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January 30, 2008

Comments

Sad to see him go (Edwards that is). His wife is a very good woman, a very moral person.

Yes, I heard. And heard. And read and read.

And I'm still disappointed.

I really don't know which candidate to support now. I will support whoever gets the Democratic nomination. I may still vote for Edwards in the increasingly meaningless (as usual) Pennsylvania primary.

I could make a plausible case for either Obama or Clinton, because both of them have strengths and qualities that I feel would serve them, and us, well. And I could make a reasonable argument why either of them should be passed over for President as well.

I don't see that Edwards has anything to gain by endorsing one or the other. And I think he will end up someplace useful no matter who wins (AG, HHS, Labor, SCOTUS, running for Senator in NC, Special Prosecutor, special commission on poverty, etc.)

(That is, unless the media mancrush on John McCain sends him to the White House....sigh....)

I am sad, too. I'm rooting for Obama, but it was a close call. Edwards was a strong voice for the middle and working classes, the last one left in the race. I think his presence pulled the other candidates just a little to the left, and that was a valuable counterweight to the authoritarian loonies on the other side.

"Edwards did not asked for any sort of quid pro quo in exchange for an endorsement, this aide said, but rather sought a pledge from Clinton and Obama to keep the issue of poverty a central one in the campaign."

There are endless numbers of ways to interpret that cynically, but I prefer not to.

This really bums me out. I was planning to vote for Edwards next week, and I was hoping that he could use his delegates at the convention to push the eventual nominee (who even I have to admit, with sadness, wouldn't have been him) in a more progressive direction.

As it is, now I need to find out whether it's gonna be a close vote here in MA. If the outcome is in doubt at all, I'll have to head out and pull a lever for Obama (i.e., against Hillary), but otherwise I think I'll just stay home.

And last night after dinner we had just decided to vote for him next week, too. Crumbs.

So, do I vote for whichever (Obama, Clinton) is polled as behind in NJ? Or whichever is behind nationally? The better to keep discussion going, basically.

Well confound it, I wanted to vote for him. My choice now is an easy one, but I'd have preferred a little more complexity and a lot more satisfaction.

Yes, disappointing in the extreme... and very strange timing. One would think that Edwards would have waited at least until after the Super Tuesday primaries: dropping out before them just seems incomprehensible (no matter what money/polling/backroom deal issues are in play).

Joshua, unfortunately at this stage it wasn't looking like Edwards was going to get many more delegates. He could only get any if he reached 15% in a congressional district. Since he only managed 18% in South Carolina, where he was supposed to be strong, it seems likely that the vast majority of Edwards votes in the February 5 states would not have been counted in selecting delegates. His presence could have skewed the Clinton-Obama ratio and thus affected the delegate distribution, but it's not clear which way the effect would have gone.

My daughter will be heartbroken. She was planning on working for Edwards as soon as he opened offices in southern Ohio. We agreed I'd go with her if she'd go with me to Obama's. At least Obama was her second choice.

What I'm going to miss (unless Edwards is successful in convincing someone otherwise) is the absence of poverty as a campaign issue.

Candidates don't talk about poverty because there's no voting bloc of poor people. The media doesn't talk about poverty because it has no poor readership (and because it makes the rest of the readership feel guilty).

The reason why poverty is such an important issue is that poor people, by definition, can't be their own voice in government. Women can be their own voice. African Americans can be their own voice. Poor people have only the previously poor to serve as surrogates.

"So, do I vote for whichever (Obama, Clinton) is polled as behind in NJ? Or whichever is behind nationally? The better to keep discussion going, basically."

Well, no, you vote for Obama, unless your intent is to discuss how horrible Clinton is, or unless you simply haven't been reading or paying attention in the slightest.

I mean, jeepers. "Keep discussion going"? Also, let's think about the positive side of the Iraq war.

Also, maybe Hillary isn't trying to steal delegates and lie like crazy. Let's keep discussion going on that.

Delegates are allocated proportionally in all the Democratic state primaries, right? The results of the individual states themselves are only significant as signposts, and it matters more how close the vote will be nationally than in any one state.

"Let's keep discussion going on that."

I know I was abrupt, but it's clear I'm living in a different political universe than others.

How the heck can anyone have a preference for Clinton over Obama, at this point? On what basis? Why?

Why would anyone not want to put down the Clinton machine, but instead choose to think it "better to keep discussion going"?

I'm open to arguments, so I look forward to see that there going discussion.

Of those candidates still in the race, its obvious who would be the best at governing this country over the next four (or eight) years: Bill&Hill. They did a pretty damn good job last time, and will do at least as good this time, or better.

Think of it this way: we get two conniving Machiavellian minds for the price of one; a woman as devious as Lucritia Borga to outmaneuver Republican opposition on domestic policy; and a charismatic ex-prez with already-established favorable international credentials to resurrect a positive image of the US, and repair the damage done to it during the Bush-league presidency. Plus, if we're really lucky, Bill gets caught bopping some well-known international babe like Carla Bruni, and then we might be treated to the twin spectacles of an Oval Office divorce and a duel with a French president. How can you pass up that kind of soap-opera eventuality by voting for a skinny-butt floppy-eared guy with zero experience running anything more complicated than voter registration drives, and the personality of a policy wonk on caffeine overload?

Okay, that was one of those two seconds later things that one wonders why on earth one put it that way.

I didn't mean it quite that way.

Crap.

Yes, Gromit, the delegate are awarded proportionally, so "winning" a state isn't significant if the vote is close. But the proportions aren't likely to match the national vote very well either, because most of the delegates are awarded in small groups at the congressional district level.

