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May 25, 2008

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Why are you talking about the electability argument and comparing the race between Clinton and Obama? Electibility is about who can beat McCain in the general. Any analysis of "Hillary won the the white voters from Obama, therefore she will win them in the general" is just garbage. This is a sophist frame created by the Clinton campaign.

As John Cole constantly points out, neither Democrat will take WV in the general.

Walker: because I'm tired of Clinton arguments that consider one factor in the actual world, as opposed to the world as a whole. E.g., she has an advantage with working-class whites! (Don't look at her disadvantages elsewhere!) Or: she would have won had it not been for sexism! (But don't ask whether racism played any role; the hypothetical to which her supporters always compare this is: a world that is like our own, only without sexism; not: a world that is like our own, only without any prejudice, including racism.)

I'd be more open to Senator Clinton's "electability" argument if she had backed it up by actually winning elections. Obama's won 30 primaries and caucuses. That's a lot of elections.

"I just heard someone on one of the talk shows say that it must be hard for Hillary Clinton to give up her dreams."

How come John Edwards supporters aren't storming the ramparts demanding that their candidate be respected and keep campaigning, or they won't come out for the Democratic nominee in the fall, etc.?

I agree with your discussion of the issue of how African-American voters would react if superdelegates took the nomination away from Obama after he won the most pledged delegates in primaries and caucuses. However, there is a more important issue: How will the young voters and the first-time voters whom Obama has attracted to his cause react?

The way someone votes in the first election can have an impact for the rest of one's life, and Democrats have an opportunity that has not been seen since Roosevelt to create a cadre of new supporters for the next generation. Let us not squander this opportunity.

the Clinton people are beyond rational arguments at this point. they are operating on a different plane of reality, a reality of their own devising. this what they have learned from 8 years of Bush--"no, no, 2 + 2 isn't 4, it's whatever we say it is now. or might be tomorrow."

i can only hope all the supers are sitting back, waiting for 8am June 4, to put Obama over the top.

at this point, i don't think Hillary has any place in the Senate, even. she's been trying to blow up the party from the inside for months now. surely there's one other Democrat in all of NY that doesn't need a possible assassination to win an election.

She's still pretending that the only possible offense from her statement would be to the Kennedy family, and citing RFK Jr as abosolving her. But of course the greater offense of breaking the taboo was to the Obama family, and she's said nothing about that.

I am running because my parents did not raise me to be a quitter - and too many people still come up to me at my events, grip my arm and urge me not to walk away before this contest is over.

All the other presidential candidates, Republican and Democratic, except for Obama and McCain are clearly quitters (as is nearly every candidate in all previous nomination contests), and none of them had any supporters urging them not to drop out.

How will the young voters and the first-time voters whom Obama has attracted to his cause react?

i know how one particular 4th-time voter would react. i think the term for it is "undervote".

but, an even bigger problem is that Hillary has convinced her supporters that the party and the media have stolen the nomination from her due to:

1. sexism
2. Obama's sneaky backroom machinations (out of Clinton and Obama, Obama's the well-connected party insider? really?)

sure, they're wrong, but i suspect they're feeling something close to the disillusionment that Obama supporters would feel, if Hillary was to get the nomination. she's convinced them that she is the rightful winner, and many will sincerely feel Obama's win is illegitimate.

"i can only hope all the supers are sitting back, waiting for 8am June 4, to put Obama over the top."

You want them to take back their statements that the majority are voting for Obama?

Super Delegates
Total: 797
Obama: 312
Clinton: 280
Why do you want them to disavow their votes and sit on their hands until next week?

Or are you saying that you think that somehow the remaining not-publically-committed 295 should wait another week, or that they're in danger of not voting in sufficient numbers for Obama?

If so, I wouldn't worry.

She's still pretending that the only possible offense from her statement would be to the Kennedy family, and citing RFK Jr as abosolving her. But of course the greater offense of breaking the taboo was to the Obama family, and she's said nothing about that.

Her total inability to apologize is astonishing. I thought, at the beginning of the campaign, to characterize her (or anyone) as "Bushlike" was unfair, but that's the only way I can describe it now. "If you saw something wrong with that, it's your fault."

To expand on what Gary said, there are 204 uncommitted supers left. There are 86 elected delegates left to be won. As of this writing, Obama needs 52 more delegates to reach the magic number of 2025. We're just about done here.

It would behoove my fellow Obama supporters to kick back and relax a bit. This will all be over in just over a week. Florida and Michigan will be decided on 5/31. PR will vote on 6/1 and the last states will vote on 6/3 (my one year anniversary, BTW).

I feel pretty confident that on or before 6/4 Obama will have whatever magic number of delegates required to win the nomination. If HRC still hasn't conceded at that point, Obama having >50% of all delegates and no more elections on the horizon, things will be done to encourage her to do so.

No matter what Hillary says, no matter what Bill says and no matter what an army of HRC dead-ender trolls say, this will be over and done in less that two weeks.

Here's that RCP link from Gary on the delegate count.

(Somehow a rogue ç got into "democratic" in the URL.)

