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March 08, 2008

Comments

More insightful political analysis from the dark side.

And yet the predominant narrative in the media right now seems to be that Bill Clinton wants Obama to accept the number two position behind Hillary, because that would make them an unstoppable team. Not that she would be VP, mind you--only with her at the top of the ticket.

The Foster pickup is wonderful new. But he only gets the seat until November. Then it's time for a do-over. Still, it really, really, really sucks to be a Republican right now.

As for Wyoming, assuming that Obama wins MS handily, which seems like a very safe assumption, I think we may be right back where we were before TX and OH. Which is to say, with the clock ticking on the Clinton campaign. That said, the Obama camp really does need to win a few news cycles next week. Just so that they can take a breath or two. And get back on track.

Congrats to Bill Foster.

Is it very common for a physicist to win a Congressional Seat?

IIRC that is an unusual job description for a Congressperson.
Perhaps science is making a comeback?

I've been looking for an opening to post a more analytical (as distinguished from more personal and anecdotal) comment about macro-level factors that I see unfolding in this election. I hope that is OK to do here at this point and that I'm not thread-jacking. Also, I apologize in advance for the length, but I'm more comfortable writing off-line than on-line, which results in longer and more involved exposition.

Perhaps I should wait to see if anyone is interested?

Is it very common for a physicist to win a Congressional Seat?

No. This is because either their positions on the issues, or their momentum, can be observed, but not both.

LOL!

Thanks, pundit, that was delicious!

I wrote about the Clintons hinting around about the "dream team" ticket on my blog: https://swimmingfreestyle.typepad.com
An excerpt:
If cynicism, political calculation, and manipulation were Olympic events, we'd be talking gold medals for the Clintons.

How the hell can Bill and Hillary Clinton relentlessly hammer Barack Obama as nothing more than a shell, an empty vessel that lacks the substance and experience to be the president and, in the next breath and with a straight face, suggest that Obama would make a great vice presidential choice if she's the Democratic party nominee for president?

They really do think we're stupid.

Foster is the newest superdelegate, and he endorses Obama, so that's one more bit of the pie out of Clinton's hands (though admittedly it's a bit that hadn't existed previously).

Jay: Yes. They do.

I think the nomination is nearly assured. But she's really damaging Obama's reputation. He needs to put her away to stanch this, but there simply not enough primaries for that to happen.

The only way this improves is if the superdelegates begin to flow in now and commit themselves before Pennsylvania, even if they split them or break slightly towards HRC.

Otherwise, this is going down like the Titanic.

"I've been looking for an opening to post a more analytical (as distinguished from more personal and anecdotal) comment about macro-level factors...Perhaps I should wait to see if anyone is interested?"

Speaking as a fair-weather commenter here, TLTIABQ, I can say I've enjoyed your longer comments and would encourage it.

Delicious Pundit - thanks, that made my day. Can it be a coincidence that the nomination contest between HRC and BHO is starting to feel like a Schrödinger's cat paradox?

Trips, thanks - I didn't want to waste perfectly bits and bytes just talking to myself. I'll try to break it up into smaller chunks:

I've been thinking about some of the factors in the 2008 race that are unusual compared with past campaigns, and how they may help to explain why it has developed the way it has.

1 - Voting with your wallet

Small contributions by individuals are dramatically up this year. Some of that increase may be attributable to campaign finance reform and the ease-of-use provided by campaign websites, but I think there is another factor at work.

Interest in this campaign began much earlier than usual. I think this was due to a combination of excitement over a race which does not feature an incumbent President, VP, or other near-certain favorite, and on the Democratic side an impatience to get on with the process of choosing the successor to GWB, which is acting as a symbolic substitute for impeachment proceedings.

As excitement over this race began to build well in advance of the first scheduled primaries and caucuses, people started using campaign contributions as a proxy for the ballot box. Why wait to vote, when you can do so now by opening your wallet? This provides some of the satisfaction of voting in an actual primary with the added benefit of evading limits on both the chronology of the primary schedule and the number of times one person can vote in an actual election.

Once the media started paying attention to these fundraising numbers, it turned this activity into a continuous national primary, which is being tallied up in dollars rather than votes.

