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Saturday, March 29, 2008
Should Hillary Drop Out?

I confess, I don't understand the argument. Consider here:

Which brings us back to those party elders and the calls for them to step in. Now, let’s be clear, those calls are coming exclusively from Obama’s adherents. And they have some logic on their side: If it’s all but mathematically impossible for Clinton to wind up ahead in pledged delegates or the popular vote—and it is—then what conceivable purpose is being served by further bloodshed?

Well, for one thing, being ahead in pledged delegates or the popular vote is not the objective of the campaign. It's being ahead in total delegates that matters. Obama's campaign has seized on the notion that the superdelegates can't thwart the will of the people, which strikes me as ridiculous. That's the whole raison d'etre of the superdelegates.

Mario Cuomo indulges himself in a little fantasy here:

Think of it, over the next eight years we could elect both the first woman and the first African-American to become president. That's not a dream: It's a plausible, achievable, glorious possibility - if our two remaining candidates have the personal strength and wisdom to make it happen. The joint statement announcing their agreement would rock the nation and resound across the globe - sweeter than any political poetry; smarter and more meaningful than any tightly intelligent political prose.

Hillary would agree, if the order is as Cuomo puts it. One of the problems that the Democrats have is that Hillary has already suggested that she could accept Obama as the VP candidate, while Obama has not indicated his willingness to have Hillary on the ticket with him. This is a tactical mistake on Obama's part.

Ralph Nader throws Hillary an anchor:

Just read where Senator Patrick Leahy is calling on you to drop out of the Presidential race.

Believe me.

I know something about this.

Here’s my advice:

Don’t listen to people when they tell you not to run anymore.
Friday, March 28, 2008
New McCain Ad Has Obama Supporters Seeing Red....

But, of course, not red, white and blue:

Well, David Corn just about had a fit. Because he knows that when John McCain talks about how he loves America, what he's really saying is that Barack Obama doesn't:

Could the implication be that Barack Obama is not quite American and that he is not interested in protecting our country, which the ad describes with the feminine pronoun. In other words, the half-black dude with a funny name--who might be a secret Muslim--can't protect her.

Eric Kleefeld sees another sneaky bit:

The announcer ends the ad with this new, ultra-patriotic slogan: "John McCain: The American president Americans have been waiting for."

Could the slogan be meant as a contrast against Barack Obama, with his foreign name and background?

Rolling my eyes here. It's so unfair for John McCain to talk about how he loves America, because it makes Barack Obama look bad.
Wright's Mansion

Oh, this looks pretty bad:

FOX News has uncovered documents that indicate Wright is about to move to a 10,340-square-foot, four-bedroom home in suburban Chicago, currently under construction in a gated community.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Selective Memory Syndrome?

Matt Bai, in an otherwise reasonable post:

Why do some political missteps haunt their candidates forever, while others are easily put to rest? John Kerry saying he voted for the war before he voted against it, or Howard Dean screeching on a stage in Iowa, instantly becomes the stuff of political history, but when George W. Bush admits that he was once arrested for driving under the influence, it immediately fades into obscurity.

Say what? In fact, the news of Bush's DUI arrest almost ended up making Al Gore the president. In the last week or so before the election, virtually every poll showed Bush winning fairly easily, by five points or so in the popular vote:

More important, both polls show the same snapshot of the current state of the presidential campaign: a solid advantage for Bush.

And after the DUI story hit, Bush nearly lost (in fact, he did lose the popular vote, if not the electoral college).
Florida and Michigan By the Numbers

This article strikes me as an eminently sensible solution to the Democrats' muddle with regard to those two primaries. Which of course means that it will not be acted upon.

The first question is whether Florida and Michigan voters acted like these primaries mattered, even though they knew the delegates they chose were not recognized by the national party. This can be discerned from turnout, and in the case of Florida the answer is yes.

