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February 18, 2008

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If she loses this, she looks ready to be another revolving-door CEO of Krispy Kreme.

Wow. -- Glad you got to this one first -- for one thing, you did it better, since I just dissolved in giggles in the first sentence:

"Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried that convoluted delegate rules in Texas could water down the impact of strong support for her among Hispanic voters there, creating a new obstacle for her in the must-win presidential primary contest."

"Creating a new obstacle"? No, being an obstacle of long standing which the Clinton campaign has inexplicably just discovered.

On reflection, I may post something to this effect at Sullivan's.

In news that reflects not on Clinton's campaign but on her bizarro supporters: the stupid, it burns!

I don't recall anyone saying *recently* that Clinton's campaign is a well-organized machine. There have been a slew of press focusing on shortsightedness and bad planning.

Most of the comments on Clinton-as-machine came from 2007, when her campaign seemed more focused and disciplined that it does now. (Actually it wasn't, as it neglected on-the-ground organization, but that wasn't evident till later.)

It doesn't really matter. It is hardly possible for either one to win a majority with the remaining pledged delegates. The superdelegates have to rally behind one or the other, and some solution has to be found for Michigan and Florida.

Ok, laugh now, but while some lowly intern was putting together the "Primary States (the states that count!): Our Path to Victory" memo, some highly paid consultants were putting together a totally awesome messaging strategy. Just wait till you see it!

I suppose this could just be expectations-management chaff from the Clinton campaign.

Although it *does* make them look really stoopid.

I'm thinking this is another happy by-product of Team Hillary's overarching "we're gonna end this thing on Super Tuesday, so we don't have to worry about anything after that" mindset.

Don't forget. HRC is the _experienced_ candidate who is _ready on day one_.

Well, obviously it's not yet day one, so...

SHAME ON YOU ALL! SUCH IGNORANCE AND ASSANINE TALK!

'(ed. Maybe foresight is an obsolete macrotrend.)'

very very good.

Initially I thought this was mere stupidity--and I think there is some of that.

But more likely there is a huge layer of expectations-setting and pre-spinning going on. This will prepare for anything negative out of Texas. For instance, if they win the popular vote but lose the delegates, say, it'll be Texas' arcane rules that were the cause.

If they spent as much time on getting votes as they did on PR and spinning, they might have planned for a post-Feb 5 campaign.

This ranks up there with Hillary Clinton's "discovery" that President Bush wasn't going to pursue diplomacy and give the weapons inspectors enough time in Iraq.

It doesn't really matter, because Texas doesn't matter. Texas is a red state so it really shouldn't be counted as no Democrat is going to win there in November anyway.

Besides, just like the caucuses, this is an obvious attempt by the anti-Clinton forces to disenfranchise the true base of the Democratic (Clintonian) Party.

Don't be too lulled by what seems like incompetence. Nothing the Clinton campaign does or says is without calculation. What appears here as a laughable admission (and to be fair, does anyone really understand the Texas primary/caucus system?) is, I think, calculated to prepare the ground not just for a potentially poor showing in Texas, but for future arguments around seating Florida and Michigan delegations at the convention. It tells me she feels she's already lost the elected delegates race, and will now argue, in essence, "I wuz robbed." It's just a more elaborate way of "tearing up."

Who does this remind you of?

An executive who manages by placing more value in loyalty than competence, failing to plan for an extended conflict, and ignoring the realities on the ground.

Of course no one could have foreseen these problems.

The WaPo article explains that the bizarreness of the Texas primary system was designed to maximize the influence of real Democratic voters: those who voted for Kerry in 2004. As we all know have been told, Obama's support comes largely from independents and Republicans, so what could be better for Clinton?

i dunno, this might be one of the rare moments that this isn't spin attempting to lower expectations, rather that the Clinton team really got caught flat-flooted.

if she loses Texas, isn't it over? she has stoked the flames in the press over the idea she HAS to win Ohio, Texas, and PA, and if she loses Texas isn't that it?

"The Clinton Machine" was so vaunted, but has there been a moment where the Obama team hasn't out-foxed them, in terms of getting results?

I suspect Paul Wilson has it about right. I simply can't imagine they didn't know this beforehand, if for no other reason than (I believe) Patti Solis Doyle is FROM Texas and was in charge of this kind of tactical area until just very recently.

What's going on is that they simply cannot accept that HRC is not inevitable and they must start to lay the groundwork for HRC Inevitability 2.0: We would have been inevitable in a "truly democratic" primary system. Sucks to high heaven. I can only hope that the supers and the committees call her out.

In news that reflects not on Clinton's campaign but on her bizarro supporters: the stupid, it burns!

hilzoy is infringin' my copyright!

Maybe foresight is an obsolete macrotrend.

No, blissful ignorance is the big new microtrend. Mark Penn has been paying attention for the last eight years.

Incidentally, this is not spin. Please. There is no way to spin "we screwed up," or "wait, this is how the Texas system we've been saying was key for weeks actually works!?" What you say is "the Texas caucuses are broken, and even worse than the caucus system." This is simply prima facie evidence of incompetence.

Mark Penn is the gift that keeps on giving.

designed to maximize the influence of real Democratic voters

The problem is that some of those Democratic voters are black, and as we all know black voters are in the "insignificant" category along with independents, Republicans, young people, educated people, red-state people, small-state people, upper-class people, first-time voters, and probably a few other categories I've forgotten.