I think Hillary's claim to superior electibility is an abstract one (i.e. not rooted in the realities of the actual primary season and now general election season we've obtained in 2008), based on two premises:

1) A misreading of the electoral landscape, thinking that the basic balance of power between Democrats and Republicans is the same as it was in the 1990's, a legacy of the working out of the GOP's "southern strategy" from 1968 thru the 1980's, in which lower middle class and low education white people are the main swing group.

This ignores the extent of the damage that W and his administration have done to the GOP brand in the last 5 years, and the shifts in underlying demographics which have occurred since the Bill Clinton administration, both of which have made the Democratic nominee more viable in traditional GOP strongholds than was previously the case, if the candidate in question is well positioned to take advatange.


2) A recognition that her campaign made very serious mistakes in the early phase of the Democratic nominating contest, which has resulted in a partial shake up of her staff, and an assumption that her electoral prospects in November should be judged not on the basis of her actual campaign thus far, but on thus basis of the imaginary perfect campaign which (in a parallel universe) she would have run if she had known from which direction her main challenge would come and how serious it would be.

I think she and her advisors now realize that they seriously underestimated Obama (and conversely, they probably overestimated Edwards). I think they chalk this up as "lessons learned", and feel that if they had known in 2007 what they know now, that they could have put together a much better campaign which would have exploited demographics weaknesses in Obama's coalition to beat him. Ergo, that makes her "more electable", since she feels that she has the stronger demographic base, and just did a poor job of taking advantage of it.

Personally, I think this is all nonsense, but it is the most rational explanation I can come up with, assuming they actually believe what they are saying.

The fact that she seems instead to require our indulgence while she sorts through her emotional issues just gives me one more reason to be glad she lost

Gosh, hilzoy; I don't think I would say something like that for fear of coming across as sexist.

I have been thinking that her "I'm only not winning because the whole world is out to get me" attitude is reminiscent of what Molly Ivins said about Bush Jr.: "he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple."

She really thinks that, despite her massive early advantages in name recognition, donor network, party machinery, etc., the world has been unfair to her. Of course she's right that there has been some sexist nonsense tossed against her, but I doubt that's why people like you decided you prefer Obama.

Four or so months ago, I'd have considered it a toss-up as to who I preferred; now I feel like we dodged a bullet by avoiding another person with a "facts don't matter"/"only biased people criticize me" attitude in the White House.

In my mind, the only way that Clinton could be considered more "electable" is by emphasizing her demonstrated willingness to play bad-faith politics in the Rovian tradition.

Indeed, over at TalkLeft I just read a comment (nutpick alert!) to the effect of "what's more important, following some stoopid roolz or winning in November!!111!"

It's exactly this kind of cynical and dishonest campaigning that turns me off of the whole process, especially when mainstream leaders like the Clinton's co-opt the worst tactics of the GOP machine.

I guess I would rather lose honestly in November than win by dirty tricks.

Oh and Gary, I'm pretty sure your remark about "storming the ramparts" is a totally inappropriate and offensive slam at some demographic, and as soon as I figure out who it is, I'll come back and verbally abuse you.;)

gary-

no, i didn't WANT the uncommitted supers to wait this long, but they did and i don't see much point in not waiting the two more weeks.

Hillary is using every insane/disingenuous argument she has to somehow Turn This All Around. none of it will work, but its kinda like arguing with Bizarro at this point.

One of her main argument is, of course, let all the states vote (of course she didn't give a shit about all the states supposed to come after Feb.5th, but that was Old Reality, this is New Reality).

so...let them. BO will most likely win 2 of the remaining 3 contests, and then there will be no more states left to vote, so that chunk of Hillary's argument goes out the door, and back to Reality Land.

by then FL and MI will be settled. then the remaining fence-sitters SHOULDN'T WAIT ONE SECOND MORE, and endorse Obama, making him the official nominee, and kicking Hillary in the ass as she walks out the door.

what am i saying? she'll be clawing at the door, holding onto the doorframe as she's dragged out.

I think you're being too coy with that "I can't speak for AA voters" stuff. You know exactly what they'd think.

It goes like this: There's an old line that too often rings true: it's not enough for the black guy to be just a little better on the merits than his white competition; he has to be twice as good.

Well, Obama played by the rules. And on the merits he's going to come out ahead in pledged delegates. If the Democratic Party turned around and told Obama that's not enough and that, in fact, he really needed to be "twice as good" and instead of him they're going to give the nomination to the white candidate, then the level of betrayal that would be felt in the black community would be unbelievable.

All you need is a slump in black turnout and any Democrat automatically loses OH, PA, FL, MI, MO. And I think it's obvious you'd have more than a slump -- and not just among black voters.

The problem for HRC has never been that she can't win the nomination on some technicality. It's that for some time now the only route for her to win the nomination would make the nomination into an entirely Pyrrhic victory.

There is some number of years, call it N, that no one can spend being exposed to Bill Clinton without ceasing -- as if from long bombardment with antiparticles -- to be a "responsible moral agent".

Note carefully that the same could have been said of Richard Nixon.

It is not immediately obvious why the American political system advances so many profoundly narcissistic individuals. (Plausible theories can be put forward, but plausibility + ~$4.00 will still buy you a gallon of gas.) It is clearly a self-destructive tendency of the system, but it ought to be easier to work around it, inasmuch as no one votes for an individual but against a party.

The rest of the 25-minute speech urged students to focus on more than "the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy."

