Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random Observations

1. I’m not sure why people aren’t saying the Democratic race is as over as the Republican one. Obama will win three more primaries on Tuesday and Hillary is hoping (quite unreasonably) that her leads in state polls (Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania) will hold up after ten defeats in a row. Hillary’s last big win (California) depended on votes cast early. Time is and has been on Obama’s side, and he’s now clearly both the establishment and the change candidate. I can’t understand why some Republicans are happy about this. The more responsible Democratic brains have been with Hillary; she’d be a better president, and she’d be easier (especially for McCain) to beat. The odds are, to repeat, that Obama is our next president, with a very solidly Democratic Congress.

2. I think Huck’s reliance on revelation and miracles for a comeback probably won’t work. And he’s become tedious. He’d become interesting and even important if he’d actually take McCain on on the domestic front. Still, I don’t think he should withdraw until he actually has a bad day. That’ll probably be tomorrow, but you don’t have to believe in miracles not to be entirely certain about that.

3. I really hope Mac starts to think hard about the fact supported by a thousand studies that his character and the surge alone won’t get him anywhere near victory in November, especially against the most charismatic candidate in a long time.

Discussions - 24 Comments

Peter: "I can’t understand why some Republicans are happy about this."

Because it means the retirement of the Clintons from the presidential spotlight.

I've never been convinced McCain can beat Clinton any easier than he can beat Obama, despite what early polls (which are meaningless) say. Therefore, if a D is going to occupy the White House, it's "better" to have that D be anyone but a Clinton.

I'm also not convinced that Obama's charisma sustains itself between now and November. It probably will, but I don't know that it's guaranteed.

I have been paying attention without posting my comments...but I guess I must disagree with the idea that HRC is in trouble. Sure Obama will pick up a little steam...but I think Hillary certainly has the best "mathmatical" campaign team in the history of politics. The Clinton campaign is busy crunching numbers on everything... I still don't expect HRC to lose...if anything I would be happy to place a bet on Hillary if anyone would give me even money. HRC does a better job targeting the swing voters...(the real ones who actually vote)because frankly it isn't a matter of guess work...her campaign is as scientific as a 100 terabyte econometric regression can get...

I like the Math on Hillary Clinton... plus I question the common perception that Hillary is losing among those that made a decision late... I don't think this is the case.

The Democratic race is over unless Obama really does something fantastic... HRC is the winner.

Plus I agree with Don... quit thinking that HRC can't win or would be easy... this is absolutely not the case...

Doesn't Obama's winning depend on how long he can keep up the appearance of himself as revelation and miracle? What if, over time, he comes to seem prosaic?

Of course, it may be that his ability as orator will carry him, especially against McCain. Still, from now till November is a long time to keep the interest afloat.

My instincts incline me to agree with Prof. Lawler that an impending Obama victory in the Democrat primary is a less than favorable development for a party that has chosen John McCain as its standard bearer. But I don't always put full trust in my instincts--particularly when they don't seem to suggest a happier outcome. When there is little that I can do to affect the hand I'll be dealt, I try to look for the best way to play the hand as it is in front of me. (Glad to see that our resident poker player is here to help us think through events again, by the way.)

Thinking through the math on HRC's side makes my head hurt, but I'm willing to entertain the possibility that she will pull it out in the end. In many ways, it's hard to imagine that she won't be able to do it. But I think Schramm was right in his earlier post on the subject. If she does, it won't play well for the Dems. She will have to appear even more vicious and nasty than she usually does in the public mind. Her negatives will soar. So I tend to hope that John Lewis is right and that the Clinton's are better at math than most of us tend to be.

On the other hand, let's say events play out as Profs. Lawler and Schramm believe they will. I'm not sure the narrative of McCain looking dry, dusty and old in comparison to Obama must, necessarily, play out as well. There are alternatives to this. Kate is right to note the possibility of Obama's rhetoric becoming prosaic at some point. Because it is vacuous, it must begin to disappoint at some point. The question is one of timing. Can he keep it up until November? That will depend, in large part, upon whether McCain and the GOP can speed up the public imagination in such a way as to force it to confront the realities of his rhetoric as opposed to the promise of it. McCain must offer a competing reality that pulls away the veil of Obama's "vision" and exposes it to be little more than naked liberalism. If that happens, anything is possible.

Because it isn't close to over, and if it were, Hillary would be nominated. The number of states "won" by one candidate or another isn't necessarily that important. The delegate vote counts are. And the Clintons like all intelligent presidential candidates campaign and spend most in states that are their best ones.

Second, you are forgetting the big bulk of superdelegates who are closer to the Dem establishment and will and do prefer the Clintons by a good margin.