2 - Identity politics

Identity politics is producing a stronger identification between some of the voters and the candidates than usual, because this year we have a female candidate and an ethnic minority candidate (who is also conspicuously younger than the others) as front runners. In the past we've for the most part been offered a selection of pasty white old guys - which is not a group with a very strongly developed and focused sense of identity. Women, African-Americans, and young people are all potential converts to a politics based on group identity this year.

Strong group identity politics appears to have fostered a reverse dog whistle effect (where messages are being heard more clearly by the wrong audience) because self-conscious groups are more likely to detect attacks directed against their members. This is the case regardless of whether the attacks were intended or not - both true positive matches and false positive matches are more likely to occur than would otherwise be the case.

Identity politics will also tend to bring out more passionately committed voters providing a stronger base for each candidate and making them more resilient in the face of defeats, as it is difficult to persuade identity voters to switch sides and they cannot be bought out with ideological compromises. This means a more protracted contest is to be expected.

3 - New voters and non-voters

Turnout is way up. This cannot be due to traditional voters, because the latter by definition are the ones who normally show up. The increased turnout must be due to some combination of new voters and non-voters who normally skip elections, but who are reengaging with politics this year.

New voters are obviously going to be younger people. Non-voters returning to politics after dropping out for a variety of reasons are more difficult to characterize. I'd speculate that they include: Perot-voters not heard from since 1992-96, ideological misfits without a happy home in either party (who in the past have split the difference by staying home), and low-interest voters who do not vote in elections which seem unimportant to them.

The higher than normal turnout amongst these groups may due a variety of reasons, probably including a sense of urgent problems that need to dealt with, a feeling that elections have consequences (gifted to us GWB), the excitement of a wide open contest, group identity politics (see #2 above), and a somewhat unusual mix of ideological positions coming from the candidates which may have opened up space for some of the misfits to find a candidate they can agree with for a change.

What do these factors mean in terms of campaign tactics

Traditional voters will have a higher pain threshold than non-voters for negative attacks and other distasteful aspects of conventional campaigns because they are a self-selected group with a higher tolerance for these things and more prior experience putting up with them. They are also less likely to develop strong emotional attachments to any one candidate because they have seen multiple politicians come and go over the years and have learned from experience to deal with both the disappointment of losing and the disillusionment of winning (and then seeing their candidate fail to deliver on promises made).

Non-voters on the other hand will bring to the contest a lower pain threshold for negative attacks, etc., if such things were what drove them to withdraw from politics in the past. New voters have not yet been inoculated with cynicism or put through the winnowing process that separates traditional voters from non-voters. Thus both of these groups will be disproportionally likely to have a low tolerance for negative attacks and more likely to be personally offended by them, especially if they have developed an emotional attachment to the candidate who is being attacked. This tendancy will be even stronger if group identity is involved.

Putting all these things together, with the benefit of hindsight I would expect this to be an unusually protracted contest between well financed campaigns, featuring passionately committed voters who have bonded emotionally with their candidates. I would expect the latter to react very strongly against negative attacks and other less than savory aspects of traditional campaigns. It will be more difficult to get either candidate to retire from the field because they are less likely to run out of money or committed voters, than would normally be the case.

Which seems to be exactly what we're getting.

Finally, a caveat - I just noticed something which may be misinterpreted as a slam against one side, so let me clarify that when I wrote that:

Once the media started paying attention to these fundraising numbers, it turned this activity into a continuous national primary, which is being tallied up in dollars rather than votes.

I'm not suggesting here that raising a larger $ total implies greater legitimacy on the part of one campaign. I fully understand that one side may have more supporters who can comfortably afford to make larger and/or more frequent donations than the other side, and that $ should not be equated with votes on a 1:1 basis. I was pointing out the tendency of the media to make this equation, not endorsing it.

Is it very common for a physicist to win a Congressional Seat?

I don't think so. But Fermilab, a major high-energy physics facility where Foster used to work, is in this district.

Scientists are rare in Congress for fairly obvious "professional deformation" reasons. Rush Holt the rocket scientist is the only other member I'm aware of.

Foster is a scientist and a successful businessman, a much more typical route to Congress.

The solid margin of victory is sweet. As is the fact that the National Republican Congressional Campaign committee spent 20% of their cash on hand to hold the seat, and didn't come close.

Related: The financial irregularities uncovered at the NRCC are turning out, as expected, to involve hundreds of thousands of missing dollars (at a minimum). But don't be lulled into looking at this unfolding scandal as innocent Republican House members victimized by a lone embezzler.

