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January 08, 2008

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Hm. Extra-candidate factors being a decider, hm? Not surprising and something to be aware of.

None of the young skewed precincts have reported yet. Don't panic yet. Wait an hour or two. ;)

Oh, I can definitely tell you the scorn, derision, and schoolyard taunts aimed at Clinton frosted my shorts as well - as did people dismissing Steinem's editorial as "old, irrelevant feminism." Is there a new feminism? Is the "new feminism one that doesn't mind sexist taunts and double standards? What the hell kind of feminism is that, exactly?

I'm equally pissed off at this Instant Political Obituary nonsense.

Why does a loss tonight have to be devastating for Obama?

Clinton came back from defeat in Iowa to either win or tie for first in NH.

Obama can do likewise.

These are two terrific candidates and the public likes them both.

Why do we have to declare the nomination won or lost before it's even really begun?

Instant gratification is for video games. Not national politics.

Hear, hear....

I see I've made the big time. ;-)

I warned my husband not to be around me tonight because I was going to spend the evening cursing and writing polemics. I briefly considered having more than one drink for the first time in 20 years. I am feeling pretty good. Older women don't blog, so I will have to work much harder to take up the slack. But obviously they vote.

Now NBC's take is "big girls don't cry, but when they do, they win."

Although now that I think about it this might make google searching for my previous comments on here a pain.

The famous Petey is suggesting that this race will go on for a while - not a brokered convention or anything, but a real race. Looks plausable to me. And also suprisingly, Edwards is not getting out of the race - his fundraising has spiked since IA.

I say: OK. I would rather have seen Obama win tonight, because I much prefer him to HRC, but I think there are a lot of issues - feminism being one of them - the Dems need to hash out, and I guess they're/we're going to do it. About time.

Publius, I greatly admire your posts. Thank you so much for quoting me. I have only started commenting on political blogs this week since my radical feminism was resurrected.

I can't resist teasing you. On my blog, I can change the title of a post even after I publish it. Do you need your consciousness raised:)

yes - but that violates the first rule of blogging - No Takesy-Backseys. You get about a 15 minute window to make edits, but after that, you have use strike-throughs or updates.

and welcome "back"

As far as Steinem's old-fashioned feminism--

My generation of feminists must have been rather dowdy cylons if they overthrew the patriarchy that had lasted for human's entire history in thirty years. Most of the human race had to be wiped out in Battlestar Galactica for a woman to be president.

As far as Steinem's old-fashioned feminism--

My generation of feminists must have been rather dowdy cylons if they overthrew the patriarchy that had lasted for human's entire history in thirty years. Most of the human race had to be wiped out in Battlestar Galactica for a woman to be president.

BWAHAHAHAHA!

I think I'll steal that for my next show...

The race has been called for Clinton.

I'll say this: if Obama's supporters lose heart after this, they're scarcely worth having as supporters in the first place. Hope is a wonderful message and aspiration, but it ain't a magical incantation. Get up off the ground and keep at it.

Clinton did.

I was a radical feminist in the late 60s and 70s. The blatant sexism of this election has radicalized me once again at age 62.

Will we ever be free of the over-influence of overweening self-involved, humorless (about themselves, anyway) baby boomers? EVER?

Will we ever be free of the over-influence of overweening self-involved, humorless (about themselves, anyway) baby boomers? EVER?

In about 25 years.

Thanks -

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/01/the-return-of-t.html

Last week the story was that America was too irretrievably misogynist to ever elect a woman; looks like this week the story will be that honkey is closing ranks against the uppity negro. As an independent with very strong Democratic leanings, I personally find this to be an embarrassing level of discussion for the campaign to be at given the crucial nature of this election.

But if that is the level of discourse we're at, let me ask you this- for everyone who's broken to Hillary in the last week, how can you refute the charge of racism as advanced in Sullivan's post? What defense can you give that you would have accepted from those you've accused of misogyny? And why should I, as an independent, not write this off as the worst sort of identity politics squabbling and begin to seriously evaluate a Republican slate I would never have considered 6 months ago?

CaseyL: precisely.

"Will we ever be free of the over-influence of overweening self-involved, humorless (about themselves, anyway) baby boomers? EVER?"

Win a few elections, dear. Win a few fights.

When your generation can boast the kind of accomplishments the Boomers can boast about - civil rights, environmentalism, feminism - then you can declare them irrelevant.

publius, I think Steinem did call the zeitgeist. Just imagine being part of a demographic that's 53% of the voters yet gets treated as a special-interest minority. Yes, we *are* mad as hell, and uninterested in continuing to take it anymore.

I don't really know anything about anything, but I think this could actually benefit Obama. If he wins NH, he becomes the clear front runner, and Edwards and Clinton concentrate their attacks on him. Now, Clinton is a more compelling target for Edwards, and the media scrutiny shifts back onto her. Played properly (which there's no guarantee Obama will do), this could work to his advantage.

Even the dowdy cylon crack didn't help. I am not a baby boomer. I was born the day after Trinity and my radiation physicist husband said I was his personal Manhattan Project.

When your generation can boast the kind of accomplishments the Boomers can boast about - civil rights, environmentalism, feminism - then you can declare them irrelevant.

Aren't the boomers mostly voting Republican (and, by extension, opposing those very same advances) these days?

Aren't the boomers mostly voting Republican (and, by extension, opposing those very same advances) these days?

No.

Who do you think voted for Gore? For Kerry? For Clinton?

IIRC, the younger generations were the ones who comprised most of Nader's vote in 2000, and self-righteously didn't vote at all in 2004.

"When your generation can boast the kind of accomplishments the Boomers can boast about - civil rights, environmentalism, feminism - then you can declare them irrelevant."

Right. And the very first will have to be a a fight against this sort of patronizing crap--because until we win that one they'll never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give us a chance to try the rest.

Seriously: women shouldn't put up with the kind of crap that Hillary took after Iowa. It lost Edwards my vote. If it's not politically dangerous it will never stop.

