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March 06, 2008

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predicted NYPost headline:

WHOOPS, EH!

Accursed Canadians, meddling in our national affairs!

Okay, question for y'all: Since when did it become acceptable behavior to linger in the race, even though you were mathematically out of it, in order to simply take three months' worth of potshots, make three months' worth of attacks, three months of smears, and three months' effort to drag down the frontrunner candidate, just on the off chance that you might succeed at breaking him and elevating yourself? When did it become perfectly cool for a party to just stand around and let hopefuls maim its frontrunner with blows and belts on off chance that maybe just maybe something connects and strikes a knockout blow?

When Huckabee stayed in the race beyond the point at which he could reasonably win it, at the very least, he did not smear McCain at every opportunity he had.

Keep in mind that the larger story is Harper running a dirty tricks operation on behalf of a foreign political party. How will Canadians react to this news?

Not so good, going by the comments on that Globe & Mail story.

If Canadians want to participate in American elections, we'd be more than willing to admit them to the Union. We might have to dicker over things like whether Saskatchewan and Manitoba should really be states of their own, or be forced to merge. Still, we could get it done.

But they're so damned sensitive whenever I bring up the idea.

Somebody's government stepped in it big time. Memo to Stephen Harper: a country of 33 million people in a world of six billion stays healthy and wealthy by keeping off other people's "to do" lists.

Well... I've been waiting all afternoon for this pretty important piece of news to hit the big boys, but as of 12:30 am Pacific, the websites for the L.A. Times, the NY Times, CNN.com and Yahoo News all seem to be mum on the issue.

I'm hoping Obama's camp and their new hardball* attitude realize something: In a primary, it's not news until a candidate says it's news (and then, no matter how trivial the issue, it becomes news).

* "hardball" the game, not "Hardball" the repugnant TV show.

Ara, she is not really mathematically eliminated. I don't blame her for continuing to stay in the race. I do blame her for her manner of campaigning, although, in truth, I have seen dirtier primary campaigns.

I don't know if this story is accurate, but I have hoped that the Obama campaign will come out and ask what Clinton's campaign told Canada, as the original stories did say that the Canadians talked to both campaigns.

But, the press is too hard on Clinton. I mean, it's not like she got up in Ohio and lied about who actually made contact with the Canadians, or who said not to worry, right? Mark Penn never specifically pointed to this story as one of the reasons Ohio was such a blow out. This doesn't directly reinforce the widespread idea throughout America that HRC will do ANYTHING to get what she wants.

If Obama and the press don't bring this cockroach out into the light, I garuntee McCain will.

Despite the appearance of the web page, the story fills the top right hand side of the front page. (I don’t do paper; I just went out for a coffee, and saw it there.)
From a US citizen irresponsibly calling Toronto home for three-plus decades, taken to writing effusively about the fresh wind to the south;

The slant (I use the word advisedly) of the Globe article, from this side of the fence looks like slime whip on a steaming heap of merde de boeuf.
The repeated use of the word ‘leak’ seems intended to suggest that the error was one of revealing secrets and telling on friends.

As in ”Gee, we’re sorry, that was supposed to be just between us guys.” Obama’s people said something that we shouldn’t have mentioned because it was a privileged communication.

The Globe, parenthetically, for those few of the Winging who remain blithely blind to Canadian folkways, is the NYT of The North, “Canada’s National Newspaper”.

The spin of said whip is; Obama’s campaign is operating in a way indistinguishable from the Current Administration’s.

Now that’s slime you can sink your teeth into.

Jack Layton, a bit of a folk hero for some here, the leader of the minority NDP, Canada’s party on the left, clearly sees this as a manipulative act. “Mr. Layton said Canadians would never accept Americans interfering in our elections, and we shouldn't tamper with theirs.”

With so few functioning synapses I can see the parsing promises to get pretty punchy, but the labyrinth defies my gaze at the moment. Happily it doesn’t depend on me to do it, and things will still emerge and matters elucidated. Bring it on!