Third, even Karl Rove as of last week gave the edge to Hillary.

Obama has a very steep climb to make in order to gain all those superdelegates. So far the count is too close for him to be that credible.

Dennis is right; the insiders are far from beaten. And I predict that if HRC gets the nomination a substantial number of Democrats will stay home on Election Day. This will not be the case if Obama is nominated; the party regulars will get behind whomever is nominated.

The question is whether, if HRC is nominated, enough Democrats will boycott to counteract the effect of the substantial number of Republicans who are sure to do the same with McCain as their party's nominee. This is shaping up to be very interesting, indeed.

Well, John, dennis etc., we'll see.

I would personally rather be governed by Obama than Hillary. I am not sure why it is a slam dunk that Hillary would make a better President. On the War, she is less likely to bring the troops home in a hurry which most here probably consider a good thing, but I don't. Anyway, both Hillary and Obama are liberal. But Hillary is angry, vindictive and ruthless and has a chip on her shoulder. She will inact liberal policies if for no other reason than to put a thumb in the eye of her detractors. Obama, on the other hand, seems genuine in all his talk of unity and reconciliation. He seems like someone who could be more easily worked with. Who wants to keep everyone happy. So, IMO, less liberal evil would happen under Obama than Hillary.

I guess it is possible that the GOP would be less inclined to be the loyal opposition under Obama than Hillary. If the GOP controlled the House and Senate then I would prefer Hillary. Under that scenario you would get more gridlock. But with the GOP in the minority and likely to get worse this election, Obama is less likely to put the screws to conservatives.

Yes to Red, except that if Obama did put the screws to conservatives, he might be able to couch it in a cloud of rhetoric that made it sound he was only doing so for our own good or the country's good. I haven't heard him, as I have heard Hillary, demonize the right, but he hasn't been thoroughly thwarted in the same way, yet.

Still, I'd rather hear Obama speechify, except, of course, that I'd rather hear him singing oratorical political lyrics that made sense to me and better fit the pleasing melody of freedom for all.

I'd add this to what Red says: despite Obama's high scores on the liberal scales, he has paid attention to the things that some liberals can and have learned from some conservatives. His intellectual sympathies are broader, in my opinion. And I agree he is not angry and ready for pay-back time, like Hillary. Of course, these are impressions. They make me, too, take issue with Peter's grand conclusion "The more responsible Democratic brains have been with Hillary; she’d be a better president."

My problem with him -- and I'll wait until after the conventions -- is that I'm not sure he understands what he's talking about when it comes to foreign and national security policy. His prepared speeches are better than his debating points and set speech, but his views may not yet be fully developed. I look forward to a serious discussion between Obama and McCain.

I still think it's premature to draw any confident conclusions regarding how well Obama would fare in a national contest; at this stage he hasn't been subjected to the kind of serious scrutiny he will surely face vs. McCain. Of course, it's been difficult for HRC to run that kind of campaign since there's really not that much substantive distance between them policy wise and because that risks re-enforcing the view that she's another dose of divisive party politics, only playing into Obama's message of unity platform. I think there's a serious possibilty that a well crafted campaign by the McCain folks could make Obama's campaign not only look like a very risky bet (especially if foreign policy could be made more central an issue) but also hubristic, naively romantic, and more than a little disingenuous....

I don't think it can be said with any degree of certainty that one Democrat candidate would be "easier" to defeat than the other. Both have vulnerabilities. Both have weaknesses. And both have political strengths.

Any lamentation then that Obama appears to have the inside straight for the nomination isn't just defeatism, but morbid defeatism.

Obama HAS weaknesses. Do you really think that Obama's mantra of "change" isn't going to wear thin by November. ALREADY within the DEMOCRAT ranks it's wearing thin. Joe Klein wrote a piece the other day saying exactly that. Now if the Democrats are already seeing through him, what do you think the American people are going to conclude come July, August and September, when he refuses to specify what "change" means.

McCain can defeat Obama.

Whether he will or not remains to be seen.

And I'm still not sure Hillary won't pull it out. There's all kinds of arm-twisting and bribing going on behind the scenes. Not to mention there are still people awfully shy of crossing the Clintons. Because the Democrats have Super-delegates that are not bound by any primary or caucus result, the nomination might devolve into a struggle for those delegates. I read a piece the other day about how Hillary's team is approaching EACH DELEGATE PERSONALLY, her people have already tasked a whole group of Democrat noteworthies to reach out to EACH delegate.

It's gratifying though to see the Clinton's race baiting blow up in their face. They tried to set Caucasian and Hispanic Democrats off against Black Democrats. Their WHOLE party saw it, recognized it and were APPALLED by it. The man who was allegedly "the first Black President" tried to use race against the first Black man to have a real chance for the Democrat nomination.