I don’t know what you see in this guy Hilzoy. He sports nice suits and a $1.9 million mansion. His wife accepted a doubling of her tribute when he became a Senator. And he gives this talk with a straight face.

He then goes on to talk how everyone should work for him as public servants. He's becoming transparent.

"He's becoming transparent."

one of Obama's many superpowers, like defeating the biggest name in Democratic politics.

"I'd be more open to Senator Clinton's "electability" argument if she had backed it up by actually winning elections. Obama's won 30 primaries and caucuses. That's a lot of elections."

That's pretty much it.

I realize these arguments from her camp wrt to 'winning' are an attempt at saving face:

-caucuses are unfair
-if we had the same system as republicans, HRC would be winning
- we won the big states
-we won the second half
-we won the swing states
-we won the popular vote, if you do the math our way

yaddayadda.

And there's nothing wrong with saving face. Everyone should be allowed their dignity. But when it goes so far, and never ends, and is so desperate that the rationales offered become so ridiculous to rise to laughable, you've defeated your own goal.

I think the goal of trying to put forth an argument to undecided supers using these rationales was never part of the plan. The people who wanted to get on board before the primaries even started did so long ago. A few more came on board in deference to the voters of their states or congressional districts. But the flow of supers towards Obama has been one-sided and relentless.

DNFTT

"However, there is a more important issue: How will the young voters and the first-time voters whom Obama has attracted to his cause react?

The way someone votes in the first election can have an impact for the rest of one's life, and Democrats have an opportunity that has not been seen since Roosevelt to create a cadre of new supporters for the next generation. Let us not squander this opportunity."

What he(she?) said.

It's not just African-American voters that will be angry, and though I don't think it's "more important" to talk about the young (presumably white) voters, I do think it is a major factor. We need a Democratic party that will last, not just win a majority in this election. To do that, we need to worry less about 80-year-olds in Florida who say they won't vote for a black man and more about the 18-year-olds who came out not just to vote but to caucus in their very first election.

This may sound ageist, but it's important.

cleek: There's a fair argument to be made that Hillary lost votes due to the sexism of her media portrayal. [Yes, she ended up garnering some, too, but not IMO as much as she lost.] I still don't think she would have won the nomination had that not happened -- nor would I have wanted her to -- but the effects seem undeniable.

Fozzie: I didn't mean to be coy; it's just that I am not, in fact, African-American, and while I don't think that means I can't speculate, it would seem pretty disrespectful to me to just announce that I know what someone else is thinking. I don't like it much when, for instance, people tell me what liberals or women or whoever "must" be thinking, and I didn't want to do anything similar.

Here is the question I would wish to ask of Clinton, any of them "considering how mismanaged and unprepared your campaign has demonstrated itself to be in the primaries, how are we to have any confidence that it would be prepared enough and funded enough for the general?"

Honestly, that's the thing that is most puzzling to me. They blame the media, their opponent, any and everyone else besides taking any responsibility for their own missteps or misspeaking, yet they ask us to have confidence that all their enemies and detractors will somehow melt away in the face of her being the nominee? How does that make any sense at all?

I don't like it much when, for instance, people tell me what liberals or women or whoever "must" be thinking…

Liberal women must be thinking they would like to watch a nice sunset tonight with a pina-colada handy. YMMV, but I hope you (and everyone) has a nice weekend…

OCSteve: You have magical telepathic powers, so you, alone among humanity, have special permission to tell me what I must be thinking.

Enjoy it. You've earned it. ;P

Senator Clinton's mention of assassination was ghoulish. That having been said, where does the 1968 analogy get her? Does she see herself in the Eugene McCarthy role? If I recall correctly, Hubert Humphrey (the eventual nominee) had not even run in the primaries that year.

Florida and Michigan will be decided on 5/31.

Except the May 31 Rules and Bylaws Committee decision will almost certainly be appealed up to the Credentials Committee... and then that decision will be appealed... which means that the fate of Michigan and Florida won't be decided until the convention. Which means in all likelihood that Hillary is planning on taking this all the way to the convention.

Hmmm...I'm obviously off...I thought they'd want a kahlua an cream. Ah well...

HRC, shifting the Overton Window one taboo at a time.

Suppose that it turns into a Clinton/McCain election.

Could we actually get a third-party candidate to win one?

The Libertarian candidate, maybe?

I think it would on the whole be a good thing if by 2010 the GOP became a third party and the big split was between Democrats and Libertarians in the House.

Could we actually get a third-party candidate to win one?

The Libertarian candidate, maybe?

No.

This has been yet another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.

There's a fair argument to be made that Hillary lost votes due to the sexism of her media portrayal.

argument, maybe. is there any evidence ? there's tons of evidence that race motivates people to vote against Obama. is there evidence saying people are voting against Clinton because she's a woman ? and if there is, it is as strong as the racist evidence ?

and frankly, since her supporters shout "sexism" at every single goddamn criticism of Hillary, i really don't pay attention to them any more.

I have no doubt that Hillary knows not only that it's over, but that her arguments are specious at best.

I think the game plan since TX is to dirty Obama, so that he'll lose the general. Hence the hardworking whites comment, he cannot win comment, the elitist brand, and on and on.