If 4 delegates are being awarded for a particular district, for example, then it's going to be 2 for Clinton and 2 for Obama unless one of them manages to reach 62.5%. Getting 60% in that district is the same as getting 40%. Different districts have different numbers, but a similar analysis applies. When the number of delegates is odd, then "winning" the district is significant, because if there are 5, say, then whichever of Obama and Clinton gets more votes gets 3 and the other gets 2 (unless there's a real blowout).

Then there are at-large delegates for each state awarded proportionally to the statewide vote. Those end up being more like what you'd expect, because the number of delegates being distributed is larger, so the allocation can match the vote shares better.

The system is better than the Republican system with all those winner-take-all states, but it can still produce unexpected results.

Poverty is an important issue..or, rather, in my mind, class mobility. I think it's important that it remains possible for people to work hard and get ahead. If it's possible only for a few people to work hard and advance (and it's the upper class to boot), then that's not a good thing for the country. You lose buy-in from the middle and lower class. And the whole system needs buy-in from all segments of society.

yeah, J.J., that sounds fncking great.

I'm not going to argue about whom Edwards supporters should move to. If Obama had just dropped out, I'd be miserable today, and I wouldn't want to think about voting for anyone else.

That said, I think that sitting it out would be a mistake. Clinton and Obama will be very different candidates, and they have quite different records in some respects. That's why, as little as I would like to think about who else to support right after my candidate dropped out, sometime between now and my state's primary, hypothetical me would try to figure out* who to vote for. Because whoever you end up supporting, I think it matters too much to stay home.

Though of course what you do is your all, not mine.

***

* OK, it wouldn't have taken much figuring. Dodd was always my second favorite candidate, but if Obama dropped out, it would presumably have left a two person race between Edwards and Clinton, and I wouldn't have had to think about that one. Edwards in a heartbeat.

"Edwards in a heartbeat"

If he works out the right deal with the Clintons, he may be a heartbeat away from the presidency

If he works out the right deal with the Clintons, he may be a heartbeat away from the presidency

Or, for that matter, a deal with the Obama camp. Which only increases my bewilderment as to why Edwards didn't wait until after the Super Tuesday votes to drop out. If it's the VP slot he's angling for, a few more delegates here-and-there would only boost his leverage: if not; well, he wouild still be in the same place. Strange.

gwangung - that's it -- mobility. And those figures are sucking.

The more previously poor people, the better.

"Which only increases my bewilderment as to why Edwards didn't wait until after the Super Tuesday votes to drop out."

Some of the cable pundits suggested he dropped out now because of his wife’s poor health (she has breast cancer – and it lessens the stress on her if he’s no longer campaigning) and to keep from wasting additional campaign donation money on a losing cause.

He may not be angling for a position. I would dearly love to see Obama show more of Edwards' grit & commitment on poverty issues, and domestic policy in general.

Great candidate & campaign. I'd probably be totally on his bandwagon now if Iowa'd gone differently.

How the heck can anyone have a preference for Clinton over Obama, at this point? On what basis? Why?

You'll laugh when I say this, but it's absolutely true. I know at least one person who thinks that Hillary will choose Bill as her running mate. He further suggests, through the magic of wishful thinking, that her first act as president will be to step down and let Bill take over.

Just because it's completely insane doesn't mean it won't affect the guy's vote. (Although I don't think he's planning to vote in the primary, thank God.)

There are a lot of people who drop the "Hillary" and just see "Clinton". They want 1992-2000 to come back. Which is understandable, since while those years were far from a happy utopia, they were better than what we had under Bush. Problem is, Bush left a mess that needs to be fixed. You can't fix it by plugging your ears and going "La la la the last eight years never happened!" which seems to be what a lot of Democrats are doing.

Joshua, have you tried explaining that it's not just insane but unconstitutional? Fortunately I think that particular species of idiocy is extremely rare among the electorate.

"If it's the VP slot he's angling for, a few more delegates here-and-there would only boost his leverage: if not; well, he wouild still be in the same place. Strange."

It would be really inexplicable to conclude from this that he doesn't care all that much about the VP slot.

Or maybe not.

Under the present regime, something being unconstitutional hasn't kept it from happening, repeatedly, in broad daylight, so I have a little sympathy for the position advanced by Joshua's interlocutor.

Hilzoy: Really? Edwards in a heartbeat? I know he's the more liberal candidate, but I don't think he wins in November. Of course, I'd also bet against HRC in November, but I think the odds on Edwards are longer, as much as HRC is detested.

Gotta maximin here.

"Bush left a mess that needs to be fixed. You can't fix it by plugging your ears and going "La la la the last eight years never happened!"

Who do you think fixed the previous Bush mess? In fact that's EXACTLY what Bill Clinton did during his presidency: he cleaned up the astronomical financial mess he inherited from the Reagan-Bush years.

Not only did he preside over the longest period of peace-time economic expansion in American history, he balanced the budget, wiped out Reagan's catastrophic 2.6 trillion dollar deficit, and created a huge federal surplus as well (which Bush-2 quickly frittered away).

The Clintons obviously know what they're doing; there's no evidence Obama could do half as well. Obama's a coin flip. The Cintons are money in the bank.

I read hilzoy as meaning "electability notwithstanding" -- she did say that her first choice would be Dodd, and, as much as I share that sympathy, I don't think many would argue that he'd be the more viable candidate in the general...

The Clintons obviously know what they're doing; there's no evidence Obama could do half as well. Obama's a coin flip. The Cintons are money in the bank.

OK, I'm about two sentences away from flipping out and breaking the posting rules. Gonna go do something less aggravating, like marking up contracts or chewing some aluminum foil.

KCinDC: "...it's not just insane but unconstitutional"


Maybe insane, but maybe constitutional:

"While it is clear that under the Twelfth Amendment the original constitutional qualifications of age, citizenship, and residency apply to both the president and vice president, it is unclear if a two-term president could later be elected—or appointed—vice president."

link here

gwangung - that's it -- mobility. And those figures are sucking.

