Friday, February 8, 2008

Keeping tabs

With "only" four contests happening on the campaign trail this weekend, following the action isn't nearly as daunting as what we went through Tuesday. But in case you liked the last primer I linked to, the folks at TPM Election Central have put out one for this weekend. Enjoy.

Same old song

Yesterday, Hair Gel said his reason for leaving the race was because staying would be "aiding a surrender to terror." Last night, Bush said "prosperity and peace" were at stake. This is no different from saying "a vote for the Democrats is a vote for al Qaeda," which is a message the Republicans have been running on since 2004.

The comments are disgusting and even unpatriotic. To make the claim that Democrats would surrender to terror or that that they would threaten peace, is repulsive. They are one step away from calling Democrats treasonous. Hopefully everyone outside of Sean Hannity's audience will recognize that.

But does it work? It seems like a risky strategy to echo the words of George Bush when his approval rating is hovering around 30. The message didn't work in the 2006 midterms, and I can't imagine it would be effective in 2008.

One more thing. Will "100 years" denounce this rhetoric?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Best magazine cover


Christopher Orr, over at The Plank, had this to say about Hair Gel's announcement:

So, if Mitt Romney's sons were serving the nation by helping his campaign for president, and he's now serving the nation by suspending his campaign for president, what exactly could the Romney clan do that wouldn't count as national service?

Like a glove

Hair Gel is peacing out. I'm really going to miss him.

Update: CNN had a good explainer of the meaning of "suspend the campaign." You may recall that Edwards didn't "drop out," he "suspended his campaign." This doesn't mean that Romney or Edwards will get back into the race.

The rules for each party differ. For Edwards, it meant that he can hold onto his delegates. (He's the only Democrat, other then Clinton and Obama, who have delegates to hold on to.)

That is not the case, however, for Romney. The rules for Republicans is that the delegates are allocated based on state party rules.

Marc Ambinder pointed out that Romney's big delegate take from Michigan goes from pledged to unpledged, and Huckabee's all over it.

Missed votes

Remember that essential economic stimulus plan Bush urged Congress to pass in his State of the Union? Well, the only Republican running for president won't be in Washington to cast his vote on such an important piece of legislation. McCain has decided he can improve the country more by convincing the Limbaughs of the world that he truly is a conservative. MSNBC mentioned the missed vote this morning, but I have a feeling his absence won't be mentioned nearly as much as it should be.

Oh, and it's a pattern. You wouldn't know it from listening to our media, but McCain misses more votes than anyone. As Media Matters has pointed out, in 2007, "100 years" McCain "missed more votes than any other senator since Congress convened in January (with the exception of Sen. Tim Johnson [D-SD], who spent months recuperating from a brain hemorrhage)." I'm just saying.

Update: To be fair, neither Clinton nor Obama made the vote either.

The closer

One of the more interesting stats came from an observation Jason Linkins made over at HuffingtonPost. Linkins reported that Clinton, far more frequently than Obama, was the last-minute choice for voters. This was true around the country. When undecideds went to the poll, they pulled the lever for Clinton.

The question is why. My hunch is that those last-minute deciders like the idea of Obama. They support his message and agree with his theme of bringing people together. But when they are forced with the decision of taking their vote away from a Clinton, someone they trust, someone they know from past experiences will improve the country, they aren't willing to gamble.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe this is more complicated. Maybe it says more about the people who haven't made up their minds. And maybe this is something Obama will neutralize as the race carries on by simply convincing people to vote for him before Election Day. What do you see in these numbers?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Obama takes the lead

I've been working on figuring out the process of assigning delegates for two and half days and every time I think I have it figured out, the numbers don't add up right, or I find a loophole. That's why I'm a blogger, relying on what other people tell me.

Word this afternoon is that Obama grabbed more delegates last night than Clinton did. This is big news because most people who analyze the upcoming primaries agree that Obama has the advantage. The thinking was that he would use those states to close the gap with Clinton. But if these new numbers hold, he could use those states to widen his lead.

As I wrote this morning, lots of people think that this "war of attrition" benefits Obama. Think of what it could do if he goes into it with the lead -- and cash flow -- in hand.

Speaking of cash, Drudge (so take the next few words cautiously) is reporting that the Clintons have dipped into their own bank accounts to fund her election.

Update: CNN, a slightly more reliable source than Drudge, has confirmed that the Clintons are helping to fund her campaign. They have apparently added $5 million to the war chest.

