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January 03, 2008

Comments

The bit about not supporting weak candidates of the non-preferred party is an interesting one -- and one I've never thought of.

But... I'm not sure I agree. True, there is a greater probability that a weak person will be President. But... you also have the consider the greater probability that a more progressive candidate will win if facing the lesser candidate. True, scandals can break out, but hopefully most of that gets vetted in the primary.

But still, it's a trade-off, better shot for a good president versus a better shot for a horrific one.

It's food for thought though

Yes, it is wonderful that Obama's race is not terribly important to most voters, most likely because Obama is not running on his race. He's a moderate Democrat who is easy to like. Race, while not totally irrelevant, hardly matters.

I grew up in Iowa and it never crossed my mind that Obama's color would be a problem for him. I lived in a nearly all white town, a mostly Republican town, but, while I was in high school, the mayor was African American. granted I haven't been to Iowa in twenty years so I'mnot up on current cultural norms, but back in the day racism was rare. I remember Iowans as being, in general, polite to a fault and stultifyingly moderate.

"And, as a Democrat, anything that makes it less likely that Clinton will be nominated is music to my ears."

As a Democrat? That makes no sense, unless you're rooting based on electability and confidence in judging the general electorate's views. And presumably as a Democrat full stop you'd be unhappy that the winner of the caucus won (if the projections were correct) on the basis of the non-Democratic vote (following a lot of use of conservative framing).

As a Democrat, I'm sorry to see Dodd drop out - he's who I would have voted for, as the one Democrat in the race demonstrating leadership.

The Democrats had about *twice* the turnout the Republicans (overall state registration is about even, slightly favoring the Dems). Some 60% of Iowan Republican caucus goers identified themselves as evangelicals. 60%. I keep telling Republicans I know: this is no longer the party you think it is.

Can someone explain to me why on Earth immigration is being reckoned so highly on the list of issues for Republicans in states like Iowa and Colorado??

I sense that there's something to be explained here. I'm in California, and immigration seems like a larger issue in these Midwestern states than it is in the border states. How on Earth could that be?

Odd. I actually like Huckabee. Sure his policies are anathema, but he's open and honest about them. Plus, he talks about religon in a way that admits that Jesus never wore a suit or fought corporate taxes. And he's the least likely of the GOP candidates to continue Bush's policies in the Middle East.

I think an HONEST dialog about politics would be good for the country. And so I'm hoping Huck wins the nomination, and not because I think he's weak.

"I'm in California, and immigration seems like a larger issue in these Midwestern states than it is in the border states. How on Earth could that be?"

"We've" gotten used to the immigrants, and, well, a lot of us _are_ immigrants. Going from 10% to 11% can be a lot easier than 0% to 1% (numbers made up of whole cloth).


"Odd. I actually like Huckabee. Sure his policies are anathema, but he's open and honest about them. Plus, he talks about religon in a way that admits that Jesus never wore a suit or fought corporate taxes."

I think he's not actively evil, which is certainly a count in his favor, but there's no way he's honest about religion - he can't for example answer the question of how a Christian can preside over executions. Also he's frighteningly uninformed on important policy matters. And this apparently makes a McCain nomination more likely, and I'm not sure how I feel about that, esp. given the media's emotionalism.

I liked HHuck before I learned more abouut him.
He let rightwing nuts pressure him into lobbying the paraole board to release a serial rapist, even thouugh the victims pleaded with him not to do it. That's way past sleezy. When his son got fired from a summer camp job for torturing a dog to death, Huck pressured the prosecutor who was considering charges against the sonn. BTW have you guys seen pictures of Huck Jr? Sheesh. Total thug. Also he's been backing off his more sensible positions, trying to souund more ideologically correct, in an attempt to pander to the movement conservatives. Lastly he seems to actually believe in that Fair Tax nonsense.

He's so heavy handed and obvious. I can't decide if he's naive, or kind of dumb, or just maladept. At any rate, I don't think the I'm-not-showing-this-ad-that-you-are-watching-right-now clumsinness will play anywhere outside of the Christianist base. And hhe is a bigot abouut Mormons.

FWIW, TalkLeft presented a qualified defense of Huckabee on the Dumond matter here, more here.

"I sense that there's something to be explained here. I'm in California, and immigration seems like a larger issue in these Midwestern states than it is in the border states. How on Earth could that be?"

Iowa:

28.1%

Increase in Hispanic population since 2000 (somewhere between a third and a half of it illegal)

87.9%

Increase in public school enrollment

124.2%

Increase in the number of Spanish speakers in public schools

If you had ever spent time in Iowa, and had visited again in the last several years, you wouldn't be wondering.