Do you all not think that as the primary season continues, that Hillary will be adding up the actual number of votes she has recieved in all the primaries, so she can make the case to the super delegates that while she lost the delegate counts, that she won the popular vote?

If you want to read how Texas Democrats pick delegates, check out this website
http://www.burntorangereport.com/. The delegate rules were ratified in 2006 and essentially rewarded dependable voters (African Americans) and punished those Hispanic Turncoats who voted for Bush in 2004 and Rick Perry in 2006.

Wait, so it's just now that Hillary Clinton's national campaign has gotten around to noticing that the Texas Democrats have unusual rules for their primary? Gee, wonder if it was something they read on a blog that got their attention?

"The Clinton Machine" was so vaunted, but has there been a moment where the Obama team hasn't out-foxed them, in terms of getting results?

Let's not get carried away. There have been a few: California, Massachusetts, and others are in fact significant, even if Mark Penn says so.

"Don't be too lulled by what seems like incompetence. Nothing the Clinton campaign does or says is without calculation."

You mean like losing? On to Plan Q!

Do you all not think that as the primary season continues, that Hillary will be adding up the actual number of votes she has recieved in all the primaries...?

Clinton supporters have been doing that for a while, but after Obama's recent wins, the numbers aren't working even when they add in Michigan and Florida, so they've moved on to arguing that only voters who identify as Democrats really count, as in Hilzoy's links above.

I certainly agree that HRC has won significant states, but, let me make this analogy: During the Civil War, it is uncontestable that the North would have been in bad shape had New York seceded, but of course, there was virtually no chance that would happen -- and so, the point was to defend New York (and PA, etc.) but it would have made no sense at all to base one's entire strategy on keeping NY as Union state. Likewise, for HRC in the primary and for all Dems in the GE it makes limited sense to deploy a significant proportion of resources in places where there is (a) a Democratic machine in place and (b) that are very unlikely to "secede" and vote for a Republican. Now, I think that some of this "well we have to win these states" talk is just trying to put a good face on things, but if they really are basing the GE campaign on the notion of keeping California from defecting, as opposed to, winning Virginia or Missouri -- well, HRC will not be the first woman president. If that's the case, you should vote for BHO on that basis alone, because compared to HRC, he is definitely General Grant and she is more like whatever hapless tacticians (McLellan, Burnside?) that Grant replaced.

Hilzoy,

In news that reflects not on Clinton's campaign but on her bizarro supporters: the stupid, it burns!

When I first read that I thought it was some sort of parody. Talk about trying to find a way to spin the story. So let's drop all Independents and Republicans from the tallies and, oh, let's not count the caucuses either. Cause, as well all know, caucuses don't count. Just because there are literally dozens of places that provide corroborated vote totals for caucuses, doesn't mean that those totals should be used.

How can someone make a statistical claim when they simply choose to throw out 25% of the vote counts?

>>Let's not get carried away. There have been a few: California, Massachusetts, and others are in fact significant, even if Mark Penn says so.<<

oh, absolutely, but i'm thinking of in states where it was a toss-up between the two(i never believed for a moment that Obama would win CA or my home state of NJ, as much as I wanted him to) where it was the ground game that would decide it--in every case i can think of, Team Obama has been more effective in figuring out where the delegates lie and getting the most amount of people out.

Sorry Jay for repeating previous information in my post. I made it here from Hilzoy's post for Sully's blog. I have always been a sucker for contrarian thought. This site will now be on my daily reads list. I suppose I was originally rooting for Obama because of my dislike for the Clintons.
I also want to pose a question to the Obama supporters in your midst. Explain to me why Obama is the better candidate without using the words, Hope, Change, and Future, in your reply. I may have to cross over and give Hillary a sympathy vote.

Patti Solis Doyle will take the hit. In fact this may have been the impetus for her removal, although Hillary has higher paid "experts" who should have known.

My suspicion is that the Clinton campaign knew about the Texas rules all along, but they need a reason to explain a loss to a rising Obama. So they hide Doyle, blame her without blaming her for this and begin the whining (we've been using the wrong strategy because we didn't know the rules, but if we had known, we'd have pummeled Obama).

After 7 years of Bush, mendacity is far too easily presumed. The next president needs to try to rid us of this reflex. I'm not sure Clinton is up to that task, certainly McCain isn't.

Kc,

It is easier to list the voter that DO count.

White women
Low income workers
Senior Citizens

I believe that covers it. All other groups are insignificant to the Democratic Party.

>>I also want to pose a question to the Obama supporters in your midst. Explain to me why Obama is the better candidate without using the words, Hope, Change, and Future, in your reply. I may have to cross over and give Hillary a sympathy vote.<<

I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE, SIR!

...Obama is able to persuade other people to his side, and doesn't automatically assume that EVERYTHING is a knock-down, slash-and-burn battle.

The abillity to persuade is vitally important in a President--why else do we still have the Iraq war going, even with a Dem congress and a President at 30% approval?

I believe a President Obama would be able to sway more people to his way of thinking--on a host of progressive/liberal/whatever issues--that Hillary Clinton is simply unable to do.

