04/16/2008 - 3:51am
The LA Times has a new poll out that shows Hillary with a 5 point lead in Pennsylvania, but losing in Indiana. Hillary's electoral argument is based on winning these two states handily. The Times is arguing that 5 points doesn't cut it, and if this is the result on Tuesday, then Hillary is over.
With three crucial Democratic primaries looming, Hillary Rodham Clinton may not be headed toward the blockbuster victories she needs to jump-start her presidential bid -- even in Pennsylvania, the state that was supposed to be her ace in the hole, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
The losing in Indiana portion of the Times poll seems questionable. The Quinnipiac numbers from the weekend tracking poll show Hillary up by 16 points.

The close race in Pennsylvania is partially confirmed by a Zogby poll released today which shows Hill's lead at just 4%, but this poll concluded on Thursday, a moment before Barack's San Francisco Treat came out of the oven. Quinnipiac has her up by six in Pennsylvania - these numbers were collected over the weekend while the aroma from San Fran was wafting through the state.

Truth be told, it remains to be seen whether Barack can contain the damage and continue to chip away at Clinton, or if Hillary might overplay her hand and look silly and unappealing with her zealous attacks on Barack.

Up to this controversy, Hillary has been afraid to come after Obama as aggressively as she is now doing. Will she be penalized for being too tough on the Messiah?
04/15/2008 - 8:16pm
Okay. Rassmussen is in, showing Hillary having grown her lead from 5 to 9 points over the past week.

Quinnipiac shows her up 6, same as last week, which is also good news for the Clintons as it stops a slide.

And the American Research Group results show Hill's lead having grown to 20 points, which I'm inclined to ignore.

Gallup, meanwhile, shows Barack with his biggest lead over Hillary nationally - 11 points.

Whichever trend you choose to trust, its plain to see that Hillary has benefited from Barack's San Francisco treat. Whether that trend continues or not remains to be seen, but with 7 days to go before Pennsylvania votes, Barack remains on the defensive.
04/15/2008 - 4:07pm
One of the fun things about monitoring the Obama campaign is that since he's practicing a new kind of politics, everything he does becomes a template for how our political system will operate going forward. That means we have to watch carefully to see how the new will differ from the old. How is the politics of hope, unity and transparency different from the evil sort of politics practiced by the bad politicians of today?

Traditionally, politicians who are guaranteed to win an election don't risk messing it up by taking part in democracy - they refuse to schedule debates. And those who are newcomers, or trying to crack the foundation of support that their opponent might possess, are always eager for the opportunity to go one-on-one.
Certainly one thing we can expect from Barack's new kind of politics is access.

So with Barack scheduled to win North Carolina handily, will Barack do the old kind of evil politics and duck debates with Hillary, or will he show his commitment to access and transparency and take part in debates?

Yup. You guessed it. Hope goes out the window when the politics of change meets a twenty point lead:

"In a telephone interview with the Observer to discuss his economic plan, Obama doubted whether a proposed April 27 debate at Raleigh's RBC Center would fit with his schedule."

The more things change...

04/15/2008 - 2:27pm
A new poll from Pennsylvania shows Hillary stopping her slide, holding onto a 6 point lead over Barack. These numbers are more realistic, I fear, than the 20 point lead noted in a post from yesterday.

One of the most intriguing numbers inside the new Quinnipiac poll reveals that Hillary leads amongst white democrats by a twenty point margin, 57 to 37. Is this because white democrats don't like blacks? Knee jerk liberals, locked into race based thinking, will certainly be pleased to see their worst fears about Americans confirmed. And they may be correct... at least partially.

Bill and Hill have been much criticized for their moments of trying to colorize Barack. Certainly its an abhorrent tactic, but it may have been more effective than many expected.

And its not as if Barack hasn't done his part. This racial divide results significantly from Barack's coddling of racists, most specifically his friendship with Pastor Jeremiah Wright and his long loyalty to Wright's church.

But these numbers, which include a 96-4 preference for Barack amongst black democrats, surely point to a flawed candidacy and a flawed party. They show the damage done by the longtime democratic tactic of "celebrating" superficial differences rather than pursuing unity.

Or perhaps the basic human desire to be part of a group, and the power of that affiliation, is so deeply linked to our instinct toward self-preservation that it can't be altered by the denial of the PC movement.

Either way, democrats are so fixated on racial, gender and other superficial differences that finding consensus seems beyond them.