Clinton is actually running on the platform that people like me are naive idiots whose false hopes must be crushed. If it's not politically dangerous it will never stop. we shouldn't put up with it.

"Seriously: women shouldn't put up with the kind of crap that Hillary took after Iowa. It lost Edwards my vote. If it's not politically dangerous it will never stop.

Clinton is actually running on the platform that people like me are naive idiots whose false hopes must be crushed. If it's not politically dangerous it will never stop. we shouldn't put up with it."

These two paragraphs are non sequitors. And I'm not precisely sure what part of Clinton's platform calls people like you naive idiots who must be crushed. Can you give me a reference?

Look, I didn't want to get into a generational pissing contest. I just don't get why y'all feel you have to raise yourselves up by tearing Boomers down. I surely don't know how it happened that Hillary Clinton became - not just someone whose foreign policy votes Gen Xers disagree with, but The Enemy, who they would rather sit out an election or vote for a fringe candidate than pull the lever for.

There are three men in this contest that I admire:

Candidate Romney wants the drastic pay cut because he is hyper-competitive. Nothing wrong with that.

Candidate Paul wants the job, as far as I can read, out of respect for the Founding Fathers and the Constitution that their minds created. That is honorable, but it won’t win in the pure democracy that we have become. He could win with a 1789 electorate though, given the current field of candidates. Maybe he’d lose to Romney.

Candidate Obama appears to still believe his own lies. He may still think that we can afford free health care and college for all. He probably believes that he would be able to tell big money what to do because he would be the President of the United States of America. And tell China to stop taking our jobs, the ones with health benefits. Maybe even tell Ahmedinejad to get along with us now that we’ve got a President who will listen. Sit across the table from Putin. I admire his idealism and want him to win. He would be a fascinating accelerant.

I hope he can get his campaign in order.

i'm just tired of the Clintons. maybe there's some unconscious sexism lurking beneath, but i don't think so. i'm just tired of them. i'm tired of listening to them.

she'll be fine, but she's not going to accomplish anything big. and she probably won't even try.

i also don't think you should be awarded the presidency after 4 years of radio silence on iraq, torture, and everything else. edwards is also dead right about the lobbyist stuff. there's a legion of old-clintonites (an admin-in-waiting) just rubbing their now-fat paws, eager to get their hands back on teh government purse. nothing new here. if anything, those clinton establishment types have grown far more entwined with the K street agenda.

i just feel like all the wind has gone out. i'll obviously support her, but with Kerry-esque levels of enthusiasm

Inter-generational sniping? Racial sniping? Sexist sniping? Shouldn't we at least get into power before starting to emulate the Republicans?

Jesus Christ, publius, it's only January. There are a lot of states between now and then; a lot of votes between now and then.

Send money to Obama, work your tail off for Obama, and stop with the defeatism, for pete's sake.

Who do you think voted for Gore? For Kerry? For Clinton?

Good question. Unfortunately, I can't find any good age-related statistics. But IIRC, it actually had a lot more to do with where they live and what their income status is than it did with their age.

But I will say (can't speak for anyone else) that I was misusing the term "baby boomer" a bit; I was putting the age range at 55-70, when in fact it's actually 43-61. (The "boomers" were born between 1946 and 1964.)

And I'm not precisely sure what part of Clinton's platform calls people like you naive idiots who must be crushed.

I wouldn't say it's part of her official platform, but in her remarks (generally when obliquely attacking Obama) she has certainly given the impression that those who favor the "inexperienced" are naive.

Look: I'm sure there are plenty of good reasons to support/vote for Clinton. I'm also sure that "to spite the media for their treatment of her" isn't one of them.

A couple possible contributing factors. Indie voters are told by pollsters and pundits that Dem primary is done deal for Obama, so they vote in GOP primary (for McCain) instead. Then there's the possiblity that this is the first appearance of the dreaded Bradley Effect. Here's hoping that's not true.

"also don't think you should be awarded the presidency after 4 years of radio silence on iraq, torture, and everything else."

bingo.

I feel utterly & completely betrayed by the D.C. dem establishment on "war on terror" issues. My bitterness knows no bounds. The subtext of her campaign is: that way of doing things is the only way--all attempts to change it are "false hope".

I was working on that stuff during her radio silence, & it's because of naive idealists like me that she now finally has broken that silence. Now she's arguing that naive idealism is worthless? That if you're too young & haven't been in Capitol Hill you don't know about hard work & changing things? Well. To hell with that.

Politics is all about identity, it turns out. Doesn't mean it plays out in predictable ways.

Jesus Christ, publius, it's only January.

Point taken. :) But we've seen this movie before, you know. Democrats as a group have a "wonderful" tendency to nominate Blah candidates. (Frankly, the "conventional wisdom" in the Democratic party establishment sucks.)

I should point out that my opposition to Clinton is for a simple reason, having nothing to do with her gender, or even with her last name. Instead, it has to do with her politics. Of the three viable Democratic contenders, she's the least progressive, and the one with the worst record on Iraq.

Mind you, I'd still vote for her in a heartbeat over anyone in the GOP field. It's just that I wish we could get a true progressive for once.

CaseyL - normally i would agree with you, but you have to remember the immense, hierarchical infrastructure that clinton has going. to say she is the establishment candidate is an understatement.

that's not necessarily bad (depends on what you think of the establishment), but it does mean that the odds of winning become much harder if you don't knock them off early. it's really hard to beat an establishment candidate - and it doesn't happen very often.

obama could have won and the race would remain far from over. but it's a much bigger deal for the establishment candidate to fight back "the revolt" in a critical early state. ESPECIALLY given the expectations going in.

Yes, i've written before about how mathematically meaningless it all is. but in the real world, this is a serious body blow. and frankly, i think it's over. sure, things happen. but this is a very big deal.

& that's why my generation loses. But some of us are more stuboorn than others.

obama could have won and the race would remain far from over. but it's a much bigger deal for the establishment candidate to fight back "the revolt" in a critical early state. ESPECIALLY given the expectations going in.