His judgment is sound--he was against the wat from the beginning, and for the right reasons, yet he's willing to, you know, THINK about the facts on the ground and perhaps change his mind based on those facts.


I hope this works---ooops!

Following up on that challenge: Why is HRC running? Why is she a good candidate? Why is it that BHO supporters have to "explain" their choice while HRC gets a totally free pass?

"The delegate rules were ratified in 2006 and essentially rewarded dependable voters (African Americans) and punished those Hispanic Turncoats who voted for Bush in 2004 and Rick Perry in 2006."

Wrong. The formula for delegates assigns the number of delegates as an average of the percentage of democratic and overall turnout in the last gubanatorial and presidential election. The system is to incentivize voting, not to "punish" a demographic.

Oh, what the hell, I'll play too.

>>I also want to pose a question to the Obama supporters in your midst. Explain to me why Obama is the better candidate without using the words, Hope, Change, and Future, in your reply. I may have to cross over and give Hillary a sympathy vote.

Because the United States of America is made of fifty states and some nifty territories and the District of Columbia. For the past 7+ years we've been dealing with a party which thinks that the United States of America is only composed of the states that voted Republican in the Presidential Election. Hillary's strategy points to more of the same. Sure, it'd be great to have my little blue state loved again, but hey! There are fifty states out there. They all matter. They're all Americans. So Obama's strategy and rhetoric make a lot more sense to me.

There's other reasons, but this one seems to fit nicely in this post.

hilzoy: In news that reflects not on Clinton's campaign but on her bizarro supporters: the stupid, it burns!

Am I misreading this Lukasiak fellow, or is is really arguing that the superdelegates should not only discount the vote totals from non-swing states but that they should also discount actual swing votes in those swing states?

shrubstex: welcome! I explained why I support Obama here.

Just for fun, I searched on 'hope', 'change', and 'future'. 'Hope' and 'future' do not appear in my post; two people I quote use 'change', but always in regard to quite specific changes. (Lawrence Lessig: "Obama has committed himself to a technology policy for government that could radically change how government works." (He then goes on to say precisely how.) Mark Kleiman, about videotaping police interrogations: "Yes, in this case the change was helpful to the cause of crime control". )

Also, I say: "Once legislators have to own up to their earmarks, however, that changes." I don't know whether that counts.

However, it is pretty close to change-free, and as I said, 'hope' and 'future' don't figure in it.

In that post, I also don't give nearly as much weight to his opposition to the war in Iraq as I actually feel, because I assumed that my views on that subject would be familiar (even tedious) to people here. Basically: I take that as a sign of good judgment, and HRC's vote for the Iraq War Resolution as a sign of poor judgment, whether she thought of it as a vote for war, a vote for political expediency, or a vote to give Bush the authority she imagined he needed.

I should probably add, for the sake of completeness, that he's really good at what I think of as sleeper foreign policy issues (non-proliferation, the conflict in the Congo, etc.), and generally at paying attention to things before they make headlines. There's a whole raft of issues where he turns out to have been paying attention before they exploded. (The legal limbo in which some contractors in Iraq operate; formaldehyde in FEMA trailers, avian flu, etc.) Think of how many times some crisis explodes and you think: jeez, why didn't anyone pay attention to this before it became a crisis? Obama is, imho, unusually good at this.

"I know because I went to one of these meetings a week ago. I should have invited Mark Penn I suppose."

Nooooooo! I'm already sorry that everyone mocked the post-Potomac Giuliani strategy, since evidently her campaign read those various blog-comments and started actually campaigning in WI. Don't offer them any more help.

Seriously, I'm so glad a blog is bringing this up, for I read those articles this morning. Why are these people constantly expressing surprise at the details of competing in almost every state in the nation? If the new guy can figure it out, they have no excuse.

Democrats yet to vote--look at the expectations for and execution of each campaign, and think about which one you want competing for you in November. And also evaluating circumstances and making judgements for you come late January.

All this is doing is making me hope even more for Obama. Clinton's great saving grace for me was her supposed competence--I may not like all her policies, but at least stuff will work the way it's supposed to, I thought. Now I'm starting to have my doubts that even that is the case.

I wish Obama did have a cult. I'd like a cult of personality to be working on my side for a change.

Moreover, with what's coming for whoever wins on the economy, Iraq, health care, what-have-you, anyone who doesn't have a cult will probably have about 10% approval ratings three years from now.

To Rob in re: Why Obama is the better candidate

Qualities, Experience that Define Character:

As a rural Midwesterner who has owned/operated a small weekly newspaper with my husband for 10 years, we have both witnessed and experienced first-hand what it takes to get people engaged and motivated for even the easiest of issues. It is incredibly stressful and demanding and honestly, demoralizing. Every year I become a little more cynical, disgusted with the apathy and the nearly 100% focus on the "I'm gonna get mine, screw the rest of you." But, when it happens, when people are engaged, some really fantastic things as well as some mundane things, have been accomplished. Somehow Obama has not become demoralized through the years.

Despite donating and supporting Edwards' campaign until the day he quit and never donating to Obama's, I watched every speech Obama gave that was online. I read just about every article that I found that detailed further the things he had done prior to being on the national stage. Same goes with Michelle Obama, who becomes more interesting to me all the time as her experience as a wife/mother is much more aligned to my own (as compared to Hillary).