At the same time, Bill and Hillary are talking up the sexism and the 'media hates us' memes, in order to anger their supporters into believing that she was rightfully denied the nomination and therefore they will not support Obama.

Just look at what Bill was saying in SD today, it's eerily similar to Hillary's saying there was a vast right wing conspiracy, only this time it's from the left and liberals.

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/05/bill-clinton-ha.html

From Barbara's link:

Clinton also spoke against bullying superdelegates to make up their minds, [emphasis added] saying, "I cant believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out. 'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"

At this point, I don't think there can be any doubt she is trying to take this to all the way to the convention. And barring a massive rush of superdelegates towards the Obama camp before the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting May 31,that's exactly where this thing is headed.

Italics off ( I hope). Sorry.

" And barring a massive rush of superdelegates towards the Obama camp before the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting May 31,that's exactly where this thing is headed."

Have no fear, the super d's will come after the last primary. At that point, if he has to, Obama can give HRC every last delagate from Mi and Fla and it won't matter. She'll look stupid and petty at that point.

(Don't underestimate the power of pressure on HRC once the avelanche begins). Patience.

Have no fear, the super d's will come after the last primary. At that point, if he has to, Obama can give HRC every last delagate from Mi and Fla and it won't matter. She'll look stupid and petty at that point.

It would be a whole lot better if enough supers came out for him in the next week that he could make that offer before May 31, thus preventing an appeal of the RBC ruling. But once the cycle of FL/MI appeals etc. gets going, it gives her a pretext to stay in the race until those states are "settled."

I am a 50 year old white male (formerly a Republican). I will never vote for Senator Clinton -- she, along with President Clinton and President Bush, represent the failed politics of division. They care only for their own power and there are no tactics beneath them. It is time for a change from 20 years of Bush/Clinton incompetence and lost opportunities.

I plan to vote for Senator Obama, as do my wife, my 19 year-old son and my 75 year-old parents.

Wait! Stop! What's this talk, with hints of soft blackmail and identity politics, about a mass defection of angry black people? In this political season, when every voter's emotional condition must be held sacred, I'm feeling left out. I'm white, and not young, and would sooner eat ground glass than vote for Hillary Clinton. If the superdelegates wrested this nomination from Obama, at this point a laughable scenario, I'd devote the rest of my dwindling days to destroying the Democratic Party.

good for you and your family, RDB.

my dad is 75 and a veteran, my mom is 63 and they have an Obama lawn sign. my mom tied red, white, and blue ribbons on it when he won north carolina and tied (.8% difference, final tally) indiana.

they switched party affiliation, after both being lifelong Republicans, to vote for Obama.

"I'd devote the rest of my dwindling days to destroying the Democratic Party."

ha! me, too, phillygirl. in fact, i'm ready to donate money to the campaign of whatever republican challenger she'll have for her next senate race--after all the lies, the race-baiting, the inability to count, i'm ready to drum her out of the senate, as well.

"The fact that she seems instead to require our indulgence while she sorts through her emotional issues just gives me one more reason to be glad she lost"

This seems less like a fact and more like mind-reading.

The fact is that she has an argument. She's winning swing states. Places like PA, OH and FL are problematic for Obama. It's difficult if not impossible to draw general election conclusions from primaries, but state Dem/Rep matchup polls bear her argument out.

I don't see her trying to convince anyone that sexism or backroom machinations are responsible for her being behind. Her supporters are taking up those points - and I think she should do more to defuse that - but she's not pushing that kind of reasoning. And she's backed off attacking Obama to an acceptable degree.

The only really important question is whether her staying in helps or hurts the Democratic nominee in the general. Rabid supporters aside, I can't see how it hurts. McCain's people are complaining about the lack of press, and they're right to say that it's hurting them.

All that said, it pains me that Clinton couldn't at least acknowledge that directly mentioning Kennedy's assassination was poor judgement. This appears to be a pattern with her, and it's troubling -- especially so after we've endured that sort of thing for eight years.

Presidents are often confronted with crises, at 3am and other times, and they do not always have the luxury of working through all the stages of grief before coming up with a response.

I've said this before, and I'm sure I'll say it again: I never, ever want Hilzoy mad at me.

Anyway, what this liberal wants is for the Giants' bullpen to stop blowing Matt Cain's leads.

david k: Bill Clinton is certainly talking about backroom machinations:

"Former President Bill Clinton in South Dakota today delivered a harsh critique of how his wife has been treated during her presidential bid, teling a crowd that he has "never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running", and that "she will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."

Clinton spent more than six minutes calmly discussing what he caled a "frantic effort to push her out", saying that nobody asked Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, or Gary Hart to end their presidential campaigns early.

Clinton also spoke against bullying superdelegates to make up their minds, saying, "I cant believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out. 'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"

The idea that she needs time to get used to the idea that she is losing is mindreading. On the other hand, it's essentially charitable mindreading: it's saying that her conduct, which might otherwise be interpreted as, say, an attempt to make Obama lose so that she can run in 2012, or an effort to make it the case that if she can't have the nomination, whoever does get it will lose, is in fact the understandable result of her being in a difficult situation.

I do think it's the kindest construction I can put on her actions.

Mike: luckily, I have a very long fuse. ;)

"Hmmm...I'm obviously off...I thought they'd want a kahlua an cream. Ah well..."