I don't think I could have read the situation more differently than you if I'd tried. An Obama win would have increased the Clinton pile-on in the media, and the pressure would have been for her to pull out before Super Tuesday, and if you think the sexism was out in force before New Hampshire, imagine what would have happened if she'd lost badly here.

Now we have a race between the big two--I'd love to see what their respective money situations look like, but that information is probably crazy-secret. Edwards is still lurking, and can really play a factor in the remaining debates--he knows how to stick a knife in delicately when necessary. I think he's done as a serious contender for the nomination, but he can still play a role.

I don't get it. Obama is 1 & 2. Hillary is 1 & 3. Why is this devastating for him?

I am sick of baby boomers myself. I think we f**ked up bigtime and are endlessly fascinated with ourselves. The latest fantasy that baby boomers can defeat aging is absurd. I hope everyone plans an open casket so the mourners can admire how young we look.

Generational politics is a huge obstacle to genuine progress. In the 20th century expectations of women changed so many times that women wind up devaluing their mother's experiences and advice. I was far more guilty of that than my daughters are. They take me seriously enough to argue with me. I figured out if I read the same books and blogs my daughter reads, I might offer some useful ideas on raising my grandson.

I am very conflicted about supporting Clinton, for exactly the reasons that publius and Katherine cite. I don't share their optimism that Obama would be much better, but I would be delighted to be proven wrong. I do hope Hillary will be better than her husband. If Obama wins, I will support him enthusiastically.

As a grandiose young woman, I knew I didn't have the personality to be president, but I fantasized about being a Theodore Sorenson type--a speechwriter, behind the scenes advisor. What would I advise a woman candidate? Would Hillary be a shoo-in for the nomination if she opposed the war? Or would she be unelectable because a dovish woman could never be perceived as tough enough to be commander in chief?

I understand that most of you wish that the first viable woman candidate wasn't Hillary. I agree. What disturbs me is that no one seems to be able to suggest an alternative.

I

"Of the three viable Democratic contenders, she's the least progressive"

Except on health care, unions, children's and women's issues, choice, and gay rights, probably, and (if it counts) sticking it to the other side. And any actual differences are hard to gauge since she's been running for the general, while Edwards has strategically at least had to occupy the left/populist niche, while Obama has needed to attract independents.

It seems to me that if you're voting on over-my-dead-body leadership on the torture issue etc., then you need to pick another candidate - one not running for president. I had been planning to vote for Dodd after he stood up on telecom immunity, but oh well. I doubt there was a practical right path on those other issues for a single actor given the senate and the electorate and the media.

More "don't always assume the worst about the electorate--that is what has brought us to the pretty pass we're in. Once, just ONCE try changing their minds". Obama's not an "over my dead body" guy on the torture issue but if YOU are, a vote for him makes some sense. A vote for Clinton makes none.

Rilkefan: And any actual differences are hard to gauge since she's been running for the general, while Edwards has strategically at least had to occupy the left/populist niche, while Obama has needed to attract independents.

Being "hard to gauge" as an electoral strategy is a big reason why a lot of progressives get so frustrated with the Clintons in the first place.

Is Obama actually any better on torture etc. than Clinton? I haven't seen any indication that held up on reading quotes in context. If one thinks that Clinton has a more realistic approach to change and will get more done, then she's better on such issues. I don't have a sense of the most effective way to govern, but that matters to the argument.

Well, so much for the Democrats winning the presidency this year. Probably lose the House of Representatives too since Democratic freshmen who were narrowly elected in conservative leaning districts will be slaughtered by the anti-Clinton surge at the general election. Heck'uva job, Granite State voters!

'Being "hard to gauge" as an electoral strategy is a big reason why a lot of progressives get so frustrated with the Clintons in the first place.'

This is I think a cost-analysis argument. See the above list of important progressive issues she's good on in this company (all of which are incidentally very important to me).

I think the biggest reason to vote for Obama or Clinton is because of their respective approaches to dealing with the System. Perhaps some people are informed and smart enough to reliably analyze what's best there, but I'm not.

I sure hope a lot of this angst is disappointment at the way NH turned out and not an actual declaration of I Didn't Win So I'm Not Gonna Play Anymore.

Because if it's the latter, boy, did y'all just prove Clinton's point.

Can we get beyond the rhetoric of who's the more or less progressive candidate, especially at a time when traditional left wing factions like labor often don't support traditional left wing causes like the environment? In terms of positions on domestic issues, all top three Democratic candidates are astonishingly similar, which raises the question, which one is best suited to set the agenda for the country from the bully pulpit of the Oval Office. Clinton's speech tonight convinced me yet again that she is not the one. Much of what the pundits are lauding as authentic, such as her line about finding her own voice, struck me as plastic. But above and beyond that she showed she's showed she's someone who will strike and divide. I couldn't believe her line about the young people of NH voting "with their hearts" pregnant pause "and their minds." Yikes, that's mean--in a victory speech no less. I guess that makes me a mindless voter.

Publius, dude, you need to quit feeling like the election's been decided after each primary or caucus.

I don't actually favor Obama - I have an irrational preference for Hillary - but the man is far from out b/c he finishes a little behind in NH. He's likely to win SC, no one cares about Nevada, and then there's the big round of primaries -- and this far out, ain't no telling how that'll go.

If I'm not mistaken, turnout for the Democrats, including among independents, was fantastic and after two primaries we have a woman and a black man jockeying for the nomination, with lots more to go.

What's not to like?

It's exciting, for a change.

I'm not so hot on Hillary the individual and Obama the individual has lots to prove, but it's a little early to put the blindfolds on for the circular firing squad.

For the moment, I'm putting aside my weariness with the Clintons.

Bill, on Ron Paul:

"He could win with a 1789 electorate though, ..."

Yes, he could. But do I really need to unpack what that means?

I agree with you on Obama.