The more previously poor people, the better.

I'm a little depressed that it seems to take a two income income for a family MAINTAIN a middle class existence (often taking 60-70 hour work weeks).

I have no problems making it possible for people to go from poor to middle class. That's what you want. And for middle class to get rich, with some talent and hard work. I just don't like it when there's NO possibility to move from class to class...and we're getting close to that.

(The flipside of class mobility, of course, is that it's more possible to slip from middle class to poor, and from rich to middle class. It may be appropriate to have safeguards to retard that...on the other hand, it seems to me that it takes less work to maintain an upper class existence than a middle class one [the most conservative investments schemes for someone of great wealth, will, at worst, retard a fall quite well, whereas a middle class person who doesn't work falls quite quickly into the lower class])...I wouldn't mind it if the upper class has to work a BIT harder to maintain themselves....).

Well, it wouldn't be constitutional for Bill to become President if something happened to Hillary.

Anyway, it's moot. She may be a lot of things but stupid she's not. If she gets the nomination she has plenty of good candidates to choose from, starting with Obama and Edwards, and hopefully Clark or Zinni on the short list. (I have heard people talk about Webb, but he just got to the Senate and I'd like him there for a while)

Obama could offer the VP slot to Clinton, though I doubt she'd take it, and certainly could go with Edwards. But if he's considering the white female governor of a "red state," he would be within the bounds of reason. And choosing Clark or Zinni for some military heft would behoove him as well.

A plain reading of the 22nd Amendment indicates to me that a) there is no prohibition on a former president being elected vice-president, and b) there is no limitation to the number of years anyone may SERVE as president.

The only prohibition in the text of the amendment applicable to Bill Clinton is that he is not eligible to be "elected" president again. That's it.

None of this speaks to the sanity, or lack thereof, of the previously mentioned idea.

Priest: I would *love* to see just how constructionist our SCOTUS judges really are when faced with the prospect of a Clinton presidency.

Jay Jerome: The Clintons are money in the bank. Money in the bank to lose. If you think Obama's a coin flip, then a coin flip is the best shot you have.

Thanks Priest, that's another $100 I'll contribute to Obama tonight (I just can't move past that integrity thing)

The 12th Amendment does say "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." The 22nd Amendment is part of the Constitution, so Bill Clinton is "constitutionally ineligible to the office of President" -- at least if "eligible" means "electable", which I think it did.

Well, since Dodd dropped out already, and so did Kucinich, now that Edwards has dropped out, I guess it's Obama for me. Not that it's too likely to matter by the time Virginia gets around to doing our primary the week after Super Tuesday.

I donn't get the "Clintons are money in the back" eithher unless it meant negatively. Its money in thhe bank that shhe will be the kind of politician as President as she was when as Senator she voted for the Irann resolution or sponsored the Flag Burning law. She will always be a compromiser because she thinks the politica center is to her rrighht and lacks the political courage to fighht for liberal positions.

Also it is very nearly money in the bank that she will lose in an election against McCain.

Real Clear Politic has a compilation fo sixty polls. The results show that as of right now McCain beats both Clinont and Obama by a little less than tow points. Tthe problem for Clinton is that her dislikes are highh and solid, unlike Obama who is fairly popular outside the Dem base. That means thhat once the campignn starts Obama hhas room to gain supporters but thhe pool of potential converts to Clinton is very small. Plus he has the ability to inspire nnew voters and shhe only has the ability to inspire Republicans. And the media hates her. And shhe comes preslimed.

So I would much rather back Obama and live withh thhe "coinn toss' thhan have a replay of 04 only with a candidate that starts behind annd stays there.

I would just observe that when someone says 'It's money in the bank', they are saying that because they are trying to get at yours...

Jay:

In addition to what KCinDC rightly points out, I'm pretty sure it's also a constitutional requirement that the president and vice president not inhabit the same state. That would seem to eliminate a husband-and-wife team, unless they're estranged.

(Technically, I think they COULD both come from the same state, but then the electors from that state would be disqualified from voting for them...)

I am unaware of any Supreme Court rulings pertaining to the 12th or 22nd Amendments, so certainly arguments could be made either way, but I would read the eligibility requirements of the 12th A. as pertaining to the age, natural born-citizenship, and residency requirements in Article II.

One justification for that reading is that the 22nd A. does not exclude a former president from the line of succession if they were serving as Speaker of the House.

"The flipside of class mobility, of course, is that it's more possible to slip from middle class to poor, and from rich to middle class"

Another good point. Upward and downward economic mobility don't seem to march in lock-step, which means to me that there are significant causal factors that don't affect both. The main factor they share is probably income volatility, but that doesn't produce the sort of mobility we want.

One other indicator is whether working more produces more mobility. Those figures now suck too, though they weren't as bad in the nineties.

"I am unaware of any Supreme Court rulings pertaining to the 12th or 22nd Amendments, so certainly arguments could be made either way, but I would read the eligibility requirements of the 12th A. as pertaining to the age, natural born-citizenship, and residency requirements in Article II."

At the time it was passed, yes. But the 22nd amendment is every bit as much a part of the Constitution as Article II, so once it added requirements, those requirements also counted.

It is pretty standard reading of contracts, laws or governing documents that if you have a set of requirements 'A' that consists of 1, 2, and 3 along with further references or manipulations to 'A', the references and manipulations to 'A' incorporate 4 and 5 if you later amend the document with 2 further components of 'A'.

her first act as president will be to step down and let Bill take over.

Not bloody likely. :)

I'm also sorry to see Edwards out of it. I would have loved to have seen the economic issues he champions stay front and center. Or, if not front and center, at least somewhere in the mix.