I think the choices both Obamas have made to this point (excepting maybe the dealings with Rezko that I still don't know enough about but can't possibly be any worse than the Clinton's biz practices) indicate to me the KIND OF PERSON that I want in a leader. He's led a life making very smart choices, with most of them directed by his desire to make a difference in people's lives whether as an organizer to bring about change on a small community issue or as a teacher to young people of something extremely important, constitutional law.

The Obamas have also only recently paid off their student loans following the publication of his recent best-selling book. That's important to me as our children were born in 1993 and 1994 and we've been in debt and without health insurance since then (while someone else who claims to be such a "solutions" leader has gotten extremely wealthy). He's got to be more in touch with what is reality for the majority of us.

And, just to maybe be a little corny ... everytime I watch Obama give a speech or interview, when he smiles, I do get filled up inside. But, it's not dreamy or cult-like. His words and his smile always make me think, "Get off the freakin' internet and get back to work. There are things to get done." That's a sign of a potentially great leader, because our country has got to stop focusing on personal greed and be motivated to solve serious problems that aren't going away. No one can possibly know exactly what obstacles Obama would face as president, but his decision-making and his instincts up to this point give me great confidence. His late-starting (as compared to HRC and Edwards) campaign operation has been really impressive too and speaks volumes on his managerial and decision-making skills. I disregard the worry about this country being too racist to elect him as those same type of people likely wouldn't vote for a woman either or even a Democrat of any sort. I think his life up to this point has presented him with plenty of challenges, and yet there he is still fighting and nearly beating the most well-known and well-connected couple in the Democratic Party. His plans are detailed on his website and he thankfully doesn't bore the masses with all the details in his speeches (how many freakin' elections will it take before the Dems figure out that no matter what the pundits say, the majority of the people don't want to hear all the mumbo-jumbo, even if it is important?)

Of our three choices, Obama has, by a wide margin, the most desirable character traits to guide his presidency. I'm ready to leave cynicism behind and get to work.

Why do I get this sense, that if Obama does well in Texas and Ohio, it will b!tch slap my cynicism.

(That line could be interpreted on so many levels, any enterprising humanities students?)

Obama's really confusing my cynicism, too - it's just not used to being challenged for so long.

"I also want to pose a question to the Obama supporters in your midst. Explain to me why Obama is the better candidate without using the words, Hope, Change, and Future, in your reply."

On it, Sir or Madam!

Obama has good judgement, and he can pop up out of the trench and actually notice that the fight on the ground has evolved and demands a new strategy. He also campaigns as if we were one nation, composed of people, rather than a bunch of little demographic groups, only a few of whom count.

His judgement is most clear on Iraq--coming out boldly against the war was politically risky in 2002. Yet he was proved right. And as Hilzoy noted, lots of quieter issues like securing conventional arms stores, that don't get headlines but do make a difference--I want someone who works on those issues, and who has the vision to realize they're important before they dominate the headlines.

And I've never judged a politician by his campaign before, but this time there are so many contrasts: Obama's campaign again and again gives the message that every vote counts. If the Hillary supporters are 100 to 1 in your district, they still want you to come out and vote. Clinton's campaign, in contrast, wants to ignore every voter, including *Clinton supporters* in states like Colorado and Kansas and Virginia--over and over they announce those people don't count, anyhow.

Obama's campaign seems to live the "we are all Americans" message. I've concluded that spokespeople and surrogates have been warned not to talk about "well, upper income people support him and latinos support Hillary." The Clinton campaign comes right out and says "We'll stop him with women, Hispanics, and blue collar workers." If you're an upper-income 28-year-old black man, the Clinton campaign has written you off numerous times, no matter that you voted for her or think her more qualified--wrong demographics. And as an American, I'm sick of being demographically sliced and diced. The media will keep doing it, uncovering differences in sprinkle preference if nothing else works, but I don't want to vote for someone who sees the country just as little demographic blocks, only some of which matter.

Finally on the campaigns, the notion that Clinton wasn't prepared to compete in half the nation, now including Texas, completely demolishes the argument that she knows the ropes and will be more ready than any other candidate. Obama has had better judgement, better executive qualities, and better people-picking than Clinton. I think he should be in charge of taking the White House in November, and running it come January.

If I can bring up that "change" word in a different context: Clinton and her supporters keep bringing up the idea that the early 90s set the tone forever and ever and ever, and it will never change. I don't argue that it can; I argue that it did. I think we need a president who can see that change has happened, and adapt to it--nipping over to get at the head of a parade that is forming is a vital leadership quality, and much more common and useful than creating the parade out of nothing. I think Obama's ability to take the broad view, not just the in-the-trench view, is vital to a leader.

Shorter version: If you ask for votes on your competence, don't display your incompetence.

Why response to thhe "Whhy Obama?, but don't say"hope" question: because he knnows how to put together a competent campaign. That's one of a whole list of reasons why he can win annd shhe probably won't.

The idea of a Hillary vs, mcCAin makes me sick to my stomach. i don't know how I will stand to watch the debacle. She is playing her cards just righht--incompetence, arrogance, sleezy Rove-style tactics-- to ensure thha thhe R base votes annd the independents side withh them.

A couunter question: can a Clinotn supporter come up with just onne, just onne! reality-based reasonn for supporting her?