No, this was campaign money laundering on a grand scale -- which the embezzling treasurer took advantage of. No one pulls off something this big alone. The leadership of the NRCC loosened their internal oversight procedures at the time when the party gained control of the White House and the "permanent majority"/K Street Project machinery was being set up.

Wachovia Bank, the NRCC's major lender, somehow failed to detect any red flags. Here's one that you'd think might pique the interest of even a casual observer: The NRCC treasurer opened accounts at twelve different branches of Wachovia around the DC area.

The threads are only beginning to be pulled in this tangled web. I predict at least as far-reaching a network of sleaze as in the Abramoff and Cunningham cases.

Nell: The threads are only beginning to be pulled in this tangled web. I predict at least as far-reaching a network of sleaze as in the Abramoff and Cunningham cases.

Just another reason I want them gone. They’re not even competent crooks anymore. I mean, at least they used to be good at that

And yet the predominant narrative in the media right now seems to be that Bill Clinton wants Obama to accept the number two position behind Hillary, because that would make them an unstoppable team. Not that she would be VP, mind you--only with her at the top of the ticket.
Where do they get this garbage? She's behind in the delegate count and he should take second place!? . . . The Clintons never cease to disgust.

Obama won TX, overall, too. don't tell the MSM!

They really do think we're stupid.

Posted by: Jay McDonough | March 09, 2008 at 12:53 AM


Actually, Jay: I'm not sure that "we" (if you are referring to the "us" of the electorate in general) really have much to do with the calculations of the Clinton campaign by this point.
Ever since Super Tuesday, when it became clear that this year's Democratic race was going to be a real contest, rather than a coronation, Hillary Clinton's campaign just seems to have given up on actually trying to persuade the Dem electoral base to vote for her. Instead, they have simply A) gone hugely (if somewhat incompetently) negative on Sen. Obama's candidcacy; and B) tried (so far, without much apparently success) to "game the system" by pressuring the Party machinery to boost their delegate total; and C) spin the media like crazy.

Somewhere in all this, the interests of the voters (still less the nation) seem to have gotten shoved onto the back burner. Yeah, what Redhand said... disgust.

Oh, and speaking of "thoughtful political analysis" - check this well-thought-out intellectual exercise from Bizarro World .

I read in one set of comments that Wyoming has a UED, an unaligned pledged delegate, that also went to Obama, giving him 8 to 5. Can anyone confirm this?

It plays into a little fantasy I had about the importance of playing by the rules in each state: Wyoming would turn out to have an obscure secret bonus delegate who would be allotted based on a square-dance off between top aides, or by making Penn and Plouffe jello wrestle....

Is it very common for a physicist to win a Congressional Seat?

No. This is because either their positions on the issues, or their momentum, can be observed, but not both.

Posted by: Delicious Pundit

Hee. (As a math/science person, I am thrilled to have more scientists in office. This is a strong bias for me, I confess.)

Foster is the newest superdelegate, and he endorses Obama, so that's one more bit of the pie out of Clinton's hands (though admittedly it's a bit that hadn't existed previously).

Posted by: KCinDC

The piece of pie was undefined until measured (by the election). At that moment, it snapped into Obama's side of the piecase.


ThatLeftTurn, I don't know how big it is, but I think there may be a divide between identity politics and those sick of identity politics. Clinton's appeal to women, rather than to citizens, is a turnoff for many women. Penn's parsing of groups is offensive to a younger generation who don't like to think of themselves as belonging to just one little traditional group. (To an older generation, as well, but I think it's striking that one campaign puts so much emphasis on the groups it wants while writing off others, while the other avoids talking about any group of supporters other than "Barack's supporters.") McCain is running as the big tent guy, too, as much as he can--
Reagan's morning in America, not Reagan's cobbling together of religious and economic conservatives, as those groups splinter....it's another last gasp of 20th century vs. 21st century campaigning.

Happiness today. :) Foster is adorable, too.

Perhaps Foster would've accepted some help from Hillary Clinton, too, but she's not exactly known for offering it. She's much better known for keeping her campaign war chest to herself.

And seriously. Obama is ahead on nearly every category: states, delegates, money, popular vote...how can this be spun as heading in Clinton's direction?