Thanks -

Sebastian:

I do not at all dispute your point about the standard reading of contracts, etc. All I'm noting is that the 22nd A. specifically limits itself to prohibiting the *election* of certain former presidents. It does not explicitly prohibit succession, nor does it declare certain former presidents as *ineligible to serve or act* as president in all circumstances. Neither of the words "eligible" or "ineligible" appear anywhere in its text.

Admittedly, the likelihood of a former two-term president serving in a capacity to make this an issue is far-fetched, and would probably result in another amendment that would explicitly close this loophole.

Why would anyone not want to put down the Clinton machine, but instead choose to think it "better to keep discussion going"?

1. Because it seems to me that as the primary season has gone on, both Clinton & Obama have been moving toward the left -- which IMHO means towards the center. Yes, I think both of them started to the right of the American public, but actually having to engage with each other, with Edwards, and with voters has moved them leftward (centerward) on issues like FISA, torture, and the war. The longer a real contest goes on, the more we can pull the eventual nominee over toward what the country really needs, which is active de-Bushification.

2. Because having Clinton in the race is drawing the rats of sexism into the light. It makes it brutally obvious to younger women (and even some men) that we cannot afford to think of it as a post-feminist world. It also gives more men a chance to vote for a woman and discover that their dicks will not, in fact, fall off if they do, which is clearly a learning experience for many.

Having Clinton as a serious contender is IMHO raising the visibility of basic feminist issues and getting people -- not just the candidates by any means -- to talk about them.

As I said, my goal next week will be to keep the process going -- I'm going to be voting, well, *politically*.

Doctor Science: "It also gives more men a chance to vote for a woman and discover that their dicks will not, in fact, fall off if they do, which is clearly a learning experience for many."

Just as surely, having Obama in the race is giving more white people a chance to vote for a black candidate and discover...well, I'm not sure DS's is quite the right metaphor, but it represents the right idea.

To paraphrase DS, Obama is all but explicitly presenting certain white people with the novel experience of having a chance to vote for a black man who has simply stepped aside from their assumptions about racial dynamics. It occurs to me even as I write this that maybe the slimiest aspect of Bill Clinton's remarks about Obama, Jackson, and South Carolina is that they were an attempt to plant the idea that Obama is nothing new in that department.

Obama's candidacy is saying (among other things): a black American can run for president, and it's simply not (in the biggest picture) about race. (Yes, I know about the SC voting statistics. Gary Farber has already answered that objection on the thread called “Tales From A Post-Racial, Post-Feminist Era ...” ) (With apologies, I have to ask: can someone point me to the directions for making a link? I know I’ve seen them recently but at the time I didn’t think I was going to join the conversation. Thanks.)

It also gives more men a chance to vote for a woman and discover that their dicks will not, in fact, fall off if they do, which is clearly a learning experience for many.

I always learn something hanging around here. And that is truly comforting. But then it’s not usually having it fall off of its own accord that men may worry about where some women are concerned…

My husband, a ravening republican, wants me to ask if Hillary was such a great choice for president, why didn't Bill pick her as a running mate (scuse me, I've been corrected- he's a fascist).

I shouldn't let him read over my shoulder....

Wow, Trent Lott on Hardball was complimenting Obama for having "a certain amount of authenticity", even while admitting "I shouldn't be saying this, because we might face him".

I agree that the odds of President HR Clinton abdicating in favor of WJ Clinton are somewhat lower than zero, but on one level I wouldn't mind seeing it: just to watch the right-Wingnuts' heads explode!

If y'all want to trash our system of government just to watch people's heads explode, then you are no better than the nutjobs you indignantly criticize. If RedState were having a thread on Bush installing himself as Emperor and how much fun it would be to watch liberals go berserk over it, we'd be linking to them right now and calling them a bunch of dangerous wackos.

I expect more from people here.

The welcome departure of Giulani softened this blow at first, but then I read that the same day we lose Edwards, Nader starts considering another run.

WORST. TRADE. EVER.

can someone point me to the directions for making a link?

< a href=[URL] > [TEXT] < /a >

Remove all spaces save that between "a" and "href"

Always ALWAYS Preview.

If y'all want to trash our system of government just to watch people's heads explode, then you are no better than the nutjobs you indignantly criticize.

Sorry -- I should specified that the wish for the HJ & WJ Clinton matched pair presidency was strictly hypothetical. In the Real World, I have no desire for such an outcome, and don't much want even HR Clinton at the helm.

JanieM: Just as surely, having Obama in the race is giving more white people a chance to vote for a black candidate and discover...well, I'm not sure DS's is quite the right metaphor, but it represents the right idea.

There's plenty of phallic folklore involved in the black/white dynamic, too, you know.

Jeff -- thank you for the link instructions.

at least if "eligible" means "electable", which I think it did.

I don't see why those words would be the same. A plain reading says they are not (otherwise the drafters would have used the same word). No reason that I can see why Bill can't run as VP and then take over the presidency for the remainder of HRC's term.

I'm pretty sure it's also a constitutional requirement that the president and vice president not inhabit the same state. That would seem to eliminate a husband-and-wife team, unless they're estranged.

It only prevents an elector from voting for a President/Vice President where both are from the same state as the elector. Thus, the New York vote would be out the window (I think) if they ran together. Unless the Clintons are in fact not residents of the same state.

I can see it now, coming to theaters near you: The Chappaquan Candidate. :) (come on Thullen, give us some plot details . . .).

BC, the earliest citation for "electable" in the OED is from 1879. I think it's a newfangled word put together after the meaning of "eligible" diverged. The Latin verb is "eligo", "elegi", "electum", so "eligible" and "election" would be the normally formed English derivatives (like "dirigible"/"direction", "corrigible"/"correction").

Also note that the preposition: it's "eligible to", which fits with "elected to", not "eligible for", as we would say nowadays.