Since it has come up, here's the story on the Rezko deal:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a_9sOMpy91Js&refer=us

A little background, not in the story: Rezko was a key Obama patron while Obama was running for state office. Rezko was a big local real estate mover and shaker, and like a lot of those, he eventually skated too close to the edge and got caught. Before that time, like any other prominent businessperson, he cultivated relationships with the local politicos, in this case Obama. And like any other politico, Obama was social and friendly with major businesspeople in his district. So, they knew each other socially, Rezko gave him contributions, Rezko had access to him. There is no evidence, not even an accusation, that Rezko ever asked for or Obama ever gave a quid pro quo, that Obama passed a bill just to help Rezko, or that Obama shaded his principles to help Rezko.

As to the supposed story itself, there's not a lot of there there. Obama wanted to buy a house, found one he liked, but it cost too much. He negotiated, and it turned out the buyer was fine with selling the land in two pieces: house and undeveloped lot. Obama bargained down the price on the house, and Rezko (who was in the business of buying and developing land) bought the lot at the original asking price. Later, Rezko sold a strip of his land to Obama for frontage, at market price.

The only part that looks at all like a favor is that when they bargained down the price for the whole parcel, the price reduction all went to Obama's portion, the house. However, that may simply reflect that the house was the part that was overpriced to begin with. In several months of digging, nobody has found any evidence otherwise.

So it's nothing. In that case, why did this become news? Because when Rezko bought the lot, he was already under investigation, which made people who desperately wanted to dig up dirt, any dirt, on Obama, say "aHA! He did a land deal with a shady developer, there MUST be something wrong with that!"

There isn't, though.

Fellow Texans for Obama - It is imperative that you return to your polling place at 7:15 on March 4th and sign-in at the caucus that you are for Obama. You don't have to stay for the whole thing but you must sign-in for Obama.

Thank the Republican controlled Texas Senate for this, their cockeyed redistricting spread Hispanic voters all over the Senate District map but concentrated African American and highly educated voters into Democratic enclaves.

Ironically, the GOP has given us the fighting chance we need to take the wood to the concept of American royalty.

YWC

A couunter question: can a Clinotn supporter come up with just onne, just onne! reality-based reasonn for supporting her?

Several would be better, of course. Preferably without dumping on personalities, and focussing on policies and behavior.

"hilzoy is infringin' my copyright!"

Trademark. The joke works with "trademark," not with "copyright."

As everyone knows -- ok, as most people are totally clueless -- you can trademark a phrase; you can't copyright a phrase, so that makes no sense.

Yer joke should be "hilzoy is infringin' my trademark!," to be funny.

If it were funny. ;-)

"(and to be fair, does anyone really understand the Texas primary/caucus system?)"

Sure.

"I also want to pose a question to the Obama supporters in your midst. Explain to me why Obama is the better candidate without using the words, Hope, Change, and Future, in your reply."

We're not actually apt to repeat hundreds of thousands of words of conversation just so you can reread them again. Try first reading this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this,this,this, and this, just for starters.

"My suspicion is that the Clinton campaign knew about the Texas rules all along"

The idea that people running a presidential campaign have no idea what the rule are in Texas, or any other state, makes no possible sense whatever. It's like saying someone building a car has never heard of a wheel. I mean, I can tell you what how most states' primary/caucus rules work (and if I can't, a minute's googling will cure that), and I've never take a dime of political money in my life.

new PPP poll has obama up in wisconsin 53-40, up from 50-39 a week ago. report says obama would be projected to win 47-44 with standard turnout, but they expect record turnout to drive the double digit difference.

that puts the poll in line with the other polls (even ARG) that show obama gaining a few points on clinton in the last week.

I flatly do not believe this story. Every national campaign has a field director, and it is the field director's job to know what it takes in any primary state to come up with X number of delegates.

The questions of resources and priorities are decided at a higher level, sure, but I just do not for one minute believe that the campaign is just now learning that it would take unrealistically lopsided victories to come out of Texas with a delegate edge.

Re: Obama's qualifications

Experience: Obama has exactly the same experience that Abraham Lincoln did when he ran for president, 8 years in the Illinois legislature & 1 term U.S. Senate. When sworn into office, Obama will do so with as much experience as an elected official as any President in the last 30 years - and more than most. Experience in Washington? Carter, Reagan, Clinton & George W. had no experience whatsoever as an elected official in Washington before becoming President.

Evidence right before our eyes: Obama's campaign shows vision, foresight, personnel management skills, fiscal responsibility and an ability to think outside the box in order to achieve results. His opponents' campaigns...don't.

nell,

it's entirely plausible that the field director "knew" but that the texas field director was not part of the high level decision to make texas a firewall (which was really their only option anyways).

the problem is that the demography in Texas is very decemptive. high first and second generation latino popluations which would signal strong clinton territory, except they're all in districts not just with small numbers of delegates, but with EVEN numbers of delegates, meaning that the most likely outcome in many of those heavily latino districts is a 2-2 draw. with even a 60-40 edge in those districts, clinton would still be at a delegate draw.

also, the top clinton people could have easily seen that texas was "most primary" and thought it was a good state for them. unfortunately, most of the marginal delegates are going to allocated by a caucus, and a caucus with unusually high barriers to participation (which favors obama's motivated base).

in a cash-crunched campaign that was focused on 2/5, it's very, very possible that the top level of the campaign didn't realize how problematic a texas delegate win would be.

