in any event, here are my comments to kevin:

[ kevin drum -

you're a numbers guy, and a good one.

it seems to me that it is worth pointing out that dhinmi has combined primary and caucus results in his "appalacia" maps.

if so, that is not a very useful way, and possibly a very misleading way, to describe reality.

at least some of the caucus states should be omitted, just as one would omit cells with a very small "n" in an anova.


idaho: total caucus participants = 21, 224.

tot pop = 1.466 million.

(as with others below, it would be best to know the number of DEMOCRATS in idaho, but absent that, the pop figures will do to suggest order of magnitude.)

kansas: total caucus participants = 36,723.

total pop = 2.764 million

nebraska: total caucus population = 38,670

total pop = 1.768 million

north dakota: total caucus = 19,012

total pop = 636,000

wyoming: total caucus participants = 8,753.

total pop = 515,000.

nevada: total caucus = 10,742.

tot pop = 2.496 million.

my suggestion?

see what happens to the map, and what info it conveys when you "gray out" these five very large western states.

the apparent continuity of dhinmi's maps will vanish.

the ones i have listed here are not, of course, the only caucus states. they are just states with very small total caucus attendees.

other states eligible for the same treatment on dhinmi's maps are:

colorado, minnesota, and washington.

i omitted these from my critique because the caucus "totals" were larger (in the 100's of thousands). but these totals are still much smaller than the population of these states, and presumably, the democratic population of these states.

give it a look.

Posted by: orionATL on May 15, 2008 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK ]

dotcommodity said...

to the poster upthread who thinks it is an "opinion" that Obama cabnnot win the GE: here is the electoral votes he gets based on polling in each state/and gets that states electoral vote numbers:

Today he would lose the GE to McCain by

237 to 290 electoral votes.

You need 270 to win. Its not simple math, ie he's tied with McCain nationwide polling makes no difference. Its state by state.
And which state?

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I thought of something else. If indeed Wall Street has decided that the GOP is a rogue elephant that must be put down, then this time the crooked voting machines will be set to favor the Democrats. This might explain why the Democratic establishment is so confident they can win without us.

Whaddaya think?

orionATL said...

I bill -

i don't know. personally, i love conspiracy theories. i think they accurately reflect how humans work together.


wall street, i don't know.

what i do know is that

some force i am not aware of

is pushing this democratic primary to a preordained conclusion.

my own feeling is that superd's are being influenced, if not paid off, by obama money.

one thing is sure, though,

there is a force moving this whole demo nomination process that none of us recognize or know about,

none of us, that is, except those inside the demo establishment.

street demonstrations are really needed at this point, but we are all sincerely busy.

Other Lisa said...

Clinton was asked a question about demographics, about why she was winning a particular demographic. She started to say, "hard-working, working-class Americans" (I am paraphrasing) and then fumbled and added "White." The reason she did that was because she'd already been slapped down for talking about her appeal to working class voters and not saying that this appeal did not extend to African American working class voters (I think Dear Donna had a snit fit about that). So, what she should have said is, "Yes, I do appeal to white working class voters," or "I appeal to all working class voters with the exception of African American working class voters" or some such awkward formulation.

Come on. When was the last time you heard a politician talk about the American middle class or working class without appending the adjective "hard-working" to it?

I mean, wasn't it Bill Clinton who constantly referred to "hard-working Americans, who play by the rules"? He must have said that or some variation thereof a million times during the campaign.

It was a slip, a gaffe, that occurred because she was forced to separate "white" from the more general "hard-working Americans who play by the rules."

I honestly do not believe there was any coded racism in it.

missplsd said...

Other Lisa, you and I will have to agree to disagree about this. I wouldn't have much problem had she said Obama gets little support from "hardworking white Americans." But the structure of English grammar works out such that saying "hardworking Americans, white Americans" means that two demographics are one and the same. Clinton is normally hyperarticulate, but I am willing to believe this was merely a stumble and not a conscious attempt at racial coding.

But why no apology? This statement has obviously offended hardworking people of color. Is it just that Clinton takes their eventual GE support for granted?

Other Lisa said...

I don't think so. It's a slip. She started on the whole "hardworking Americans" meme and realized she could only talk about White Americans. Who of course are hard-working. As are all working and middle class Americans.

You know, she's apologized for gaffes, she fired the campaign chair who made the insinuations about Obama's drug use - why should she even bother, at this point? None of it matters. It's not about what she says, it's not about her policy positions, it's just a big 2 minute Hate extended for the duration of the primary.

The race baiting by the Obama campaign and the smearing of the Clintons as racists is disgusting and divisive beyond all measures. And it's another one of those things that is backfiring, big-time.

missplsd said...

Here we go with the race-baiting accusation again. What, exactly, are you talking about? (And please don't link the Wiletz piece.)

I said it might be a slip. But you've asked for Obama to account for the offense his supporters -- not surrogates, supporters -- cause you. How can you not demand that your own candidate apologize for something like this? I don't understand.

Other Lisa said...

Actually, I am asking Obama to make some sort of token statement that the discourse that his surrogates engage in (Representative Bunny Boiler Guy) is not okay.

I think HRC's logic here is, it was a verbal slip, anything I say is going to make it worse. If you'd asked me a month or so ago, I would have disagreed with that decision. Now? What's the point? Nothing she does is going to be enough.

Here is a non-Wilentz link.

And here is another.

missplsd said...

I had never read about the Indian-American memo, and that is truly horrifying. Definitely race-baiting. Thank you for sharing it with me.

As for the "Race Memo," I tend to think that the questions asked in the media were legitimate, even though I credit the Clinton campaign's responses. It's not race-baiting to criticize perceived racial coding in your opponent's messages, as the original perception is sincere and not just a smear.

(The Gene Lyons piece merely references the Wiletz column. I don't think it adds anything new.)

Is Steve Cohen really an Obama surrogate? Crikey, the "Fatal Attraction" business was repulsive. I wish Obama had spoken out about this, but I also understand the instinct to force an apology (one was issued quickly) and move as far away as possible.

Finally, I appreciate your recognition that Clinton should have apologized for her statement.

missplsd said...

Oops, I meant "as LONG AS the original perception..."

Anglachel said...

missplcd, you have reached the limits of my patience. You are camping on my blog and hijacking all the dicussion threads.

You are now limited to ONE post on this blog per 24 hour time period. Not one per comment thread, one for the entire blog. Any in excess will be deleted.

You have already used up your post for Friday, so good-bye.