About that pesky "mathematics" thing. I heard in an interview on NPR, Harold Ickes (Clinton chief campaign strategist) said that there's really no difference between pledged delegates and superdelegates in that any and all of them could change their alliance at any time, if they felt like it, and could vote for whomever they wish at the convention. While it may be technically true that there's nothing in the rules preventing pledged delegates from switching sides, if this were really a serious concern, taken to the extreme, why would anyone ever drop out of the primary campaign? Won only a measly pittance of a few delegates? That's OK, hold out 'til the convention and count on pledged delegates voting willy-nilly despite their pledged status. For that matter, if this was even within the realm of possibility, why even have primaries/caucuses anyway?!

If this thing gets the traction it should, HRC should look to a few of her own OH delegates.

There's an anti-feminist in this, somewhere.

More bull from the Obama rabble here and at TMP.

Clinton immediatetly, when this story came out last week, denied her campaign did anything of the sort and asked that the Canadians release the names of anyone connected to the Clinton campaign that the smear was based upon.

The Obama campaign lied about it and later the Canadians released the memo proving Obama campaign advisor Goolsbe had indeed met with the Canadians to assure them that his rhetoric should not be taken seriously. No one from the Clinton campaign has been named because no one from the Clinton campaign tried to assure Canada that Clinton did not mean exactly what she was saying.

As one of the many millions who have invested themselves in turning America around after 911 and seven horrendous years under bush, I am excited at the prospect of resetting the course of our Federal Government. During such low times, I realized that I have tremendous hope and aspirations for America in the world today. Not being a seasoned politico those aspirations go beyond the party politics of the republicans and democrats.

The Democratic Party ought not take lightly the number of new voters that participated in the primary this season. As quickly as they came, they could disappear. If I am any measure, the Democratic Party is in serious crisis.

Until recently, I would have easily accepted either Obama or Hillary as the nominee, but that has now changed. My newbie sensitivities cringe at the brutal political tactics employed by the Clinton Campaign these past weeks. I realize the final analysis of Tuesdays results by seasoned politicos is that Obama did not respond well enough and that he needs to learn to fight better. All of which I agree, but as a voter I have a serious problem supporting a party which does not denounce or reject, but accepts the activities of the Clinton campaign these past weeks. She has

1) come out in praise of McCain over Obama on National Security

2) employed Foreign Power in negative campaign strategy against Democratic opponent

3) and then broadcasted fake Breaking News on its fall out

4) fanned the flames of religious intolerance with the release of the turban photos and response to question of opponents religious faith

5) Fear-mongering with 3 am ad

6) not to mention the racist overtones of the previous weeks and much much more.

This is not the America I want to participate in.

AT THIS MOMENT, I can not see supporting the Democrats with Hillary on the ticket.

T. Frank,

You've found a home. This place is full of Obama fanboys willing to tell each other lies about Clinton for the sake of the political messiah. You'll fit right in.

Sorry, Ken, but the Canadians are also saying the memo wasn't accurate.

I remember when another foreign prime minister involved himself in the US election by trying to take on Obama. John Howard ended up losing not only his governing majority but his own seat in parliament. Let's hope Harper suffers the same fate.

T_Frank, I think your 4) is controversial and still unknown, but all your other points are spot on. But as a substitute for 4), there is the whole "He's not a Muslim....as far as I know" thing. That's pretty damn low as well.

Hmm, SNL was essentially making campaign commercials for Clinton in the runup to Tuesday's contests. Lorne Michaels, producer of SNL, is Canadian. Coincidence?

That's OK, hold out 'til the convention and count on pledged delegates voting willy-nilly despite their pledged status. For that matter, if this was even within the realm of possibility, why even have primaries/caucuses anyway?!

This kind of organizational chaos is one reason the stereotype of Democrats as a bunch of dithering incompetents persists. I can't help if Byron York was right in wondering if the Democratic preference for proportional primaries grows out of the same kind of liberal "everybody's a winner" sensibility that causes people not to keep score in their kids' tee ball games.

