Friday, April 11, 2008

Bitter


The newest attack on the campaign trail is one I don't get. To set the scene: Obama, at a fundraiser in San Francisco on Sunday said that people in Pennsylvania have grown "bitter" because the last two administrations have promised a better life without delivering. For the sake of context, here is the full quote:

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there's not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it's not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

I read the headline for the story and didn't even click on it. Of course people are "bitter." That's not news.

Except apparently it is. Clinton has taken the comment and run with it. She responded saying that "bitter" people is not her "experience" and that "Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them." Here is her quote, according to CNN:

"Well that's not my experience. As I travel around Pennsylvania. I meet people who are resilient, optimist positive who are rolling up their sleeves."

"Pennsylvanians don't need a president who looks down on them," she said. "They need a president who stands up for them, who fights hard for your future, your jobs, your families."

I know there are things Clinton is trying to not talk about, and therefore change the subject. And I know her lead is slipping in Pennsylvania. But this doesn't sound like a diversion or desperation to me. It seems like she actually thinks she's hitting on something. Well, I don't see it. Of course Pennsylvanians are bitter. They're mad at the war. They're mad at the economy. They're mad that the Eagles don't have a reliable quarterback. I don't understand what's controversial about it. I don't even get what's politically incorrect about it. Does anyone?

Update: CNN has video of Obama responding to Clinton (and McCain, who said Obama's comments prove he's "out of touch"). The video is here. It's a fantastic response, so be sure to check it out.

Another Update: Obama's response can bee seen without watching the ad CNN puts up. Check it out:


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pure spin

Jake Tapper reported that at a fundraiser on Tuesday night, Obama seemed to make an argument for foregoing public financing in the general election should he win the nomination. McCain has been hammering Obama as a hypocrite for not sticking with his previous vow to accept public funding. As Tapper noted, Obama sounded like he "previewed his argument to justify this possible future discarding of a principle." Here is what Tapper says Obama said:

"We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful."

It's a good effort, but I don't buy it for a second. Obama is in a difficult position. His financing is tied for first with his rhetorical abilities for his most powerful asset. He would be silly to give up his power to raise $40 to $50 million a month.

But his power hasn't just been in the totals. People who have never given before are submitting $10 at a time on the web. His fundraising has democratized the system like never before; and he may have changed the system forever. Nothing he said in that quote is false.

Still, it's pure spin. He doesn't want to give up the money, so he's trying to justify the back track. It's a good effort, but it comes up a little short. And if Obama is the nominee, he's going to have to make this argument over and over again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Surprising?

ABC News is reporting that many members of the military prefer Clinton or Obama over McCain. It's a dumb story, filled with a few anecdotes about a few soldiers who prefer a pull-out plan. Martha Raddatz spoke to a soldier who "said he supported Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., because of his stated intention to pull out of Iraq right away."

But what really ticked me off is not that the story has little evidence to back it up, but that the headline was that these anecdotes provided "Surprising political endorsements." What's surprising about it? This plays into the media's perception that Republicans are "tough" and "want to win," while Democrats are "weak" and want to "cut and run." It's absurd.

It's especially not "surprising" given the fact that the two candidates leading in donations from members of the military are Ron Paul and Obama -- two candidates who opposed the war from the beginning and promise to end it if elected.

There's nothing "surprising" about it.

Giants, Rocky and Jayhawks

What do they all have in common? They have all been compared to Hillary Clinton's campaign by ... Clinton herself. This morning, Clinton said the come-from-behind win in the national championship was "my kind of outcome." One week ago, she said that "Rocky and I have a lot in common." And just before Super Tuesday, she likened her campaign to the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Oh, and she loves the Cubs AND the Yankees.

Beaker

Monday, April 7, 2008

Change in PA

Kit Seelye reported on The Caucus that serious change is happening in the counties surrounding Philadelphia. From her post:

History is being made in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

The four suburban counties have long been Republican strongholds, with more Republican voters than Democratic ones. The last time there were more Democrats than Republicans seems lost in the mists of time.

But a new day is here. Voter enrollment in both Montgomery and Bucks Counties has flipped from Republican to Democratic.

The registration deadline was March 24, and tens of thousands of new registrations flooded in, from both new voters and party switchers. Elections officials have been counting them since, and posting the changes in drips and drabs.

Today, the new tally in Bucks shows 185,413 enrolled Democrats, compared with 181,941 enrolled Republicans.

In Montgomery County, the new tally shows 245,209 Democrats, compared with 238,208 Republicans.

While both counties have been voting Democratic periodically for more than a decade, the registration figures have not reflected that trend until now.

I've been one of those who believes this nasty fight within the party has been bad for the Democrats, but news like this seems to prove me wrong. I think this is more anti-Republicanism, more anti-Bush, more anti-war than anything else. But whatever it is, it's good news.

Dead hands

I guess we can take the gun from him now.