Saturday, March 8


Talk Left has some interesting statistics.

Do you know that if 8,000 voters come out in Wyoming today to select their 13 delegates that means that 615 Wyomingians will be selecting a delegate to our national convention (8000 divided by 13.) By contrast, when 4.4 million Californians voted in their primary, they selected 370 delegates, which is to say 1 delegate for every 11,892 Californian who voted.

The will of the people? Please never mention that phrase again when discussing the pledged delegate count.

From the thread: "The total vote to total delegates is listed as 8553 Obama to 9289 Clinton." In other words, Clinton has had to garner 736 more votes for every delegate she's gotten than Obama has had to get for every delegate he's earned. Boy, that's some disadvantage.

On the popular vote --

Among self-identified Democrats:

Without Florida and Michigan: Hillary +588,000
With Florida: Hillary +820,000
With Florida and Michigan: Hillary +933,000

On another note, I can't believe we've let another four years go by without fixing the Electoral College.

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A commenter asked for my views on negative advertising in campaigns.

It's hard to know when politics-as-usual crosses the line into dirty campaigning. I tend to distinguish "going negative" against one's opponent's record or position on issues, which I find perfectly acceptable as long as the opponent's stance is not distorted or clearly misrepresented, from "dirty tricks," which in my mind are not.

I put in the category of "dirty tricks" such techniques as push polls (e.g., "If you knew Hillary Clinton was a proven lesbian, would it change your opinion of her?" or "If you knew Barack Obama had funneled money to Al Qaeda, would that change your vote?"), doctored photos or video, taking an opponent's remarks out of context so as to distort their meaning ("Al Gore said he invented the Internet"), whisper campaigns based on easily disproven lies (e.g., Obama is a Muslim, John McCain had an illegitimate black baby), or advertising that conflates a candidate with an unpopular program with whom he/she is unrelated (e.g., Michael Dukakis and Willie Horton, Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) savaging incumbent senator and Vietnam hero Max Cleland with a TV ad depicting Cleland with Saddam Hussein and bin Laden). Other examples of dirty tricks are surreptitiously feeding the media fraudulent information or info against one's opponent that one doesn't have the courage to say openly; slander ("Hillary had Vince Foster murdered"); and ad hominem attacks ("Hillary Rotten Clinton, Her Thighness"; "Charlie Crist is gay"; "the Clintons will do anything to win"; "Obama isn't patriotic") that disparage personal characteristics or appeal to prejudice or perpetuate memes that cannot be proven.

That's why, to my mind, neither Hillary nor Barry have sunk to the level of "nasty" in the current campaign. Just as I think it's okay, even smart, of Hillary to question Obama's national security credentials and experience, I also think it's fine for BO to challenge her vote for the authorization of force in Iraq.

I'm not HAPPY with Clinton's raising of the not-yet-clarified connection of Barack with Rezko. I'm also not pleased by Obama's references to Bill Clinton's finances, for the same reason. In both cases, neither candidate has been shown to have acted dishonorably or illegally. But that's politics. (To raise the question of Whitewater, though, I think is rather unfair, since Hillary's behavior was thoroughly investigated and found to be legal. It was just a failed investment that lost the Clintons money.)

One of the ugliest things I've seen in recent years has been the "wink-wink" TV ad run against Democrat Harold Ford, Jr. in the Tennessee senatorial campaign of 2006. Now, THAT was nasty.

There's an interesting discussion of negative campaigning here.

As in so many things, I think it's a matter of the "eye of the beholder."

Note: Sorry I didn't have time to include many links or citations, but you can Google any reference you're fuzzy on.]

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Got back late last night from a week in Washington, D.C. And what a week!

I didn't get back to my hotel room until almost 11 p.m. Tuesday, where immediately after ordering some room service I turned on CNN and watched the election results -- fantastic! I stayed up until Texas was confirmed for Hillary. I'd been bummed because I missed the Texas caucas (had to vote early). My husband (The Sage) attended and reports that it was simply a matter of a vote count. After everyone had signed in and declared their allegiance, they disbanded without even selecting delegates. What's with that? If a caucus is simply another vote, what's the point of having both a primary and a caucus?

Had some interesting experiences during the week. The film crew I'd contracted with had been shooting an interview with Tony Blair the night before. As we discussed that, I discovered that they were to a man progressive Democrats -- all white men who had voted for Obama but were suffering some buyer's remorse. At every opportunity we talked politics. They do most of their work for FOX, shooting interviews with the likes of W and covering stories like MonicaGate. I expressed surprise that they can keep their feelings to themselves at such times, but they said, nah, it's just a job. The really surprising thing they told me is that most of the FOX folks are just like them. "It's only the bigwigs who are really wingnut partisans," they said. "Even the talent?" I asked. Well no, they replied. Some are just doing the job, but others are true believers.

