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February 06, 2008

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Don't underestimate the anger, even if unstated, about how the HRC campaign treated Obama like the help rather an accomplished man.

We (African-Americans) are trained to withhold much of our anger at the dehumanizing system and culture we live under but that doesn't mean it's not there. HRC's campaign played on that and it angered many people.

I won't vote for HRC. It's not that I don't like her (although after her slimy attempt to grab get the FL amd MI delegates, I don't). It's because I think having 2 immediate family members run for the WH is a bad idea.

Why is HRC the establishment candidate after 1 term in the Senate? Because she lived in the WH. Where does most of her experience to make her ready from day 1 come from? She lived in the WH. Why is the most powerful democratic politician stumping for her? He married her. Why are many superdelegates supporting her? They owe her husband for past favors.

That kind of advantage isn't good for a democracy. To reward it twice in a row will vastly encourage others to try get around the term limits. I won't vote for McCain (although he scares me least of the republicans), but I won't vote for HRC either.

Jay: I didn't mean to downplay it. I mean, it angered me. Do you think it will lead to a large number of people staying home, and/or to a split in the party?

I think that you are basically right. If the decision is percieved as fair, the base will back the candidate.

There will be a significant loss to the party, however, if the choice is Clinton whether the choice is made fairly or not because it is Obama that appeals to new voters and independents. Clinton does not have that appeal and we can expect that those new folks who jumped on the Obama bandwagon will drop off if the choice is Clinton.

I hope that we can finaaly focus on electability. There just isn't any value in continuing the arguments about how i think this candidate is better because he/she meets my criteria. That's too ego-centered. We need to focus on the common goal of getting a Deomcrat inot the White House. So the question isn't "Which one do i like?" The question should be,"Which one is better for all of us because he/she can run a better race against mcCain?"

Of course the answer is Obama so I suppose I could be written off as just another egocentered partisan hiding behind a non-partisan pitch, but i'm not.

I've never given a damn about OPbama's charisma except that it is a good asset for our team.. I've never bothered to learn the differences between their health policies because Presidents don't write legisltion anyway. I forgive Clinton for being a Vichy Dem collaborator. I have been an Obama supportered since the convention of 04 because he can win. Everything that has happened i the primaries supports that contention: he has media support, he has an awesome ground game,he gets the essential independent vote and he won't turn out the rightwing base. Given that both candidates are somewhere between acceptable and excellent, electability is the only thing that matters, and that means Obama.

Speaking as one who has voted for a Democrat in every presidential election since being enfranchised, I would really have to hold my nose to vote for Sen. Clinton. But it's true I still would, rather than vote for any of the guys who seem to be competing for the Crazy Clown award on the Republican side.

I think it would split the party if Obama came in ahead in delegates and either the super-delegates chose Clinton or somehow FL & MI were seated.

I think that if HRC gets the nomination the AA vote will be slightly depressed just because of how she played this one. In a 50+1 strategy such as hers (when she can't pull indies and reps) that could be deadly.

one who has voted for a Democrat in every presidential election since being enfranchised

Me too! And I would be happy to vote for Clinton, though certainly not as happy as I would be to vote for Obama. I saw a poll just today that said approximately, "72% of Democrats said they would be satisfied if Clinton were nominated, 71% of Democrats said they would be satisfied if Obama were nominated". I don't see how you get a split in the party out of that.

The searing examples that people concerned about a convention fight probably have in mind are 1968 and 1972.

In the first case, party elites shut out insurgent Democrats, which cemented an already deep distrust of the party among young antiwar voters. Had 18- to 21-year-olds been able to vote in that election, in which the war was a major issue, they might well have stayed home. Certainly antiwar Dem politicians didn't go out and work their guts out for Humphrey; that convention left scars.

In 1972, the other side of the divison took its ball and went home after the convention. Rule changes that favored the grassroots over the party elite, an attempt to prevent another 1968, resulted in the nomination of McGovern. In that election many of the party elite and leaders of the power bases (particularly unions) sat on their hands.

Both primary-convention-campaigns intensified and hardened splits in the party.

I'm not saying that's the current situation, but it's within the living memory of my generation of Democrats (55- to 70-year-olds).

Hilzoy, in my month or so of reading posts here I have been astonished at the depth, detail, and good sense of what you write. I intend to refer as many people as I can to "Actually, I think we can" when the silly notion that Obama is only hype and pretty words, and no substance, comes up. (Or even when it doesn't. ;) ) And there have been many others quite as good.

But in this one, I detect perhaps...a little wishful thinking? A little projection of your calm and thoughtful approach onto people who don't operate that way? I'm not sure.

I wish I could be as hopeful as you, but then I'm one of those people (a lifelong Democrat but not a political junkie by any means, and pretty frustrated with, and mistrustful of, the whole 2-party system) who might well refuse to vote for Hillary. Though I'm not African-American, I too intensely dislike the way the Clintons treated Obama when it became clear that he was a significant threat to Hillary's march to the nomination. And there are other things....

Besides what I would consider to be principled decisions like the one Jay implies (and I am including righteous anger as a principled stance), there is a lot more sheer cussedness out there than I think you allow for. Think of the stories Gary told last night about how voters make their decisions!

[In the time it took me to write this comment, I got 2 phone calls and various other interruptions and a dozen other comments appeared that I haven't read yet. Sorry if I'm repeating stuff someone else has said.]

As always, you make concise commenting easy, Hilzoy: I agree.

See, that was simple.

Incidentally, it turns out that the high and exalted and ultra-powerful position I was elected to last night includes, as one of two Precinct Committee Persons, that I'm also now on the Party Central Committee of Boulder County, comrades!

Hail revolutionary solidarity! Raise high the banner of struggle against capitalism! May Glorious Marxism-Leninism triumph over the--

What's that?

Not that Party?

Oh.

Never mind.

But even in the Democratic Party, beware now the power of my wrath in Boulder County, as I use my awesome new powers to raise minions of the dead to vote for our candidates, and bend them to my will as zombie-master!

Morrissey:

" ... and create a huge firestorm in Denver..."

Yeah, it would be fun if Captain Ed and the republicans were in town instead.

After all, this sentence in an article in the Rocky Mountain News from a "businesswoman" who should know:

"It would be a lot better for the sex workers if it was the Republican convention," she said.

"We get a lot more business. I don't know if they're just frustrated because of the family values agenda."

This puts the entire idea of getting women off the welfare rolls and available for jobs of all sorts of such import for the Republican Party.

Word is they're putting in extra bathroom stalls at Denver International Airport, too.

Just in case Republican protesters show up from Colorado Springs.

"72% of Democrats said they would be satisfied if Clinton were nominated, 71% of Democrats said they would be satisfied if Obama were nominated". I don't see how you get a split in the party out of that."

How much of a split do you think you need? If only half the black vote splits off the Democratic party (which I suspect is less than 20% of the party--anyone have firm figures?) how much chance do you think Clinton has against McCain?

You don't need a 50/50 split of the party to have a complete disaster. Heck, anything that seriously threatens the black vote for Democrats in a general way is a big problem. How many more racial jabs from Bill Clinton do you think that will take if Obama wins the delegates and then loses? Are you sure that point hasn't already been crossed?

I'm not saying that they will vote for McCain. I'm saying that they just might not vote.

If Obama loses in the regular delegate count (barring crazy shennanigans from the Clinton campaign), I'm fairly sure that you can count on regular black turnout. But if it turns on super-delegates, or even worse on the Florida/Michigan disaster-in-waiting I don't think you can count on that. If even 1/4 of the regular black vote stays home, it is a disaster for Democrats.

And while I don't have any polls since there isn't any history, my gut would say that 1 out of 4 wouldn't be shocking.

Basically I guess I'm saying that you are focusing too much on 'split' as if it implied around half the party going to form another party or voting Republican. That isn't the scenario in question. But that doesn't mean that there aren't disaster scenarios which are more likely.

Kudos to JanieM.

Not everyone is as calm and rational as Hilzoy. Spoke with a dear friend yesterday who is a former Democratic State Party Chair who said he would vote for McCain if Hillary got the nod. She is simply not electable.