Well, this one's about to get a nice cold beer out of the fridge...

Phillygirl,
I totally sympathize--really--but whatever her flaws, HRC is not going to put someone who's going to overturn roe-vs-wade on the SC. For the sake of all our sisters and daughters, let's not lose sight of the forest because of a few rotten trees. (How's that for a nicely mixed metaphor?)

OTOH, I sure am glad that I'm not going to have to hold my nose and pull the lever for Hillary. A few months ago, no problem. Today, I'm finally convinced that she's the narcissistic wacko that so many people have called her all along. Still not as bad as the republicans, though. But getting there.

"The fact is that she has an argument. She's winning swing states. Places like PA, OH and FL are problematic for Obama. It's difficult if not impossible to draw general election conclusions from primaries, but state Dem/Rep matchup polls bear her argument out."

An argument for what? She can argue, as she has the entire primary process, that she's more electible. But in the majority of primaries people didn't buy it.

She can argue the same to the uncommitted supers. They haven't bought it.

Seems like all she wants to do is keep arguing nonsense.

Ah, Jess, my threat was not to enable John McCain but to work for whatever leftist new order I was advocating in 1968. That will not be necessary. Whew. It just pisses me off when our political thinkers, even Hilzoy, mercy me, imply that the Democratic Party is bound to support Obama for fear of retribution from mobs of resentful black people. As a resentful white person, I demand equal consideration.

What is the evidence that PA is a problem for Obama? He seems to be doing okay in the polls, especially considering that this should be a high point for McCain.

Mr. Whipple, the only problem Obama had in PA is that it is a machine state, and Clinton had Rendell, the gov, behind her. As someone who's seen the machine in action, for Joe Sestak, it's considerable.

Then, Obama refused to pay the walking around money in Philly, which meant the effort to get the vote out was about nil.

In Nov, Obama would have the machine behind him. And the machine itself would get out the vote.

"As a resentful white person, I demand equal consideration."

I think resentful white people only count if they're Hillary supporters. :-)

On electability-- as a Canadian, I don't exactly have a dog in this fight, but I can't help wondering who you would like to have against John McCain in the debates leading to the general election. Hillary or Obama? I can tell you who I think would do a better job of asking average Americans what eight years of tax cuts for the rich have bought them. I can tell you who I think would do a better job of rubbing McCain's nose in the record of an administration that sent millions of Americans to a dishonestly promoted and grossly under-financed war, then brutally disregarded the men and women who came home from fighting it. But what I think doesn't count. What do you think? And does a candidate's debating performance make a difference to voters in your country these days?

"I do think it's the kindest construction I can put on her actions."

The kindest construction would be that she believes:

1. she's the best candidate
2. she has a chance at winning the primary
3. Obama will lose in the general election

"An argument for what? She can argue, as she has the entire primary process, that she's more electible. But in the majority of primaries people didn't buy it."

Her argument is that she'll do better in the swing states, which are needed to win the general.

"She can argue the same to the uncommitted supers. They haven't bought it."

Yet.

Dear Hilzoy: I trust you are well.

Very nice blog about why Hillary Clinton simply no longer can win.

Btw, I don't CARE if a candidate for high office is white, black, or purple. I'm not voting for Obama because, simply put, I don't think he should be President--because of his ideas, what he stands for, the things he advocates or supports, etc.

Yes, I'm voting for McCain! (Smiles)

Sincerely, Sean

"Bill Clinton is certainly talking about backroom machinations"

It really depends who the "they" that he's referring to are.

"Yet."

wow. denial.

good luck with that.

One day i'll be a millionaire, when i win the lottery. It just hasn't happened 'yet'.

John,

Probably Clinton would do better in the debates--that seems to be where she's strongest. But there's more to winning an election than the debates (as we've seen in the primaries, where Obama's debate performance was uneven at best), and there's more to being a president than winning an election (as the reign of Bush II shows). Clinton and Obama each have their strengths and weaknesses, and I was one of those people who was hoping they'd both end up on the ticket--but no more! Clinton clearly has some serious personality flaws that would constantly trip up her attempts to actually govern, IMHO.

What finally made me choose Obama over Clinton way back when (Super Tuesday) is his ability to lead and rally people to his cause, not just talk policy details. I decided that that was ultimately the most important strength for a president to have.

jdw: Do you have some information about how the superdelegates are going to go that I don't have?

I'm not saying that I think the superdelegates are going to go Clinton's way. All I'm saying is that she has an argument, because they haven't announced yet.

david k: That would be a good explanation of why she suspended her campaign, rather than ending it, and dedicated herself to unifying the party.

I'm not black, but I too would have a hard time voting for Hillary in the fall if she was given the nomination after Obama had already for all intents and purposes won it. It would feel too much like rewarding her for her appalling behavior, not to mention the fact that at this point I'm far from convinced that she would be all that good a president anyway. The only thing that could make me vote her would be the fear of McCain's Supreme Court appointments.

Anyway, what this liberal wants is for the Giants' bullpen to stop blowing Matt Cain's leads.

Amen.

The rest of the 25-minute speech urged students to focus on more than "the big house and the nice suits and all the other things that our money culture says you should buy."

I don’t know what you see in this guy Hilzoy. He sports nice suits and a $1.9 million mansion.

