Posts Tagged ‘obama’

Obama is the Real Rocky

April 1, 2008

It’s amusing that Hillary should cast herself as Rocky in the primary fight, rather than Obama. But who is the real underdog?

  • Coming into the primary, Hillary had national recognition and was the  front-runner for the nomination—the presumptive nominee, in fact.
  • Hillary inherited a battle-tested political machine, veterans of two previously successful national campaigns.
  • She has the financial support of the Democratic party’s heaviest donors.
  • She has a husband, wildly popular among Democrats, stumping for her every day, often playing the role of hatchet-man.
  • Somehow, she claims inheritance of Bill Clinton’s political legacy—a net benefit in the Democratic primary process—and enjoys the use of his name.

Now lets look at Obama.

  • Obama is an African American. Notwithstanding Ferraro’s ridiculous comments, this cannot be seen as an advantage—certainly not in a national political campaign.
  • He has a name that bends the ear of middle-American voters, and a middle name which he shares with one of the United States’ biggest enemies of the last 50 years.
  • He had to build his campaign team from Hillary and Edwards’ leftovers.
  • He had to find his funding from the populace, rather than from political elites.

Given this, it’s clear who is Rocky and who is Apollo Creed; who is David and who is Goliath. In no way can Hillary realistically cast herself as an underdog. She’s had more personal and political advantage than any candidate in recent history, except possibly Reagan going into his second term.

Absurd. Americans should scoff at this ridiculous, flimsy construction.

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The Sober Reality for Clinton

March 21, 2008

There’s a fantastic article on Politico, commenting on the media’s failure to adequately report the harsh reality of Clinton’s delegate situation.

The reality is she really cannot win this nomination. The odds of it happening are minuscule. I can understand her hanging around waiting for Obama to implode in scandal, or have a heart attach or something, but I’m not sure why she needs to pull-down the party while she hangs around.

Consider:

  • Clinton would need between 63 and 65% of all remaining pledged delegates in order to win the majority of pledged delegates. She may win that big in some states (maybe, in some), but she’s not winning that margin of all remaining delegates.
  • If the superdelegates were to break ranks with the votes of the electorate, the party would simply collapse with ourtrage. So getting the superdelegates to override a majority of pledged delegates is also highly unlikely.

So why the hell is Clinton being so aggressive? Could it be, per my post of a couple of weeks ago, that she plans to trash his candidacy and then step in and claim that he can’t win because his candidacy has been trashed? Does she have some secret, surprise cache of as-yet undeclared superdelegates she’s sitting on, to announce after a big win in Pennsylvania?

No. My theory is this: the Clinton campaign isn’t looking at this rationally at all. They hear that the math makes it impossible, but they just can’t face reality. I think Hillary actually thinks she can campaign her way to the nomination, when the grim truth is that she can only get there with a spectacular Obama flame-out. And no, the Wright thing doesn’t even come close to qualifying. She’d need a Spitzer-like shocker.

If Obama doesn’t win the election in 2008 I’ll be blaming Hillary, not dirty GOP tactics or Nader. Obama should be traveling overseas and meeting with foreign ministers. Our nightly newscasts should show Obama being greeting by adoring throngs of Europeans, and Asians, and Africans. He should be meeting with soldiers and hammering-home his economic plan. Instead he spends his time fighting-off Hillary while abiding by his own pledge to run an honorable campaign. Meanwhile, Hillary runs the least-honorable campaign by a Democrat in recent history, and cries foul every time Obama defends himself.

I’m losing patience. Others are too.

Obama “More Perfect Union” Speech – Winner

March 18, 2008

Obama’s “More Perfect Union” speech was strong. I still think it’s best for his campaign if the discussion isn’t about race, but if it must be—and it feels like certain parties are determined that it will be, then this was a great way to handle it. Obama has a way of positioning himself above the fray. Compared to this speech, any race-related bickering, or questions about Obama’s former pastor, looks petty and meaningless. On balance, this will be good for Obama’s campaign. More importantly, it’ll be good for America. This was a discussion American needed to hear, and Obama might be the only person who could have delivered it.

Hillary More Polarizing Than Bush

March 18, 2008

I’ve posted recently on how the issue of race is a damaging topic to the Obama campaign, and how Hillary exploits this—either instinctively or, probably, as an explicit campaign tactic. For the past several weeks, as a result of Hillary’s efforts and those of other Obama-detractors, race has been the primary focus of the public discourse in the Democratic race. This doesn’t work in Obama’s favor.

One of the reasons I can’t stomach Hillary, outside of her ugly campaign tactics, is the fact that she represents more of the same bitter, partisan division we’ve seen since Bush won the nomination in the 2000 race… and before, when Bill Clinton was in office.

My distaste for the Bush administration stems almost entirely from its polarizing effect on us, the electorate. (Note: that’s just the source of my “distaste” for the administration. The source of my burning resentment is all policy-driven).