ThatLeftTurn, I don't know how big it is, but I think there may be a divide between identity politics and those sick of identity politics.

Deborah,

I'm trying to be scrupulously fair to both sides in this thread rather than bashing HRC, so I'm going to disagree on this point. Both sides are benefiting from group identity - obviously BHO is getting a major boost from the almost monolithic AA vote, and I think the strength of his youth vote is also based in part on group identity politics.

I'm not saying that every AA voter is picking based on race. If you read the voter interviews that make it into the press it's clear that a great many AA voters are genuinely supportive of both candidates and are making a difficult choice based on many factors, but the polling and primary vote percentages are just overwhelmingly going in favor of BHO, so you have to think that he is getting a large net benefit there.

This is strategically important because BHO's wins in southern states have been crucial in keeping him even or ahead in the race, and from the exit poll data it looks like he would not be doing this without strong AA support. This vote also increased his margin in the Potomac primaries, boosting what otherwise would have been modest victories into landslide territory.

The other reason why I think this criticism of HRC is unfair is that her appeals to women as an identity block at least have the virtue of building on a historic strength for the Democratic party as a whole. Anything that gets more women to the polls is likely to be a net benefit to the Dems in November because there is usually a gender gap between the 2 parties in general elections.

Hillary has taken a lot of heat for her "lifetime of achievement" speeches attacking Obama in contrast with McCain, because they have the potential to hurt the party in November. I think this case is different - this is an area where Hillary can build herself up at Obama's expense without hurting the party (i.e., without casting a positive light on the GOP candidate by way of contrast).

I have to say that Hillary's appeals to women have struck me (as a male) as being generally pretty positive and about building women up rather than tearing men down, so they haven't bothered me.

Why do you feel differently? Do you feel that your arm is being twisted in an unfair manner, and you are being forced to choose between gender loyalty and other factors that are also important to you? This may be an area where as a male I simply can't hear a dog whistle message that is being sent out, and you can.

TLTIABQ: "her appeals to women as an identity block at least have the virtue of building on a historic strength for the Democratic party as a whole." This is (I hope unintentionally) offensive. African Americans have been the most reliable Democratic voters, but like many lower income groups have not had the turnout levels that we have seen for Obama. They ARE a historic strength for the Democrats (at least since the Civil Rights era made it possible for them to vote). And raising their participation by providing a candidate that they see as theirs is exactly "building on a historic strength for the Democratic party as a whole." I think your comment falls into the category of calling women and African Americans a special interest group that votes preferentially for "their" candidates, but ignoring the identical behavior of white males.

And seriously. Obama is ahead on nearly every category: states, delegates, money, popular vote...how can this be spun as heading in Clinton's direction?

Posted by: Sarah J
They're trying for a very narrow definition of popular vote, that counts FL and MI (but not Uncommitted for Obama) and ignores caucus states. I think people have to be careful of getting carried away on the popular vote gap--don't let them move the goal posts there, because "what's a popular vote" will be more nebulous than "what's the pledged delegate vote."

ThatLeftTurn
To quote Madeleine Albright, "There's a place in hell for women who don't support other women." Gloria Steinem's essay in support of Hillary, which started the "a woman with his credentials would be laughed off the stage" meme. (I disagree with this--she'd have had a steeper initial climb, but then Clinton's gender advantage wouldn't matter. And when you turn it around and suggest that Mr. Pelosi could run in 2010 with the argument he should be House Speaker, he'd been married to Nancy--well, picture any husband of a prominent woman politician trying to claim he got experience by being married to her. For many women online, this seems to irritate--no high-ranking, well-respected woman in business got there by claiming her husband's experience. Or by claiming that breaking the glass ceiling could be her principle qualification--the "Can't you vote for a woman?" appeal I keep hearing. Or by interpreting everything negative that happened to her through the lens of sexism--a lot of people seem to see Clinton as the worst authority figure they've ever had, usually a boss or a teacher. I wince at the mother/mother-in-law ones, but I think it ties to power. She is, as someone put it this week, the person who won't let the meeting end. I instantly picture people I've worked with like that, and recognize Hillary in them, whatever their gender.