How quickly Barack's candidacy has morphed from "transcendent" on the issue of race into a quagmire of division.

04/15/2008 - 12:33pm
How is it possible that Congressman Geoff Davis of Kentucky could be so relaxed and color blind as to refer to Barack Obama as "that boy?" It seems to me quite plausible that he views Barack as a peer, and as is so common in the south and in guy talk, he used the term without thinking twice. Otherwise, the guy's a moron.

"I’m gonna tell you something. That boy’s finger does not need to be on the button,” Davis said, according to an audio recording of the event that was obtained by The Hill. The lawmaker told the crowd that he participated in “closed, highly classified national security simulations” with Obama.

On the other hand, Davis made his remarks at a GOP fundraiser in Lexington, Kentucky. Barack made his condescending remarks at a fundraiser in San Francisco. Perhaps fundraisers are the place to go to express one's bitterness these days.

I'm disappointed that Davis didn't use the Obama apology technique. Instead of sending a slobbering grovel to Barack (
“my poor choice of words is regrettable and was in no way meant to impugn you or your integrity. I offer my sincere apology to you and ask for your forgiveness") he could have said, "I wish I had made my point more eloquently, but the larger observation I was articulating is true - Barack would make a lousy commander in chief."

Davis was referring to his experience with Barack at some sort of nuclear response exercise in which he viewed Barack as indecisive and spineless. This is from ABC News:

According to a Lexington Herald-Leader blog item, Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Ky., said Saturday that he had recently participated in a "highly classified, national security simulation" with Obama, and said that exercise showed that Obama can't be trusted to make difficult decisions.

"I'm going to tell you something: That boy's finger does not need to be on the button," Davis said. "He could not make a decision in that simulation that related to a nuclear threat to this country."

Davis went on to call Barack a snake oil salesman who is unqualified to be president. Tough to argue with that.

04/15/2008 - 12:23pm
Is it possible that the leadership in the democratic party is starting to have an appropriate level of fear over Barack as the nominee? Could it be that Hillary's argument to super delegates that he would not hold up to the scrutiny of a general election are penetrating the consciousness? Or maybe they've seen the cartoon or Barack standing in front of the mirror with John Kerry's image filling the glass?

A great question is raised by Miles Mogulescu at Huffinton Post: where is the party support for Barack? If they could argue for Bill Clinton that lying under oath about sex is an appropriate and legitimate form of perjury, they could easily argue that being elitist and condescending is okay in San Francisco on behalf of their presumptive nominee. What is going on?
04/15/2008 - 12:12pm
The weekend numbers from Gallup show no drop in support for Obama, who maintains a 10 point lead over Hillary for the democratic nomination. He has a two point lead over McCain in a head to head match-up, a statistical tie.

While the battle now is in Pennsylvania, and the results there could significantly affect the national polls in either direction, it is interesting to note the lack of impact on the rest of the country. Is it election fatigue, or has the story just not penetrated, or does the lack of video thus-far reduce the impact of Obama's gaff. Or are the Pennsylvania numbers below way out of wack?
04/14/2008 - 6:15pm
A new poll shows the primary race in Pennsylvania having swung from dead even a week ago to a 20 point Hillary lead over the weekend. *

This is the moment Hillary has been waiting for. Barack's second strike - the first was Jeremiah Wright - providing more fodder to her strategy of heading Barack off at the pass on electability.

Were she to win Pennsylvania by anywhere near 20 points next week, serious dems would be trembling at the thought that they'd have to start taking Hillary's argument more seriously - that is, Barack will get trounced in the fall.

* One caveat - I've never thought ARG to be the most reliable of pollsters, but that's just my gut.
04/14/2008 - 11:40am
Why didn't the dems grab John Kerry or Al Gore for another run at the White House?

Because you can't win the presidency with unappealing, liberal, elitist intellectuals who real people can't relate to. Democrats have known since the 1950's that they shouldn't nominate candidates who look and sound like liberals, but that generally was the only kind they had.

It wasn't until Bill Clinton came along that democrats found the model of a candidate who could play nationally. Liberal by nature, bright enough and well-educated enough to please the elites, he came with with a lust for livin' and lovin' that belied his policy wonk tendencies. Clinton and the New Democrats successfully argued that it was okay to offer up electable people.