Hillary, hated at least as much by the right as Bush is hated by the left, continues the polarization that started with Bill and has become progressively sharper with every election since then. However, one can make the argument that she is even more polarizing than Bush, since she is determined to polarize her own party, as well as the electorate in general.

Every time I see her disingenuous smile, that fake laugh, I get the same visceral, angry feeling which had hitherto been reserved for our evil, corrupt, war-criminal president. If Hillary were the nominee, I still don’t think I could vote for McCain, but I honestly can’t see myself caring enough to go the polls for Hillary.

Olbermann’s Special Comment on Hillary

March 13, 2008

Olbermann’s “special comment” about the Clinton campaign this evening offers no real, long-term help for Obama. As I wrote last night, the more the discussion is about politics and about race, the worse it is for Obama and thus, the better for Hillary.

Obama needs to get back to his staples: talking clearly and eloquently on subjects that resonate with the not-yet-jaded, or even with those of us who want to be less jaded. One of the most remarkable things I’ve noted about Obama is his ability to stay above the fray. He’s got to get back into the inspiration business and get off defense. If he has to, he can mention the latest attack, deflect it with a wave of his (as he does so well), and move on to something that drives up his “positives”. People eat that up!

Clinton Slash-And-Burn Strategy – Part 1 – Create Division

March 12, 2008

This blog was supposed to be about politics and technology, business, and the Internet. But it seems every night there’s another news item that demonstrates just how ugly the Clinton campaign is willing to get, and I just can’t resist commenting.

So, in the news tonight: Geraldine Ferraro Gate. Clinton might not have sent Ferraro out to make her comments, but the fact that Clinton won’t dismiss Ferraro isn’t an accident. It fits nicely into what I’m now calling Hillary’s Slash and Burn Strategy. Specifically, it addresses one of the fundamental tactics of that strategy:

Create Division

In this case, the division is about race. Here’s why they think it’ll work: The more the discussion is about race, the less white Americans will focus on matters of actual substance. If you’re white, and the first thing you think when you think Obama is “black”, then you’re automatically separated from him… he’s one thing, and I’m a different thing. Even if you’re not racist, you’re still not thinking about how you’re with him, or how you agree.

So the more often the Clinton team can remind you that he’s a black candidate (they’d probably say “the black candidate”—which sound like that’s his constituency, not his color), the better they think it’ll be for them. Problem is they don’t have too many opportunities to play this game because talking about race, as Ferraro discovered, can draw accusations of racism.

The America’s-Not-Ready Shim-Sham

Hillary’s happy to have you thinking that America “isn’t ready” for a black president. She knows that even if Mr. and Ms. White Voter have no problem with a man of color in the oval office, their belief that the rest of poor, benighted America isn’t ready yet, will prevent them from “wasting” their votes on a candidate who simply can’t win.

Oops, I smeared him again

Hillary is very willing to cripple the long-term prospects for the Democratic Party if she thinks she can get elected in the process. Her Slash-and-Burn Strategy looks something like this:

    1. Make the delegate race about the superdelegates, and their having autonomy, which they should exercise “for the good of the party”
    2. Do whatever it takes to stay in the race until the convention, no matter how damaging to the party in the long term
    3. Along the way, trash Obama as a candidate. Pull out every ugly GOP, Karl Rove strategem on the books and just sully his candidacy, no matter how unjustly (eg, pretend you could have just a shadow of a doubt as to Obama’s religious affiliation).
    4. By the time the convention comes along, you make the case to the superdelegates that his candidacy is in tatters (oops, my bad!) and that after the terrible pummeling he’s taken, there’s no way he can win.

      By creating division within the party and among Democratic primary voters and caucus-goers, she advances items 2 and 3.

      I don’t want to call Hillary a “monster” or anything (although it’s clear that calling an opponent much worse has not consequences in Hillary’s campaign staff). I’ll just say that she’s running an ugly and selfish campaign.

      Why Obama Over Hillary

      March 11, 2008

      The Real Buyers Remorse

      George McGovern was on Colbert tonight. He pledged his support for Clinton back in October, and he’s too much of a class act to turn back, but he qualified his statement by saying that he hadn’t known Obama back then.

      That’s a pretty remarkable thing to mention as you’re telling the world who you’ve backed! But that’s basically what happens to voters in general. They like Obama better after they have a chance to get to know him.

      First, they rued the day Bill Clinton left office (or rather, the day Bush took office). Then Hillary ran, was called a front-runner, and suddenly they thought they have a good chance of being able to say Clinton and White House in the same sentence again. They got on-board.

      But then they get to know Obama a little bit. They hear him speak, they get inspired, but more importantly, they believe that he believes the things he says. I think we all realize that Hillary, maybe even more than Bill, says what she thinks she needs to say. It’s all political. If she has a position, it’s a considered position which might have gone the other way had there been a sufficient political payoff on the other side (e.g., her vote for the Iraq war). Obama has his beliefs, they guide his positions and policies, and he is who he is.