My arm isn't very twistable--I understood feminism to be about equal opportunity. Put another way, I don't, at 39, feel gender-loyalty, just citizen-loyalty. I see plenty of misogynism in media coverage, including the full-bore "Clinton showed emotion in NH today" coverage (even on NPR); I don't consider it a good reason to vote for her. She's spoken of as having a "silent majority" who are mad at what men have done to them and identify with her. That silent majority was originally Nixon's, and they burned with resentment. Just not an attractive demographic to me. As a 20-year old physics major, I got surprise from older people, but "why aren't there more girls? this is weird" from my age mates. My neice is now a math major, and it's not a big deal to any age group.

But, yes, when I listen to Albright, Ferraro, and other women I used to respect denigrating everything about me for voting my conscience over my gender, I feel they want to twist my arm. Similar with some old women (my 75-year-old mother-in-law NOT among them; she went Obama) who sadly sigh "I always wanted to see a woman elected before I died, and now it's slipping away." (Another NPR piece.) That's just not enough for me to ignore her record. And it annoys me that anyone serioiusly thinks it should be. Coincidentally, the people who think it should be enough seem to all be supporting Clinton.

Here's a shorter version:

As a citizen, I see a role for government in trying to make things more fair.

As an individual, I can't stand people who whine about life being unfair, as I tell my children whenever they try it.

The "vote your gender-identity" arguments sound like the latter, not the former.

hilzoy: : Remember, before Ohio and Texas, Clinton needed to win 58% of all remaining delegates in order to come to the convention with a majority of pledged delegates. The Obama campaign sent me an email claiming that she now needs 63%.

And what percentage does she need to win the popular vote?:

57% Say Candidate With Most Votes Should Get Nomination

TLTIABQ: "her appeals to women as an identity block at least have the virtue of building on a historic strength for the Democratic party as a whole." This is (I hope unintentionally) offensive.

bemused,

I must confess to being as thick as a brick here. I fail to see how suggesting that Hillary is seeking to boost the turnout of one group which is historically favorable to the Democrats in any way implies that Obama is not doing the same thing for another group. If I've commited a sin of omission here, please enlighten me as to what the rules are for these discussions so I can be sure to stay within the lines.

I was trying to make a point about Hillary's campaign - that not all of her tactics are in fact intended to drive down Democratic turnout, which is what she's been accused of (with some justice IMHO) in the flap over her "experience is required" remarks. The contrast I made was intended to be vs. other aspects of Hillary's campaign, not vs. similar aspects of Obama's campaign.

I thought I was saying the equivalent of "I like apples", and you are coming back at me with the equivalent of "How dare you imply that you don't like organges!". One does not necessarily follow from the other, unless there was some sort of rule in effect saying that all kinds of fruit must be discussed. I was trying to contrast the statement "I like apples" against another statement "roast beef is hard to digest", which is a comparison across categories, not within the same category.

ThatLeftTurnInABQ: BHO is getting a major boost from the almost monolithic AA vote

Clinton had substantial African American support until a series of incidents during the runup to South Carolina. (Billy Shaheen, Bob Johnson, Mark Penn, Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackon analogy...). The Clinton campaign pushed that support away, and there weren't a lot of places it could go.

But of course lots of people still assume that African Americans vote with their skin and not with their brains.

I think your comment falls into the category of calling women and African Americans a special interest group that votes preferentially for "their" candidates, but ignoring the identical behavior of white males.

I'm not attempting suggest anything about the voting patterns of white males or suggest that they are less driven by identity politics than other groups. I was ignoring them as a factor in the current contest because there aren't any white male candidates left running in the Democratic primaries this year, so positive skewness of this group as a voting block (i.e., voters who "choose to vote for the white guy because he is more like me") is no longer an issue.

When both candidates in a contest are white males, then it seems difficult to credit the idea that identification on that basis would play a role in influencing voting patterns. That has been the case obtained for most of the presidential primaries in our history up to this point. In this case neither remaining candidate is a white male (which is fine by me), which again would seem to rule out that specific group as a potential target for bonding with these specific candidates on a racial or gender basis.

I was not addressing the case of a campaign where the candidates are mix of genders and races including at least one white male, because that is neither relevant to the contest we currently have, nor to the baseline of older contests I was seeking to contrast the current one with.

Also, I was specifically limiting my analysis to cases where voters are bonding in a positive manner with a candidate, because they share certain traits. I'm not talking at all about racism/sexism issues, where voters would choose to vote against a candidate who differs from them; that is a different can of worms altogether. If you are reading into my remarks that white males can be taken as some sort of normative unbiased control group against which the voting patterns of others can be measured, that was certainly not my intent.