Name ONE STATE that she could plausibly add to the list of those carried by Kerry.

Um, folks, the Obama camp played dirty too (calling her the Senator from Punjab was a particularly classy touch - I can imagine the howls if the roles were reversed on that one).

But then, all politicians do. Yes, even Barack Obama (the man who doesn't go negative, other than when he does).

Though I would say that, compared to past races, this Dem primary has been pretty tame. Not that you'd know judging by the myriad tempests breaking out in teapots cross the country.

That being said, anyone that would actually stay home and help John McCain take the White House rather than vote for HRC is just...well have you been paying any attention to the past seven years!!!!!

For the love of all that's decent

(rips remaining clumps of hair from scalp)

"That kind of advantage isn't good for a democracy."

femdem, I agree entirely with your reasoning and grounds. Completely.

But in the end, if the choices are McCain or Clinton, I think sitting on one's hands is the kind of action and reasoning that got George W. Bush elected in 2000. Not for the same reasons, but the same reasoning that because both candidates were imperfect, that this therefore justified not voting for either, since the differences wouldn't be important enough to outweigh the imperfections of the less-bad candidate.

I hate voting for the lesser of two evils. Who doesn't? It's voting for something that's part-evil, after all.

Still. But. And in the end.

I am a lifelong Democrat and I have participated in every primary since Eugene mcCarthy ran > And I have voted for the party's candidate no matter how disappointed I was.

But, if Hillary gets this by cheating (seatng Florida and Michigan), I will devote myself exclusively to supporting down ticket races and I will not vote for President. I decided that a couple days ago,

she might be able to win me over, but right now i'm pretty sour on Clinton, for a number of reasons including the 'dynasty' issue, the unseated delegate thing, the GOP/media circus she'll guarantee, her AMUF vote, etc.. and given that i'm in a pretty solid Red state, i could take a pass on voting for her without worrying too much about the consequences (though i'd certainly vote Dem on the Congressional races). she'd be better than McCain in terms of policy, no doubt; it's the rest of the stuff that bugs me.

i'd for Obama in a second, even if i was in the reddest of the red states.

so, i'm dreading Clinton, and hoping for Obama.

Sigh.

You know that large portions of the Life of Brian were written as a critique of Leftist political movements.

Glad that we agree that our common enemy is...Hillary Rodham Clinton!

Keep this in mind: William Kristol actually preferred McCain to Bush in 2000.

Kristol thought Bush was too soft, and that only McCain truly understood what needed to be done in terms of foreign policy.

But hey, whatevs!

You know that large portions of the Life of Brian were written as a critique of Leftist political movements.

yes, we should learn to unify behind our candidates the way the right has unified behind McCain.

HA!

Well, they're not perfect, but if you compare track records over the past 30 or so...

Prevention's easier than healing. So if you're in one of the upcoming caucus/primary states, talk to your fellow Dems and interested independents (if your process is open to them) about the positives.

Use Hilzoy's post. Obama's real work for sunshine/transparency reforms has a particular appeal for independents. For hardcore Dems, emphasize the potential for building the party, by bringing in so many new participants, and what it could mean for the next twenty years of elections. Talk about the impact on down-ticket races of so many new Dem-leaning voters.

If Obama keeps gradually increasing his delegate lead, the superdelegates will go with him. Only a minority of pro-Clinton diehards are willing to risk the ugliness of a fight.

Gary, you have no idea how hard it is to even contemplate not voting for the presidency. I'd definitely go all out to help everyone down ticket- no question about it (because they'll need all the help they can get). But as Pub says, things don't change until politicians lose. If this becomes a winning strategy, then I foresee very bad things.

Yeah.

Help McCain win to change...formulas...about what wins?

I mean, after we showed Gore in 2000...uh, something and then something else...

The end.

Any democrat who choses not to vote in the general because of who is nominated is letting themselves, their neighbours and the rest of the world down.
No one can afford another republican administration.

How can that not be crystal clear?

The big thing for me is not the superdelegates, but if they come into the convention more or less tied and Clinton manages to force a seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates and they provide a 50-vote margin or so for her to get the nomination. Under those circumstances, I might very well be sufficiently dismayed and bitter as to rethink my willingness to accept Clinton.

I wouldn't underrate the bad feelings that a very close vote can leave in any circumstance. Maybe it's because I've drunk the Quaker Kool-Aid after teaching in a Quaker institution for so long, but there's something to be said for backing up and rethinking a vote when it starts to become clear that it's almost an even split, at least if it's an important issue. (And any time it is even, that's an indication that it's important to people: an unimportant question tends to be one where many people just ignore it or let it go forward in some form.)

In this case, they don't have the option of simply backing up and trying to figure out how to build consensus before the vote happens. But I don't think that either candidate should be too breezy or casual about the possible consequences if the losing group feels they were done in by a cheat or by some kind of conspiracy. This is particularly important in terms of carrying the House and the Senate as well: the Democrats very much need the assertive goodwill of Obama voters, not just their passive and disgruntled assent.

"...in an article in the Rocky Mountain News...."

Over here, John.

Sebastian: "If only half the black vote splits off the Democratic party (which I suspect is less than 20% of the party--anyone have firm figures?) how much chance do you think Clinton has against McCain?"

"If even 1/4 of the regular black vote stays home, it is a disaster for Democrats."

Sure, and if only three African-American voters ended up voting for Clinton, that would be bad, too.

And equally likely in this particular universe, so it's really interesting to speculate about.

If Clinton's the nominee, and there's more than a 6% drop in African-American turn-out over 2004, I'll eat my hat.

Eric: "Um, folks, the Obama camp played dirty too (calling her the Senator from Punjab was a particularly classy touch"

That's a pretty odd definition of "play[ing] dirty," it seems to me, Eric.

"Playing dirty" is caging voters, jamming phone banks, sabotaging the oppositions cars and phones and infrastructure, spreading outright lies surreptitiously, sending out phony campaign material, using government agencies such as the IRS and FBI against your opponents, break-ins, setting fires, and so on and so on. What Karl Rove did, what Donald Segretti, Dick Tuck, and Chuck Colson did.

It's not a mid-level campaign worker making a crack in a memo.

Loosely speaking, rhetoric, however dopey, wrong-headed, offensive, malicious, or even false, from a campaign, and "dirty tricks" are separate categories, I'd say.

And Nell's historical summary is accurate, as one would expect, but I have to say that I don't see the country as remotely near the level of tensions and violence of 1968 and 1972.

That was a period of endless rioting across the country, cities in flames, students being shot down, tanks on the streets of Washington, endlessly repeated mass demonstrations, violent suppression of demonstrations, killings of black leaders, COINTELPRO, an utter conviction in the White House, as well as among millions of opponents, that the country was on the verge of outright armed revolution, which, to some on both sides justified any means necessary, massive round-ups and arrests, people being held in RFK Stadium because no other site was large enough, and on and on and on.

Strife between Republicans and Democrats today, for all the hot rhetoric, is like a gentle breeze of lilacs, in comparison to 1968, or even 1972.

Wonkie, JanieM., allmaya's friend, and whomever Sebastian's been talking to
8( :

I'm absolutely sure Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson are bluffing when they say they'll vote for Clinton if McCain wins the nomination.

You three, being much higher caliber human beings, probably aren't bluffing when you say you will vote for McCain or not vote at all if Clinton gets the nod.

I respect that. Now let me light up 22 cigars and fill the room with the noxious smoke of pragmatism.

Or am I going to spend another four years wondering how it is that Republican candidates can be ruthless jerks and win all the time and Democratic candidates lose every time they show any sign of ruthless jerkitude?

Listen, the Clintons are punch-drunk is all. The bell rings and they throw left hooks.

Obama, should he come in second (I'm for him), will explain all of it to you repeatedly this Fall as he lets it go and helps Clinton beat McCain et al.

Rush will come around and therefore you must too.

