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January 29, 2008

Hablo Espanol?

How do the candidates of both parties stand in reaching out to Latino voters? Daniel Watson of InAnyLanguage breaks it down. Check it out, pretty interesting.

January 25, 2008

Whisper Campaign

Is that an angel in Romney's ear?

You be the judge.

January 24, 2008

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January 23, 2008

Mac and the "I" Word

It loks as if John McCain is now in a NY state of mind, and his bank account is better off for it. Has Mac become the "I" word? Jay says not so fast:


Now that he is the frontrunner, this is the problem that confronts John McCain. In every previous cycle in the modern era - the Republican who wins South Carolina wins the nomination. A big reason is that the victory in the South, the heart of the Republican's general election strength, signals who the favored candidate is. The rest of the candidates eventually recognize this, and they bow out. McCain won South Carolina, and he is better positioned now than he was a week ago - but the race is not over.

McCain is staunchly opposed by a vocal group of conservatives who view him as an unreliable maverick. You can hear their most prominent advocate on the radio every weekday from noon to three eastern. You can see them in the exit polls, which show that McCain has not yet won a (statistically significant) plurality of Republican voters, nor those who consider themselves "very conservative." In years past, opposition to the Republican frontrunner tends to fade away after South Carolina, with the supporters of the loser accepting that their guy can't prevail and reconciling themselves with the victor. But that does not seem to be happening this year. There is a faction of the party that seems unwilling to accept McCain. It might be able to stop him.

It should be clear from the nomination rules that somebody could find enough delegates to oppose McCain on the convention floor - even if he did not offer a serious challenge early in the process. From the unpledged delegates, to the delegates allocated by conventions, proportional allocation, and the congressional district delegates - there are a lot of ways to win convention support even as somebody else "wins" states. Eventually, an opposition candidate would have to break through with outright victories. He cannot win the Republican nomination underground - but the way delegates are allocated could keep the race close until he breaks through. Importantly, about 65% of South Carolina voters preferred somebody other than John McCain. This tracks with his standing in the national polls. So, the anti-McCain faction might have an audience - if it can find a candidate to rally behind. Also of importance: 95% of all delegates have yet to be allocated. And even after Super Tuesday, 45% will remain to be allocated. The faction has time to make its case.

I am not saying it will be successful. McCain has a very strong chance to win the nomination. One feather in his cap is that opposition to him does not cut cleanly along any ideological line. Rick Santorum is vehemently opposed to him, but Tom Coburn just endorsed him. Another asset is that the Republican delegate allocation system is much less charitable to losers than the Democratic scheme - this gives the opposition less time to get its act together.

January 22, 2008

Bill Gone Wild

Is there a method to the madness? Will we see more angry outburts from President Clinton? Ben Smith thinks so:


The logic is clear. Bill Clinton's approval rating stood at 79 percent among Democrats in one CBS poll this summer, and interviews with voters in the early states often find Democrats saying that her access to her husband's advice is a key reason for supporting Hillary Clinton.

"While some observes have warned the campaign not to allow the former president to 'steal the limelight,' [Bill] Clinton has the ability to validate the candidate and launch aggressive push backs on [Hillary's] opponents, including those of us in the media," said Donna Brazile, a former Clinton aide and CNN commentator who was recently one of his critics.

He's "a beloved figure in the Democratic party," she added.

What's still unclear is whether Bill Clinton's performances on his wife's behalf could wear thin over time, either with Democrats or in a general election contest, and possibly amplify complaints that her presidency would reprise the 1990s rather than look forward.

For now, there is one sure sign that his words are having their effect: Now Sen. Barack Obama, after absorbing the former president's assaults with a sort of bemused silence, has chosen to engage him.