Whether you like Clinton or Obama will depend, at least to some extent, on what challenges you expect the United States to face over the next four years. If you expect a managerial challenge, getting taxes and expenditures back in balance, you will like Senator Hillary Clinton. On the other hand, if you expect real economic dislocation, if you expect your country will need someone who can make the equivalent to FDR's famous statement that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", then you may choose Barack Obama as someone with a gift for making the American vision both real and reassuring.

Now that my preferred candidate has been replaced by a thoroughly unsatisfactory choice (not that I find it hard to make the choice; I just can't work up much faith in it. Or -- hint, hint -- hope) I've been staunchly asserting that I'll actively support whoever the candidate is against whoever the Repub is.

Tonight I hear the clever idea of a Clinton-Clinton ticket. Well, I'll be hornswoggled, there is something that could make me consider sitting out the election.

And furthermore--

All the talk about electablity is nonsense. It's clear that we can't KNOW which is more electable, just blather about it. So how about looking for the candidate you want, and trying to get him or her elected?

But the main reason such talk is a pain in the ass: Does anyone anywhere remember the BIG reason Kerry was nominated? Let me remind you: he was electable. Want to try that over again?

Ohio?

Schmohio. An competent Democratic candidate in 2008 won't blow it so badly as to get the kind of narrow margin that can be stolen.

Does anyone anywhere remember the BIG reason Kerry was nominated? Let me remind you: he was electable.

Well: it almost worked. He probably won the election - despite all the filthy slime flung at him by the Bush administration. He just couldn't win it by a big enough margin to overcome the vote-rigging, and he wasn't prepared to take on the establishment to challenge the vote-rigging.

There are two ways to make sure that the candidate who wins the 2008 election is in the White House in 2009. (No, three. The third way is for a Republican to win the 2008 election honestly, but I doubt that whoever the candidate is, they'll be given that chance.)

Either to win the election by a large enough margin that vote-rigging doesn't work - the 2006 election proved this can happen, at least by methods in use in 2006 - or else for a candidate to run who won't give up - who will challenge every instance where the final results come out substantially different from the exit polls.

The former is going to be difficult because you know that as soon as a Democratic candidate is definitely fixed on, the Republican slime machine will go into action, and after a while it will appear in the mainstream media as if - as with Kerry - the Democrats picked a loser. There will be Swift Boat Liars in this election: we just don't know what their field of attack will be. We know the mainstream media will treat them with indulgence and "balance" by passing on their stories as if true and "balancing" them with a statement from the Democratic candidate that it's not true.

The latter is difficult because there is still no widespread acknowledgement in the US that the 2000 election was stolen and Gore won it: still less that there is strong evidence that the 2004 election was stolen, or that the 2006 election appears to have been a landslide victory shored up for the Republicans by more vote-rigging. (We don't have the evidence for 2002, because after the "failure" of exit polls to pick the Bush as the winner in 2000, they weren't used in 2002.)

Best of all would be a landslide victory that can be checked but not stopped by vote-rigging, and a candidate willing to challenge/change the dishonest electoral system who can do so as a "sore winner". ;-)

"still less that there is strong evidence that the 2004 election was stolen, or that the 2006 election appears to have been a landslide victory shored up for the Republicans by more vote-rigging."

They don't believe it because there isn't strong evidence to that effect.

And especially if Clinton wins the nomination, complaints about polls aren't going to sound very solid with the polling disasters seen so far in the primary election (where like race baiting and voter supression in the Democratic primary I would like to note that no Republicans were involved).

There are a lot of people who drop the "Hillary" and just see "Clinton". They want 1992-2000 to come back. Which is understandable, since while those years were far from a happy utopia, they were better than what we had under Bush. Problem is, Bush left a mess that needs to be fixed.

1992-2000 ain't never coming back, and it's not all Bush's fault. Post 9/11, the dotcom bubble long since burst, a demographic wave closing in on retirement, China and India on the rise, Russia resurgent - anybody elected to be the next President is going to have big, big challenges to face. Bill Clinton's main accomplishment in the 90's was not messing anything up too badly. That won't cut it anymore.

Does anyone anywhere remember the BIG reason Kerry was nominated? Let me remind you: he was electable.

No, he was nominated because Democrats thought he was electable. There's a big difference. Just because you failed to determine what "electable" is on the first try, it doesn't mean such a quality doesn't exist.

He just couldn't win it by a big enough margin to overcome the vote-rigging, and he wasn't prepared to take on the establishment to challenge the vote-rigging.

Or maybe, he was not so deluded that he refused to acknowledge the reality that he had lost in favor of believing left-wing conspiracy theories.

They don't believe it because there isn't strong evidence to that effect.

If you redefine exit polls as "not strong evidence", I suppose there isn't - though exit polls are known to be reliable indicators of how people voted.

How this theory seems to work is that only in the US, and only since the advent of electronic voting machines which can be uncheckably rigged so that the result is different from how people voted, then the exit polls stopped working as reliable indicators, because obviously the results generated by an electronic voting machine without a check, must be regarded as much more accurate than a check of how people actually voted, minutes after they did - because in the US, unlike any other free democracy in the world, voters will reliably lie to exit pollsters about how they voted, but people with the ability to rig voting machines won't use their power to do so.

Actually, I think the reason it isn't accepted is because it would be extremely damaging to Bush to acknowledge that in 2000 and 2004 he wasn't properly elected. And what is extremely damaging to Bush never gets widespread currency in the mainstream media in the US, for some reason.

Xeynon: Or maybe, he was not so deluded that he refused to acknowledge the reality that he had lost in favor of believing left-wing conspiracy theories.

Ah, exit polls: the "left-wing conspiracy theories" of enemies of democracy.

Just because you failed to determine what "electable" is on the first try, it doesn't mean such a quality doesn't exist.