And while he held office, democrats were happy with the compromise. Bill Clinton may not have felt right, but having power felt pretty good, so they were even willing to fight for his right to have sex with interns and to lie under oath about it.

And they were prepared to go another round with the Clintons, as much as it made some stomachs churn, if that's what it would take to toggle out of Bush mode.

But then the Messiah presented himself, and all that changed.

Barack was perfect. An intellectual Harvard elitist who didn't look like one. Someone who could construct an intelligent thought without sounding like he had just rung for the butler. Someone who had no track record to be held up to the American people and laughed at.

And, being black, no one could accuse him of being John Kerry.

Even if he was.

Last week, the tape emerged that burst the bubble. Barack in action, in front of the elite, talking like a true Harvard Man, chortling over how the little people cling to their guns and religion.**

And Hillary went into hyper speed, slapping Barack with lefts and rights and uppercuts and below the belts and anything else she could find in her repertoire.

And now she's found her best shot. She sees the opening. Here's what she said yesterday:

"We had two very good men and men of faith run for president in 2000 and 2004," Mrs. Clinton said at a forum on faith televised live on CNN last night. "But large segments of the electorate concluded that they did not really understand or relate to or frankly respect their ways of life."

Bang! There it is.

Barack is not the change candidate anymore. He's the same old same old.

John Kerry in racial drag.

There's talk of some video of Barack's "Kerry moment" sitting in a camera somewhere. If it surfaces this week to replace the barely audible audio, this story could really have legs.

Not enough to save the democrats from Barack.

But enough, when packaged with Pastor Wright and Tony Rezko, et al, to seal the deal for McCain in the fall.

** "Keep you doped with religion, and sex and TV. And you think you're so clever, and classless and free. But you're still fuckin' peasants as far as I can see." John Lennon, Working Class Hero
04/13/2008 - 1:17pm
Barack apologized yesterday for revealing his true feelings toward ordinary people, saying "obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that."

But he followed the Barack formula for dealing with this type of situation, and that is to reaffirm the truth of what he was intending to say rather than simply running from the entire thing, as people caught in the spotlight of misspeak so often do. They apologize, say they were stupid, and then never speak of it again.

Barack went for the cute move rather than the brave one. "The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so.''

Well, yes Barack, people are frustrated. But no, that's not what the controversy is about.

What's significant about Barack's words, and where he spoke them (in front of a group of rich San Franciscans who've already maxed out in gifts for Obama) is that they show where he sits as he looks at the frustrated ones and contemplates their frustration.

Barack was raised as your run of the mill indulged suburban liberal. This reality has been shrouded by his skin color, tricking folks into seeing him as more exotic and sophisticated and in possession of some sort of unique understanding of the human, and American, experience. They don't see the prep school indulged Columbia/Harvard kid whose entire "career" has not been so much about having a career but rather finding a way to become president. Anything that threatens to crack that veneer and allow folks to see him for what he is - a more appealing John Kerry who is substantially less qualified to be president - does risk unraveling the whole fantasy.

This misdirection trick looks like a mistake to me. You'll remember that it was used effectively with Pastor Wright. That controversy there wasn't one of race, it was one of judgment, but Barack knew that liberals, who are obsessed with race, would be so thrilled with his "courage" for addressing race head on in a speech they wouldn't even notice that it was a nice answer to the wrong question.

The downside of misdirection is also demonstrated by the Wright situation. The question of Barack's judgment vis a vis Wright remains unresolved, lying dormant until the general election, when it will again call into question on a very deep level just what kind of man Obama is. This is the failure of the strategy - while it might allow one to dodge for the moment, the doubts that are raised about the candidate remain unanswered.

Perhaps the Obama campaign doesn't quite get the significance of Barack's Botched Joke. The Washington Post today reports that campaign insiders say Barack is stunned by the uproar. Or maybe they feel that since there's only poor quality audio rather than nice vivid video like with Pastor Wright, the newscycle will be quick and the damage minimal.

Most likely, though, the Obama campaign is assuming that primary voters are easy enough to dupe, so they'll dupe them, and deal with the general election when it gets here. They're taking it one step at a time.

If the American public starts to get a sense of the true Obama story - bright guy, great marketer, but inexperienced in life and in politics - someone who makes very ominous judgments about the people he surrounds himself with and someone who appears to share his wife's very radical and elitist disdain for this country - then Barack's autumn will not be a happy one.
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