The sound man on the crew (who said he voted for Obama) is the uncle-by-marriage of MSNBC's David Shuster, of Hillary-pimping-out-Chelsea fame. He claimed that his niece, Shuster's wife, also a journalist who is following the Obama campaign, is a Hillary supporter. He quoted her as saying that the closer she gets to Obama, the less she likes him. He told me that prior to the "pimping" fiasco, Shuster was being groomed as the replacement for Tucker Carlson. I had to agree that despite that unfortunate and tasteless remark, I would have been more than pleased to see the usually fair-minded Shuster replace blowhard, reactionary Carlson.

Wednesday night we went to a late dinner at Ten Penh, a popular Beltway restaurant, and as we left I ran into Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). I remembered my manners and didn't hit her with my purse. After all, there are worse Republicans!

I'd hoped to stop off at some point to a gift shop so I could buy presents for my grandkids, but it never happened, so at Dulles I picked up some things, including Hillary buttons, a bumper sticker and T-shirt. I put on the pin and got some reaction. First was a young soldier who told me he he'd just made up his mind to support her, based on the endorsements of numerous flag officers (also see here) and his own instincts.

Work is pretty close to overwhelming right now, so I haven't had much time to post. I continue to check the blogs on my Blackberry at odd moments, and it appears that Hillary is making real progress despite the, at times, vitriolic opposition of the media and so-called progressive blogs. It still amazes me that until my first choice, John Edwards, dropped out of the race and I did extensive research on HRC and BO to determine where to align, I was unaware of many of Hillary's accomplishments, a record that is still largely unknown by the populace and ignored by the aforementioned MSM and blogs.

It continues to grieve me to see formerly reasonable people exhibit their Clinton Derangement Syndrome symptoms. Keith Olbermann, who has been an outspoken and eloquent critic of the Bush administration and ridden that wave to huge popularity among progressives, has completely lost me with his anti-Clinton screeds.

It also confuses me when pundits characterize the Clinton-Obama race as "nasty" -- are they nuts? Have they no long-term memory at all? To my 50-ish mind, this is still one of the more civilized campaigns in my memory. Other than the disgraceful comment by top Obama advisor Samantha Power that Hillary is "a monster," there has been no character assassination, and to label Hillary's issues-attacks "smears" is unfair in the extreme. What is either side to do, let personality determine the outcome rather than political philosophy or the issues? Of COURSE they're supposed to highlight the differences between them and the weaknesses of their opponent. But the media loves a fight, and if they don't get it, they'll manufacture it.

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Monday, March 3


Hooray for the Houston Chronicle. It's really well worth reading the whole thing, as they endorse Hillary:

In the recent Democratic presidential debate in Austin, the candidates were asked to describe a personal crisis that tested their characters.

Sen. Barack Obama recited his biography, apparently hoping we would, justifiably, be inspired. Sen. Hillary Clinton said her well-known personal trials were nothing compared to those of the injured soldiers she so eloquently evoked and that they and thousands of other Americans had inspired her to devote her life to public service and to enter this race. This is the profound difference between these candidates — and between good leaders and great ones like Hillary Clinton.

Seven years of the Bush administration have left us so hungry for change that we will accept almost any kind offered. SenatorObama says he is the agent of that change and proclaims that we are the change we seek, the change we've been waiting for.

Yet change alone is not enough. George Bush changed peace into war, surpluses into deficits and the respect this country enjoyed around the world into contempt. That was not what we had waited for.

Yet Obama will also keep us waiting. His thin legislative record — so thin even his Texas spokesperson was at a loss to name a single Senate accomplishment — reveals his avoidance of controversy and hard choices, including more than a hundred votes of "present" in the Illinois Legislature when others took a stand.

The U.S. Senate subcommittee he chairs on NATO, a key ally, has never met or acted. He touts ethics reform that requires only that congressmen stand while lobbyists buy their three-martini lunches and offers a health care plan that doesn't cover everybody. Even his speech against the war in Iraq was not followed by action in the Senate. Promising change alone, he delivers only change lite, change borne of the easy consensus that comes from political expedience and not asking for too much.Campaigning for change is one thing; delivering even a little is another.

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Sunday, March 2


Taylor Marsh has 'em.

And while you're at it, take a look at the number of flag officers who have endorsed Hillary (including two former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs) and listen to Barack Obama praising Don Rumsfeld. "Judgment," anybody?

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