No, but it doesn't mean such a quality exists either. At this point, I don't believe it does, or rather, the divorcing of campaigning, in particular the media reportage of campaigns, from reality is so complete by now that "electability" is just a cypher for "random crap that we spuriously justify people's votes". If anyone has any evidence to the contrary, I'd be interested to hear it; for now, I think "electable" is as much crap as "post-partisan", "maverick", "controversial" and all those stupid buzzwords we regurgitate to make ourselves feel better about our electoral system.

[Not that I'm bitter tonight or anything.]

It's worth noting that exit polls are part of the foundation of all election monitoring around the world - a Google search for a string like "united nations" "election monitor" "exit poll" will provide you with examples from at least three continents in recent years. Now it's quite possible that something in the US situation makes them uniquely unreliable, in a consistent direction. But this has never been demonstrated, merely taken for granted. Collectively we don't buy it as an excuse for Ukraine, or Russia, or Colombia, or Kenya, or anyplace else, and I have yet to hear any actual explanation of why it should simply be accepted as a fact of life here without some serious scrutiny.

As nearly as I can tell, the heart of the establishment confidence in our election is that they're being run by the right sort of people, so it's okay. This is never a good basis for operating a government, but particularly not given this bunch.

Ah, exit polls: the "left-wing conspiracy theories" of enemies of democracy.

Let me amend that - feverish, ludicrous, unhinged, divorced-from-empirical-reality, completely baseless, hare-brained left-wing conspiracy theories.

I voted for John Kerry in 2004. I was depressed for a week when Bush won, and I would have been very happy to have found out that he had done so fraudulently and the results were being thrown out.

However, not a single scintilla of evidence to that effect has ever emerged. Exit polls are always somewhat imprecise for a variety of reasons. In the case of the 2004 elections, the pollsters themselves have acknowledged that the discrepancies between the exit poll results and the final vote tallies were a result of errors in http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A22188-2005Jan19.html] >polling methodology. The fact that some exit poll discrepancies favored Bush, and that they occurred in precincts using paper ballots as well as those using electronic voting machines, further undermines the idea that it was the vote count and not the exit polls that were fishy.

In addition, there's the little fact that systematically rigging an election in a country of 300 million people would require a conspiracy involving hundreds, if not thousands, of people, all of whom would have had to remain silent to this day. That doesn't even happen in the movies.

I don't like the fact that electronic voting is theoretically hackable or that it doesn't leave a paper trail. The potential for election fraud is real, and troubling. The fact is, though, that there is literally no credible evidence whatsoever that such fraud occurred in 2004.

Xey: However, not a single scintilla of evidence to that effect has ever emerged.

"Scintilla" is a somewhat imprecise measurement. Suggest you begin here and move on. Might cheer you up.

In the case of the 2004 elections, the pollsters themselves have acknowledged that the discrepancies between the exit poll results and the final vote tallies were a result of errors in polling methodology.

Yes, I've never understood why they're so anxious to say they got it wrong - except that highly damaging stories about George W. Bush never get serious coverage in the mainstream press in the US. And defending their exit poll methodology - which was far more robust and reliable than the results produced by the uncheckable, easily riggable, voting machines - would have been a highly damaging story about George W. Bush: he wasn't elected. He was rigged into place.

who will challenge every instance where the final results come out substantially different from the exit polls

Why on earth do we spent all that money on elections, voting machines and the like? All we really need is exit polls

Better yet – why make people leave the house? Just take the rolling average of all polls the last week before Election Day and call it close enough. I mean we know that people never misrepresent themselves in polls…

OCSteve: Why on earth do we spent all that money on elections, voting machines and the like? All we really need is exit polls…

Oh, come off it. You're brighter than that. You're better than that.

Exit polls are a check. They're a good, effective check, regarded as such around the world and by all international and national electoral monitoring organizations.

When the exit polls say that the results of an election are off by 6% what the polls themselves say the voters voted, that's when you go back and handcount each paper ballot, under independent (international, if no one local can be trusted) supervision to make sure they were counted correctly. Three times is the maximum permitted by UK electoral law.

Can you spot what the problem is, OCSteve?

In the US, in 2000, when the exit polls said that Gore had won, the Republicans fought a winning battle right up to the US Supreme Court to make sure that the ballots wouldn't be counted.

In 2004 and 2006, in the areas with the problems, there were no paper ballots to be handcounted. (Nor was the problem only that there were no paper ballots: as news reports confirm, there were also districts where people had to queue for 12 hours in order to cast a vote, because not enough voting machines had been provided. A problem that doesn't exist in countries where the "voting machine" is a small wooden cubicle with a shelf, a light, and a pencil, and you vote by hand....)

The reason people keep pointing to the exit polls is not because exit polls are a substitute for voting: it's because exit polls are a way of keeping the people who run the elections honest. What matters most, next November, isn't even who wins: it's whether every single person who is registered to vote and shows up to vote:

- Gets to vote
- Has their vote counted

Judging by the record of the US elections since 2000, US voters can count on neither.

Is this such an unimportant issue to you, OCSteve?

I’m all for a paper trail and recounts where there is doubt. But your assertion is normally that Gore won based on exit polls - period. You express it as an absolute certainty:

the 2000 election was stolen and Gore won it

damaging to Bush to acknowledge that in 2000 and 2004 he wasn't properly elected

he wasn't elected. He was rigged into place

defending their exit poll methodology - which was far more robust and reliable than the results produced by the uncheckable, easily riggable, voting machines

That is just this one thread – there are hundreds of others where you make the same kind of statements. You make these statements several times per week regardless what the topic is. I gave up arguing the topic with you long ago. But every so often, in a moment of weakness, I backslide.

You just stated: exit poll methodology - which was far more robust and reliable than the results produced by the uncheckable, easily riggable, voting machines

If I believe that, then it only makes sense to go with the exit polls over what the voting machines say.

I’m all for a paper trail and recounts where there is doubt. But your assertion is normally that Gore won based on exit polls - period.