Elections are a zero sum game, ultimately, which is something the Republicans seem to realize instinctively. Winner-take-all primaries may feel less democratic, but they settle the issue without arguments and hence avoid exactly this kind of mess. This is is going to come down to a big shouting match at the convention, and no matter who wins the other side is going to feel alienated and ripped off. And thus, the Democrats have managed to turn what looked like a surefire Democratic victory in 2008 six months ago into, at best, a nail biter. Don't you guys love your party?

Winner-take-all primaries may feel less democratic

They don't just feel less democratic. They are less democratic. That's why people don't like the Electoral College. It's insane who wins with 35% of the vote to get all the delegates in a state.

And even with a winner-take-all system, you could still end up with an effective tie, but with the "winner" being the one with less popular support.

Lorne Michaels, producer of SNL, is Canadian. Coincidence?

according to Newsmeat, Lorne's donated $2300 to McCain, this time round. he also donated $4600 to Dodd. he's been a long-time Dodd donor, going back to '92.

not sure how up-to-date those records really are, though.

Don't you guys love your party?

no. but i'll take weary disappointment over active loathing, any day.

Maybe Ken’s right; I am kind of a fanboy. Despite my being old enough, if I judge his age accurately, to be his grandfather. A goof, a muddy thinker who has been sucked into the maw of hope and feels, yes, still hanging onto willing disbelief in the imminence of a very dismal future.
Which is where I part company with T. I would describe my hopes and aspirations for America as relatively modest. Clean, candid and competent government in the interests of everybody who’s left when the oiligarchs go pigeon-hunting.
A tad,a soupçon, of respect shown to the other human beings on the planet would not truly be amiss.
So my earnest hope and expectation is that the culpability will lie outside the Obama camp, and that nice smoothfaced Mr. Harper will be discovered as just another pea in the pod of Republican sycophants angling to leverage corrupt tactics.
I can see Americans now looking enviously northward, where sweeping out the trash is a comparatively straightforward task.

P-pine; Always.
And ken; culturally, socially, and intellectually inept as I am, lies is kind of like one of Hofstader’s infinite feedback loops all wrapped up in reflecting itself to itself, and is often taken as an issue of projection.

Cleek, he's also given to Al Franken, not surprisingly.

This kind of organizational chaos is one reason the stereotype of Democrats as a bunch of dithering incompetents persists.

So, absurd statements made on behalf of *one* campaign extrapolates to the party as a whole? How does that work? I'm not so sure I'd chalk this up to organizational chaos so much as people willing to say pretty much anything - even absurd-at-face-value stuff - to win. I'm not saying I'm particularly surprised at this spin tactic, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

Xeynon said... Elections are a zero sum game, ultimately, which is something the Republicans seem to realize instinctively. Winner-take-all primaries may feel less democratic, but they settle the issue without arguments and hence avoid exactly this kind of mess.

You mean like the 2000 election, where GW lost the popular vote but was placed in office by the right wing of the Supreme Court? Yeah, that's turned out sooooo much better for the country.

I live in British Columbia, and unless you live East of the Manitoba border in this country, NAFTA's a joke. And as far as our Prime Minister is concerned, so's he. No, that's too polite, he's an arrogant, accursed, rightwingnut asshole much like your GWB.

Well, ideally I suppose one wants it to start finding traction over the next couple days and then burst, fully-formed with damning details, onto the front pages around next Tuesday or Wednesday, as the nation turns its lonely eyes to Pennsylvania. So as long as people are digging there, it has the potential to boomerang painfully on the Clinton camp.

But I would argue Obama camp can't push it as much, since they already muffed the response by hedging and parsing. (I don't often think of you guys as idiots. That one? Idiots.) "They did it too, worse" comes much better from the press than from them.

More or less from the outside looking in, I think Obama supporters shouldn't be hoping for a Hillary "boomerang" -- they should be hoping Obama quickly and emphatically distances himself from Goolsbee, and from the statements attributed to him. That may be a shame -- Goolsbee's reputedly a personable and academically smart guy. But it's already nearly too late for the "quickly" part.