You simply must. ;)

Eric, I said I was a lifelong Democrat, but that's a little misleading. "The party" as such is not particularly important to me. I don't believe in the abstract proposition that what's good for the Democratic party is good for the country. As for "the left" -- I care about that even less "left" than I care about being a Democrat as such. If I could dissect my beliefs about life and government, and had a book-length forum to do it in, the result would be some peculiar mix of "left", classic conservative, and libertarian. (And the fact that that sentence tells you almost nothing about my mix of beliefs is partly why I don't deal in any of these labels if it's left up to me.)

That said, I agree that the last seven years have been a horror. I am just not convinced that a Hillary Clinton presidency is going to be much better. I am with femdem on the dynasty thing. To say I have been underwhelmed by the accomplishments of a Democratic-majority Congress since the 2006 elections would be a vast understatement. I also don't think Hillary is all that "left." As I've written before in a comment, her possible effect on gay-related issues is a case in point. People keep implying that Hillary will be great for gays. I beg to differ. I think she and Bill use gays the way Rove uses the religious right: cynically. So although in some policy sense I think it would be better to have Hillary than McCain, in other (and mostly longer term and bigger picture) senses I'm not sure it's a net plus.

I also think she's temperamentally prone to some of the same faults Bush exhibits: an inability to admit a mistake, for once thing.

Finally (for now), the reason I am so impressed with Obama is stories like the one Hilzoy told about the Illinois legislation requiring taping of interrogations, and how he went about getting it passed. That has nothing to do with his being a "Democrat." It has to do with the kind of person he is. If there was a reasonably center-oriented Republican who operated like that, I would choose him(/her, ha ha) over a strongly partisan and damn-the-opposition Democrat any day.

No one can afford another republican administration.

Oh come now, those poor shlubs on food stamps and otherwise reliant on government assistance to survive can tough it out for another 8 years if that's the price that must be paid so that we can all prove our purity as true progressives. Collateral damage.

And Syrians and Iranians can, how does one say, learn to live with the smell of napalm in the morning because, well, HRC ran a nasty campaign and she offended my sensibilities.

Crikey. Real people's lives will be measurably worse (or cease to exist) under John "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain.

Doesn't that trump?

I agree with Tim, as usual, as well.

I'd also like to re-emphasize what I said here, which is that Ed Kilgore points out some very real problems with the situation if there isn't a definite nominee at least a couple or more weeks before the convention.

It's not like President Bartlett is available to settle who runs the convention, vets the speeches, orders the speakers, and so on. Neither will Howard Dean suddenly acquire magic powers to command the rest of the DNC -- superdelegates all -- to do his bidding.

This needs highlighting. It's important.

I think that Clinton can count on a very large majority of Democratic Obama supporters voting for her in the general election. Whether it's "assertive goodwill" as opposed to "passive and disgruntled assent", depends, & it will matter a lot for turnout etc.

Sorry, Eric, but everyone knows Jeb is the smarter, saner brother. In 8 years, everyone will remember the recession didn't start until the primaries and Rush will swear it was fear of a democrat nomination. And David Brooks will avow if only we'd done what George wanted we'd be sending our children to Iraq for summer camp (with ponies).

OTOH, I'll work my hiny off in Ohio for Obama this month.

Eric, I said I was a lifelong Democrat, but that's a little misleading. "The party" as such is not particularly important to me. I don't believe in the abstract proposition that what's good for the Democratic party is good for the country.

I could care less about "the party." I'm not a party apparatchik, just a concerned citizen. Screw the party, give me a good candidate.

That said, I agree that the last seven years have been a horror. I am just not convinced that a Hillary Clinton presidency is going to be much better.

Yes, I'm familiar with these arguments. I heard them in 2000 when people were comparing Bush to Gore and explaining why they were voting for Nader. Made about as much sense then.

If you honestly can't distinguish between McCain and Clinton, I doubt my showing you their respective records and policy positions is going to do much good. As for how "left" she is, she's pretty close to Obama and pretty far from McCain.

To say I have been underwhelmed by the accomplishments of a Democratic-majority Congress since the 2006 elections would be a vast understatement. I also don't think Hillary is all that "left."

Um, where do you think Obama was during that time period. Answer: in the Senate voting in near lockstep with Hillary.

I think you are underestimating the amount of bitterness if Clinton wins in a smoke-filled room. If HRC wins fair and square, I am likely to vote for her in the general. But it wasn't all that long ago that shenanigans in Florida threw a Presidential election in favor of a candidate with a big family pedigree. I find myself gagging at the thought of allowing it to happen a second time.

Sure femdem.

Or we can keep electing Republicans in hopes that Democratic politicians will grow more emboldened and move farther left. That should work.

Eric, I have disliked Hillary forever, so the snark about Iranians and napalm all because some people got offended by a "nasty campaign" is not to the point. As far as the campaign goes, it isn't just the nastiness, it's what the nastiness is in service of. I simply don't believe it's in service, at bottom, of values I agree with. But that's a can of worms I'm not going to open here and now.

John Thullen -- cigar smoke gives me a headache, which makes me very crabby and ever more stubborn. You will have to find some other way to approach the question of a change of heart this fall. ;)

"Sure, and if only three African-American voters ended up voting for Clinton, that would be bad, too.

And equally likely in this particular universe, so it's really interesting to speculate about."

You have an odd vision of statistics if you think that is equally likely. I would guess that my scenario is in the 30-50% range of possibility. Big error bars, I know. People are wacky, and when they feel betrayed they do wacky things. And Clinton isn't exactly known for being able to help people get past feeling betrayed (and that included Democrats).

There are non-black people who comment right here on this blog who suggest they will be staying home if Clinton wins through certain tactics. I suspect our Democratic-party inclined commenters here are more committed Democratic voters than the average Democratic voter. So why do you think something that could change their mind isn't likely to change other people's minds?

I will be blunt: it is selfish for people to insist that THEIR favorite get the nomination when their favorite is the least electable. It's the people who insist in the face of all reason that we MUST MUST MUST nominate Clinton that are harming the party.

Obama not only can beat McCain, but he will have coattails. I keep thinking of gary Trauner who drove his station wagon around Wyoming, on an Internet-financed campaign to be Wyoming's first Democratic Rep in forever. he almost won. He is trying again. If we nominate Obama and he continues to draw independets and new voters to ourside Trauner will likley win (he's four points ahead right now)

Howefer if the Hillary partisans have their way, the independents won't voe D at the top, there won't be an influx on new voters and the rightwing will go out to vote against the lady they hate so much. An we end up losing races like Trauner's.

Maybe someone who is a Hillary partisan can explain why it is so imperative she gets the nomination, even though the result is likely to be a loss or at very best a very narrow victory with no coattails. Seems to me that the difference between Hillary and Obama would have to be very, very substancial to justify choosing Hillary, given the problems inherent in a Hillary candidacy. I've read pleny of pro-Hillary posts and i don't accept "She's a woman like me!" or " I don't believe in Obama!" or "I like her health plan" as being reasons that are substantive enough to justify losing the election and/or losing the coattails.

Eric, if it were any other politician in the world I'd vote for the democratic candidate. But not Clinton. She'll make a fantastic Leader of the Senate, but not president of the US. It has nothing to do with not liking her or her policies, but in what kind of precedent we set for the next few decades.

Convince me it's not bad for the country to allow families to set themselves up to hold onto the WH for decades and I'm willing to listen. But so far I haven't heard anything telling me why McCain with a dem congress would be worse than the precedent.

And she's funding this run with money she made from books that were written because she was the ex-president's wife.

Eric -- I didn't say I couldn't distinguish between Clinton and McCain on policy. Also, the more snippy and superior you get about how stupid my choices are, the less likely I am to change my mind because of anything you say. John Thullen's cigars have a better chance.

I don't want to pile on, and since I made the point in the first place, it should be clear, but for the sake of redundancy, I'll say that I firmly agree with Eric's 04:30 PM and 04:37 PM.

The reasons given for not voting for Clinton are good reasons.

But ultimately not good enough, in my view, when we look to what the results would be.

I want a massive first strike on letting the perfect be the enemy of the adequate, or even the less bad.

And I want people horrified by Clinton to ramp up their examination of McCain's policies like mad.