I see that Obama in fact won among Dems, which is a point in his favor.

"And presumably as a Democrat full stop you'd be unhappy that the winner of the caucus won (if the projections were correct) on the basis of the non-Democratic vote (following a lot of use of conservative framing)."

Er, party member is as party member does. I don't care if someone claims to be an Independent, a Republican, a Whig, or a freakin' Monophysite, if he agrees with a Democrat candidate enough to vote for him or her.

Party identification changes slowly. When a party like the GOP is so out of whack, they may hold onto their prior label in hopes that their home party will come back to its senses. They may not change their party identification until they accept that their old party is beyond redemption. Or, their old party identification may be tied up with their self-image. For example Glenn Reynolds' 'libertarianism'. And Mickey Kaus I think claims to be a Democrat when he's clearly a Republican, if not a Shoggoth.

For Independents, it may be a willingness to support individual candidates rather than claiming to support the entire party including the outlier wingmoonnutbats, even if they tend to vote a straight ticket most of the time.

Or, they may feel that declaring as a Democrat/Republican carries too much historical baggage (or subcultural baggage: Republican neoconfederates and evangelicals, vs Democrat aging hippies and new agers) and implied support thereof. That's kinda how I am.

Um, let me expand on something: I wrote " I don't care if someone claims to be an Independent, a Republican, a Whig, or a freakin' Monophysite, if he agrees with a Democrat candidate enough to vote for him or her"

this assumes that the Democratic candidate be meaningfully and substantially non-Republican. ie, not Joe Lieberman. It has to be non-Dems supporting a good Dem with good policies.

"this assumes that the Democratic candidate be meaningfully and substantially non-Republican"

At least. Note my comment on conservative framing (e.g., unions are special interests, trial lawyers are icky, Gore and Kerry were too divisive, mandated universal health care is scary).

Of course this ignores a lot of sampling and game-theoretic questions which can only be answered by knowing more than anyone does about the way people will vote.

"Note my comment on conservative framing (e.g., unions are special interests, trial lawyers are icky, Gore and Kerry were too divisive, mandated universal health care is scary)."

My theory is that Obama has to essentially run against Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, etc, without being blatant about it (that would look petty), so his rhetoric is a couple of clicks right in places. Otherwise people might just drop him in the same mental category ('prior black Democrat politicians I didn't like') and dismiss him out of hand.

Rilkefan, I can't believe that you, who are normally so scrupulous about calling people on the slightest exaggeration or unfair misrepresentation of someone's statement, just spouted that list of distortions. Any chance you could quote the actual words, in context, used by Obama in these various "conservative" statements so that people can see how well they correspond to your versions?

I'm not happy with everything Obama has said, but I think you and much of liberal blogosphere have wildly exaggerated the situation. At least you spared us the accusations that he's for privatizing Social Security and invading Pakistan.

"Rilkefan, I can't believe that you, who are normally so scrupulous about calling people on the slightest exaggeration or unfair misrepresentation of someone's statement"

Well, I often try where I think it important, though there aren't enough hours in the day or patience on the part of participants in this conversation.

"just spouted that list of distortions."

Hmm, I sense a lack of interest in a serious reply. Anyway:

"Any chance you could quote the actual words, in context, used by Obama in these various 'conservative' statements so that people can see how well they correspond to your versions?"

Sure, under the assumption that the reader is able to understand metonymy and telegraphed tone, and correcting your substitution of "statement" for "framing", there is certainly a chance - but why not just say you disagree and do the citing yourself?

Wait, now_what. What are the baseline numbers? A 124% increase isn't very significant if there were a very small number of people there to begin with.

I think Culture of Fear made this point about stats: people will cite rates of change which can be alarmingly high, even though the actual number of events being described is fairly low.

But I could be wrong about Iowa, of course. I dunno what the baseline numbers are. I really don't mean to be presumptuous.

Ara, given that now_what didn't actually cite anything at all, and merely typed some number without any external reference for any of us to confirm, I wouldn't take any of that at face value.

in Iowa, ratio of Latinos to full-time farmers: 7:4.

Harpers Index, Jan 08

Having just visited family in Iowa last summer, and having grown up there, I can sort of comment on the immigration thing. I should preface this with the fact that I have lived in southern California and have no issues with latinos or immigration really.

When I was living there (up until the 90's) in Des Moines even, I scarcely remember seeing many latinos anywhere. I think what people are noticing is that most of the menial labor, like landscaping, farm hands, meat packing, etc...is almost exclusively latino now. As is fast food and convenience stores. I personally have no problem with this, but as I understand it, it is a concern, especially with the number of illegals staffing meat packing and slaughterhouses.