I support Obama more than Clinton, FWLIW, because at the end of the day getting Iraq (and future war and peace choices) right matters more to me. But regardless of what Hillary's campaign told Ottawa (or may have told, you never know with perfidious Canada), and regardless of what the Canadian foreign service professionals are saying, that memo (NYTimes copy, PDF file) paints a pretty convincing, detailed, near-verbatim picture of a senior Obama advisor giving away the store on really renegotiating NAFTA. (Note, e.g., an "(unintelligible)" notation in point 4, right after some of the germane Goolsbee comments. The Obama campaign must be praying there isn't an audio recording the author was working from.) You can't claim you're seriously considering an "opt-out" if you tell your potential negotiating adversaries what Goolsbee told the Canadians.

It was incredibly stupid of Goolsbee to agree to that meeting with the Canadians, and then it was incredibly stupid to discuss anything more than the weather. (That is, it was incredibly stupid if you were actually anticipating tough negotiations with them later on.) But since he did, and left the detailed impressions he did, and Obama has not severed ties with him, it seems to me the positions and stances Goolsbee describes are Obama's as well until further notice. Until then, it's not the Canadians who've undermined the democratic process in the US, it's Goolsbee and Obama, apparently giving voters one impression and negotiation adversaries another.

ara: "Since when did it become acceptable behavior to linger in the race, even though you were mathematically out of it, in order to simply take three months' worth of potshots, make three months' worth of attacks, three months of smears, and three months' effort to drag down the frontrunner candidate"

Obama's about as much a 'frontrunner' as were the Sacremento Kings, who were ahead of the L.A. Lakers at the beginning of the fourth quarter this past Tuesday, and ended up losing 117 to 105.

In case you've forgotten, your 'frontrunner' doesn't have enough delegates, and wont have enough to secure the 2024 needed to win. With neither candidate having enough to reach 2024, the Super Delegates will decide who gets the nod. And at this point, it's still up for grabs who that will be.

You also have a hell of a lot of nerve telling Hillary to get out. Why doesn't your candidate do the party and the nation a favor, and drop out himself.

The Obama campaign lied about it

Unless I missed an important piece of the story, the Obama campaign denied that they had called Ambassador Wilson personally to tell him not to take Obama's NAFTA position seriously. Which they didn't. So, no lie.

You may think it's misleading not to add "and in the course of a briefing by a different Canadian diplomat, one of our people DID say something like that" -- but I think there's a significant difference between a remark during a meeting and a call to the ambassador himself for the purpose of conveying information.

Also, it's not entirely clear what actually happened. DeMora's account of the meeting between Goolsbee and Rioux is probably more accurate than Goolsbee's post hoc denial, because DeMora's memo circulated widely in the Canadian government and Rioux didn't correct it.

Even so, one of two things happened:
a) "never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence." Goolsbee is apparently a relatively young professor(his bio on the Obama website says he won a "best under 40" award 3 years ago), and the DeMora memo says this is his first campaign and that he's a little stunned by the whole experience. I wouldn't be suprised if he overspoke, didn't realize the significance of what he said, and didn't make the connection when the PR staff asked "hey, did someone call Wilson about NAFTA"? If so, somebody needs to sit the man down and explain in little words that when you are senior economic adviser, your chatter is a promise from the candidate.

Or, b) Obama got a little too clever in trying to tweak his message one way to one audience and another way to a different audience (I don't think there's any outright contradiction between his statements). In support of this version of reality, John McCain's angry letter to Obama about campaign finance reform could be the result of the same kind of too-cute diplomatic nuance.

Either way, not good. But, you know, I've heard a lot worse. People make mistakes.

They don't just feel less democratic. They are less democratic. [...]
And even with a winner-take-all system, you could still end up with an effective tie, but with the "winner" being the one with less popular support.

Be that as it may, that is the system Democrats hope to win under in November. There would be a certain logic to not pretending otherwise in the primaries.