The Clintons' well orchestrated argument that the nomination should be decided by only those living in non-caucus states contradicts their earlier talking point that they support those who "have worked hard and played by the rules".

I did not want to have a caucus, but I participated in the process the Democratic party in my state defined, following the rules.

After Hillary crossed the threshold of adding positive statements about McCain to her anti-Obama rhetoric, I now expect her to put her own interests ahead of those of the Democratic party.

I've been trying to keep enough distance to be able to support any nominee, but her campaign is quickly losing my respect by its scorched-earth tactics.

TLTIABQ you said: "The other reason why I think this criticism of HRC is unfair is that her appeals to women as an identity block at least have the virtue of building on a historic strength for the Democratic party as a whole." I read this statement as saying the women, as an identity block, were meritorious targets of appeal because they, in contrast to African Americans, were a historic strength of the Democratic Party as a whole. The implication that African Americans were just a niche element of support for Democrats in the unimportant south belies their unwavering reliability as Democratic voters, not just in the south but in urban areas throughout the company ("as a whole"). Perhaps your wording was infeliitous, but I believe the meaning I saw was indisputably there.

Company should be country, of course. Never listen to the radio and post at the same time.

But of course lots of people still assume that African Americans vote with their skin and not with their brains.

CHG,

Is there a reason why voting with brains first, and then using skin as a tiebreaker to settle a coin-flip situation is not valid or acceptable? Saying that race is a factor in this decision is not the same as saying it is the only factor (or even the dominant factor), nor is it the same thing as saying that it is not a legitimate basis for making a decision.

African Americans have a perfectly legitimate right to use race as a deciding criteria, especially in an otherwise very close contest. For them to do otherwise would be demanding a superhuman level of disinterested saintliness which I don't think should be asked of any minority group.

If there were compelling evidence that Obama was a decidedly weaker candidate compared vs. Hillary, and African Americans were the only group voting for him in large percentages despite that, then I think you could open up the question of group bias and to what degree is it legitimate? That is most certainly not the case here.

I don't see why observing that Obama is garnering the lion's share of the African American vote has to be translated into a slur against the intelligence or wisdom of those voters. I understand that some racists are attempting to make that insinuation, but I don't accept their rationales.

Or to put it in shorter terms - if African Americans were voting against Hillary purely because she is white, then that would be racist. Voting for Obama, in part because one of his parents is African, is not racism, it is justifiable pride. I don't conflate one with the other.

I read this statement as saying the women, as an identity block, were meritorious targets of appeal because they, in contrast to African Americans, were a historic strength of the Democratic Party as a whole.

bemused,

Thanks, I think I understand better where I erred. My statement was made in the context of a much broader set of arguments raging in other threads about how to interpret Hillary's recent "lifetime of experience" speeches (implying that she and McCain are already qualified to be CiC and that Obama is not yet ready). I failed to provide that context in this thread, which was a bad idea.

I was comparing two different HRC campaign tactics to one another: #1 - try to turn out more women to vote for her vs. #2 - try to knock down Obama's positives and get fewer people to vote for him. In response to Deborah's 12:02pm comment on this thread where she was saying that she found tactic #1 objectionable, I was pointing out that at least tactic #1 is better than tactic #2.

It never occurred to me that someone would read me to be making a comparison between HRC tactic #1 and the equivalent tactic for Obama. I thought I was talking apples vs roast beef, and it came out sounding like apples vs (implied) oranges. I'm sorry for doing that and will try to do better in the future. Thank you for pointing it out.

And just for the record, I think the efforts of the Obama campaign to increase African American voter registration and turnout are a very good thing, both for the Democrats and much more importantly for the nation as a whole.

Deborah,

Thanks for your 3:31 and 3:49 responses, which I'm just getting around to reading now because I've been kinda busy tasting my own shoe-leather over the way I messed up my observations concerning the African American vote and created an unintended set of insults.

From reading your comments it sounds to me like you feel that you are being unfairly pressured to deliver a vote for Hillary, not in the context of making a coin-flip decision between two equally matched candidates, but instead are being told that gender identity should override your judgment regarding the comparative merits of the candidates based on other factors.

