Sunday, March 16, 2008

Who Are They Trying to Convince?

My own reaction to Rev. Wright I'm going to keep to myself for a while longer.

For a candidate who allegedly has an insurmountable lead and who is all but guaranteed the nomination, Obama's campaign is behaving like an operation in crisis. Probably because it is. The Wright revelations are actually not new, but have finally escaped the right wing email circuit and hit the mainstream. This stuff has been percolating in Greater Wingnuttia for months.

Does everyone remember the flap last year about Robert Novak saying that the Clinton campaign had some deep dreadful oppo research on Obama, and how Obama challenged them to produce it or "retract"? I suspect this is the story Novak was alluding to, and that (given its nature), he hoped he could prod the campaign to let it slip, all to Hillary's detriment. I've always been curious about Obama's belligerent, almost hysterical behavior at that time. What on earth could be so bad (aside from dead girl/live boy) that he'd behave like that? Now we know. What we also know is that everyone in the game knew about this story - all the MSM players, all the Democratic candidates, all the kids in oppo - and everyone was breathlessly waiting for someone to spill the beans.

A veritable Sword of Damocles. (Note - I suggest that y'all go read up on the Sword of Damocles so you understand the full applicability of this anecdote.)

I don't own a TV so I read up on the atrocities via the web. When reading over the accounts of the Sunday talk shows today, what struck me was the way in which the Obama side simultaneously vehemently denied that Wright was a problem and just as aggressively tried to claim that the Hillary campaign was behind it all (just like with the Somali photo) and/or build up Gerry Ferraro as some purveyor of hate crimes. This follows on Obama himself trying to wiggle his way out of acknowledging the relationship on the Friday gab-shows, and is accompanied by an announcement that they are going to attack Hillary on several fronts. Armando/BTD has a good analysis on this here at TalkLeft.

Obama's defenders (Hillary's, too, for that matter) on the shows were really not talking to people like me, people who have already formed an opinion of Wright, who have already cast a primary vote, and who are not super delegates. They aren't talking to supporters or to detractors; the only audience is those who have not yet cast a ballot:
  • Voters in the upcoming primaries who will choose a candidate and may change the pledged delegate allocation.
  • Undeclared super delegates

To the average voter, the Obama angle is to tamp out the Wright debacle ASAP as a mentionable campaign issue and make it go away, hoping non-AA voters forget about it before Pennsylvania, the Michigan and Florida revotes (yes, I think they will both happen), and Kentucky. The danger here is that the combustible nature of Wright's speeches (and, no, I don't think that they are unrepresentative of the man's thought, though they may not be representative of his average sermon.) will outrage the core Democratic voter, the Reagan Democrat blue collar, "lunch bucket" person who isn't black and who is feeling a little worried about the economy.

The real target, though, was the undeclared super delegates, and the argument there was more like a performative - look, see how we are removing this as an issue from the table? You don't have to worry that this is going to impact us in the general. It was just a dirty campaign trick by Hillary and it will not be used against us by the republicans. Oh, please, pleeease believe us!

The trouble here is that this story has been peddled by FOX News and the Republicans, though at a very low volume, since last summer. It matters that Novak was trying to make HRC be the bagholder on this one, and her campaign is (very wisely) refusing this trap, even when they could probably exploit it in the upcoming primaries.

Watch for Obama's team to try even harder to prevent Michigan and Florida from revoting because then they will be passign judgment on him in light of this news, and their voters are not likely to view it with much favor. I also suspect that the Democrat for a Day schtick is going to backfire badly in Pennsylvania because of the combination of the economy and the offensiveness of Wright. Republicans who don't really support McCain and who are infuriated by the Wright video clips may line up behind Hillary, and in this case I think you will see a new breed of cross-over voter - Hillary Republicans. Unlike Obama's cynical "Dem for a Day," these are voters who will probably stick around, especially the women voters.

This is explosive, campaign ending stuff, and Obama knows it. This is real racism, not the BS jabs at white liberal guilt they've been pushing against Hillary, and is exactly what the Republicans want for the general, something they can use to push up their own turn out and get party members unenthused about McCain all riled up, just like they used the anti-gay measures last time. It is not a mistake that the incendiary ballot issues the Republicans are pushing this year are about affirmative action. The Wright videos are what they need to make it visceral. They won't have much convincing to do.