I'm also not entirely convinced of the superiority of simple majority rule in an electoral federation with 51 different sets of electoral laws. I think the electoral college is flawed, but fixable -- take away 2 votes from each state's electoral vote (the Senate seat part), and it becomes proportionate enough that Gore would have won in 2000.

Thomas, it may be obvious to you, but I don't understand the logic that says that the winner of a statewise winner-take-all primary election would be more likely to win the statewise winner-take-all general election. Could you spell it out a bit?

It seems to me that if the purpose of the primaries is to pick the candidate best able to win in November (which I don't think is the only purpose), then we should have a completely different system that more or less ignores all the really Republican and really Democratic states and gives great weight to possible swing states and especially the opinions of persuadable independents living there.

Gosh, Jay, of course it's the same since there's a pot of points awarded in every baskeball game and once you capture so many points, it can be impossible to catch up again.

FYI publius: that story came off the Canadian Press wire. You might want to use this link, as all Globe articles (even wire stories) go behind a paywall after a week.

I live in British Columbia, and unless you live East of the Manitoba border in this country, NAFTA's a joke.

Oh, come on now. It's mostly a joke east of Manitoba as well; think PEI potato growers getting shellacked by New England agri-concerns, or Ontario auto manufacturing exports being strictly limited because Detroit was getting antsy.

For the most part, the history of NAFTA, from a Canadian perspective, is one long screwing in the ass. It's been pretty much terrible for us; we've ceded economic sovereignty (did you know NAFTA requires us to keep providing goods to the United States once we've provided them at any point? I thought it was called "free" trade) and a good chunk of our skilled manufacturing sector for the opportunity to tie our economic fortunes even more closely to a country that flat-out doesn't respect us and typically won't play by the rules that it both primarily designed and agreed upon.

It's a goldmine for some Canadian party to insist upon strict renegotiation of the treaty. I keep waiting for someone to jump on it, but the Liberals and Tories are too in bed with those who like NAFTA in place, and the NDP... well.

...and the NDP... well.

The NDP should be renamed "New Labour North". Since taking the helm, Smilin' Jack Layton (along with conservative elements like Nova Scotia MP Peter Stoffer and NDProgress) has pushed the social democratic party towards a market-friendly Third Way platform that would make his hero Tony Blair oh-so-proud.

OK, I'll try to spell out what was mainly an intuition. I'll not name states so this stays agreeably theoretical.

On the face of it, I think, the sets of states each candidate are where they have organized well enough and persuaded well enough to assemble the largest core of people to start with for the general election.

Conversely, states they have lost can be assumed to have larger groups of voters not sufficiently impressed to have voted for them the first time around; the stronger those doubts, the less vigorous the general election campaign in those states. Even if they don't vote for the opposition, they don't try as hard to persuade others to -- the more so after a hard-fought contest.

I don't say that's the end of the story by any means. But I do think that's about where the story starts. The Obama campaign is rightly proud of its candidate and organizing strength, and has proven how that can kind of "avalanche" in many states. But this is kind of the flip side to that phenomenon: if they didn't "avalanche" a big electoral college state, there's arguably something going on for McCain to exploit.


Thomas Nephew:

It was incredibly stupid of Goolsbee to agree to that meeting with the Canadians, and then it was incredibly stupid to discuss anything more than the weather. (That is, it was incredibly stupid if you were actually anticipating tough negotiations with them later on.) But since he did, and left the detailed impressions he did, and Obama has not severed ties with him, it seems to me the positions and stances Goolsbee describes are Obama's as well until further notice. Until then, it's not the Canadians who've undermined the democratic process in the US, it's Goolsbee and Obama, apparently giving voters one impression and negotiation adversaries another.

This is spot on IMHO. Goolsbee needs to be thrown under the bus, emphatically, as of yesterday. I don't have a big problem with either Obama and/or Goolsbee's stance on NAFTA, particularly w/ respect to Canada. Last time I checked Canada isn't a large source of the economic dislocations caused by globalization (for which NAFTA is a convenient symbol but only a small part of the actual problem) so this really is a tempest in a teapot.