Or, to put it a touch less demandingly, I urge people to ramp up their examination of McCain's policies.

:-)

(Sorry; my massively awesome new political powers are going to my head today.)

femdem -- thanks for the 4:48 point. I wasn't able to articulate it, but it relates to me sense of bigger picture and longer term tradeoffs, that go beyond policy for the next 4 years.

Hilzoy - though I think you underestimate the visceral dislike thing and its ability to keep people at home, I think you're right about the unlikelihood of a serious Democratic fracture. Apparently, superdelegates have never yet changed the "decision" of the pledged delegates. True, they haven't been around long enough for one to be totally sure, but it's a good bet that they'll toe the line.

The big problem is the time that a tight Democratic race is going to buy the Republicans, assuming McCain wraps things up quickly. He'll have time to court the Dobsons and Limbaughs, and the whole party will have time to adjust, align and organize. In this scenario, the Democrats are going to want Obama's independent appeal (and his ability to win Southern states given good turnout).

In my completely unscientific research, I have come across several people, democrats and independents, who say they would NOT vote for Hillary Clinton.

I can't bring myself to go that far, but I certainly won't go out and campaign for her the way I have been for Obama. I am tired of the Democratic party taking progressives for granted (or whining about spoilers from leftist third parties instead of considering WHY voters might want to leave the Dems in the dust).

"Or, to put it a touch less demandingly, I urge people to ramp up their examination of McCain's policies."

But for heaven's sake, only if you are a Democrat. And do it privately. In public, keep talking about McCain's views on torture, immigration, and campaign finance reform.

It would be a nightmare if the Rebubs win because admiration for Obama turned into a cult of personality.

Although I once said I would not vote for Clinton and could actuallu see myself voting for McCain, I have since reconsidered and would definitely vote for Clinton. And I think most, although not all Democrats would do the same.

But, unfortunately, a lot of fringe voters who really like Obama, but perceive (improperly, I admit) that McCain is a moderate Republican, will probably vote for McCain over Clinton. I am not saying that would necessarily mean that Clinton would lose, but her victory, if it happened would be by a narrow margin.

Secondly, as was pointed out upthread, I believe that with Obama, we would have a lot more lower ticket victories.

With Clinton, there would be many voting for the Republican candidate for Congress just to have a firewall.

So, although I agree with hilzoy that the party would not come undone, the possible ramifications are considerable.

And keep in mind that, although the media appears to have a love affair with McCain, they have as big if not bigger a love affair with Obama and this would be important during the campaign.

JanieM and FemDem:

I don't mean to be getting snippy. I apologize.

By all means, back Obama to the nines in the primaries. I'm not a Clinton partisan. I like them both immensely as choices.

But this stuff I'm hearing about backing McCain worries me (or not backing McCain's opponent be she HRC).

My sister is in the US Army. One of my best friends just got back from his second tour in Iraq. John McCain is one of the, if not the most, militaristic politician in America. Bar none. Consistently.

http://americanfootprints.com/drupal/node/3891

He wants to permanently occupy Iraq, and has indicated that he would like to start a few more wars. If he wins, both my sister and friend have a much better chance of being put in harm's way. I am not alone in this predicament by any stretch, but it is personal.

Outside of the personal, the people of Iraq will suffer even more, and there's a good chance that the Iranians and/or Syrians will get a taste of McCain's warlust. His presidency could easily lead to hundreds of thousands of more deaths by US military action.

On the domestic side, his economic policies are ruthless and would greatly harm the most vulnerable Americans among us. Tax cuts for the wealthiest would continue, wealth disparity expand and the dollar would continue to weaken under the burden of tax-cut/war fueled deficits.

The Supreme Court justices that he would nominate would seriously jeopardize Roe, set back civil rights, the ability of government to regulate industry and other important judicial precedents/issues.

The environment and global warming would get some lip service, and some half measures, but mostly go ignored in favor of big biz.

I just can't fathom looking at all those distinctions and not voting for Hillary. Even if you haven't liked her for a very long time.

The one argument that sways me is the potential for dirty tricks with MI and FL delegates - somewhat. Otherwise, the stakes are simply too high to make a quixotic stand. At least for me because I have at least two dogs in this fight.

Actually, two dogs that I want to keep out of the fight.

"I suspect our Democratic-party inclined commenters here are more committed Democratic voters than the average Democratic voter."

I'm not sure about this. More likely to vote & more liberal, but your average primary voter in a closed primary state may identify with the Democratic party far more than I do. A lot of young liberal activists feel betrayed by & bitter towards the party establishment; it's a mistake to assume that this is pervasive.

The bitter young liberal activists will, if they remember 2000, vote for the nominee anyway, but if Clinton wins ugly at the Convention they might not volunteer, donate, nag all their friends to register & vote, etc., which would depress turnout somewhat among people who are less likely to vote at all.

This would be bad--it's especially bad long-term. It is every bit as naive & entitled for the party to expect to suffer no ill consequences for alienating their activist base as it is for activists to stay home or vote for McCain out of spite. But it's not because we're representative or more loyal Democrats. Most Democratic primary voters REALLY LIKE Bill & Hillary Clinton, a hell of a lot better than I do.

I can't really speak to black turnout. Bill Clinton pissed some people off, no doubt, but I'd guess that the main issue is that they're voting for Obama instead of against Clinton. I'd guess African American turnout will be noticeably lower if Obama loses than if he wins, especially if things get ugly, but I don't see a real reason for it to drop below 2004 levels. The thing is, we want to do BETTER than 2004 at getting out our votes.

Oh, and to amplify my point about the fringe voters. I have three family members who would definitely vote for Obama but against Clinton.

They will even be open and say that they don't agree with Obama's policies to a great degree, but that he represents a better possibility for actually turning this country around.

hilzoy, I can quite literally count on one hand the number of times I disagree with you. But this is one of those times. I really do think the convention is a risk.

If HRC wins out and the perception is that she cheated (let's say she manages some way of seating the phantom Florida delegates), it will nuke her image for the general election. It will depress turnout. It will demoralize the party. And it will energize Republicans. She's worked very hard to change her image into something other than cutthroat, and it all came down like a house of cards in South Carolina. Note also that the likelihood that there is a perception that she cheated is probably far greater than the likelihood that really does in fact do something so objectionable as to rightly be called cheating.

If Obama wins in a smoke-filled room (who still smokes?), the story will just be that the upstart cleverly outmaneuvered her, and it may actually help him. If she wins by the same means, there will be howls of anger from all sides. I think you are underestimating the number of Democrats who don't much like the Clintons but like what they do for them, like the fact that they are on their team, so to speak. Those people will peel (with all the anger and rage characteristic of the betrayed) the moment that Machiavellianism is turned against them.

I think you are also underestimating how much animosity these campaigns and their supporters will grow between now and the convention if it stays close. It might not be there today, but it will be there by August. Obama and HRC might be above it. Their supporters won't be, and we are talking about their reactions, not the candidates'.

Put it this way. These elections are awfully close. I know I'm voting for HRC over any Republican, and I'm not staying away from the polls come November. But HRC is starting to make me nauseous. Paying for her own campaign. Her defensive and bullying spokespeople. Her self-serving tactics of selective enfranchisement/disenfranchisement. She's turning my stomach. But I'm still voting for her. For every five people like me who are still voting for her, I bet you there is one who stays home on election day. An ugly convention will make Dems feel exactly what Republicans have felt about her for 15 years now.

The convention I think has a chance of crippling Clinton, less so Obama. It is a double standard, for certain.

Oddly, I find myself agreeing with everyone, even the people who disagree with me. :)

Just to be clear: I think that nominating Clinton would be a big, big mistake for us. Supposing for the sake of argument that she gets the nomination in an underhanded way, I will personally be furious, and I do not expect that I will be alone.

On the other hand, I also believe three things: (1) fury or no fury, the differences between Clinton and McCain (or any other plausible Republican candidate) are huge; (2) most of the things that might tempt people to stay home are things where the Republicans are likely to be much, much worse; (3) Democrats have been, um, seasoned by the last seven years to the point where our pragmatism is probably at its apogee, and our tendency to let the perfect be the enemy of the good is at its lowest ebb.