      And so after voters have a chance to see this dichotomy, they waver. Eventually, if Obama has sufficient time to campaign in the state, they get buyer’s remorse for their early decision to back Hillary and start crossing over.

      Where’s My JFK?

      The so-called “greatest generation” had Roosevelt. Our parents had JFK. Where the hell is our once-in-a-generation leader? This guy might well be it. He could be that and much more. The first president I knew, when I was a kid, was Nixon. I’ve had Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush. Due respect to president Carter, but that’s a pretty pathetic string of names. It’s time we had our JFK.

      Hillary talks a lot about what a historic time this is. We’ll have a black nominee, or a woman nominee. But then she also envisions either her or Obama getting past McCain, and that’s going to be more historic still. So Hillary hopes to make history simply by getting elected. That’s her one, singular, all-consuming goal: get elected president.

      Don’t you get the feeling that Obama’s presidency will be historic not because he’s a man of color, but because of the deeds he will do, the change he can engender, and the fact that he can lead us to accomplish some genuine good in the world?

      He’s a politician, but he’s a politician in order to put himself into a position to do something. Ambition is Hillary’s only motivation.

      Potential For Greatness

      In tonight’s interview, Colbert tagged McGovern as an idealist, identified Obama as the same, and then asked McGovern which presidents he thought were also idealists. McGovern cited Jefferson and Lincoln. Hillary’s campaign would offer this as evidence that an idealist can’t be elected in our modern world. I would say that we’re pretty damn close to doing just that, and if the third idealist president is anything like the last two, we could be in for a once-in-a-century kind of leader. I’m not saying Obama’s definitely the next Lincoln, but he’s the only politician I’ve known in my lifetime whom I genuinely felt had the potential to leave that kind of legacy.

      Hillary, by contrast, wants to be “ready on day one”. A once-in-a-century leader like Jefferson or Lincoln doesn’t ever suddenly (or gradually) become “prepared”. Leaders like this just are. But for Hillary, I think that a work-a-day, forgettable presidency might well be served by her preparation of one and a half terms in the Senate, plus knowing in advance the optimal layout for furniture in the White House.

      So our choice might boil down to this: consider potential epitaphs. “Hillary Clinton: first female president” versus “Barack Obama: greatest president since Lincoln”. Again, there’s no guarantee, but lets at least try for something more here.

      Come on people, we can elect a woman next time… maybe even one without all the baggage.

      SNL = Hillary’s Media Puppet

      March 9, 2008

      Well, it’s another Saturday night and so, another shameless plug for Hillary on Saturday Night Live; this time attacking Obama, straight off the Clinton campaign’s talking points.

      Tina Fey and/or the other SNL writers came back from the strike and forgot to stop campaigning for Hillary and start being funny again. It’s an ugly campaign Clinton’s running, and it’s sad to see SNL get down into the slime with her

      Extension of Race May Be Good For Obama

      March 3, 2008

      Nearly two weeks ago I asserted that Hillary should get out of the race if she failed to win a majority of delegates in the voting in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island this Tuesday March 4. For about a week now her campaign officials, fearing the worst, have been priming the press-pump with the idea that she might continue her campaign even if Texas and Ohio don’t fall her way. Today, that rhetoric is finally coming from Clinton herself, rather than her campaign officials.

      The more I think about this, the more I think it might actually be good for Obama if Hillary stays in. Consider the following:

      • The spotlight would stay on the Democratic race

      Every story that includes the word “Obama” increases national familiarity with him. Typically, increased familiarity has been good for Obama. And in a national election, if the name itself is more familiar the electorate will be more inclined to vote for him (or maybe more accurately, less inclined to not vote for him). If there’s anything we’ve learned from the current administration it’s that simply repeating something frequently enough can dramatically legitimize it.

      • If Hillary stays in, Obama can keep winning

      The more he wins, the more he looks like “the” winner. By the time November comes around, America will be very used to seeing Obama win and election.

      My instinct is to qualify all this by predicating it all on the fact that Hillary doesn’t destroy Obama with negativity, however:

      • Negative tactics by Clinton in the primary election, if they don’t kill Obama, make him stronger

      In effect, Hillary’s negative campaign against Obama is stealing the GOP’s thunder. For the presidential election, all the lowest-hanging fruit of Obama vulnerabilities will have been used-up. By the time the McCain team gets to trot them out, they’ll be shopworn, diluted, weakened. And lets face it, creative as they are, there’s probably nothing a negative Clinton campaign can invent that the GOP wouldn’t eventually have thought of themselves.

      So Hillary’s refusal to give up, especially if she keeps losing, could be good for Obama in the long run.