Our party should make damn sure that the Democrats are NEVER allowed to forget that their supposedly tolerant President Clinton proved himself to be little different than Bull Connor.

Just like the ante-bellum South, just like the days of Jim Crow, the Democrats are STILL a party that uses race for political advantage.

Peter, I do agree with you though that Obama is very likely more difficult to defeat than Hillary whose negatives have always been sky high and are getting driven higher by the ugliness of the Clintons' divisive campaign. As of today, Hillary apparently has about 75 more Superdelegates than Obama. Moreover, three new national polls released today give her very small leads whereas previous polls had Obama ahead. Finally, when I think of the picture of the Clintons being denied the Democratic nomination for a virtually unknown featherweight, my mind just doesn't compute. The bitterness of that denial, when the Clintons have the great bulk of Dem establishment money, could devastate the Dem Party. That situation, involving great interest groups and considerable money, is very different from the conservatives' whining about McCain. We will vote for him, but Hillary's feminists and other powerhouses within liberal Dem circles may well deny Obama's general election bid.
BTW, the first indicator I've seen of the McCain team's idea of attacking Obama is that his statements have been "inconsistent." McCain will have to do alot more than replay 2004. Kerry is no Obama!

Ultimately I don't think the Superdelegates can decide it if it comes to that. If it looks like the Establishment is siding with Hillary to put her over the top against Obama who would otherwise win it, then there will be blood in the streets. Superdelagates, by their very nature, will not want that to happen.

The analysis that's emerging here implies that the Superdelegates will not be able to function as they were designed to function in unusual cases like the present. That is, they will at best be able (prudently) to ratify the nomination of the candidate with the most primary delegates. Anything else seems outrageous in a fully reformed world.

Let's not forget the other and separate divisive issue: Michigan and Florida delegates.

dennis, perhaps it will take awhile for the McCain team to craft a principled and articulate response to Obamaism. I surely do hope a reasonable and rhetorically clear conservative message comes out of this campaign.

Steve Thomas, I thought the Superdelegates were the not fully reformed compromise the Democratic Party made with itself. Is there likely to be so much animus against Obama by Hillary supporters if she does not win? Or the other way around?

It is a long way to the election, but much of the Democratic enthusiasm to win the next election, pre-Obama, was Bush hatred. That brought Democrats out in the last election, particularly. In the coming election, will anti-war rhetoric translate into McCain hatred?

Be mindful that IF Obama tries to force Super Delegates to vote in accordance with the results of their respective states, HE WILL BE CHANGING THE RULES mid-stream. The Democrats have rules that provide their Super Delegates complete autonomy. ANY attempt to constrain the deliberations of those Super Delegates during the nomination process is contrary to the rules.

Thus Obama would be the one trying to "steal" an election. Here "steal" being defined as trying to change the rules once the game started. As Hillary is trying to change the rules regarding Michigan and Florida, Obama is looking to change the rules regarding Super Delegates.

If Obama gets the nomination, McCain ought to go out there and tell the American people that Obama won by changing the rules mid-stream. And just watch how that fact alters the messianic glow attending Obama and his quest for The White House. How can Obama reconcile his "change" candidacy with back room maneuvers that would flatter Richard Daly.

There are all kinds of ways to beat Obama.

But I don't have any faith in McCain, and even less in his staff. They seem to be a pack of unimaginative clods.

And against an Obama, -------------------------------- it's NO time for clods!

The Superdelegates are a way to ensure certain Democratic party officials and office holders get a sure ticket to the convention without taking spots from women, minorities, gays, transgendered and whoever else the Dems obsess about having adequately represented. They were intended to just be superfluous votes for a clearly established nominee. When is the last time a nomination was close by the convention?

To the degree that they were intended to be cooler heads to settle a close contest (do you really think that many dems would allow themselves to be caught expressing support of a system similar to the smoked filled rooms of the bad ol' unenlightened days of the past), they did not count on one of those nominees being black.

If Obama is ahead in the natural delegate count and the Supers give it to Hillary, I repeat, blood would flow in the streets. If Obama is ahead going into the convention, I think there is almost no way the Supers would swing it to Hillary.

This article suggests that if Hillary does not win TX and OH on 3/4--and win them big--then even superdelegates currently committed to her will flip and "go with the flow" to secure Obama's nomination:

A couple of currently Clinton-leaning supers are quoted anonymously as saying as much. Take it FWIW--I personally suspect that that's pretty much what will happen if Hillary cannot stop him on March 4th.