Clinton voted for the AUMF, Kyle-Lieberman and with the Republicans against
any restriction on the usage cluster bombs
.

The victims of these weapons are estimated by the IRC to be 98% civilians including a lot of small children just running around the neighbourhood.

And yet, she voted against this rather timidly worded amendment, so she voted for continuing the practice of using weapons that kill indiscriminately and turn whole countries into minefields for years to come.

So, sorry hilzoy: I don't think she's "perfectly acceptable".

I wish it were different, I'm not animated by any irrational Clinton hatred. But one cannot just brush this off, one has to face the facts and conclude what that will mean for her foreign policy - to me that doesn't look good at all.

Eric -- apology happily accepted. I will take what you wrote and put it into the mix when decision-time comes. It's a long way to November. Maybe Obama will win the nomination and it won't be a hard decision after all.

I will admit, the support for Obama is stronger than I expected. And it woke my cynical ass up! However, I still believe race is still a factor in American culture…and I suspect there are more people who will not vote for a Black person. Whatever negatives Clinton may have will pale in comparison to the folks who will never feel comfortable telling pollsters that they will vote for a Black person.
I don’t believe folks who tell me they would vote for Obama over McCain, yet will not vote for Clinton over McCain.
The whole Republican Party is corrupt and degenerate…Rove and Bush and the folks who supported them for the last 7 years make Clinton look like a girl scout.

And I am a 37 year old Black Latino who voted for Obama. I don’t agree that Blacks will stay home if it’s a rough and tumble convention. The black communities of the US have experienced worse. Sh!t, Katrina makes an Obama loss look like a picnic.

"Oddly, I find myself agreeing with everyone, even the people who disagree with me. :)"

Which is why everybody loves you so much.

Again, if Clinton were to lose even 5% of the vote of Democrats, I would be surprised. And I don't think McCain can count on the Republican turnout that Bush received.

So in that sense I agree with you original premise. The problem comes if she is "perceived " to have stolen the nomination from Obama. That would be used against her in the general, both by the media and the Republican establishment.

It may not totally split the Democrats, which is where Morrisey is wrong, but it would cause major problem with the people who view themselves as Independents.

I think Obama will take the nomination.

But if he doesn't, unlike a lot of the good people around here, I'll vote for McCain before Hillary.

Why? She will cement opposition to every positive step that needs to be taken. Without her, the republicans suddenly forget they ever supported torture (who, us?). With her, torture becomes all-American and necessary (for the children) just because Hillary opposes it.

McCain is a frightening moron, but he'll at least produce a few positive changes. With Hillary, I think we get stuck reliving Bush years but with new faces.

If the national election was run like a caucus, (where Obama seems to do better) I would take back what I wrote; however in the quite and lonely space of a voting booth Black candidates still face white privilege.

Faraz, do you really think the GOP will start backing progressive policies because McCain is president.

?

Also: If Hill has one or both Houses, it won't matter what the GOP opposes.

Sorry, should have read...

Whatever negatives Clinton may have, THEY will pale in comparison to the folks who will never feel comfortable telling pollsters that they will NEVER vote for a Black person.

hilzoy,

I think you've made a very strong case that informed rational democratic voters will hold their noses and turn out for Clinton if she wins through...questionable mechanisms. I want to believe that. My problem is that I don't think most voters are either informed or rational.

Your analysis seems to presuppose that voters are motivated by candidates stances on issues, but I believe that many voters are essentially ignorant of candidates stances and instead project their own issue preferences onto their preferred candidates. I think this is especially likely to happen to someone like McCain: thanks in part to the press, we can already see that his public image bears little resemblance to his actual positions.

Moreover, I believe that there is some cognitive science or behavioral economics research suggesting that many disaffected democrats would not view staying home on election day as helping McCain. In other words, people tend to distinguish affirmative actions to vote for the bad guy from doing nothing. I'll have to check for cites later, but basically, I don't think most people are going to conclude that failing to vote is the same thing as helping McCain to victory (even though it is).

Eric -- apology happily accepted.

Thanks for that. I'm not usually so damn snarky.

Contrary to publius, I kind of detest the primary season.

Plus: I'm taller than him.

Faraz, do you really think the GOP will start backing progressive policies because McCain is president.

Not at all. I'm apparently uninformed and irrational but not crazy.

But I do think that more progressive policies will be passed with McCain as president than with Clinton.

For me it's simple. Obama represents a new type of politics. One that doesn't appeal to partisan identity politics, one that reaches across the aisle, not for reasons of political maneuvering, but because sometimes the other side of the aisle has some half-decent ideas, one that won't resort to dumbing down the electorate in order to score points for themselves or they're party.

Bush just oozes all these qualities whenever he speaks and it disgusts me. Hillary and Bill don't wear it on their sleeve like Bush, but they keep it in their back-pocket at all times. And it's the type of politicking that will only beget more and more right-wing hysterics that we saw in the 90's.

Andrew Sullivan put it best:

I've long believed that the core truth of the 1990s was as follows: the main culprits of the culture war were the emerging Christianists, but the Clintons made things far worse, and unnecessarily so, by the style of their politics and the extent of their narcissism. For many Democrats, successfully and understandably polarized into partisan mode, the Clintons' flaws were instantly forgiven compared with the malignancy of their enemies. Understandably so. But the upshot is: many Democrats and liberals never fully absorbed what drove the rest of us up the wall. Now, one gets the feeling, they're beginning to see it more fully.

Bottom line: I won't vote for Hillary in the election. I realize that policy-wise, Hillary and Barack are practically identical. But the "change" that Obama brings to the table is completely incompatible with everything the Clintons have come to represent, and I'd rather have 4 years of McCain with a Democratically controlled house and senate, than to affirm a bad choice for an entire generation. I think it's important to the future of this country that Democrats draw the line in the sand with their own candidates...as it's painfully obvious that the Republicans aren't mature enough to take the first step themselves.

Not at all. I'm apparently uninformed and irrational but not crazy.

I never called you any of those.

But I do think that more progressive policies will be passed with McCain as president than with Clinton.

How?

Just let me see if I understand the premise:

McCain gets elected with a Dem controlled House and Senate, and they pass more progressive legislation than would Hillary with a Dem controlled House and Senate.

Why? Why wouldn't the a Dem White House and Dem Congress work together better than the Dem Congress and McCain?

Or is it that McCain and a GOP controlled House and Senate would be more progressive than Hillary with the same Congress?

Why? Why would a GOP Congress and GOP White House produce more progressive legislation than a split government? Keep in mind, the GOP controlled Congress and the White House through most of Bush's tenure. Bill Clinton had a split government for most of his.

Do you think the Bush years produced more progressive laws than the Bill Clinton years?

Those are sincere questions. I just want to understand your argument.

Sounds like whistling past the graveyard to me. I'd say it's possible to avoid a meltdown - via one candidate or the other graciously backing out in a negotiated compromise - but any sort of backroom shenanigans carries a significant risk of a meltdown, particularly if Obama is the one shut out (say goodbye to all those new voters as well as a significant number of blacks, say hello to the Walter Mondale coalition, version 2.0).

"But I do think that more progressive policies will be passed with McCain as president than with Clinton."

How? Why?

Would this also have worked with Nixon/McGovern, Ford/Carter, Reagan/Carter, Reagan/Mondale, Bush/Dukakis, Bush/Clinton, Dole/Clinton, Bush/Gore, Bush/Kerry? We get more progressive policies passed with the Republican than with the Democratic President?

Or is this year or set of candidates special somehow? If so, how?

"Andrew Sullivan put it best"

With all due respect to him, Andrew Sullivan is certifiably insane on the topic of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton.

"...and I'd rather have 4 years of McCain with a Democratically controlled house and senate, than to affirm a bad choice for an entire generation."

"...and I'd rather have 4 years of Bush, than to affirm a bad choice for an entire generation by voting for Gore. We must teach a lesson by voting for Nader. I can't vote for Gore. It'll be for the best, you'll see."

someotherdude: I don’t believe folks who tell me they would vote for Obama over McCain, yet will not vote for Clinton over McCain.