"One of the things we're going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he's not making statements that are factually accurate," Obama said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

January 18, 2008

Mea Matthews


So Chris Matthews has apologized for his comments about Hillary Clinton. Was it enough? Steve Benen is unconvinced:


I found his contrition underwhelming. For one thing, Matthews didn't apologize willingly -- he insisted for nearly two weeks that his comments were perfectly appropriate, and only backpedaled when the network started feeling the heat.

For another, Matthews' apology made it sound as if his misogyny problem was limited to one anti-Clinton diatribe. It's not; his problem extends to other women, and has for quite a while.

What I'd hoped to hear is a sense that Matthews realizes that he's been disrespectful to women, and that he's finally ready to change his attitude. Instead, we heard one statement of contrition about one incident.

Matthews has a pattern of behavior. I got the sense that last night's mea culpa was, as far as he's concerned, the end of the controversy. In reality, it should be just the initial step.

January 17, 2008

Liberal Fascism: The Interview!

Here's NRO blogger/contributing editor Jonah Goldberg on The Daily Show (h/t to Think Progress for the footage):


Heir Disparate

Is Obama like Reagan? Yes, no and maybe, says Matthew Yglesias:


Obama is pretty unambiguously claiming that much as Reagan was a friendly, popular face of a much more conservative governing agenda than the country had seen before, he thinks he can be the friendly, popular face of a much more liberal governing agenda than the country has seen before.

Obama thinks -- as do a lot of people -- that the country may be primed for big change in 2008 the way it was in 1980 and that he's the kind of person who can sell the country on that sort of big change. He may be wrong, either in his assessment of the times or in his assessment of himself, but those are exactly the sort of claims you want to see a leader make on behalf of itself. Those who read the comments section here will know that strong John Edwards partisans like "Petey" frequently compare their man to Reagan, not because they're closet right-wingers but because they think Edwards can dramatically expand the popularity of progressive ideas.

January 16, 2008

Michigan

Much has been made this morning over Hillary Clinton's apparent failure to mobilize the African-American vote in Michigan. Is this a serious problem? Ben Smith doesn't think so:


In the background of the argument over race has been political strategy, and a glance at the demographics of the February 5 primaries is a reminder that while racial polarization could win South Carolina for Obama, he can't win as "the black candidate" on February 5.

Indeed, though African-Americans are an important minority in the coming Democratic primaries, they're outnumbered by Hispanic voters in the key state of California and others.


Also, check out Jay's Michigan analysis over at HorseRaceBlog.

January 15, 2008

Resuscitating Rudy?

Is Giuliani still in it to win it? Chris Cillizza says yes:


The reality is that the first nine months of this race overstated just how strong a frontrunner he was, while the last few weeks of surveys probably understate his chances at the nomination. National polls are helpful in determining broad trends within the electorate, but they tend to be less helpful in predicting the horse race as the numbers often sway in reaction to results in early states.

Another contributing factor to the perceived decline of Giuliani's campaign is that the 24-hour news cycle almost compels a granular approach to political coverage that accentuates the events of each day. Thus, the media often has trouble stepping back and seeing the broader picture in the fight for the nomination. Blogs like The Fix (sigh) further the idea that tomorrow is the most important day of any campaign, and, if not tomorrow, then certainly the day after tomorrow.

The truth of the matter is that the fundamentals that Giuliani needed to be in place to have a chance at the nomination remain. The GOP field is muddled, the wealthy candidate could be out of the race as early as Tuesday, and it is clear that Florida's primary will matter. The stories of an alleged fundraising shortfall have the potential to gum up the works for Giuliani, but it now seems likely that he will have the chance his campaign has long hoped for: To have a win in Florida mean something.

January 14, 2008

Roosting?

Are the chickens back in town to roost? Don Surber thinks so:


40 years of victimhood politics comes home to roost in the Hill vs. Obama race, er, battle.

The point of "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" was to point out that even white liberals have trouble with race.

40 years later, some people don't get it.