As to the intergenerational crap raising its ugly head, I've seen all this before. I was guaranteed by someone older than me about five minutes ago (in baby boomer time) that I (we) would f##k things up just about as well as they did.

That guarantee is fully transferable to the next generation, and you can have it.

And judging from my 18-year old and his buddies who know just about everything, they think everyone is full of sh*t.

Have fun with that.

CaseyL--well, if that's a reference to me you're not reading. In general, I agree though.

"I don't have a sense of the most effective way to govern, but that matters to the argument."

Right: her approach is based on one assumption about the electorate. His is based on another. I think hers suck & are a direct cause of the betrayals on war on terror issues & his are a plausible & far better alternative. I could argue specifics too--duh the Iraq vote, it's old news but she has to earn my vote & trust back & hasn't tried to do so--but that's the strongest factor.

Also: I like the criminal justice stuff in Illinois. Like it quite a lot. I like his advisors much better. etc. But admittedly, there's a lot of tea leaf reading & if not for the overall political vision I might just vote on other issues.

A lot of human rights people I know lean his way--that may be based on a more detailed knowledge of their records than I have. But it might just as easily be because his beliefs about how you improve things & their beliefs are correlated.

And, it's not universal: there are also others who don't trust either of them & vote on other issues.

Why not be pragmatic about this?

I, personally, don't really think there is enough difference between them for my political preference to overwhelm my strategic preference for the viable candidate.

Gosh, darn it, even though it is unfair, HRC is intensely disliked by close to half of the country. Dems only get to choose one nominee. Why take the risk?

Redstate poll: "Hillary Clinton's first 500 abuses of the PATRIOT Act and Phone surveillance program will be against which group?"

How can they be suggesting that the Patriot Act and warrantless surveillance are bad things, when Our Leader still has a year of using them to go?

Ara, I hear you. I have a lot of sympathy for Clinton for the sheer viciousness she's had to face for the last 15 years, and it pisses me off mightily that the VRWC succeeded so well in demonizing her... but the election in 2008 isn't about personal validation or revenge against the VRWC. It's about getting the country out of the hole it's in, and I don't know which one, Obama or Clinton, is likelier to accomplish that.

I do think a long nominating process, where they spend a lot of time debating each other and drawing distinctions between each other, will be a good thing. A very good thing.

We really f**ked things up if our children don't do better than we did. That is the one thing in my life I got right. In every way they are more highly evolved beings and have been my best, most persistent, teachers. They have always been allowed to say, "f**k you mom," if they could then elaborate their excellent reasons in more specific detail.

We all need to regain some perspective. We did not just lose the election to Rudy Guliani who was strong enough not on cry on 9/11.

I am happy as a clam bake. Some positive thoughts:

1. Record turnout. Over 500 grand with 95% reporting. 55% Democratic.

2. Seriously flummoxed press. What, I ask, is better than a seriously flummoxed press?

3. Edge-of-the-seat primary. Who will be voted off the island? It's the only way to lengthen the American attention span.

4. RedState debate about whether they'll be able to keep 41 Senate seats, or whether it will be worse than that.

5. Clinton and Obama both rock. Sorry, they do. Clinton's a wonk. When was our last wonk? Obama's a uniter. When was our last uniter?

So I think the four words that sum it up are happy, happy, joy and joy.

Also, I have to say that as a GenX-er, I *love* the boomers. It is their scrappiness that paved the road to a nurturant liberalism that I'll probably get to see in action before I die. Clinton is the twilight of scrappiness, but who knows -- we might still need it. I'm not averse to flogging the horse for a couple more years. Just to make sure it's really dead.

At first I was disappointed with the result tonight. Then I tried to console myself with the thought that it was only a few percentage points.

They I thought -- hell, this is actually pretty awesome. I still think Obama can pull it out -- and man am I hoping he will -- but then I remembered that my nightmare scenario was Hillary coasting to the nomination and then get annihilated in the general election, a la Kerry. And now that we might be facing a nicey-nicey evangelical nutbag again in Huckabee (Bush has convinced me that you can't write off the fundamentalist freaks, nor the cravenness of the rest of the party in supporting them) or someone who's not a complete windbag in McCain (not that I agree with most of his policies, but he's not a dunce), that becomes very important. I wasn't even that comfortable with Clinton versus The Romnoid or Giuliani The Conqueror, so the prospect of a mildly threatening candidate is even more of a concern.

But right now that worries me less than it did just two weeks ago. Kerry's problem -- and Clinton's too, up 'til this point -- was not engaging, not being human, working off polls, etc. Gore made the same mistake. Clinton finally, blessedly, got something of a clue, and that shifts the whole dynamic of the race. This is about the Presidency, after all. Clinton a month ago didn't stand a chance in the general; Clinton in the last week could actually win the Presidency. In retrospect, I feel like her unfavorables might have been less about Hillary-hate than revulsion at the robotic brand of politics that's typified so many ridiculous Democratic losses.

Both Obama and Clinton raised my opinion of them in the last week; since I was already gaga over Obama, now I've essentially devolved into worshipping him (and wow do I want him to win), but it feels so. Incredibly. Relieving. To feel so less worried about bobbling the general election by nominating a genuinely good person who for some reason acts like a robot when put in a race, like we did in '00 and '04. I feel that if Gore or Kerry had been given a fright like Clinton was in Iowa, they would have taken a more humanized approach to their campaigns and things would have turned out very differently.

(Gore especially -- more than anything else watching that Spike Jonze video of him before the election and seeing that warmth that he didn't display until he'd lost; what a wonderful man. It makes me sad on a personal level that he lost. He has such a good heart and he was treated so unfairly, largely because he couldn't break out of his own shell...)

Anyway, if nothing else Obama has clearly altered the political landscape already -- it seems to me that his approach has almost forced Clinton into acting the way she should have been acting all along. And he did it in a way that's kept the discourse civil; the flip side of the robo-candidate strategy has been the ever-present circular firing squad, and Obama's managed to raise the level of discourse beyond that somewhat, and Hillary, to her credit, stepped up to the challenge. Now that's some hope right there.