I understand why you would say that, but look at the demographics Obama has been winning.

As an R who went I for a while now back to an R, I’m leaning towards Obama, but there’s no way I’ll ever vote for Clinton or McCain. If Obama gets the nomination there is a good chance he’ll get one more vote in the general. If Clinton gets it, the best case is that I won’t cancel out hilzoy’s vote.

On domestic policy I don’t see much daylight between Obama and HRC. It’s a given I’m not going to like many of the domestic policies either of them push. Yet I can still see past that to possibly vote for Obama.

My reasons for not voting for McCain are likely much different than most people here. But at least some of the reasons I won’t vote for HRC seem to be shared by others here.

The dynasty bit – and frankly I think that anyone who has structured their entire life around winning the presidency needs to be kept far far away from the Oval Office. I’m not sure what makes people believe that she will roll back executive powers. I’m not sure what makes people think she would never get us into a new war. I think that she and McCain are about even there, and as the first woman president she will be under enormous pressure to prove that she can hack it as CiC, that she is not afraid to use military power where it seems appropriate. Finally I just have a deep visceral dislike of the woman that nothing is going to change. I can’t be scared into it with “McCain will be 4 more years of Bush” because I believe that HRC will be 8 more years of Bush, only more secretive.

In any case the surest way to actually turn out Republicans to vote, and to convince Independents to vote R, is to nominate HRC. As well as the presidency Republicans will get at least one house of Congress back IMO.

I don’t believe folks who tell me they would vote for Obama over McCain, yet will not vote for Clinton over McCain.

You should. I'm one of them, and judging from the exit poll data that shows both McCain and Obama have more appeal to centrists and independents than Clinton, it seems I'm not alone.

Why? Why wouldn't the a Dem White House and Dem Congress work together better than the Dem Congress and McCain?

Bill Clinton, 1992-94, leaps to mind...

"But I do think that more progressive policies will be passed with McCain as president than with Clinton.

How?"

Because McCain isn't deeply opposed to all sorts of media-liked progressive things and he is willing to work with the other side on them. (See McCain-Feingold, though that is the kind of thing that makes me want to not vote for him). If you believe that there is a chance for serious health care reform under a narrowly divided Congress plus Clinton (my guess is is a low but non-zero chance) you could probably get it through McCain as well. McCain doesn't have super-strong views on most domestic policy issues. If Congress passes a good bill, I seriously doubt he'd veto it. And that is how he is with most domestic issues. Unless you believe that Hillary Clinton is going to be harnessing the power of her charisma to get it passed when it wouldn't pass otherwise (and unless you additionally believe that she would be able to do that from the Presidency but not from the Senate) she isn't some sort of huge plus from a progressive point of view.

Which may lead you to ask why a historically Republican voter like myself would vote for Obama, when he has most of her policy plus charisma. But that isn't understanding what motivates my conservatism. It isn't that I hate poor people and want them to go without health care. I just don't want to throw away the successes in an attempt to change it all. Obama strikes me as someone who will listen to conservative objections, take them to heart, and when he thinks it is appropriate make modifications. That is what good politics should be.

Clinton isn't like that at all. She is pig-headed, and her last attempt at health care illustrated that--where her infighting with Democrats who had a slightly different vision than hers was as vicious as it was with Republicans.

I'm willing to take a risk on a politician who disagrees with me but will listen. Hillary is proven to disagree with me, and we know she won't even try to listen.

"With all due respect to him, Andrew Sullivan is certifiably insane on the topic of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton."

Wow, I've never seen Gary do ad hominem. Was the quote certifiably insane? Do you even disagree with it?

"With all due respect to him, Andrew Sullivan is certifiably insane on the topic of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton."

Ok. But what about the substance of what he said? Yes, Sullivan loathes the Clintons, but not without reason, unfortunately. I say unfortunately, because I am one of those liberals who thought he got a completely raw deal in the 90's, and it was because of this that I was able to overlook many of their antics or chalk it up to Clinton Derangement Syndrome. But I have to acknowledge that on many levels where I have criticized the Republicans, and more specifically the Bush Administration, there are clear parallels with the Clintons. There was Hillary's healthcare plan dumped on the Democratic Congress without being open for debate (Cheney's energy bill, anyone?), their cynical use of homosexuals (Bush and the religious right), Bill's Chinese influence (Bush's Saudi influence), Sandy Berger's documents down the pants, and on and on.

Yes, a lot of these and other issues were blown completely out of proportion or were outright lies by the right-wing smear machine. But the Clintons were not entirely innocent, and during this primary campaign, all of their flaws have become painfully obvious to me and many others.

As someone who concentrates more specifically on policy, I can see why you are willing to overlook this in Hillary. But I feel this country is hurting not as much because of specific policies, as much as it is from a dysfunctional, partisan political process. A vote for McCain might drag out this hurting for the next four years before he's replaced or dies, but a vote for Hillary would not only entrench the dysfunctional political processes, but exalt them as a means to pass through these corrective policies, which will only taint the policies in the long-run.

As for your second point:
"...and I'd rather have 4 years of Bush, than to affirm a bad choice for an entire generation by voting for Gore. We must teach a lesson by voting for Nader. I can't vote for Gore. It'll be for the best, you'll see."

Enough snark. The state of this country right now is 180 degrees from where we were in 2000. And McCain is 180 degrees from Bush. And our electorate has moved 180 degrees from the right to the left. All of which is to say that we gave the presidency to a complete and utter moron with no concept of how the real world works, then we gave him a congress that would let him do anything, and then to top it all off, after 9/11 the people did the same. McCain for all his faults, at least has some integrity, and more importantly, he will be given very little leeway by either the congress or the people.

But I do think that more progressive policies will be passed with McCain as president than with Clinton.

How?

First, if Hillary is the nominee, I think there's a good chance that we will lose one or both houses of congress. However, I believe that this holds whether or not that is the case.

Let's take two concrete examples: health care and global warming.

Health care: the very fact that government intervention in the health market is derided as Hillarycare should give you a good picture of how any policy discussions with Clinton in the white house will go. For republicans or swing district democrats to support reform will require a good deal of political cover only possible with a certain degree of bipartisanship. The pure hatred that many republicans have for Hillary in relation to health care in particular simply makes that impossible.

With McCain in office, there is still enormous pressure for action to be taken, but compromise remains possible. More, he gives inherent cover for moderate republicans since, if he doesn't veto, he becomes the republican face for the policy, and if he does they pay a far lower cost for working with democrats.

Let's say, 1% chance of positive change with Hillary, 20% with chance with McCain.

On global warming, McCain has explicitly said that action needs to be taken. This in and of itself changes the nature of the debate on this subject in this country. With McCain's support, we could potentially peel off half of the republican representatives and more of the senators for direct action on this. Those numbers are important because it's enough of a margin to leave room for solid policymaking rather than ugly compromises.

With Clinton in office, the Republicans will harden their positions on this just because she supports action. Although it's difficult to imagine them sticking their heads farther into the sand, I think we'll see it.

Odds of solid action being taken on this issue under Clinton: 25%, under McCain 75%.

Anyway, you asked for how I was looking at this, and there are two quick examples. Obviously there's a certain amount of hand waving here as I predict the future, but hopefully it provides a footing for continuing the discussion.

Eric, no apology necessary- I didn't see you as being snarky at all. And I was serious. I'm willing to be persuaded, but it's going to take cold, hard logic to get me to believe McCain with a congress of democratic vertebrates would be worse than a 3rd Clinton administration.

“…between Super and Perfectly Acceptable.”

In case we haven’t noticed, the Clintons have cleared $150,000,000 in the past couple months ($130,000,000 for a Uranium deal in an Ex-Soviet Union state and $20,000,000 from a UAE hedge fund deal). The Clintons are the tools of those who are working very hard to gain control of this Country and turn it into a Central America-type economy.

Don’t think for a second that Obama would be any different; he has a history of using his up-to-recently limited political connections to line his pockets.