The bigger problem is that this sort of back-channel negotiations with plausible deniability is routine stuff in international diplomacy. An experienced WH staff needs to know how to do this stuff right, which means: (1) don't leave a paper trail that will embarrass you if it becomes public, (2) know the motivations and agendas of the people you are talking to so you don't get sandbagged if they do something like this, (3) have a contingency plan if leaks happen - which generally means that the messenger is expendable (and knows it) - which in turn means don't send a messenger you can't afford to fire immediately.

The Obama campaign blew it on all 3 of these - this is one of the things they need to learn how to do better if they are going to be running the WH come next year.

Jay Jerome:

You also have a hell of a lot of nerve telling Hillary to get out. Why doesn't your candidate do the party and the nation a favor, and drop out himself.

Oh, and Jay - every time you and the other over the top HRC shills that I'm seeing on the political blogs try to throw your weight around like this, it just increases the number of people who will be voting McCain in November. If you are trying to help HRC, you've picked a rather strange and counter-productive way of going about it. If on the other hand you are a GOP dirty-tricks operator posing as a Democrat in order to stir up trouble, then you should ask for a pay raise.


Thomas, that seems like a defense of the idea that winning a state in the primary has a strong correlation with winning it in the general. That's an idea I'm also skeptical of, especially since it's obviously irrelevant in hopelessly Republican and Democratic states (Clinton's win in New York and Obama's in Utah aren't meaningful for the general), but it's a completely different point from the idea that winning the nomination in a statewise winner-take-all primary would be more likely to indicate an ability to win the statewise winner-take-all general.

KCinDC, not to speak for Thomas (who does just fine on his own), but IF winning in primary correlates closely with ability to win in general, then it would make some sense to increase the weight of the win in proportion to the weight that winning that state would have in the general. I.e., winner-take-all in both.

That said, you put your finger on the real issue, which is that only swing states matter in the general -- and it's not that easy to guess which states will be swing states next cycle, when you're allocating delegate counts this cycle. Plus, as you implied in an earlier post, picking a winner is only one of the purposes of a primary season, the party also wants a candidate who represents its membership. Winner-take-all primaries do not advance that goal, quite the opposite.

ThatLeftTurn -- I disagree w/ Jay on a lot of things, but why on earth would a GOP operative waste his time blogging here? If one of my dirty tricksters wasted his time that way, I'd sack him. Oops, did I say that out loud?

I am disturbed by Obama's lackluster showing in swing states. Crossover appeal to moderate Republicans and independents won't help if the base in Ohio & Missouri stays home. Besides, if he can't win blue-collar Democrats in Ohio, how's he going to persuade any blue-collar Ohio Republicans to vote for him?

the idea that [1] winning a state in the primary has a strong correlation with winning it in the general ... [is] a completely different point from the idea that [2] winning the nomination in a statewise winner-take-all primary would be more likely to indicate an ability to win the statewise winner-take-all general.

No, it isn't. You may disagree with [1], but if [1] is true, then [2] is true. There are certainly other ways to win the statewise winner-take-all general -- that is, the US election in November -- but all else being equal you'd rather be strong, early in the campaign, in a large electoral college combination of states than in a small one.

While I'm defending the general notion, I'm not taking up the particulars of Clinton's likely similar claim, since all else is never equal: alienation of fellow Dems, energizing of GOP voters, baseline party breakouts. I plan to leave this particular digression from the post topic at that, but look forward to your reply.

IF winning in primary correlates closely with ability to win in general, then it would make some sense to increase the weight of the win in proportion to the weight that winning that state would have in the general. I.e., winner-take-all in both.

I suppose I can see that, but there are two problems. First, increasing the weight exaggerates differences between candidates in a way that could lead to the wrong outcome. If Candidate A wins a big state 51-49 (or worse, 35-34), while Candidate B wins a slightly smaller state 70-30, then the winner-take-all system favors Candidate A, who will probably be worse in the general.