Actually, no. My assertion is that Gore won because not only do we have the exit polls, we also have a belated handcount of the paper ballots which demonstrate that, just as the exit polls predicted, Gore won handily.

With the 2004 and 2006 elections, all we have is the exit polls, which very strongly indicate that either something unique went very wrong in 2000, 2004, and 2006 in US elections which has never happened before in any other elections, or else that the Republicans cheated. When we look at the real world factors, we find that it was perfectly possible to rig the voting machines, leaving no paper trail: and we find a stack of other incidents all indicating that the Republicans running elections did not want to depend on the whim of the voters.

We can say definitely that Gore won, because the votes were - eventually - counted. We can say that probably Kerry won, because the exit polls indicate that and there's plenty of surrounding real-world evidence to put it that way - including, of course, the sacking of several US Attorneys in circumstances that suggest they were either too willing to investigate Republican election irregularities, or unwilling to run fullscale investigations against Democrats based on accusation without sufficient evidence.

You make these statements several times per week regardless what the topic is.

Whenever the topic relates to the next US elections. Wholescale electoral fraud is a very, very worrying thing, isn't it?

If I believe that, then it only makes sense to go with the exit polls over what the voting machines say.

Certainly it does, when the electoral machines can be rigged untraceably. When you use the gold standard of elections - paper ballots, hand-marked, hand-counted - the paper ballots are obviously the final answer to "who won". Which is why, in 2000, we can say definitely that Gore won and Bush lost.

OC Steve: Seriously, we do say "it's not a valid election" when conditions like those in the US exist in other countries, like Ukraine or Burma. This isn't hypothetical - those criticisms exist, and they start with the lack of independent verification of claimed results, particularly when they clash with exit polls. Like I said, it's possible that something in the US makes that standard irrelevant, but if so, it should be demonstrated rather than asserted.

A country with a tenth our population and a hundredth our wealth that had this kind of thing go on would be a pariah among democratic nations.

Suggest you begin here and move on. Might cheer you up.

Try linking to actual evidence rather than just a partisan regurgitating the same "evidence" you are. Farhad Manjoo of Salon, who is no Bush-lover, systematically debunks every misrepresentation, interpretative error, and logical lapse in that piece http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/06/03/kennedy/>here.

Yes, I've never understood why they're so anxious to say they got it wrong -

Indeed. Given that their professional reputations rest on getting it right, it is indeed puzzling. You'd expect if there were a credible alternate explanation (like, say, possible election fraud) they'd be quick to trumpet it.

except that highly damaging stories about George W. Bush never get serious coverage in the mainstream press in the US.

1.)This is flatly untrue (DWI, National Guard memos, etc.). And since when is Rolling Stone not a mainstream publication? Last I checked it's a standard at pretty much every newsstand in America.

2.)Stories favorable to Bush don't get serious coverage in the European press. So why, exactly, am I supposed to be outraged?

And defending their exit poll methodology - which was far more robust and reliable than the results produced by the uncheckable, easily riggable, voting machines

I'm with Steve. Why bother paying for all these expensive voting machines, election supervisors' salaries, voter registration records, etc. when a bunch of kids with clipboards standing outside polling places can do so much better of a job? Or we could have just pre-election telephone polls determine the outcome - oh, wait, those showed Bush winning in 2004 by about 3%, same as the actual vote tallies.

- would have been a highly damaging story about George W. Bush: he wasn't elected. He was rigged into place.

Earth to jesurgislac - the polling firms don't publish stories - the media do. If they had wanted to defend their methodology and claim that election fraud was to blame instead, well, there's just not a whole lot the media could have done to stop them. They didn't, perhaps because of the complete lack of evidence supporting such a claim.

those criticisms exist, and they start with the lack of independent verification of claimed results, particularly when they clash with exit polls.

Ummm, I'd suggest they start with the fact that such countries have established histories of massive election fraud. In the case of the examples you cite, Burma was ruled by an iron-fisted military junta that is universally recognized as one of the world's least democratic regimes, and Ukraine by a cabal of former Soviet apparatchiks with strong nationalist ties to an autocratic, more powerful neighbor with a long history of meddling in the internal political affairs of neighboring states. You're not seriously comparing those places to the U.S., are you?

Of course I am, Xeynon. We're a nation in the midst of an entirely unjustified war, whose president claims the authority to disregard every law if it might interfere with his prosecution of the war, and who's made torture and other flagrant violations of basic treaty and constitutional rights a point of pride. Executive officials routinely refuse to cooperate in any investigation of their actions; evidence is routinely destroyed on a massive scale. And of course we do have a history of election fraud in this country, as a review of the history of LBJ's elections or the election of 1960 would immediately suggest. Some of the 20th century's most vigorous campaign manipulators helped put Bush into power and keep him there - he's the literal as well as notional heir to fraud and abuse of various kinds. In every election of his terms, prominent officials and supporters have spoken with evident desire about violence against dissenters, and of course in 2000 they did organize mobs who misrepresented themselves and set about interfering with recounts.

It's true that the average quality of life in the US is vastly superior to what it is in Burma or Ukraine. But when it comes to the rule of law, no, we're not much better than them. We have fewer routine injustices only because most of us aren't of interest to the administration. But we've seen that entirely innocent people who look funny can be sent off for years of imprisonment and torture, and we know that the administration was engaging in large-scale surveillance operations before the 9/11 attacks. We have no real idea what data they collected or what they've done with it, but we have no reason at all to trust their good intentions.

Our structure is rotten even though the practice is still often benign, and when it comes to fair elections, both count. We don't have a structure for reliable objections, and what we've got is bad enough that it wouldn't pass muster in a less powerful nation.