I'll agree with wonkie and his comment about lack of racism in Iowa, mostly. Most Iowans seem to be pretty down to earth and take things and people at face value, and are accepting of pretty much anyone. But I think there is an undercurrent of soft racism there. I hear the N word more often there than in a lot of places, and quite often by folks who have black friends and otherwise don't show any signs of racism. It's a weird place, in some respects.

It could also be partly due to the fear of the other, which I see a lot here in Norway. The ones most "scared" of immigrants, who yell the loudest about crime among immigrants (even though it is white immigrants from Denmark and Sweden who commit the most crime...among immigrants. Norwegians are far and away the highest), and vote for the close-the-border folks, are those who live outside the cities, and quite possible have never even met an immigrant, at least one with a different colored skin, which pretty much defines immigrant here (I am not usually considered a foreigner per se, since I am western).

Well, I often try where I think it important, though there aren't enough hours in the day or patience on the part of participants in this conversation.

Apparently it's important when the speaker is Hillary or Bill O'Reilly or some Republican politician, but you're not willing to extend the same generosity of interpretation to statements made by Obama. I think you're allowing your support of Hillary (or your opposition to Obama) to undermine your normal extremely high standards of fairness.

But you're right that there aren't enough hours in the day.

Obama's victory is earth-shaking because of the margin of victory and because was Hillary competing intensely for the caucus vote. A huge number of Democratic base chose Doors 2 or 3 rather than stake themselves to the Clinton machine. Good for the Dems.

FTR, I believe Obama is the best candidate for the Dems, and McCain for the GOP.

"I'll agree with wonkie and his comment about lack of racism in Iowa, mostly."

Howzat?

Otherwise diverging onto, gasp, my own thoughts, I'd like to say that while endless numbers of folks have savaged the Iowa caucus's, and the caucus mechanism in general, that I've always been a huge fan of the caucus process.

Although I have no experience of Iowa, I played through 1980 and 1984 via the Washington State caucuses, which I've written about many times before, including here, and which I found most satisfactory.

I should likely write another essay about why, yet again, but there you are, for now.

Not sure how directly it maps to racism, but the disparity in incarceration rates between blacks and whites is higher in Iowa than in any other state. A black person in Iowa is 13 times more likely to be in prison than a white person.

Gary, how do you feel about the way the caucus disenfranchises all those people who are unable to make it to those particular two hours (because of work, other schedule conflicts, disability, etc.)? There's a reason we have absentee ballots in elections.

"Gary, how do you feel about the way the caucus disenfranchises all those people who are unable to make it to those particular two hours (because of work, other schedule conflicts, disability, etc.)? There's a reason we have absentee ballots in elections."

Badly. I didn't say it was a perfect process. I could list a whole bunch more flaws.

I could do the same of primaries. I'm just saying that caucuses have their virtues and arguments. Not that either option is perfect, since obviously neither is.

Obligatory mention of Arrow's Theorem, after all.

"Apparently it's important when the speaker is Hillary or Bill O'Reilly or some Republican politician, but you're not willing to extend the same generosity of interpretation to statements made by Obama."

Look, this is a conversation, and when the poster makes a bad-faith reading of a Republican (not, incidentally, O'Reilly) I'm usually the only person here to stand up for fairness. When the poster has openly admitted not wanting to like Clinton and looking around for arguments to justify that dislike, I've presented quotes and cites and context, because no one else here seems interested - and when a commenter ludicrously lumps HRC with an entirely different class of person, I tend to be the one bothered to note it.

I don't think there's any question that the Obama campaign has been using some right-wing framing, given the relatively large number of data points.

There's some small amount of right wing framing that has triggered hypersensitivity & some distortion I think.

That was a poorly constructed sentence. I blame the 4 year old with her ridiculous demands for food and drink while I was writing. I guess what I meant was, that in general, you don't see a whole lot of overt racism in Iowa, at least I never did living in Des Moines. It happens more often in rural areas, but even then, most of the educated kids seem pretty accepting of everyone.

Then again, I haven't actually lived there for more than a decade, only visited every so often. The dynamic may have changed since then.

Rilkefan, I think many (not all) of the "relatively large number of data points" are like the many data points showing that Kerry was a flip-flopper or Gore was a serial exaggerator. A group of people opposed to a candidate comb through his every statement and find things that they can interpret in a way that fits into the image they want to construct.

And with O'Reilly I was thinking of your qualified defense of "M-Fer, I want more iced tea."

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