Trademark. The joke works with "trademark," not with "copyright."

As everyone knows -- ok, as most people are totally clueless -- you can trademark a phrase; you can't copyright a phrase, so that makes no sense.

Actually, no. The categories aren't exclusive and are different statutory beasts entirely, but an action for trademark infringement generally turns on the existence of consumer confusion; as I've got neither an established affiliation with the phrase nor a financial stake, there's no trademark and no infringement.

A copyright, on the other hand, is created at the moment an author fixes their creation in tangible form; and though in this case it's clearly de minimis, that argument would only be a defense to a finding of infringement -- there is still a copyright, though it may not be protectable. Damages, as well, could be statutory rather than purely compensatory, if the inquiry actually got that far.

also, this site, linked to by the incomparable burnt orange report, allows you to project delegates based on senate district voting percentages:

http://www.lonestarproject.net/DemPrimary.htm

@Barbara 9:47 am: Patti Solis Doyle is from Chicago, not Texas.

@Barbara 9:47 am: Patti Solis Doyle is from Chicago, not Texas.

"...but I just do not for one minute believe that the campaign is just now learning that it would take unrealistically lopsided victories to come out of Texas with a delegate edge."

Ditto. It's not plausible to anyone with any familiarity with campaigning, and the people who do it.

"...but an action for trademark infringement generally turns on the existence of consumer confusion; as I've got neither an established affiliation with the phrase nor a financial stake, there's no trademark and no infringement."

Well, yes, if I had wanted to ruin your joke entirely, duh. Most jokes aren't funny on that basis. Mostly people avoid pointing this out about their own jokes. It's why I didn't bother to point it out in the first place, as it wouldn't have been remotely amusing, but merely tedious.

Equally, if you want to try seriously suing someone for violating your copyright on a phrase, good luck with that.

I first starting working in publishing in 1975; thanks for informing me about fixing in tangible form, which grandma me was explaining to kids back then.

[...] you can trademark a phrase; you can't copyright a phrase, so that makes no sense.
Actually, yes. A phrase can be trademarked: you deny that?

And you can't successfully sue for violation of your copyright over a mere phrase. (Yes, it's still "copyright," but that's not what's relevant, and you know it.)

Your response would be an amusing response if it were amusing, but it's not so much.

Mostly people avoid pointing this out about their own jokes. It's why I didn't bother to point it out in the first place, as it wouldn't have been remotely amusing, but merely tedious.

Oh, I never claimed to be funny. I got no illusions about that. I just thought it was a weird coincidence.

Equally, if you want to try seriously suing someone for violating your copyright on a phrase, good luck with that.

Well, yeah, it doesn't work either way -- but it's a difference between doctrinal and practical impossibility.

Hey, you brought it up :)

And you can't successfully sue for violation of your copyright over a mere phrase.

** Unless it's a [recorded] musical phrase, oddly enough.

Shorter version: If you ask for votes on your competence, don't display your incompetence.

it worked fine for the current Pres

chet edwards, a superdelegate and democratic congessman from the reddest seat held by any democratic, house member, just endorsed obama.

his support on veterans issues is huge in texas.

b.t.w., maybe you didn't know this, but the on-line left hates Obama.

is there anything RedState is right about ? anything at all ?

cleek: is there anything RedState is right about ? anything at all ?

I think that's the one reason I keep looking at that site. The sheer, unadulterated wrongness. It really is quite a talent - you don't get to be called Bizarro World for nothing ya' know.

"b.t.w., maybe you didn't know this, but the on-line left hates Obama."

I was trying to figure out Erickson's method of nomenclature, by which he sorts out who and who isn't a member of the "online left," but after reading the piece, I can't tell if it's anything beyond "people I don't like, who post on the internet, who are to the left of me."

In fairness, Brad Plumer, who should know better, rather interchangably uses "liberal," "left," and "progressive," himself, in the cited piece, which hardly suggests that there's greater clarity to be had by distinguishing at least two of the three at all from each other.

But, presumably, since the "online left" "hates" Obama, those of us who favor him must be... the offline left? The online semi-left? Centrists? Inverts? Upsidedown, with a lemon twist? People with a cherry on top?

I feel an identity crisis coming on.

KCinDC, don't forget that other insignificant category she's losing right now: men.

Question for any Pennsylvanians: What is/was the cutoff date for registering to vote in time to take part in the primary? Also, if different, the cutoff for changing party affiliation to Dem in order to be able to vote in the (closed) primary?

I'm surprised to have heard so little about that, which makes me wonder if it's already too late. It's been a clear possibility since Feb. 5 that the Pennsylvania primary might matter quite a bit.

This isn't about lowering expectations. Well, it could be, but that would merely further demonstrate incompetence in the Clinton campaign. Lowering expectations in Texas doesn't do Clinton a damned bit of good. She's now far enough behind in pledged delegates that, to come close to catching up, she has to exceed expectations in Texas and Ohio.

Lowering expectations doesn't serve any purpose other than to make them feel better at a convention that is nominating their opponent.