I'm actually looking forward to the rest of the primary. On one hand, if the Clinton campaign returns to politics-as-usual, I don't think they'll beat Obama regardless. But if they step up to the plate, it'll be good for the party as a whole. Either way, the Democrats win.

*getting annihilated in the general election


Oh, and to add to dkilmer's list:

6. The GOP race is still completely fubar.

McCain won tonight, but didn't get a mandate, and he's probably not going to replicate this success in SC.

And Romney's got tons of money and has placed 2nd twice so far, so he'll be sticking around for a while. Consequently the non-evangelical vote will probably remain fractured.

Huckabee will continue to do well in Southern states and generally give the Republican establishment the howling fantods.

Giuliani will stick around long enough to mess with Feb 5 and siphon off some of McCain's jingoist support.

Paul will continue to cause general chaos. Based on preliminary responses, his supporters'... somewhat questionable defenses of those racist comments should make for quite a fireworks display. Plus he has money to burn messing with people.

In general, I think there's going to be a lot of unproductive bitterness and mayhem over there, and not in the good trial-by-fire way that I'm hoping for from the Democrats, but the bad-blood backstabby way that destroys party unity and certainly any sort of coattails for the nominee.

Yee-ha!

Obama only lost by a few thousand votes.

I'm really sick of a media whose polling methodology is flatly broken pretending that these kinds of events (the New Hampshire victory) cause some seismic shift in the electorate. I'm really sick of these nitwits in general. Election time is the time when you see the most codification, the most knuckleheaded generalizations from the press. Everybody trots out these generalizations that have not much backing, because there's this pervasive sense that elections follow these ineluctable patterns or rules. People don't know much, but say it with authority on the boobtube. I get just as annoyed when I catch any of the Wall Street shows, but I exercise my prerogative to stay away from those.

I'm not sure there's any shift going on at all. The battle seems set: younger voters are breaking for Obama. Older voters are going for Clinton. Women seem to be going for Clinton, and she seems to have more of the traditional Democratic base of unionized workers and so forth. Obama has independents on his side.

I wonder if the perception that Obama was going to be the runaway victor but that McCain's election was closer caused independents, trying to maximize the impact of their vote, to switch from Obama to McCain.

Since I am, in fact, old enough to remember race riots in my high school, it pleases me no end that a black man is holding his own in the run for the Democratic nomination.

There's no good reason to despair, Publius - this is the balance that will make a real race of it, and as a side effect, may just bring an assortment of racists out into the light for appropriate ridicule, derision and dismissal.

As to Ms. Clinton, I am sorry, but the moment Rupert Murdoch hosted a fund-raiser for her, I was done. For my part, that was way too murky a connection to ignore.

Now, if the Dems make slightly fewer mistakes this time...

Obama re Kenya - admirable.

Ara's 100% right. Even sportswriters know that being a game behind on May 1st doesn't mean anything, and you have to work hard to be dumber than a sportswriter.

By the way, am I the only one here who has no idea whatsoever what Steinem is talking about when she says:

Because racism stereotyped black men as more “masculine” for so long that some white men find their presence to be masculinity-affirming (as long as there aren’t too many of them)

How was this published? Where did this come from? What does it mean?

What???

I don't at all think this cripples Obama's candidacy - more just indicates that it's going to be a long fight. Keep in mind that in order to win here, Hillary and Bill engaged in some tactics that may lead to serious blowback with African-American voters down the road in states where they are more significant portions of the electorate (e.g. seeming to belittle MLK at the expense of... Lyndon Johnson?!?) That's potentially a much bigger deal than a couple of delegates and "comeback kid" stories dominating the media for a few days.

If Hillary does win the nomination, though, and is up against McCain in the general - batten down the hatches and prepare for four more years of Republican rule, my friends. She'll get creamed.

I don't at all think this cripples Obama's candidacy - more just indicates that it's going to be a long fight. Keep in mind that in order to win here, Hillary and Bill engaged in some tactics that may lead to serious blowback with African-American voters down the road in states where they are more significant portions of the electorate (e.g. seeming to belittle MLK at the expense of... Lyndon Johnson?!?) That's potentially a much bigger deal than a couple of delegates and "comeback kid" stories dominating the media for a few days.

If Hillary does win the nomination, though, and is up against McCain in the general - batten down the hatches and prepare for four more years of Republican rule, my friends. She'll get creamed.

Obama re Kenya: anything that will help that situation is great - I've visited and loved the country, always wanted to come back.

But I didn't know that Odinga was Obama's uncle. Him being related to both Odinga and Cheyney makes me grin.

What strikes me about how people see Obama is that they both see him as a uniter and as a 'game-changer'. I don't think that you can both unite with the conservatives and have a radical change in policies.

Obama's candidacy is in deep trouble, not because NH put it there, but because it already *was* in deep trouble and NH will undo the boost from Iowa. Obama has always been down 10-15% in national polls vs. Hillary. In the intense environment of Iowa and NH, he was able to reverse that and bring both states to roughly a draw. But starting Feb 5th, there's no way he can put in the kind of effort *everywhere* to create that kind of swing. So Hillary will win more than he does, and lead in the delegate count. I think Obama will win know only via a huge blunder on Clinton's part or a deal with Edwards in a brokered convention.

Dutchmarbel: What strikes me about how people see Obama is that they both see him as a uniter and as a 'game-changer'. I don't think that you can both unite with the conservatives and have a radical change in policies.

Getting folks who ordinarily vote for conservatives to vote for an unabashed liberal in spite of their policy differences is the very definition of game-changing. Perhaps you are underestimating the extent to which American politics is driven by personality? (Not that I imagine it's any different elsewhere, of course.)

Back on the subject of Hillary's late surge, if it was meant send a message to Chris Matthews, job well done. Personally, when I want to send a message to the media that I think they are total schmucks, I don't change my vote, I stop watching their schmucky programs and reading their schmucky articles. Is that really such a counter-intuitive approach to media shmuckiness?