Did I get that right?

I read this statement as saying the women, as an identity block, were meritorious targets of appeal because they, in contrast to African Americans, were a historic strength of the Democratic Party as a whole.

bemused,

To follow up on my earlier clarification. I made a major mistake by addressing two different topics in the same comment which were not in any way linked in my mind, and placing them arranged consecutively, which when read as being related to one another as part of a single argument created a wholly unintended insult. Reading back over what I wrote, I can very much understand why you interpreted it the way you did.

My 12:50pm comment was written in response to Deborah's comment that in her opinion Obama voters and Hillary voters were distinguishable on the basis that the former were rejecting identity politics and the latter were embracing it.

My thought process when I was writing to rebut this idea of Deborah's was structured in the following manner:

Topic #1 - Is Hillary the only candidate receiving group support?

1st paragraph: both sides appear to me to have some identity group support. I don't see Hillary as uniquely having group support and Obama uniquely lacking in group support compared with Hillary

2nd paragraph: the stories I'm reading incline me to believe that African American voters are assessing the strengths and weakness of both candidates with great care and are judging them to be very close to one another in strength, and that other factors being equal, race is being used as a final tiebreaker to resolve coin-flip situations. I would expect this to create a tipping point phenomenon, converting a small advantage to Obama in the minds of these voters into a large advantage to him in the percentage of votes obtained from them.

3rd paragraph: the net effect of this is that Obama is receiving a large numbers of votes from African Americans and that this is helping him in a manner consistent with the regional distribution of these voters.

That was the end of my intended chain of logic regarding topic #1. Next I started a brand new topic, unrelated to the paragraphs preceding it.

Topic #2: Is Hillary's group support amongst some women a bad thing?

4th paragraph: Encouraging more women to turn out is a good thing for the Democrats.

5th paragraph: This is much better for the party than her tactic of attacking Obama.

6th paragraph: This appeal on the basis of gender doesn't bother me just because I'm the wrong gender.

In retrospect it was a terrible idea to put both topics in the same comment, and even worse to put them in this order thus creating the impression that they were linked. I'm sorry and I apologize for the offense you must have felt when reading this.

Clinton had substantial African American support until a series of incidents during the runup to South Carolina. (Billy Shaheen, Bob Johnson, Mark Penn, Bill Clinton's Jesse Jackson analogy...). The Clinton campaign pushed that support away, and there weren't a lot of places it could go.

CHG,

Here is another point I need to apologize for. I am not unaware of (or wholly insensitive to) the way the African American community has reacted to some of the statements and tactics on the part of the Clinton campaign, particularly those centered on the SC primary.

In my multipart post I was trying to highlight what I thought were some structural features of this campaign present at its inception, rather than to address specific aspects of the campaign as it has actually unfolded. So I'm not slighting the significance of what happened, it just didn't fall within the scope of what I was trying to talk about, which was broad enough already and probably more than most readers wanted to see.

Been away for a feww days so will make some catch up commenst on this thread.

1. Bill Foster is the first Congressional candidate to be endorsed by 25 nobel science award winners. Oberweiss is, to be nice about it, a jerk. That being said, if Obama is the Presidential candidate, Foster will win in November. If its Clinton it is at best a toss up.
2. That brings me to the whole coat-tail argumen. I think Obama can contribute immensely to increasing both margins in Congress. With Clinton, I wouldn't be surprised to see the margin in the House disappear and possibly the same in the Senate.
3. IOW, Clinton mught beat McCain (but only because it is McCain) but it would be by a very slight margin if she does at all. But I don't think she would be working with a stringly Democratic Cogress and anything she tries to get through is going nowhere, including judicial nominations.
4. Clinton's foreign policy experience is a joke, as mentioned on prior threads. She may tout the speech in China on women's rights, which was a nice speech. But it is not like it either changed anything in China or put at any kind of risk either there or at home.
5. I was very disappointed in the results in WY yesterday. I was hoping for a 4 delegate victory, which I think would have happened prior to last Tuesday. The fact that the MSM keeps talking about Clinton's big victory in TX when Obama won the most delegates makes me sick. Since she lost TX, someone should challenge Bill on his statements.

TLTiABQ: Why so down on roast beef? :)

TLTiABQ: Why so down on roast beef? :)

Isn't it obvious - because I prefer to eat crow.

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