"it's entirely plausible that the field director "knew" but that the texas field director was not part of the high level decision to make texas a firewall (which was really their only option anyways)."

Another possibility is that the bad news wasn't allowed to percolate upwards.

"Question for any Pennsylvanians: What is/was the cutoff date for registering to vote in time to take part in the primary?"

I'm not a Pennsylvianian, but it says here:

[...] In order to vote in the next election, this application must be received by your county voter registration office 30 days before the election, or postmarked no later than the 30th day before the election.

Here is the official schedule:

[...] Last day to REGISTER before the primary ……………………………… March 24

"it's entirely plausible that the field director "knew" but that the texas field director was not part of the high level decision to make texas a firewall (which was really their only option anyways)."

Another possibility is that the bad news wasn't allowed to percolate upwards.

... So the choice is between (a) disorganized or (b) incompetent? Or do we still get (c), Mark Penn Is A Twit? Can I get an all of the above?

End blockquoting!

"Another possibility is that the bad news wasn't allowed to percolate upwards."

I'm thinking that it was more about sideways, given the apparently rather closed circles of the interior of the Clinton campaign. Note Mosk's phrasing: "Supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are worried...."

"Supporters," not "campaign managers," or the like. And then "Several top Clinton strategists and fundraisers became alarmed...."

I'm thinking "fundraisers" is more key there than "strategists," and that a fair number of people might be labeled "strategists," without necessarily being key decision-makers. It's important to remember that journalist and sources can both be sloppy about such langugage, and both are inclined to exaggerate the importance of the reporter's sources.

But no serious presidential campaign runner is going to not know how delegates are selected in Texas, or California, or Ohio, or Pennsylvania, or Florida, or any of the important states, or likely any of the states at all. Just as you're also apt to know something about pretty much every one of the 435 congressional districts. It's basic stuff for entry-level political geeks, let alone someone who makes their living at it, let alone someone playing at the series running of a presidential campaign.

For someone who likes to hang around, being important, and leaking to reporters, not so much, though.

The thing about the idea that it's all part of some clever spin strategy is that it's hard to see what good thing this might actually accomplish for the Clinton campaign. I mean, casting yourselves as complete idiots has an obvious downside. If it's supposed to be part of a devious plot, there ought to be some upside, and moreover an upside that more than compensates for the downside.

What is that upside supposed to be here? Could "expectations management" do it? I think there are two problems here. First, the "we only just found out about these rules" isn't necessary for it at all -- if they were being deviously brilliant, they ought to have just pointed to the delegate rules and left the part about just finding out about them obscure.

Second: the whole point of expectations management is to put you in a better position for some future contest. When people in that future contest look at your results, the thinking goes, they will not think "oh, Hillary lost the delegates", but "gosh, Hillary did surprisingly well, all things considered." But there aren't that many big primaries left after Texas and Ohio. There's Pennsylvania, and NC (which I'd imagine Obama ought to win by big margins), but those are the only two remaining primaries in which more than 50 delegates are at stake. There are of course the superdelegates, but they are much more than usually likely to look at this article and ask, WTF?? Which means: this particular spin is not that likely to work on them, of all people.

At some point, Clinton will need not just to have good spin, but to actually get more delegates. After TX and OH, she will be running out of ways to do this.

Which is why I tend to think this is just good old-fashioned ineptitude. I'm sure someone in the campaign knew about the TX rules. But it seems as though that person wasn't in touch with the people who set TX up as a firewall state.

And about Bizarro World: wow. It's easy to see how the likes of me could be omitted from the online left. It's harder to see how, say, Matt Yglesias could be. But claiming that "the online left" doesn't include kos???

But claiming that "the online left" doesn't include kos???

Kos isn't "online," hil; he commands his followers with mind control.

Seriously, this is so 2004.

It may be incompetence, but I repeat, it's also a calculated move by the Clintons' campaign. What I think they are doing is laying the groundwork arguments that they hope will justify a future blitzkrieg to get Florida and Michigan delegates admitted to the floor, and firming up superdelegate votes. They're saying: 'Hussein has weapons of mass destruction -- ' -- uh, sorry, wrong war; I meant, 'Texas has unfair delegate rules, and the imbalance needs to be redressed.' This isn't spin, it's disinformation. And Obama is right: it's the same old politics.

And Obama is right: it's the same old politics.

yeah, that and her 12-State Strategy.

I'm waiting for someone to argue that Hillary's missing delegates were smuggled to Syria.

the myth that the clinton campaign is a highly integrated machine has more or less been exploded in the last week in a half.

was the exelon debacle a similarly contrived snafu? or was it an example of how her campaign synapses aren't connected?

I think expectations management is still important because it determines the media storyline, which could still affect the results in the remaining states and superdelegates' perception of the environment. It doesn't seem like a good bet, but it's the best one Clinton has. And the media would love to be able to follow the spin to do yet another "surprising turnaround" story -- the fourth in this Democratic race -- as long as she can make the spin even vaguely believable.

"But claiming that 'the online left' doesn't include kos???"