The wages in Guatemala and Honduras are $3/day. In Belize wages are $9/day. Despite the stated democratic form of government and huge concentrations of wealth in a handful of individuals, there is no income tax, as there would be in a true democratic government. The government uses a sales tax instead. The elections only determine who is selected to cut a deal with the power structure. This is the plan for us, in case we haven’t figured it out.

The Founding Fathers established a system where a smart group of Citizens elected representatives and held them accountable. We’ve turned away from this system for feel-good reasons. The means test used to be lien-free land (12% of the Citizenry). Some argue that by limiting voting to 30 or 40 million, people would be disenfranchised.

I argue that the current system is leading us to the point where 3 or 4 thousand will make the decisions. We don’t want to go there. Any person smart enough to cast an intelligent vote is smart enough to pay off a piece of real estate if he is a hard worker.

Nothing will change, of course, until we go broke. It should be an interesting Century.

For what it's worth, I have a family member, an '80 Ted Kennedy and '88 Jesse Jackson supporter, who really viscerally hates Obama; whether too much to vote for him, I'm not sure. So there's some of that out there too.

I'm an Obama supporter but I do wonder how much of what we're seeing here is a net phenomenon. Clinton is the anti-Ron Paul; the Internet hates her more than the country actually does, maybe because blogging America skews younger, whiter, maybe maler and less Latino. In head to head polls against McCain, Hillary currently does worse than Obama but not by a huge margin. Reading this thread you'd expect the difference to be gigantic.

"'m willing to be persuaded, but it's going to take cold, hard logic to get me to believe McCain with a congress of democratic vertebrates would be worse than a 3rd Clinton administration."

Here's where I take a leaf from Hilzoy, and agree with Hugh Hewitt:

[...] There are seven reasons for anyone to support the eventual nominee no matter who it is: The war and six Supreme Court justices over the age of 68.
He's absolutely right. If you want several more Alitos on the bench for the next forty years, and war with Iran, Syria, and god knows who else (North Korea?; China?; Sudan?; more countries harboring terrorists?) so as to teach the Democratic Party, or the U.S. electorate, or whomever, a lesson, I have to suggest you reconsider your sense of priorities.

How many more dead U.S. soldiers and dead civilians around the world is it worth?

How many decades of how many Supreme Court decisions of the Roberts Court with added conservatives, even if an Alito is held off, is it worth?

"For what it's worth, I have a family member, an '80 Ted Kennedy and '88 Jesse Jackson supporter, who really viscerally hates Obama...."

That's interesting. Why, Matt?

Katherine: I'd guess African American turnout will be noticeably lower if Obama loses than if he wins, especially if things get ugly

And I'd guess Hispanic turnout and Asian turnout will be noticeably lower if Hillery loses.

Blacks are about 10% of registered voters nationwide. Hispanics will comprise about 9%. I think Asians are about 2% or 3%. Both heavily favor Hillary, and if Obama is defeated, they'll be content with Hillary, but if Obama's the candidate, a lot of them may sit out the election.

In the California primary, for example, Hillary won about 70% of the Asian vote and about 60% of the Hispanic vote. Neither of those groups show much enthusiasm for Obama, and I'm guessing it will be much harder for Obama to rejuvenate their enthusiasm for him then it will be for the Clinton's to recapture the black vote.

I hope I'll be forgiven for quoting more Hewitt; he's right:

[...] Folks who want to take their ball and go home have to realize that even three SCOTUS appointments could revolutionize the way elections are handled in this country in a stroke, mandating the submission of redistricting lines to court scrutiny for "fairness."

"It is undeniable that political sophisticates understand such fairness and how to go about destroying it," Justice Souter announced in his diseent in Veith v. Jubilerer, the Pennsylvania redistricting case in which the Court declined by a vote of 5 to 4 to immerse itself in the details of the partisan redistricting of Pennsylvania.

If Democrats control the White House and gain even one of the five seats held by the center-right majority of current justices, this and many other crucial issues are up for legal grabs. When activist judges are more than willing to rewrite rules of long-standing, periods of exile should never be self-imposed "for the good of the party." Exiles can go on a very long time indeed. Ask the Whigs.

They can go on indefinitely when enforced by courts.

The GOP as well is the party committed to victory in Iraq and the wider war. A four year time-out would be a disaster, a period of time in which al Qaeda and its jihadist off-shoots would regroup in some places and continue to spread in others. Iran, even if punished in the months before November, would certainly continue and accelerate its plans under the soft pleadings of a President Obama or Clinton 2.0.

These aren't the years to wish a pox on your primary opponents' heads beyond June.

I don't expect the principals to let up on each other in the two months ahead, and I am especially looking forward to the Ohio and Texas votes.

But it is very possible to play full contact politics without the threat of going home if your team loses. The stakes in the fall are far too high for that.

When he's right, he's right. Stopped clocks. He's talking about McCain, Romney, and the Huck, but it's exactly as true of Obama and Clinton.

femdon: "Convince me it's not bad for the country to allow families to set themselves up to hold onto the WH for decades and I'm willing to listen."

So I guess that means if you had been old enough to vote back in the 1960s, and Bobby Kennedy hadn't been assassinated, you would have been offended about him running for president too.

And it's not decades, it's two terms; and if voters want to elect a father and a son, or two brothers, or a husband and a wife, why shouldn't they be able to exercise that choice?

"I'm guessing it will be much harder for Obama to rejuvenate their enthusiasm for him then it will be for the Clinton's to recapture the black vote."

Guess away -- your guesses tend to go in only one direction -- but there's only one candidate who has the history of being a community organizer, rather than taking the opportunity to get rich doing corporate law.

Speaking as if political dynamics are locked in concrete, as if how votes and polls go on one day are destined to go the same a month, or two, or three, months later, is, of course, nonsense.

Political dynamics are dynamic: they change in response to events, and what people learn.

And the more people learn about Obama, the more people like Obama. That's as true of Asians and Hispanics as anyone else, so far as I know, unless you have proof otherwise.

Meanwhile, Jay, if Clinton does lose -- consider the unthinkable -- will you work to elect Obama over McCain? If so, might you consider just how far you're willing to go in your rhetoric?

"And it's not decades, it's two terms; and if voters want to elect a father and a son, or two brothers, or a husband and a wife, why shouldn't they be able to exercise that choice?"

Y'know, in this case I agree with you, but I'm forced to point out that you're still making a completely fallacious argument.

She didn't say that people shouldn't be able to "exercise their choice." You, you know, made that up.

She said that it wasn't a good idea, in her opinion, for people to make that choice.

Now, I don't know if you actually don't know the difference, or if you think that the rest of us are too stupid to know the difference, but either way, it's not an argument that reflects well on the maker.

"And it's not decades, it's two terms...."

And trivially, eight years in the Nineties, and a hypothetical eight years in the Oughts, are the bulk of two decades.

See above for repeat analysis.

Eric Martin: "The one argument that sways me is the potential for dirty tricks with MI and FL delegates - somewhat. Otherwise, the stakes are simply too high to make a quixotic stand. At least for me because I have at least two dogs in this fight."

Eric, there's a lot of Clinton supporters (like me) who believe the Florida delegates should be seated with full voting privileges. Why should they be screwed out of their vote because Howard Dean and other democratic party functionaries had their egos bruised by the Florida legislature? The voters didn't commit any 'dirty tricks' - they voted for who they wanted to see nominated, and they shouldn't be penalized or excluded from the process.

Now, because those Democratic party functionaries screwed up, it's going to be a no-win situation at the convention: if the Florida delegates are seated there'll be an outcry from Obama supporters; if they're not seated there'll be an equally loud outcry from Clinton supporters.

So to avoid that kind of squabbling, the democratic party should quickly organize another primary vote in both states, and let both candidates campaign there for a week, and the voters again can exercise their will, and have their delegates seated accordingly.

"I'm guessing it will be much harder for Obama to rejuvenate their enthusiasm for him then [sic] it will be for the Clinton's [sic] to recapture the black vote"...

Ah yes, "the Clinton's," that co-presidential pair.

JFK served for less than three years. It's not quite the same thing.