Florida had a closed primary in which only registered Democrats could vote; turnout amounted to 46.7% of John Kerry's 2004 popular vote. The primary turnout relative to Kerry's 2004 vote in other closed primaries ranged from 39.8% in New York and 40.8% in Connecticut to 48% in Delaware, 49% in Arizona to 58.5% in Maryland. In other words, Florida Democrats acted as if their primary mattered just as much as other Democrats. By contrast, turnout in Michigan was only 23.7% of Kerry's 2004 vote, and it is an open primary. Michigan Democrats did not act like their primary mattered.

When it comes time to be prescriptive:

The third option would be to let the early primary votes stand, and select delegates according to the outcome. On a statistical basis, this is clearly the right result for Florida. The easiest solution for Michigan is to simply award the 45% of the vote uncommitted or for another candidate to Mr. Obama. This appears to be the intent of those voters, as well as the likely result of a rematch. It would reduce Mr. Obama's current edge in pledged delegates to 115 from 167. It would also reduce the adjusted popular-vote margin, that converts caucus votes to primary votes, to an edge for Mr. Obama of 466,000. If Mrs. Clinton wins Pennsylvania by the margin polls now suggest, the two candidates would be essentially tied in popular votes, with an Obama edge in delegates of about 80. That would leave the remaining primaries and the superdelegates to decide the outcome of an essentially tied race.

Of course, you can see the problem; Obama's not going to agree to anything that appears to give Hillary a chance of winning.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Hugo Chavez Opposes McCain

Couldn't ask for a better endorsement.

Chavez said he hopes the United States and Venezuela can work better together when his ideological foe, U.S. President George W. Bush, leaves the White House next year, but he said McCain seemed "warlike."

"Sometimes one says, 'worse than Bush is impossible,' but we don't know," Chavez told foreign correspondents. "McCain also seems to be a man of war."

Losers Always Think They Would Have Won....

If the rules had been different. Jed Babbin checks in with a column on how the Republicans need to reform the primary system:

Reorganization of the 2012 presidential primaries will be at the top of the agenda at next week’s meetings of the Republican National Committee. First the Rules Committee, beginning on April 1, and later the “committee of the whole” will vote on plans offered by Ohio, Texas, Michigan (and others) to change the system that many party leaders concede has failed this year.

Let me guess, the party leaders who "concede" this were supporting Mitt Romney? This is just like the Democrats, always wailing about how unfair it is that New Hampshire and Iowa have such a big impact. Of course, it's difficult to conceive of a system that would have helped Mitt Romney more; Michigan, Utah and Massachusetts first?

He also gripes about independents voting in the primary:

In New Hampshire, the results were the same. According to Fox News exit polls, 39% of New Hampshire’s independents were voting GOP ballots. Sen. McCain won by about 5.5% over Gov. Romney in New Hampshire. Again, the independents apparently controlled the results.

But this ignores that many folks in the Granite State intentionally register as independent, so that they can vote in whichever primary is the most interesting. And anyway, the effect of mischievous crossover voting is probably exaggerated.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Obama Speech Reactions Trickle In

Thomas Sowell:

Among the many desperate gambits by defenders of Senator Obama and Jeremiah Wright is to say that Wright's words have a "resonance" in the black community.

There was a time when the Ku Klux Klan's words had a resonance among whites, not only in the South but in other states. Some people joined the KKK in order to advance their political careers. Did that make it OK? Is it all just a matter of whose ox is gored?

Christopher Hitchens:

Looking for a moral equivalent to a professional demagogue who thinks that AIDS and drugs are the result of a conspiracy by the white man, Obama settled on an 85-year-old lady named Madelyn Dunham, who spent a good deal of her youth helping to raise him and who now lives alone and unwell in a condo in Honolulu. It would be interesting to know whether her charismatic grandson made her aware that he was about to touch her with his grace and make her famous in this way. By sheer good fortune, she, too, could be a part of it all and serve her turn in the great enhancement.

Greg Rodriguez:

In some ways, Barack Obama's speech on race last week was as brilliant as it was nuanced. But for all its rhetorical beauty, it was also an enormous step backward and, in the end, a rather self-serving call for more discussion about racial grievance in a country that has already done way too much talking.