Oh, and to Rilkefan:

This is I think a cost-analysis argument. See the above list of important progressive issues she's good on in this company (all of which are incidentally very important to me).

No, it's a reason I and, I think, others like me, see Obama as a superior alternative to Hillary Clinton. Cost-analysis would be saying I would never vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election for this reason.

Gromit: Getting folks who ordinarily vote for conservatives to vote for an unabashed liberal in spite of their policy differences is the very definition of game-changing.

Not if the "unabashed liberal" is actually conservative enough to make the conservative voters very happy while he's in office. Tony Blair was a perfect example of someone whom we all thought "hey, he's just talking the conservative right-wing talk to get elected"... who turned out to be really quite damned conservative while in office. (Which is to say, by American standards, he was unelectably far to the left: but for British politics/policies, he veered to the right - far enough to get into bed with George W. Bush and get screwed by him.)

Oh, and WRT the above bit about ignoring stupid media, media critics get a pass, obviously. It's those of us who make up the bulk of the media audience who justify Chris Matthews' paycheck, and could make it disappear, or could at least frighten him into being a responsible human being, if we had any @#$! sense about what media we consume.

Jesurgislac: Not if the "unabashed liberal" is actually conservative enough to make the conservative voters very happy while he's in office. Tony Blair was a perfect example of someone whom we all thought "hey, he's just talking the conservative right-wing talk to get elected"... who turned out to be really quite damned conservative while in office.

I don't follow the comparison. What light is this comment meant to shed on Obama's candidacy?

Gromit: Thanks for that great C. Matthews link. That's just abominable.

Gromit: What light is this comment meant to shed on Obama's candidacy?

Illustrative example of someone who strongly resembled Obama in a lot of ways.

"Illustrative example of someone who strongly resembled Obama in a lot of ways."

Could you expand on what you see as the strong resemblance between Blair and Obama.

Could you expand on what you see as the strong resemblance between Blair and Obama.

Dunno what Gromit may have meant, but off the top of my head, they are both charismatic, articulate, centrist, and are innovative & effective policy wonks. It is difficult to pin down either of them ideologically, in fact both seem to run on a vehement repudiation of ideology. They both make intelligence likable, which is very rare in a politician.

Ok, trilobite, but Jesurgislac said it in the context of "Not if the "unabashed liberal" is actually conservative enough to make the conservative voters very happy while he's in office."

What strikes me about how people see Obama is that they both see him as a uniter and as a 'game-changer'. I don't think that you can both unite with the conservatives and have a radical change in policies.

One way of looking at it is to see the US as a center-right country that will, given the opportunity, choose the center over the right. That is, a left candidate -- even a center-left candidate -- has little to no chance to win, while center-right and right candidates (Reagan, Bush I, Bush II) do so all the time.

But a candidate who, like Clinton (Bill) repudiates the hard left (the famed "Sister Souljah moment") and triangulates the business community (NAFTA, etc.), can win despite center-left views. So can a center-left candidate whose message is, effectively, unity or reaching across divides -- Obama's message. Americans will elect someone on the center-left, if they believe that the person simply will not go down a checklist. (It also doesn't hurt that Obama has taken business friendly views on a variety of subjects.)

OTOH, candidates that appeal primarily to the base win if they are Republicans (Bush II in '04) but lose if they are Democrats (Hillary Clinton, Edwards).

I don't think that you can both unite with the conservatives and have a radical change in policies.

I don't think anyone expects him to unite "with the conservatives." It has more to do with that vast middle, the so-called independents, who have recently been leaning Republican.

Steinem: thus Iowa women over 50 and 60, who disproportionately supported Senator Clinton, proved once again that women are the one group that grows more radical with age.

Supporting Clinton is radical? Uhh, news to me...

"Cost-analysis would be saying I would never vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election for this reason."

My point was you're saying it's hard to judge how liberal HRC is, so let's not vote for her - but the exact same argument can be made against Edwards (was recently more conservative) and Obama (wants to work with the Republicans - not just to get things done but for the sake of post-partisanship).

I can't think of any political figure who has been attacked as vituperatively as she has.

I'd say Bill has been, is, and will be, attacked more than she has. In certain quarters, Carter's been attacked more than she has.

As to whether Obama is an "unabashed liberal" or is an undercover conservative: I don't think I've heard him call himself a liberal (or a "Progressive"). He's mostly let his actions speak for themselves, and they have been, more often than not, liberal/Progressive rather than conservative.

Certainly, compaired to Clinton, who is more right than center, he's much more liberal.

Perhaps you are underestimating the extent to which American politics is driven by personality? (Not that I imagine it's any different elsewhere, of course.)

We have it too, but we have a multiparty system which changes the dynamics.

Jes: I agree with you about the comparison with Tony Blair, but I don't think it is seen as a disadvantage. All the labour voting Brits I know (limited number of course) hated his guts after a while for his shift in politics, but for most Americans he would be a perfect democratic candidate.

Marbel: All the labour voting Brits I know (limited number of course) hated his guts after a while for his shift in politics, but for most Americans he would be a perfect democratic candidate.

Well, yeah... ;-) My basis for comparison is also that I read multiple people saying that sure, Obama is presenting as conservative to get votes, but he'll be liberal in office: but in fact Blair presented as conservative and turned out to be conservative.

Obviously "conservative", "liberal", and definitely "left" and "right" mean different things in the US than in the UK (a liberal politician in the US presents with policies that would be too right-wing to be electable in the UK). The comparisons don't work as directly as that.

Obama is presenting as conservative?

jesurgislac - a liberal U.S. politician would be too right wing to be electable in the UK? Really? Does that mean Dennis Kucinich and Jerry Brown are more conservative than Margaret Thatcher? Or David Cameron? Please note that the Iraq war was the brainchild of two politicians, one American, one British - and it was the British one who was elected as the ostensible liberal.