Obama is trying to convince the super delegates that he isn't a losing proposition in the general election, and his way to do it is to trash Hillary even more.



Anonymous said...

Can't wait to read what you have to say on Rev. Wright. This controversy is absolutely explosive, campaign ending stuff for Obama. I can feel the "hope" aura surrounding his campaign coming to an end. He's looking more like the average slimeball politician each day.
I also thought about the Republican crossover in PA backfiring on Obama after the Rev. Wright controversy started last week. Even progressives are shocked over this but those Republicans and Independents who voted for him before will probably going to go to McCain in the general after seeing Rev. Wright damning America. I have also read message boards with people saying that they regret voting for Obama now. I wonder how many voters out there wish they could take their vote back if they had known about Rev. Wright sooner.
I find it ironic that after months of the Obama campaign attacking Hillary and her surrogates for being racist, karma comes back to bite him royally in the ass by exposing who the actual racists are in this election: Rev. Wright, Michelle Obama, and to an extent Barack Obama for not having the sense to find anything offensive about Rev. Wright before this week.
I also want to know what you think about Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi. You've mentioned them before and I have ideas of my own as to why they are destroying our party but wondered what you thought their motives are. Did they just fuck up royally by punishing MI and FL in the first place and now they don't want to piss off Obama voters by seating those delegates or saying that the delegate count is more important than the popular vote?

Anonymous said...

Wow - simply WOW!

Anonymous said...

After seeing the footage, I believe his General Election chances are over. I only see three possible outcomes:

1. This blows over. The media goes out and kills this one quickly in order to keep Hillary out and McCain in.

2. He limps to the nomination. Losing the popular vote and the majority of states at the end, but keeping a slim pledged delegate lead. Pelosi, Brazille, Dean, and Gore push him through the convention even though everyone knows his chances in the fall are done.

3. He loses by 20+ in PA. He loses Indiana and NC by 10+. He then drops out or ends up losing his pledged delegate lead.

A lot of this depends on how the media reports this. Fox won't let it go. But what about CNN? MSNBC?

Anonymous said...

anonymous #2: I think the most likely scenario will be #2 but can very well be a combination of the three scenarios you've outlined. I doubt Clinton will take the delegate lead as wonderful as that would be. Pelosi and Dean are betting on it which is why we're hearing Pelosi say that this is a "delegate contest" and the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the nomination regardless of the popular vote outcome.

I believe Clinton will win the popular vote even though our party leaders are trying their damndest to exclude FL and MI from counting at all. MI will likely have a June primary. FL I'm not so sure about though I agree with anglachel that they will eventually be seated.
I can see Obama losing big in PA and other states crucial to winning the general election. However, I really don't see his loses being big enough to make a huge difference in the delegate count.

I wish the media would vet him but this Rev. Wright story might disappear from the headlines except for FOX News by the PA primary. I don't believe the story will go away though. FOX News is currently doing their research, hoping to find Obama in one of those videos during one of Wright's hate sermons. I believe they will succeed at finding something whether it is in a video, in an article, or from someone in the congregation who is hungry enough for money to come forward and speak to the press. FOX might choose to reveal something new in the next five weeks, right before the Democratic nomination, or after the nomination. I wouldn't be surprised if they wait until the general to reveal something truly devastating and explosive that will ruin the Obama and the Democratic Party.

Regardless of what happens I believe Obama will limp to the convention and perhaps the nomination. He's always been a weak candidate who experienced a wave of excitement from young voters that was truly phenomenal. But that has slowly died down. Many of his supporters are truly disgusted with his relationship with Wright and soon the mainstream will learn about his 20 year relationship with Rezko. Things do not look good for Obama. He's going to go to the convention with much more baggage than he started off with. Whether he gets the nomination depends on how hellbent Dean, Brazile, and Pelosi are to take down Hillary Clinton for once and for all. It's not going to be pretty.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how he could possibly win the general after this. We all know how wingnut news and 527's work. They'll be running ads with this nutcake over and over until the election and Obama would be crushed.

What really scares me, though, is that the dem powers that be are too stupid or too arrogant to understand that he's toast. They're constant assertion that we have to "follow the rules" is making me nuts, since there is nothing about this election that has been fair - from the debacle of MI/FL to totally undemocratic caucuses, to republicans being allowed to cross over and vote in our primaries, to the way delegates are apportioned. None of those things have to do with electability or popular vote of DEMOCRATS. So I'm very depressed to realize that these "leaders" will probably lead us to defeat, and then be shocked at the obvious outcome.