Bill: "more than" means something.

Any notion that you have that Obama is against people having nice suits and $1.9 million "mansions" is purely your own hallucination.

"He then goes on to talk how everyone should work for him as public servants."

Those are some good drugs, I see.

Suppose that it turns into a Clinton/McCain election.

Could we actually get a third-party candidate to win one?

The Libertarian candidate, maybe?

Even better drugs.

"Places like PA, OH and FL are problematic for Obama."

Against John McCain? Cite?

Here is Pennsylvania. Ohio.

I don't have figures for Florida handy, but perhaps you can provide your cites, in turn, now.

I hate doing long-distance psychological diagnosis, but this strikes as really moving toward paranoia:

Washington Post <http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-talk/2008/05/clinton_camp_stokes_rfk_flap_b.html?nav=rss_email/components>

>Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign accused Sen. Barack Obama's campaign of fanning a controversy over her describing the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy late in the 1968 Democratic primary as one reason she is continuing to run for the presidency.

>"The Obama campaign ... tried to take these words out of context," Clinton campaign chairman Terence R. McAuliffe said on "Fox News Sunday." "She was making a point merely about the time line."

***

Speaking as someone who really *does* think she was talking about the time line and simply wasn't thinking on her feet very well -- a problem for a president in any case -- I think she made things worse with her non-apology apology.

But this new thing... Wow. If her people sincerely don't believe that there was a spontaneous reaction to her remark all across the political spectrum of the blogosphere, they really are in an altered state.

Obama himself tried to minimize it. I have no doubt that the issue was seized on by many Obama supporters (among many others). And I wouldn't be surprised if the campaign had some surrogates out there stirring things up. But for Clinton to complain about that after all the similar and worse nonsense she's pulled...

Just wow.

Add this to some of Bill's remarks, and what you have is, "We are so obviously the people's choice that, if we're not winning, it must be the result of a conspiracy or some other kind of dirty dealing."

I used to rather like them.

Dang. I tried to post the link for that. Must...remember...how...to...post...links...

I got there through a Huff Po headline.

"Very nice blog about why Hillary Clinton simply no longer can win."

Post. "Very nice post." Obsidian Wings is the blog. Posts are made to the blog, and we write and post comments. A blog is made of posts, but a blog is not made of blogs.

"All I'm saying is that she has an argument, because they haven't announced yet."

As I pointed out, the majority of the superdelegates have announced, and the majority are for Obama.

Super Delegates
Total: 797
Obama: 312
Clinton: 280

Total delegates.

2026 delegates are needed to win. Obama has 1658 pledged delegates, and Clinton has 1500, out of 3253.

There are 86 more pledged delegates to come from Montana, South Dakota, and Puerto Rico (which has no votes in the general election, remember).

If you're waiting for the majority of the remaining 205 superdelegates to come out and unanimously commit to Senator Clinton, and that that will be sufficient to overcome Obama's lead in delegates overall, good luck with that.

Sean: When you say that you favor McCain, I'm curious as to whether you favor endless war via means that we used to try people as war criminals for, or more the betrayal of your fellow Americans' well-being and governance by lies, lobbyist, and incompetence back home? I have moments myself of feeling like my fellow Americans deserve a lot more pain and misery than they're getting, but these pass thanks to help for my depression and other problems, and I'm doing pretty well at not announcing them publicly or treating them as a desirable basis for policy. In my better times I like to focus on fiscal prudence, administrative competence, the rule of law, human rights, and increasing prosperity and well-being for all, and commend these to you. McCain can't offer any of them, of course, so you may wish to review the alternatives. Misanthropy doesn't wear as well, in my experience, and the rest of us - your fellow citizens and neighbors - would welcome some support on the whole fulfilling the American promise thing.

Would you like fries with that, AndyK?

How to link.

"That would be a good explanation of why she suspended her campaign, rather than ending it, and dedicated herself to unifying the party."

I'm not following. If she thinks she can win the primary, why would she suspend her campaign? You need to win states to sway superdelegates. Also, as she's stated, she believes that staying in will help to unify the party.

"As I pointed out, the majority of the superdelegates have announced, and the majority are for Obama."

Yet Obama doesn't yet have a majority of all the superdelegates. It's not likely that she'll get everything you mentioned (plus something good from FL and MI), but there is a path to the nomination. Why quit?

"but perhaps you can provide your cites, in turn, now."

Florida
Ohio
Pennsylvania

PA looks a lot better than I thought, so I'll withdraw that part of the statement.

I still like Hillary Clinton. I can't help it.

Yet I have to reluctantly and belatedly admit that we have indeed dodged a bullet. HRC seems tempermentally unfit to be president.

On the other hand, Obama has made a few slips, but very few considering how green he is. He seems fit to be president.

"If she thinks she can win the primary, why would she suspend her campaign?"

I assume you mean "the nomination." Primaries are things held in specific states, along with caucuses. There is no "the primary." The race for the nomination of either party is neither "a" primary nor "the" primary.

"You need to win states to sway superdelegates."

So you're saying that Montana and South Dakota will do that for her: can you sketch out how that can work, perhaps?

"Yet Obama doesn't yet have a majority of all the superdelegates."