Puhlease. Spare us the BS, as well as the condescending implication that the UK is a somehow a more enlightened and uniformly more liberal society than the US. Some of us actually have observed both societies and know you're spouting nonsense, you know.

"Does that mean Dennis Kucinich and Jerry Brown are more conservative than Margaret Thatcher? Or David Cameron?"

No.

But neither could even make it to the Senate, or being a Governor, let alone truly stand a realistic chance of getting even the Democratic nomination, let alone the presidency.

It's fair to bring them up, but if you delude yourself that either -- and I more or less admire Jerry Brown -- ever was ever truly close to the presidency, I think you're in error, although if you'd like I'll try to be more specific in defining that.

On the other hand, it's fair to say that the British Parliament really isn't all that comparable to the U.S. Congress, in many ways; despite obvious parallels, the dynamics of the institutions, and the types of politicians they tend to produce -- and I mean on a more basic level than anything partisan or ideological when I say types of politicians -- are quite different.

But Jesurgislac's statement is quite conventional wisdom, and for the good reason that's it's more true than not. Just check the numbers on how many MPs and how many members of Congress are comfortable describing themselves as Socialist, let alone having some sort of Marxist background. Or who are absolutely for a National Health Service.

Did I mention Marxist?

On the other hand, I don't think comparisons between Obama and Blair actually go very far; they're pretty different people, too, and while it's understandably utterly normal and tempting to try to analogize from that which we know less about to that with which we are familiar and experienced, I think it would be unwise to take any perceived parallels very far.

If I turn out in a few years to be wrong about President Obama, you can remind of this, and ask for an apology.

Obama is presenting as conservative?

I like that this sounds like what a doctor might say about the symptoms of a disease ;^)

Put it another way, I see your Dennis Kucinich, point out his views aren't all particularly leftwing in a British Parliamentary, or European Parliamentary, way, and I raise you George Galloway, Tony Benn, Ken Livingstone, Michael Foot, and the Scottish Socialist Party.

It's possible you may have more trouble dismissing me as being primarily motivated by British chauvinism.

Gary-

Fair enough. A few rejoinders:

1.)Self-described socialists do get elected to U.S. national office (e.g. Bernie Saunders).

2.)George Galloway has no more chance of being elected Prime Minister than Kucinich has of being elected President. Both are fringe figures in their respective polities.

3.)Right wing nutjubs get elected in Britain too.

4.)Some of Britain's laws (for example, those pertaining to citizenship requirements, and those regulating government surveillance) are FAR more "right wing" than anything in the U.S.

I don't think one can really say the U.S. is a more conservative country than Britain. The countries face different issues, and their voting populaces are different, and as a result British politics are different in many respects - I seriously doubt that an openly atheist politician like Nick Clegg could become the head of a major national party in the U.S., for example - but I think it's a fallacy to say that one country is more conservative or liberal than the other on the whole.

"1.)Self-described socialists do get elected to U.S. national office (e.g. Bernie Saunders)."

Now name another. And Tony Benn and Michael Foot were hardly fringe, but were leaders of the Labour Party. Ken Livingstone has a long history of tremendous, though not universal, popularity in London. Neither are any unrepresentative or untypical of leftwing British politicans, and that's where a single Bernie Sanders hardly compares.

But let me clarify that, strictly speaking, Jes's comment that "a liberal U.S. politician would be too right wing to be electable in the UK" is pretty arguable.

But it's arguable both ways, and opposite of trying to argue that there are no U.S. politicans at the national level who couldn't possibly be elected with the same positions in Britain, let's note that lots of positions uncontroversial amongst the majority of the electorate in one country are controversial in the other country. Beyond the NHS, there's gun control, for instance.

But the political center in Britain -- let alone Scotland, specifically! -- is distinctly more leftwing than it is in the U.S.

"I don't think one can really say the U.S. is a more conservative country than Britain" is a simplistic formulation, so I'm happy to not defend it, in favor of what I've instead said.

And I think any civil libertarian would agree that the UK has not been a bastion of civil liberties, by any definition, in recent years, not that I'm hardly criticizing by way of the U.S. Neither country comes out of the post-9/11 environment without shame.

Sorry for the barrage of posts, but I forgot to mention another major difference between U.S. and British politics, and it's perhaps the most important one in explaining why fringe ideological candidates are more successful there than here - Britain's is a partially proportional system, and the U.S.' is not. When you only have to worry about winning a nontrivial number of votes in a national election, rather than a majority or plurality in a given geographical area, it's infinitely easier to get at least some legislators elected as Marxists or what have you. If the U.S. had Britain's system for choosing legislators, there would be more extreme leftists in Congress (Ralph Nader got 3% of the vote in 2000, so support among the electorate for those ideologies isn't exactly negligible). There would also be more extreme rightists - one virtue of an American style system is that it largely prevents genuinely crazy ideologues from either side of the spectrum from gaining power.

Xeynon: a liberal U.S. politician would be too right wing to be electable in the UK? Really?

I was thinking of political structure and concepts taken for granted - health care, for example - and probably wasn't expressing myself very clearly. Politics in the US are skewed to the right: there's one right-wing party and one extremist right-wing party. The Democratic Party is politically equivalent to the Conservative Party, which has now been out of power in the UK for over ten years.

Jes's comment that "a liberal U.S. politician would be too right wing to be electable in the UK"

Just an observation, I think this suggests that the core values of politicians in general and American politicians in particular are relatively fixed, whereas I would think that most (all?) American politicians, if confronted with a drastically different political landscape would alter their views to fit them. I suspect the truth is in the middle somewhere on this, but (and this gets us back to our discussion about HRC and Obama, and the observation that Obama's popularity has forced HRC to move to the left (which is fine by me)

The Democratic Party is politically equivalent to the Conservative Party, which has now been out of power in the UK for over ten years.

I don't think Tony Blair is really all that much further left than Clinton was. Labour's recent dominance hasn't been built on far-left policies. Blair pushed for the Iraq War and makes his religious faith a part of his political life (if not his policies). He's hardly a pinko.