My big hope is that this so incenses democrats in the remaining states that they vote overwhelmingly for Hillary, thus causing most of the remaining SD's to go for Hillary. If that doesn't happen, we are in for president McCain.

Incidentally, I'm surprised that the wingnuts are going so heavy on this right now. I expected them to wait for Obama's coronation, then come out with this bombshell when it was too late. But they are already working it hard. Fox is promising a new and even more explosive video tomorrow, but haven't said much about what it will be. Perhaps a video showing Obama's presence during one of these sermons? Rush, of course, is absolutely foaming at the mouth about it. They are also coupling the story of Ayers and Dohrn as other instances of unpatriotic people Obama associates with on a regular basis. I expect this to get even uglier next week.

Anonymous said...

Great post. The DNC will cave to Obama because they are afraid of Chicago. They don't want another ugly convention. They have been intimidated by republican's and the Illegal Bush admin. for so long that bullying ( intimidating delegates ), coercion ( Sharpton threatens massive protests at convention if Fl. and Mich. are seated ),
disruptive litigation ( Sharpton preparing a law suit in Florida erroneously claiming civil rights violations against black voters ), Responding to ? another lawsuit being heard in Atlanta filed by a former Edwards supporter to include his vote at the convention. Fear mongering
by constantly alluding to HRC trying to steal the election and branding her campaign as racist. If I were truly indulgent I would swear Rove was behind all this. Axelrod and Obama are quick studies. Obama studied every political speech, mannerism,and nuance of Bill Clinton's career in order to become the political equivalent of a multi-racial centrist new Clinton. He did this to appeal to voters outside of his base and to win over the original demographics of what was Bill Clinton's base when he first ran for president. Anyone remember how hard Bill Clinton had to fight to win over the blue collars and farmers? Clinton not only won them over but Hillary has had to fight hard to keep them in the fold, and they stay because her economic platform is better. Axelrod has learned from Rove how to build a lightweight candidate and with the magic of obsfucation and the complicity of the MSM package a miracle candidate for the times. Axelrod adds a new twist and that is using Bill Clinton through photos and speeches and manipulating these images to work against the candidacy of his wife. Truly a new low. The latest photo showing Bill Clinton at a photo op with Wright seems to imply Wright and what he preaches can't be all bad if Pres. Bill shook his hand. The Obama campaign is a sham and a disgrace. The constant demand for Hillary to step down coupled with the obviously hypocritical insistance of excluding Fl. and Mich. reveals all the more a candidate who is'nt a democrat, but a cynical opportunist who is using his base and the party. His ambition knows no bounds and he's deviding the party using every trick he can. I hope Hillary stays in the race on principal. I hope the DNC nominates the best representative for all of us democrats. I hope the super-delegates pay careful attention and show courage in their convictions. I hope Obama's supporters wake up and take a hard look at the entirety of his campaign and see that if they are democrats this is not the party we are. We know all about the politics of destruction and Hillary has been fighting it for a long time. The difference is this, as a party do we want to play by the Arkansas Project Playbook and Rove 101 and contribute to the devoloution of integrity in democratic politics. Do we want the principals of Machiavelli to be the guidepost of the democratic nominee? Do we as a party want Axelrod et, al. to be running the party's national campaign with a candidate whose main response to scrutiny or criticism is to play the race card. It'll get old, already is and now with new fodder (hypocrisy) it's more clear than ever that it won't work. Dean is weak and trying hard to hold onto his post which he'll surely lose after his incompetent handling of the Fl. and Mich. mess. He's fighting a strategic battle for his political life and after this destined to become another talking head on some newshow, maybe. Pelosi simply wants a president she won't have to contend with. She's lost the faith of the democratic base due to poor performance as house speaker. In short this is all about political favors, and the trading of them. Pelosi wants a weak democratic president that won't place the democratic party leaders in any situation where there might be conflict over policy and Dean wants to hold onto his job and seem relevant. Pelosi and Dean are self serving and it shows. Hillary is a fighter on principal, but will also work with republicans when necessary. Pelosi ain't no Tip O'neal. Pelosi talks the talk. Hillary walked the walk ( watergate ) and Hillary knows the the politics of reconciliation should not
interfere with accountability.