---

But the Carpetbagger's Report showed the anguish that I am guessing many libs feel: "I argued yesterday that both Clinton and Obama might have to avoid dealing directly with race or gender in order to win if not the primary, than the general election. It's looking more and more like that won't be possible."

Here's an idea. Instead of judging people by their chromosomes or pigmentation, why not judge them by the content of their character?

Dem On Dem Crime

From Liberty Pundit:


Is anyone surprised that the Democrats are the ones that have devolved into this ludicrousness? Rarely do primaries result in such party-on-party crime, but this election has no clear leader on either side, so everyone is pulling out all the stops. And, what do you get? Democrats being Democrats against each other. What normally is reserved for a general election (and what normally is reserved fro Republicans) is front-and-center among the Dems themselves. The whole thing is just absurd. The only interesting question left is: are Hillary and Obama really racist and sexist? Or, if not, have their baiting-tactics finally been exposed for what they are - bogus? In any event, it can't help either one of them come the general election.


Rarely do primaries result in such party-on-party crime? What about calling Catholics in Michigan, or whisper campaigns in South Carolina?

January 11, 2008

Reinforce, Don't Balance

From Chris Bowers of Open Left:


The tendency to seek "balance" on a Democratic ticket is a relic of the Dixiecrat era of the Democratic Party, when there was massive disconnect between the northern and southern wings of the party. While there are obviously still divisions in the party, current gaps simply do not compare to the chasms that once existed, where Huckabee's voters were about one-third of the party. We should resist the tendency to have our cake and eat it too, or to paper over differences in the party by throwing defeated primary opponents a Vice-President consolation prize. Rather than making our divisions the basis for forging our ticket, the Vice-Presidential nominee should instead serve to reinforce the rationale the Presidential nominee is offering for his or her candidacy.

Dennis The Menace

Ed Morrissey on the Kucinich re-count:


At least we have more confirmation about the thought processes of Dennis "UFO" Kucinich. He's going to spend at least $2,000 out of his campaign funds to conduct a recount based on Internet rumors. The total could run much higher than that, depending on the cost of the recount, and Kucinich -- who finished dead last -- would not benefit from any adjustment in the vote totals.

The one campaign that might, and who actually has the cash to pay for a recount, hasn't asked for one. Why not? Because the Barack Obama team doesn't make decisions by listening to the fever swamps. They understand that the difference between the machine-counted precincts and the hand-counted precincts is that the former tend to be in the bigger cities such as Nashua and Manchester where Hillary had significant polling leads before the primary. The hand-counted precincts were in areas known to be Obama territory.

Kucinich represents the lunatic fringe of the Democrats, but one might have thought that he'd have a little more sense than to indulge their fantasy life and validate their rumor mill. How did this man get elected to Congress at all?

January 10, 2008

Mitt's Money

Dean Barnett on the money bomb:


The Romney campaign had a national call day yesterday that was reminiscent of the call day last winter whose blockbuster success heralded Romney's arrival as a candidate to be reckoned with. Yesterday's haul was also pretty impressive - an estimated $5 million. But the numbers aren't quite as impressive when you dig into them a bit. Of the $5 million, $3.5 million are general election funds. They'll be of no use unless Romney wins the nomination.

The $1.5 million remainder that can be used for more pressing concerns like surviving beyond next Tuesday is still a pretty good take. Spencer Zwick, the Romney campaign's young fundraising guru, should find his services in great demand throughout the political world after the Romney campaign shutters its doors, be it sometime soon or after the general election.

As a Romney guy, what I find dispiriting about this story is that even facing the most crucial stretch of the campaign, a five day spell that the campaign may well not survive, the Romney campaign is still publicly talking process. Every other campaign with even an outside shot has long since settled on a simple message that it hammers repeatedly and exclusively. You know them all by heart: McCain's got the war experience. Obama is a new and exciting agent of change. Hillary's an old and boring agent of change. And yet lacking a unifying narrative, the Romney campaign still talks about fundraising activities.

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