Last night

Surely there must be something to say about the results last night. With all the data, all the numbers, all the states that weighed in, some analysis is necessary. But I feel like it's not enough. There's not enough data, not enough numbers, not enough states.

I turned on the television, and the pundits don't know what to say either. The most insightful thing I heard came from Tim Russert who said that the only thing to say is that the race goes on.

It seems that if a winner must be declared, it's probably Obama. The longer the race goes, the better it is for him -- or so the thinking goes. He's certainly well funded, and the upcoming states seem to be on Obama's side, but I'm not going out on any limbs. And Clinton was always counting on having the race decided on February 5. That's what she said after Iowa, and that's how her campaign was designed.

What I know for sure, though, is that in sharp contrast to the Grand Old Party, the Democrats love their choice. I don't know any Democrats who have made their decision easily. I don't know any Democrats who aren't a little tempted by the other candidate.

The Republican race is essentially decided, but the identity of the party couldn't be more unclear. The reverse is true for the Democrats. The race is far from over, but this is a good time for the Democratic Party.

5 weeks

Still playing the name game.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

McCain's magic trick

There are too many numbers to possibly keep up with tonight, so I won't have anything to say until tomorrow about the general picture of things. But over at CNN's Political Ticker, Bill Schneider highlighted a few exit poll numbers from the Republican primaries that I think are worth commenting on now.

McCain is winning votes from anti-war Republicans. Mr. "100 years," Mr. "The surge is working" is somehow convincing antiwar Republicans to vote for him. And that's not the only poll he's surprisingly winning. Republicans who think abortion should be legal are voting for McCain.

To sum up, two of McCain's strongest perceived attributes -- at least in the primary -- that he's "strong" on Iraq and that he's consistently been "pro-life," are not resonating.

There is a direct parallel between these numbers and the feeling I get when I talk to people about McCain. I frequently hear people -- Democrats included -- talk about how he "wouldn't be that bad," or he's different from the other Republicans, or even that they would welcome a McCain presidency.

This ridiculous notions -- the idea that McCain is the man for antiwar voters, that McCain will protect a woman's right to choose -- are entirely the fault of the media. It's quite incredible how he has been built as a middle of the road candidate.

Seeing these numbers, I can only hope that a general election will finally force the media to look at his record and expose him as the advocate for war and anti-choice candidate that he is.

Update: This is exactly what I'm talking about.


If New Hampshire didn't teach you to take polls with a grain of salt, these numbers might. According to Zogby, Obama has opened a huge 13-point lead in California. According to SurveyUSA, Clinton has opened a huge 10-point lead in California.

According to Zogby, Obama has opened a slip 3-point lead in Missouri. According to SurveyUSA, Clinton has opened a huge 11-point lead in Missouri.

Maybe Edwards will win.

Re: $

Last week I posted on Obama's January fundraising totals. I was waiting to see what Clinton's response would be, and now I know why we didn't hear anything. She took in $13.5 million, compared to Obama's $32 million.

In an election year, my understanding is that campaigns have to release numbers each month, as opposed to each quarter during the previous year. In case you're wondering, she outraised Obama in the final quarter of 2007 -- $26.8 million compared to $22.8 million.

Update: An earlier version of this post showed Obama raising $.8 million in the fourth quarter. It has since been fixed.

Random election day thoughts

The guy in front of me at the polling place was a young hipster with giant headphones. The election judge asked, "Which party will you be voting for?" The guys said, "Republican." Who knew?

"100 years" McCain was just asked by Matt Lauer about his temper. McCain answered by asking about 20 rhetorical questions. I didn't really follow, but one somehow was about Jack Abramoff. If anyone else saw that I would love to hear an explanation.

Clinton was on Letterman last night and compared her campaign to the New York Giants. Yesterday, I heard someone at work compare Obama's campaign to the Giants. Go figure. What a catch!

It looks like the conservatives are determined to keep fighting with each other even if McCain wraps it up tonight.

Monday, February 4, 2008

There's no crying in politics

I saw the headline once and laughed. I saw it the second time and shook my head. I saw it a third time and thought, "I guess I have to address this." The Swamp is reporting that Hillary Clinton cried again.

The last time this happened, I wrote about the obnoxious claim that Clinton was faking her tears. That claim came from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. who represents the Obama campaign.

My hunch is that if the tears have any effect on anyone this time, it will be more negative because she will be viewed as a calculated crier. I haven't seen video yet, but I'm sure it's out there somewhere.

I wish we were talking about something else, but it looks like tears are the thing again.

Update: CNN has the video here, and I think that describing this as crying is a pretty big stretch.