There was a gap of 24 years between the 2 Adamses, and even longer gaps between the 2 Harrisons and the 2 Roosevelts, who weren't all that closely related anyhow.

"Now, because those Democratic party functionaries screwed up, it's going to be a no-win situation at the convention: if the Florida delegates are seated there'll be an outcry from Obama supporters; if they're not seated there'll be an equally loud outcry from Clinton supporters."

???

Really? Equally loud outcry? I can see how they'd be pissed about being disenfranchised. But then shouldn't they be pissed at Hillary as well since she agreed to go along with the idea of disenfranchising them....until she found that she needed those delegates to win???

This argument really stinks. It reminds me of the whole Bush-Kerry military experience thing: "Well, Bush might've skipped out on his Nat'l Guard duties, but I've also heard suspicious grumblings about Kerry's three purple hearts...it's a wash..."

I'd see nothing wrong with restoring their delegates if they were to have another vote before the convention, that way both candidates could campaign there and get their name on the ballots (and I say that knowing that she would win). But changing the rules she agreed to is about as UNDERHANDED AS IT GETS AND HIDING BEHIND A UNIFYING MESSAGE OF ENFRANCHISEMENT MAKES IT EVEN MORE SICKENING! Capitalization for emphasis, because it needs to be very clear how MONUMENTALLY WRONG I think you are on this issue, and I hope the capitalization persuades you.

That's interesting. Why [does she hate Obama], Matt?

Beyond the usual "naive" characterization, she seems to think Obama's post-partisan rhetoric indicates willingness to cave to Republicans; she warns me that he'll appoint lots of Republicans to his cabinet. I think Obama might have made some kind of offhand remark at some point about not excluding the possibility of appointing Republicans.

I'm personally more with Mark Schmitt in regarding the "post-partisan" stance as more a rhetorical tactic than an indication of policy preferences, but I admit I could be wrong.

"and I hope the capitalization persuades you."

Y'know, I completely agree with you on the larger point, but on this I have to stop and say wtf?

Oh, beg pardon: WTF?

There, now I'm sure I've made the difference.

But for the absolute mind-control: wtf?

Also, try increasing the font. The bigger the font, the more people believe you. And the more font sizes you use in the same paragraph, the more awesomely convincing you are.

It's a scientific fact.

Beyond the usual "naive" characterization, she seems to think Obama's post-partisan rhetoric indicates willingness to cave to Republicans; she warns me that he'll appoint lots of Republicans to his cabinet.

Isn't that a holdover from the pitbull, scorched earth, destroy-your-enemy style of politics of the past two decades?

And given that Obama was able to ram through some decidedly pro-civil rights legislation past the police departments and other things in Illinois, I don't think that should be a real fear.

"Beyond the usual 'naive' characterization, she seems to think Obama's post-partisan rhetoric indicates willingness to cave to Republicans"

Thanks, Matt.

I suggest helping her become familiar with the actual facts of Obama's history, his history as an organizer, his history as an Illinois legislator, and his history as a U.S. Senator, to point out that there is absolutely nothing in his record that would lend that theory the faintest credence.

And I'd point out Bill Clinton's rhetoric during the 1992 election, for god's sake. Like, all his praise for Reagan's transformative powers.

Or, heck, Bill Clinton also said this:

"Hillary and I will always remember President Ronald Reagan for the way he personified the indomitable optimism of the American people, and for keeping America at the forefront of the fight for freedom for people everywhere," their statement said.
Clearly a traitor to the Democratic Party, eh?

Not to mention that Hillary Clinton worked avidly on the 1964 Barry Goldwater campaign.

Yet more horrifically frightening remarks:

Bill Clinton Praised Reagan's "Unflagging Optimism, His Proud Patriotism, His Unabashed Faith In The American People." In dedicating the Reagan building, Bill Clinton said, "The only thing that could make this day more special is if President Reagan could be here himself. But if you look at this atrium, I think we feel the essence of his presence: his unflagging optimism, his proud patriotism, his unabashed faith in the American people. I think every American who walks through this incredible space and lifts his or her eyes to the sky will feel that…. This is a great day for our country. This is a day of honoring the legacy of President Reagan, remembering the service of President Wilson, and rededicating ourselves to the often difficult but ultimately always rewarding work of America. As I stand within the Reagan Building I am confident that we will again make the right choices for America, that we will take up where President Reagan left off -- to lead freedom's march boldly into the 21st century." [Clinton Dedication of Reagan Library, 5/5/98]

Bill Clinton Credited Reagan With Hastening The Collapse Of Communism. Under the headline, "Clinton Credits Reagan For Fall of Communism Policy Speeded Soviet Collapse, Democrat Says," the Washington Post wrote, "Gov. Bill Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate who has tried to differentiate himself by tacking to the center on some key issues, said yesterday that former president Ronald Reagan's defense buildup had hastened the collapse of Soviet communism. Breaking with the widespread position of liberals that Reagan's military program had little to do with the Soviet system's collapse, the Arkansas governor also praised Reagan's 'rhetoric in defense of freedom' and his role in 'advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back.' Clinton made his comments during a meeting with editors and reporters at The Washington Post. 'The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containment strategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I think it hastened their undoing,' Clinton said. Clinton was careful to add that the Reagan military program included 'a lot of wasted money and unnecessary expenditure.' He also noted that former president Jimmy Carter already had begun to increase military spending before he was defeated by Reagan in 1980, and that the nation's containment strategy was the product of 'four and a half decades of bipartisan foreign policy.' Still, he said Reagan deserved credit for 'the idea that he wanted to stand up to them.'" [10/17/91, Washington Post]

I'm sure you know all this stuff. But maybe everyone reading this doesn't.

Matt, doesn't the fact that Bill Clinton appointed a Republican secretary of defense make her worry about Hillary? Not only was it appointing a Republican, but it was reinforcing the Republican idea that Democrats can't be trusted with defense.

Well, obviously that would be mirroring the Bush behavior of appointing a Democrat to the Cabinet. Can't have that now, can we?

I'd think the fact that Hillary Clinton voted for the war, supported the war, didn't start to engage in rhetoric against the war for two years, that Bill Clinton supported the war, and that Hillary Clinton's foreign policy advisors supported the war, while Barack Obama stood up in 2002 and made a speech against the "dumb war," would be more worrisome than... whatever.

Anarch: "Why? Why wouldn't the a Dem White House and Dem Congress work together better than the Dem Congress and McCain?

Bill Clinton, 1992-94, leaps to mind..."

My take on that Congress was that the people in it were used to being a Congress opposed to the President. For the previous 12 years, the committee chairs had had the power to dictate the Congress' stance on issues that fell under their committees' purviews, and had used that power to oppose a President of the other party. The idea that the President was a member of their own party, who had a claim to being its titular head, was novel and unwelcome; and it took a certain amount of getting used to. And, regrettably, they didn't get used to it until after they had lost the House.

I remember thinking: "oh God, they don't realize that they are actually part of the party that controls the government" round about the time that David Boren scuttled Clinton's BTU tax. Not a happy day, but not applicable to Congresses and Presidents of the same party under all circumstances, either.

Jay Jerome: Eric, there's a lot of Clinton supporters (like me)...

You're a Clinton supporter? Dang. Learn something new every day.

"Also, try increasing the font. The bigger the font, the more people believe you. And the more font sizes you use in the same paragraph, the more awesomely convincing you are."

Gary,

Thanks again for the snark.

Perhaps you couldn't infer from EXTREMELY CRITICAL tone of the words I chose, but in the case above I thought Jay was way, way, way, way, way, way off base (does repeating words work as effectively as capslock? let's see)...so much so that I compared it to the Swiftboat ads. It had nothing to do with convincing him of my point of view. It had everything to do with the fact that I thought his point of view was completely wrong, hypocritical, and unethical. And given that other people here have referred to it as "The Nuclear Option" I'd say others would have the same characterization.

Besides, if you really felt that way about respectfully convincing others of your opinions, you wouldn't be such a wiseass. I've gotten two reponses from you here and they were both substance-free ad-hominem attacks.

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Whatnot


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