399 super delegates would be a majority of them. Why that figure is interesting, I'm not clear, given Obama's insurmountable lead in delegates overall, but, hey, I'll play.

You're saying that with Obama having the majority of superdelegates so far, of the remaining 205 to declare, Obama will be unable to get the 85 out of those remaining 205, and Senator Clinton will get 119?

(I have to get to sleep; someone correct my math if I got it wrong, please.)

Why do you think that's likely? Do you have some reason to point to, other than that, apparently, you'd like that to happen? (Which is certainly a preference you're entitled to, obviously.)

And do you really think Senator Clinton will somehow get enough delegates overall to get ahead of Obama? If so, how? And why?

"but perhaps you can provide your cites, in turn, now."

Florida
Ohio
Pennsylvania

Is it your belief, then, that Senator Clinton, having achieved the nomination, will be running without a Vice-presidential candidate?

If not, why do you suggest that polls leaving out that factor are a closer reflection of contemporary or future reality than polls including the Veep candidate?

Because I'd suggest that the opposite is true. But I'm open-minded in regard to hearing why this is wrong.

david kilmer,

I don't see how your construction of Clinton's psychology is kinder than hilzoy's. Let's look at each part of your kindest description of Clinton's beliefs...

1. she's the best candidate

Presumably all presidential candidates believe this, or they wouldn't be running. But most presidential candidates eventually drop out of the primary race...and few, if any, do so because they come to believe that they aren't the best candidate. So this can't do much to explain her behavior. And I think hilzoy would agree that Clinton believes this about herself.

2. she has a chance at winning the primary

If Clinton believes this, she's completely delusional. First of all, she's lost the primary, i.e. the competition for pledged delegates. But at this point, even the proposition that she has a chance to win the nomination is totally fanciful. Except, that is, if something catastrophic were to happen to Obama. But under that scenario, Clinton could win the nomination even if she had previously suspended her campaign. So that can't account for her behavior. To the extent that Clinton believes that she can win the nomination barring some extraordinary misfortune befalling Obama, she is utterly failing to grasp the actual political situation she faces.

3. Obama will lose in the general election

Again, this is, frankly, nuts. Even the most pessimistic poll results show that Obama is very competitive. And the most serious pollwatchers show him--like Clinton herself--with a clear advantage over McCain in a general election battle. But the truth is that nobody knows what will happen in November, so any action based on "knowing" the results five months from now is also delusional.

In short, I still think that hilzoy's construction of Clinton's mindset is the most charitable one, though if I were guessing (and it would only be a guess) d.k. might well be more accurate in his assessment of what Clinton is thinking.

Well, the most charitable construction of Clinton's mindset is that she sees the underlying trends towards the Dems and figures they can't possibly lose in November. That would give her every reason for fighting to the very last moment, since, by that interpretation, this is the General and any damage she might be doing to the party is irrelevant and winning this makes her President.

Ovid,

That is a charitable construction...at least at first glance.

However, if Clinton actually believes that the Democratic nominee is bound to win in November, why doesn't she say as much?...and why do many of her surrogates openly suggest that Obama can't win?

So, thinking about this a bit further, I'm not sure that Ovid's version is such a charitable construction after all, given the kind of campaign that Clinton has actually run.

If Clinton believed in the inevitability of a Democratic victory, her attempts to suggest that Obama can't win would be wildly cynical.

Such a belief in Democratic inevitability might charitably underwrite a very different kind of Clinton campaign. But we need to explain the Clinton campaign we have, not the Clinton we might want.

Electability is a tautology -- all candidates who win are ipso facto electable, all candidates who lose are ipso facto not electable.

What does invoking it tell us?

Electability is a tautology -- all candidates who win are ipso facto electable, all candidates who lose are ipso facto not electable.

I think this is only half correct.

Obviously, any candidate who wins is, tautologically, electable.

But to say that any candidate who loses is not electable is to argue that things could not have turned out differently. And that's simply not always the case. As a historian deeply committed to contingency, I'm even inclined to argue that it's never the case.

Nonetheless, results can say something about relative electability. I think one can fairly say that Nixon in 1960 and Humphrey in 1968 were more electable than Goldwater in 1964 or McGovern in 1972.

What does invoking it tell us?

I think a candidate's invoking it suggests that s/he is hedging his or her bets and wants to convince voters who don't actually prefer him or her to vote for him or her anyway out of fear.

Given how much can change between a primary season and the general election, I think electability arguments in presidential primaries are almost always weak. This is even more the case when, as is the case with the Democrats this year, a party's leading presidential candidates have essentially similar policy views and resumés.

"So you're saying that Montana and South Dakota will do that for her"

No. I'm saying that it could.

"can you sketch out how that can work, perhaps?"

It would work this way: she wins lots of states, and superdelegates conclude that she's more electable.

"You're saying that with Obama having the majority of superdelegates so far, of the remaining 205 to declare, Obama will be unable to get the 85 out of those remaining 205, and Senator Clinton will get 119?"

No. I'm saying that it's possible.

"Why do you think that's likely?"

I don't. As I said above, "It's not likely that she'll get everything you mentioned".

"Do you have some reason to point to, other than that, apparently, you'd like that to happen?"

I'm an Obama supporter. I'm arguing that she has reasons to stay in the race other than emotional imbalance.