Until last week, so much of Obama's appeal lay in the fact that he was not asking us to talk about the racial divide. Instead, he offered himself as a living and breathing symbol of racial reconciliation; his very origins pointed to the goal of unity and, from his own account, created in him a desire to bring together opposing sides.

Jonah Goldberg:

It all seems so otherworldly. I feel like one of the last humans in an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" movie in which all of the pod people are compelled by some alien DNA to pine continually for yet another "conversation" about a topic we've never, ever stopped talking about. And if I just fall asleep, I too can live in the pod-people's dream palace, where every conversation about race is our first conversation about race. Snatching me from any such reverie was this masterful understatement from Thursday's New York Times: "Religious groups and academic bodies, already receptive to Mr. Obama's plea for such a dialogue, seemed especially enthusiastic."

Indeed, didn't Al Gore and Bill Clinton talk about the need for a national dialogue on race? By which, of course, they meant that whites were to shut up except when it came time to acknowledge that yes, indeed, they were racists.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Was It Over When the Germans Bombed Pearl Harbor?

See if you can spot the flaw in this argument by Josh Marshall:

I don't know where it was. It think it may have been a reader blog at TPMCafe. Wherever it was it was a post that ran down something like ten different ways of counting the popular vote, all to the end of showing that Barack's popular vote lead wasn't nearly so great and may not exist at all. There was the count with and without Michigan and Florida, with one but not the other, including caucuses and not including caucuses. There were other options that seemed to go even further down the rabbit hole. But it did lead me to have a kind of epiphany about just where the Clinton side is at this point -- gaming out different retroactive rule changes to see who would have won the popular vote if the nomination process were operating under a different set of rules. I imagine playing poker around a table with friends. Player A has a Straight Flush; Player B has four of a kind. Then B says well, sure, if you're counting straights, but if we were adding up the numbers rather than going by straights winning, I'd have won.

How well would that go over? I remember, when I was a little kid playing chess with my dad (who unlike some Dad's never saw the point of throwing games in my favor) and sometimes when I lost I'd toss out some version of ... well, but if my rook could move diagonally, then ... You get the idea.

It's pretty doggone obvious to me. On the one hand you have poker and chess where there are specific rules as to who wins. And on the other, you have the Democratic nomination where the only rule is get a majority of the delegates to support you. It is universally agreed that neither Hillary nor Obama can get the nomination via pledged delegates.

So what does Marshall suggest? Exactly what his father opposed: a new rule that had not been agreed upon before the game. In case neither party wins the majority of pledged delegates, the superdelegates agree to nominate whoever wins the popular vote. And not the popular vote including Florida and Michigan.

In fairness, he does recognize what he's doing later. It's not a rule, you see, it's just his opinion as to what the superdelegates will do:

The Clinton campaign is entitled to do whatever it wants to get superdelegates to come over to her side to even out the pledged delegate deficit. My take is that whatever the arguments, the superdelegates aren't going to go against a clear pledged delegate leader. And I think they'd be extremely ill-advised to do so. But the superdelegates do have this power under the rules. But these constant efforts to say the rules aren't fair are just silly, and truth be told I think they're more undermining of the Clinton campaign than they realize.

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Two Degrees of Separation

In an otherwise pedestrian recounting of Sara Jane Olson's brief release and return to prison, there's this interesting picture:

Reading from left to right, Sara Jane Olson and Bernadine Dohrn. One of them plotted to explode a pipe bomb under a police car. The other was involved in a plot to explode one at an officer's dance at Fort Dix. One of them held a fund raiser for Barack Obama prior to his first run for public office.

Note also this caption under the photo:

Sara Jane Olson and former fugitive Bernadine Dohrn chatted before Dohrn was to lead a panel discussion about conspiracy prosecutions of political activits in 2000.

Because, you see, Olson was not a bank robber, kidnapper and murderer; she was a political activist.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Some Spare Outrage?