The supers want to ratify what will already appear as the choice of the party--they can't be seen as dictating it, as they know that would spell disaster in November and probably get them in hot water with a lot of constituents as well (many supers are elected officials).

Our primary here in VA is tomorrow. I'm thinking about "crossing over" to vote for Hillary in order to keep the squabbling and catfighting alive on the Democratic side as long as possible with as much intensity as possible--Hillary knows she's going to lose MD and DC, but apparently is still hoping for a strong showing in VA. She's also going to lose WI and HI later this month, of course. Will her candidacy even be alive as of 3/4? Let's hope so--let the hair-pulling on the other side live long and prosper, I say!

I don't know if Super Delegates were "intended" to be superfluous, {which is VERY possible by the way} or they were intended to make sure that party pros were there as a backstop if anything went wrong, {as appears to be the case this go round}. But whatever their purpose, the party provided them with complete and utter autonomy. Thus any attempt to constrain them and force them to vote a certain way is contrary to the rules as stated.

As for the last time nominations were close, Kennedy took Carter the distance in 1980, and Reagan forced Ford to grind one out at the Convention in 1976. So it's not that long ago at all. There are many alive today who recall not just the various images of those conventions, but the exact details. I can recall Reagan standing at the podium in 1976, and I well remember Jimmy Carter chasing Ed Kennedy around the stage at the Democrat convention in 1980.

The Super Delegates are intended to act as the Democrat version of the U.S. Senate. They haven't been used much, {they probably wished they had been used to overrule the selection of Carter...}. But they are there, and now both candidates are wining and dining them, flattering them and bribing them.

What a truly edifying spectacle for the whole world round! Give Democracy a chance, you too can watch back room deals, bribes and threats as political theater! How wonderful!

Now who can turn that down. I suppose only those morbid and creepy types from the wastelands of the world.

And Red, I think you underestimate the willfulness of the Clintons, and their groupies and cult following. I think it's VERY possible that regardless of the delegate count the Super Delegates go for Clinton.

The Democrat party does NOT respect the views of Black Americans. And they certainly don't respect them enough to concede them the nomination, especially if it's close, and the Clintons are arm-twisting, eye-gouging and bribing every Super Delegate in sight.

Obama HAS weaknesses!

Many Democrats KNOW that. Many a Democrat isn't all weepy like Chris Matthews at the prospect of the Obama-messiah.

Combined with the strongarming going on behind the scenes, {which is a VAST struggle for real power in the party!} it's very possible she and her cult following has what it takes to take that nomination.

If the Clintons lose, a WHOLE MESS OF PEOPLE who bet on the Clintons are out. Fortunes ride on who gets that nomination, business deals, lobby contracts, consultancies. A WHOLE MESS OF PEOPLE are battling for that nomination, for their own bottom line is on the line. The Clintons stand atop a pyramid not just of pathology, but of power.

They're NOT likely to give it up without a fight. The worst is probably yet ahead.

PJC, you too overestimate the opinion that the Democrats hold Black Americans in. They've taken that constituency for granted for decades, DECADES. You really think that all of a sudden they're likely to ponder the possibility that Black Americans will bolt if Obama is rejected by the Super Delegates.

Not to mention you assume that the Super Delegates going for Hillary would be portrayed as a rejection of the will of the people. It won't. The media won't portray it that way. They may hint as much now, but that's all they're likely to do. If it comes down to it, the MSM will report it straight up, that the rules of the party provided for Super Delegates, and that they went for Hillary, giving her the nomination. It won't be covered as a quasi-coup.

The Democrats are NOT worried about the Black vote come November. The Clintons ARE worried about that vote NOW, but not come November. They know if they get that nomination, one way or another, via the high road or the low, they know regardless they can rely upon their Black Democrat establishment members to churn out that vote in November, through the proliferation of "street money" all over the place.

And the other thing missing is the Clintons adopting some SAMSON complex. You know, where Samson pushed the columns over and brought down the whole temple around him.

If Hillary doesn't get it, and if Bill is rejected, don't underestimate the VAST thirst and hunger they'll have for REVENGE. Those two are as spiteful and as mean-spirited and as wicked a pair as anyone in God's creation is ever likely to see. They are TRULY Narcissistic.

If they are rejected, they might take off on some Kamikaze like attack against the party that rejected them.

God only knows what lurks in the bosoms of those two, God only knows what venom might pour forth from the likes of them.

EVEN THE DEMOCRATS are stunned, STUNNED at the lengths they'll go to all to keep the reins of power in their meaty grips. And the Democrats are not a group of innocents in the wood when it comes to understanding what it takes to seize political power! And even they stand in awe of the Clintons! So don't underestimate what might ensue if the Clintons are rejected.

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