"In short, I still think that hilzoy's construction of Clinton's mindset is the most charitable one, though if I were guessing (and it would only be a guess) d.k. might well be more accurate in his assessment of what Clinton is thinking.

I disagree. I'd say that my construction is more charitable. I wasn't shooting for accuracy, since I think it's wrong to engage in mind-reading.

"Because I'd suggest that the opposite is true. But I'm open-minded in regard to hearing why this is wrong."

It would be interesting to know why you'd suggest that the opposite is true. Something about the polling method? Something about Survey USA's overall track record?

If Clinton believed in the inevitability of a Democratic victory, her attempts to suggest that Obama can't win would be wildly cynical. - Ben Alpers

I'm not so sure it's 'wildly' cynical as simply cynical. She's fighting to win by fighting dirty. As someone who's been the butt of some pretty dirty attacks in the past, she may see that as all part of the game.

The other charitable interpretation is that she thinks Obama has absolutely zero chance against McCain once the Republican Attack Machine starts into him in earnest. Perhaps she thinks that cases like Wright, which might not hurt him too much in a Dem primary, will be absolutely fatal in November. In that case, she sees herself as the Last Best Hope for keeping the Republicans out of office and even though she may know she's reducing her own chances as a Dem nominee by campaigning like this, she may still think that her reduced chances are better than Obama's non-existent ones.

Admittedly, that's not terribly charitable either since it presumes a gigantic amount of arrogance vis-a-vis the primary voters' ability to choose the best candidate.

david k: I thought mine was more charitable since I think that the idea that she can win the nomination, absent some catastrophe befalling Obama, is, as someone else said, delusional. And waiting for catastrophe is consistent with suspending one's campaign, not trying to persuade voters that the other candidate is illegitimate.

I'm not so sure it's 'wildly' cynical as simply cynical. She's fighting to win by fighting dirty. As someone who's been the butt of some pretty dirty attacks in the past, she may see that as all part of the game.

But if, as you were hypothetically suggesting, she truly believed that either she or Obama was a lock to win in November, why not say that? Wouldn't that earn her more good will at this point?

Or to put this another way, if a candidate is insisting that her opponent is unelectable, there's nothing particularly charitable about assuming that she does not, in fact, believe this at all.

dk:

All of these theories, including yours, engage in mindreading, as each is based on a guess as to Hillary Clinton's actual beliefs.

Yes, it's hard for me to square her whipping up resentment against Obama as an illegitimate nominee with any explanation other than the ones involving emotional issues or a plan for 2012.

hilzoy: Sure, but it's only more charitable if you assume that she's waiting for a catastrophe. I don't think her comments about RFK are ample evidence that that's what's going on in her head. "Delusional" is a strong word. She's stretching, to be sure, but I wouldn't say that she's mentally ill.

Oh and Gary, I'm pretty sure your remark about "storming the ramparts" is a totally inappropriate and offensive slam at some demographic

Meteorologists.

Noone ever says "Laundering the ramparts", or "Architecting the ramparts", or "Tailoring the ramparts". It's always "storming".

If I were a meteorologist I would be pissed.

He's becoming transparent.

First he's a weirdo christian, then he's a muslim.

First he's black, then he's transparent.

Obama's a hard guy to pin down.

How many weeks to the convention now? IMO it can't come soon enough.

Thanks -

"All of these theories, including yours, engage in mindreading, as each is based on a guess as to Hillary Clinton's actual beliefs."

I'm not positing a theory. I'm positing that a kinder interpretation of her actions is possible. Whether the kinder interpretation is true or not can't be said.

"Delusional" might be too strong. But I'm fine with: "so unlikely as to raise serious questions about her judgment and her willingness to acknowledge unpleasant truths." (Meaning by this not her willingness to deal with them, but her willingness to acknowledge that they are true.)

For comparison: I think that Bush's apparent belief that we are prevailing in Iraq is more reasonable than Clinton's belief that she can win the nomination, absent some calamity befalling Obama (a calamity of the sort she might better wait for by suspending her campaign.)

He can't win. I'll prove it to you.

Does not endear.

What? You'd rather McCain won?

Insufficient for an alarming number of Clinton supporters. I'm guessing that a large number will come around by November, but who can say.


On the facts as we now see them, and can extrapolate over the next two weeks, which narrative would have the greater resonance -- he stole it (by winning in places like Kansas, and Virginia) or she stole it (by convincing a few party insiders to disregard the delegate count)?

On the facts as we now see them, and can extrapolate over the next two weeks, which narrative would have the greater resonance -- he stole it (by winning in places like Kansas, and Virginia) or she stole it (by convincing a few party insiders to disregard the delegate count)?

No, no, he stole it by calling a pushy local TV reporter "sweetie".

Someone cited this blog in passing, above, but for a compendium of the latest state polls, go to and look on Poblano's right sidebar. That site, IMHO, has the best analysis of the polling data as well.

Eeek...something went wrong with my link markup...
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/

Meanwhile in DC we're trying to figure out the best way to handle Hillary's version of the Brooks Brothers riot (which will be next weekend, about a mile from me).

Our purpose is not to divide the party or attack the DNC or Senator Obama. At the same time, Hillary's strong support cannot be dismissed in DNC efforts to unify the party.

Oy.

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Whatnot


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