As an example of the lawlessness I'm talking about, consider Bush's recent signing statement explicitly violating Article II of the Constitution, as reported in the Washington Post by Dan Froomkin and the Boston Globe by the wonderfully estimable Charlie Savage. Note too that (as per the NY Times) the attorney general won't tell Congress when he thinks some torture is justified. So Congress has no reliable power of the purse and no basis for oversight. What would we say of any other country with such an unconstrained executive? Why should we not say of the one here, too?

The exit polls argument here is more fueled by belief and emotion than by fact. Even amongst those in the know, the debate is...heated.

Now, if you can come up with some evidence that polling bias exists even in districts where ballot design is good, counting methodology is solid, and cheating has never been a significant issue, you're probably going to be making a much better case. I've seen some decent treatment of this issue in various places (the first page of this search for instance).

"If you redefine exit polls as "not strong evidence", I suppose there isn't - though exit polls are known to be reliable indicators of how people voted."

Exit polls can be strong evidence when they are well outside the margin of error.

In the elections you want to talk about they weren't.

Hell, in the 2000 election the evidence is that the whole election is inside the margin of error for elections, much less polls about elections.

Slarti: The exit polls argument here is more fueled by belief and emotion than by fact.

Well, my side of it is fueled by fact: the exit polls are facts. Opposition to these facts is indeed being fueled by belief and emotion.

Sebastian: Exit polls can be strong evidence when they are well outside the margin of error.

Indeed: there they are, and there they were.

"Indeed: there they are, and there they were."

The exit polls weren't even outside the margin of error for calling the election in most of the key states, much less calling an election and suggesting that that the difference between the poll and the election was fraud.

Well, my side of it is fueled by fact: the exit polls are facts.

What those facts mean, on the other hand, requires a little extra something; something that you seem disinterested in discussing.

Data and understanding are two different things.

Data and interpretation are also two distinct things.

Actually, the standard election monitoring use of exit polls is as a warning: "Something may be amiss here. Investigate." The US is choosing not to investigate, on bad grounds.

John Spragge: "On the other hand, if you expect real economic dislocation, if you expect your country will need someone who can make the equivalent to FDR's famous statement that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", then you may choose Barack Obama as someone with a gift for making the American vision both real and reassuring."


That's a baloney sandwich, between two slices of wishful thinking.

In an all out economic crisis choosing Obama over the Clintons (two for one, get it?) would be like assigning a rookie quarterback with no real game time experience into the lineup at Super Bowl time to run the offense, instead of one or two or both vetern quarterbacks, who won the championship for you previously.

How about providing some concrete evidence Obama has the know-how to govern anything as diversely complex as the U.S. economy, in good times or bad. And please, no pie-in-the-sky pabulum that he'd be able to emulate the reassuring gravitas of FDR during the Depression: FDR had executive leadership experience up the ying-yang before he ran for president: he was an Asst. Secretary of the Navy and a two term State Senator and the Governor of New York who had proven his executive ability before he took the oath of office as president.

And by the way, FDR was a military HAWK: he championed re-armament, rejected the isolationist policies of his predecessors, and PUSHED to get the US to declare war against Nazi Germany with the same intensity that McCain is pressing to continue the Iraq occupation.

As far as being able to govern this country, the Clinton's have been there, done that - and were able to straighten out the bent economy they inherited from the Republicans. They have a record of success - Obama's got nada in leadership comparison or proven results. That doesn't mean he's not a nice guy with an impressive vocabulary and a heart of gold: just that when it comes to proven ability to govern, he's a pig in a poke.

Ah, come on, Jay...that Super Bowl analogy sucks. It's more like Hilary is Eli Manning in his second year. We're not voting on Bill here; we're voting on Hilary. They're distinctly different people.

Jay's argument is that Bill will take over the Cheney role and act as the real president while Hillary is just a figurehead. I don't think that's part of her campaign message, but maybe I have the wrong decoder ring.

"Actually, the standard election monitoring use of exit polls is as a warning: "Something may be amiss here. Investigate." The US is choosing not to investigate, on bad grounds."

There was a two year bi-partisan investigation that didn't find much of use.

This is an honest question, not a snark, and I generally liked Bill Clinton as a president. But what Super Bowl did he win, exactly? It seems to me that he lucked out by being president during a technological boon that fueled great economic expansion, something that his being president had little to do with. (Not to mention that the market overestimated the meaning of said boon on top of it.)

two for one, get it?

The one thing I absolutely, positively would *not* look forward to in a Clinton presidency is getting "two for one".

Bill Clinton is a smart guy, knows his stuff cold, and knows how to pull the levers. He's also a private individual, with a variety of private agendas and involvements, not a few of which touch on, and are touched by, public policy.

For me, Bill Clinton is a walking disincentive to vote for Hillary. Frankly, I don't trust him. In and of itself, the fact that he'd be "First Gentleman" wouldn't prevent me from supporting Hillary if she wins the nomination, but the idea that he would be acting as "back seat driver" in the White House would.

No "two for one" please.

Thanks -

i love the idea that you can count your spouse's work experience as your own.

my resume just got twice as long, and i suddenly have all the skills necessary to be a bio-tech recruiter. and i'm sure my wife will be thrilled to learn that she now knows all about morphological image processing, C# and MMX/SSE. now if i can tear her away from American Idol, i can put her to work on that EXIF-from-RAW code i need to finish.

I'm now a financial whiz, and a corporate comptroller, as well as highly organized and goal-oriented. OTOH I've suddenly fallen over to the Biblical version of How We All Got Here.

Which makes my wife argue with me, given that she's now got MY POV as regards HWAGH, but at least she's now got proficiency in optimal estimation, navigation algorithms, and is fairly hot stuff with Matlab, C++ and (gawrsh) Fortran simulation modeling.

Not to mention mad 8080 assembly programming skills.

And we're both just a little better at Excel and Powerpoint. Bonus!

But neither of us got a uterus in the deal. Possibly even more bonus!

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