Nor was Major all that much further left than Bush I, or Thatcher further left than Reagan. I'd argue that universal healthcare is a political untouchable in England for a couple of reasons, none of which is that the society is inherently more liberal - 1.)it's established, and any bureaucracy is difficult to uproot once it's created;
2.)the social and economic costs (and hence the political costs) of switching to a different system would be prohibitive; 3.)there's not a sufficient private insurance sector to serve as a viable alternative; 4.)simple habit.

The facts that many Britons go abroad for private treatment, and that griping about long waits, inadequate treatment, etc. is a common British pasttime, suggest that they're not entirely happy with the system itself.

"The facts that many Britons go abroad for private treatment, and that griping about long waits, inadequate treatment, etc. is a common British pasttime, suggest that they're not entirely happy with the system itself."

I know this won't be a suggestion met with enthusiasm, and I certainly don't mean to imply it's any kind of requirement, as it certainly isn't, but may I gently point out that most of us have discussed the topic of the relative merits and demerits of the British (and Canadian) health care systems, and in comparison with those of the U.S., to the point of some hundreds of thousands of words, on this blog over the past three years, so googling at least a bit of that, up to the point at which you can stand it, is apt to get you a lot more understanding of both the issue, and what people have said and cited about it, than anyone is apt to repeat yet again for the jillionth time.

Short response: the NHS is indeed untouchable in British politics, and, no, no institution anywhere is universally popular and regarded as having reached perfection. But the basic fact of the NHS? Yes, it's popular. Do you really need cites? They've been given here on the blog innumerable times before, as I noted.

Gary - forgive my ignorance of the arguments, but as you may have gathered I'm rather new to this blog (I actually used to post a lot under a different name back when publius was blogging at his old site). In any case, I'm not arguing that NHS isn't popular. I'm merely suggesting that its popularity may be due to the fact that the only realistic alternative would be a bumpy, disruptive, and expensive transition to a private system, not because socialized medicine in the abstract is a sacred principle in British political identity. You'll need more evidence than mere voter approval of the status quo to convince me of the latter.

I think it's revealing that there is a notion that a country's healthcare system should be a reflection of its location on the political scale of things. I guess that if you equate conservatism with some sort of individual responsibility notion, you could get that, but that is a very different notion of conservatism than the rest of the world has. This is not to slam anyone's definition of various locations on the political spectrum, but when there is this much of a disconnect between various notions, don't expect any kind of consensus to be reached.

"I'm merely suggesting that its popularity may be due to the fact that the only realistic alternative would be a bumpy, disruptive, and expensive transition to a private system, not because socialized medicine in the abstract is a sacred principle in British political identity."

Since Britons clearly aren't interested, overall, in a transition to a private system, I'm unclear what distinction you are making, in furtherance of what argument, at this point.

We've agreed that Jes made a comment she could have phrased more clearly, and that simplistic political comparisons between disparate democracies aren't very helpful: is there some particularly meaningful argument left that you're trying to make, which I'm missing?

Even sportswriters know that being a game behind on May 1st doesn't mean anything, and you have to work hard to be dumber than a sportswriter.

Interesting observation I read somewhere about why sports writing, for all its flaws, is invariably superior to modern political coverage: because there is an independent reality to most sports events that everyone agrees on. People can debate the significance, but no-one is going to argue that Ohio State beat LSU in the national championship game, or that Illinois didn't get thumped by USC. As such, for all the contention -- and I'm sorry, if you don't beat Stanford (or Tennessee for that matter) you don't go to the national championship -- there's a certain level of basic factuality, of basic understanding that everyone is forced to share if they want to talk sports.

Contrast that with our post-modern "he said, she said" political reportage, let alone the spin and outright lies, and you can see why I can consider ESPN College Game Day a source of valuable insight while swearing never to watch cable news again.

Gary - the argument I was making was that I see no evidence that Britons hold abstract views that are inherently more left-wing than those of Americans. I.e., I don't think that British culture is inherently more liberal, or that if you stranded 100 Britons and 100 Americans on desert islands and left them to set up societies from scratch, the Britons would fashion a more leftist government. Someone offered the example of healthcare (which I agree with l.j. is an arbitrary one) as an issue which provides evidence of the leftward lean of British society, and I made a distinction between society and on-the-ground political reality, and between your average Briton's political opinions and his or her political principles. I guess I'll leave it up to you to determine whether this distinction means anything. In any case, this all sorta ties back to my point that these things are relativistic and the only really enlightening comparisons are those made within a political system or between very similar political systems. Statements like "the U.S. is a center-right country" or "America has two main political parties, a right one and a far right one" don't really mean anything to me because there is no objective standard by which these designations are made. I think we agree on that last part, at least. In any case, I think this particular line of discussion has reached a satisfactory end.

Anarch - I gotta play the devil's advocate. Isn't it true that there's also a certain level of "basic factuality" in politics? I.e., how is "LSU beat Ohio St." any more indisputable than "Hillary beat Obama"? I think both disciplines wander into fuzzy-headed pseudo-analysis when the topic becomes interpreting what results augur for the future - e.g., columns arguing that Eli Manning will finally emerge as an elite quarterback because he won one playoff game and that Hillary's victory will springboard her to victory in the next primary are equally speculative (and equally likely to be proven incorrect). Interpreting why certain things happened ex post facto is somewhat less speculative but requires equal levels of expertise on specific subjects (quarterbacking vs. the Cover Two defense, polling analysis) in both genres.

Spin and outright lies are perhaps more prevalent in politics, but they certainly exist in sports as well (e.g. chalking up a critical interception to the quarterback not "being clutch" as opposed to the receiver blowing his pass route, blaming the refs for a critical call/non-call, etc.).

I think one major difference is that in sportswriting it's perfectly acceptable to write with a hometown bias, whereas political reporters are expected to maintain at least the pretense of objectivity and thus must engage spin no matter how absurd it may be.

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