Where did he say that? In the Brad Plumer piece he repeatedly links to, which seems to be Erickson's foundation, Brad starts off by citing the YearlyKos convention as a center of the "liberal blogosphere" and Mark Warner's party there as a "bash for liberal bloggers," counterposing these folks as "strikingly ambivalent" about Obama; Brad goes on to mention Kos in the same way:

[...] In addition, though Obama bills himself as the candidate of change, many bloggers see him as an establishment figure, surrounded by the same old Democratic insiders who have long dominated the party. (In an online interview with blogger Josh Marshall, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas grumbled that "the usual D.C. consulting crowd" was advising Obama to run a "safe race.")
Erickson then writes of Obama that "[h]is ability to get people fired up and directed in a particular direction has been stellar without Kos's involvement."

So he's specifically including Kos as part of the "online left" that (allegedly) "hates Obama."

So I'm wondering if I missed something else in Erickson's piece that you're referring to.

This should help her in Texas:

A co-chairman of Hillary's Michigan campaign and has a line that's sure to drive a whole bunch of red state governors up the wall:

"Superdelegates are not second-class delegates," says Joel Ferguson, who will be a superdelegate if Michigan is seated. "The real second-class delegates are the delegates that are picked in red-state caucuses that are never going to vote Democratic."

Gary: I was just thinking that kos is not, in fact, anti-Obama. Iirc, he voted for him. So I thought: any version of "the online left" that "hates Obama" must be omitting him.

OCSteve: I swear to God, it's as though they have some sort of office pool on who can offend the most voters.

OCSteve: I swear to God, it's as though they have some sort of office pool on who can offend the most voters.

Periodically, I find myself wondering if terms like "second-class" delegate should be considered offensive code words. Perhaps I'm reading too much into it and it's just regular offensive.

Speaking of incompetence, there's a link on RealPolitics to a Michigan story in which one of the would-be MI superdelegates argues that "It's not superdelegates who are second-class delegates; the second-class delegates are the pledged delegates from red states."

You'll never guess which candidate he supports.

I think higher ups (Pelosi, Gore, Dean, I'm looking at you) need to stomp down on her campaign's habit of trashing *people who voted for her*. This just will not help in the general.

Ds lost doing the 22 state plan in 2000 and 2004; they advanced all over the map doing the 50 state plan in 2006. Why is any D leader still tolerating this "most states don't matter" argument? People who keep insulting their supporters and would-be supporters don't deserve to be elected; people who want to be elected might want to tell them to shut up.

What doesn’t make a lot of sense about this article is that the Clintons should be very familiar with Texas. Bill led McGovern’s campaign in Texas in ’72 and Hillary worked statewide recruiting new voters. Texas was a critical win for Bill in ’92 to take the lead in that primary. They have a lot of friends and political allies in the state.

OCSteve: there are so many mysteries that I have given up trying to understand.

But there's good news...

OCSteve, I'd be surprised if whatever Bill learned about the Texas environment and its system for choosing delegates in 1972 had much applicability today. Like everywhere else, Texas has changed a lot in the past 36 years, and aren't the rules completely different now? The experience from 16 years ago might be relevant, though.

OC Steve,

The point of the article isn't that Hillary doesn't have support in the state. The point is that the obscure delegate assignment procedures damp how that support manifests itself.

Texas has changed a lot in the past 36 years, and aren't the rules completely different now?

Supposedly the Texas hybrid system hails back to the 1968 convention. So 1972 would probably be the year to learn about it, I'd imagine.

But there's good news...

there's good news in Wisconsin, too.

So HRC's electability argument is that Idaho's delegates (and Idaho's opinion) should not matter to us strategically, because those are dead ends for November. And that the real concern is nominating the Democrat who didn't even carry NY, CA (the core blue states).

Meanwhile, people like me think: gosh, there is no chance California is going Republican this year, so why not pick the aggressive candidate who stands a better chance of putting swing states into play?

From the late, great, Molly Ivins of Texas on not supporting Clinton for the nomination--2 years ago. Suggested reading for anyone.
http://freepress.org/columns/display/1/2006/1304

So HRC's electability argument is that Idaho's delegates (and Idaho's opinion) should not matter to us strategically, because those are dead ends for November. And that the real concern is nominating the Democrat who didn't even carry NY, CA (the core blue states).

Apparently, Sen. Clinton's campaign management seems to believe, in the first instance, exactly that. I mean, in purely practical terms, perhaps Idaho may not "matter" in the general election (and perhaps other "Red" states), but it certainly - to say the least - offensively tone-deaf to come right out and say it as flatly as they have. Way to go, guys!

As for the second part, the Clinton campaign's advisories against nominating someone who "didn't carry CA or NY" makes sense only in the context of the Democratic primaries! CA and NY are indeed "core blue states": it is really hard to imagine John McCain running well ahead of either Sens. Obama or Clinton in the general election in those states. Maybe the Clintonistas think the public won't notice the lacunae in logic?

I guess it's been a while since I've been visiting DeLong's site. How long has he had that whole screenful of navigational junk and ads (semiprecious stones? lash extensions?) at the top of every page? Thank you, ObWi Powers That Be, for not succumbing to such madness.

KCinDC: Texas has changed a lot in the past 36 years, and aren't the rules completely different now?

I’m sure that some things are different, but I think the basic setup is pretty much the same (as Adam noted). But my point is more that the Clintons have long standing political ties to the state, probably second only to Arkansas. And it was a critical state for Bill to win. It just seems inconceivable to me that they would be completely unaware of how things work there.

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