Glenn Greenwald tries to make a little guilt by association here:

Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds today linked to what he called "EASTER THOUGHTS" from one of his favorite right-wing blogs, his namesake, "Instapunk." That Easter post has a large picture of a crucified Christ along with a lovely religious poem.

Immediately beneath that righteous celebration of Easter is a somewhat less charitable post purporting to take up Barack Obama's invitation to speak about race.

Now, I understand that those of us on the center-right don't care for Greenwald; he's a self-righteous and arrogant bastard. And Instapundit isn't to blame for the fact that a blog he linked to has some nasty stuff on it that he didn't link. But....

It does seem like we could spare a little outrage for the post at Instapunk, which is indeed in very poor taste.

On the other hand, I am sick to death of black people as a group. The truth. That is part of the conversation Obama is asking for, isn't it? I live in an eastern state almost exactly on the fabled Mason-Dixon line. Every day I see young black males wearing tee shirts down to their knees -- and jeans belted just above their knees. I'm an old guy. I want to smack them. All of them. They are egregious stereotypes. It's impossible not to think the unthinkable N-Word when they roll up beside you at a stoplight in their trashed old Hondas with 19-inch spinner wheels and rap recordings that shake the foundations of the buildings. It's like a broadcast dare: Go ahead! Call me a nigger! And then I'll cap your ass.

Here's the dirty secret all of us know and no one will admit to. There ARE niggers. Black people know it. White people know it. And only black people are allowed to notice and pronounce the truth of it. Which would be fine. Except that black people are not a community but a political party. They can squabble with each other in caucus but they absolutely refuse to speak the truth in public. And this is the single biggest obstacle to healing the racial divide in this country. The dammed-up flood of good will in this nation for black people who want to work for their own American Dream is absolutely enormous. The biggest impediment is the doubt created in each and every non-black American by the clannish, tribalist, irrational defense of every low act committed by any black person. If you're offended when Republicans defend Richard Nixon or when Democrats defend Chuck Schumer, imagine what it's like when black people swarm the streets to defend Jeremiah Wright.

I live in a place where I see lots of white kids with shirts down to their knees and pants belted just above the knee, who have beat up old cars with 19-inch spinner wheels and rap recordings that shake the foundations, etc. And I don't think "nigger", and it's not because they aren't black. I think "kid", or in my less charitable moments, "punk kid". Everybody does dumb things when they're young. What did old folks think of me when I tooled up next to them in my beat-up Mustang with the stereo blasting "Smoke On the Water" some 30+ years ago?

By labeling them "Nigger", Oldpunk is focusing on the wrong aspect. It's not that they're black, it's that they're kids. He goes on to list a group of famous blacks that he considers to be "Niggers":

- Jeremiah Wright
- O.J. Simpson
- Marion Barry
- Alan Iverson
- William Jefferson
- Louis Farrakhan
- Mike Tyson

That's a pretty varied collection of people. Wright and Farrakhan are bigots but they aren't in the same class as Tyson or Simpson, who are thugs. Marion Barry? He's clearly a drug abuser, but that's pretty small potatoes; there are certainly plenty of white people his age who do the same things. Iverson's something of a jerk and a hothead. Jefferson may be a crook, but the only real connection he has to the rest of this list is skin color.

The idea that "Nigger" can be resurrected as a catchall for blacks with character flaws ranging from drug abuse to murder ignores the history of the word.
If a Conservative Did This

You know there'd be hell to pay. Erica Jong compares Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to two animals. Obama is the stallion. And Hillary?

Um, she's a beaver.

We need beavers and we need stallions. Beavers get the work done. Stallions inspire us. And they both have limitations. Stallions have fragile legs (think Barbaro). And beavers are nothing without their teeth.

I'd like to say that she ties this all together brilliantly by suggesting that what we need is a "beavallion", but instead she just gets all weepy about how the Democrats are blowing it.

Update: Crazy Politico checks the rest of Erica's post and finds her math is as far off as her analogies.




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