Second, giving giant prizes for winning states just because they're big, even if there's virtually no chance the Democarts will win them -- or no chance the Democrats will lose them -- in the general, makes no sense. The biggest prizes are California, New York, and Texas, none of which should be high priorities in general election calculations.

You may disagree with [1], but if [1] is true, then [2] is true.

I'm still not seeing it. The primary election is very different from the general. In the primary, some Democrat will win every state, and some of those victories aren't meaningful for the general, even if the states are big.

Maybe if [1] were true for every state, then [2] would be true, but obviously [1] is not true for many, probably most, states, because they're not going to be competitive in the general election.

I'll leave it at that, since I've already partly responded in my reply to Trilobite.

The story served its purpose. Clinton is still around to fight (smear) another day. They're not worried about the long-term consequences of their actions that should be apparent by now.

That said, you put your finger on the real issue, which is that only swing states matter in the general

Only swing states matter, if winning the general election for POTUS is the only thing we are talking about here. Personally I'd prefer to broaden the scope - I care as much about down ticket races and long term party building, and about being able to govern the country more effectively after a win; showing some interest in and respect for voters in non-swing states will help with the latter IMHO. A 50-state campaign will do better in these areas than one that focuses primarily on the swing states.

On your other point, I forgot to add /snark tags. My bad. I don't seriously think anyone here is spoofing for the opposite party - I was trying to make a point about how counter-productive some of this heated rhetoric is getting. Also, I should have used the term "shill" to refer to the words being posted rather than to the person posting them. Jay, I apologise if you took that comment as being directed at you rather than your words. For all I know you are a fine person, just watch the elbows please.

once you capture so many points, it can be impossible to catch up again

Unless of course the entire opposition team drops dead, all at once, of plague, and you can play fully effective offense without any interference from . I don't think that's ever happened in the recorded history of basketball, but it could happen.

In case it should, then, it's best to just concede.

LeftTurn, I think the theoretical discussion was proceeding from the assumption that likelihood of winning the presidency in the general election was the only consideration in selecting a candidate. I don't think any of us actually believe that it is.

KCinDC,

Understood. I think that is an assumption that is easy to make and falls naturally out of the horse-race media coverage. I also think it is an assumption that needs to be vigorously challenged when ever it crops up. I think how we win (or lose) is as important as whether we win (or lose) and that needs to be repeated constantly. Think of it as an innoculation against Rovian politics.

Somehow I just knew Clinton was underneath this story the whole time. I've been waiting for it to come to light as the stench of clinton is all over it.

If its actually a 271 electoral vote year, pack it in guys. The issue is who can bring in senators to get stuff passed.

On the subject of the electoral college, the first 50 state poll is reported on TPM. I'd like to heartily agree with LeftTurn that the down-ticket is crucial. Go read Burnt Orange Report and the other Texas blogs. Those guys are smelling a blue legislature... they're only a few seats away. That would be a tremendous change. Same in other states farther west. And VA is bluing up nicely. That is so important. That is one of my main beefs with HRC's campaign. She is totally focussed on her own victory, and has no apparent interest in the 50 state campaign.

Actually, this is perfectly consistent behavior from the Clinton campaign, which has wholeheartedly embraced the Rove dictum: "Always accuse your opponent of the very thing you are guilty of." They demand that Obama be investigated over an obviously trivial real estate transaction (Whitewater, anyone?), then follow up by accusing him of imitating Ken Starr. They put out ads accusing him of planning to leave 15 million Americans uninsured, and then denounce his criticism of her health plan as "out of the Rove playbook." The Clinton camp's smears of this good and decent man are invariably followed by an accusation that it's Obama's campaign that is doing the smearing.

So is it really any wonder that they would accuse Obama of sending secret signals to the Canadians immediately after Clinton had sent those signals herself? Expect to hear any day now from Penn, Wolfson, and HRC that the Obama campaign's negative personal attacks are damaging the Democrats' chances in November.

While kicking NAFTA back and forth, these are the Republican economic values.

So Clinton's a lying hypocrite. No Sh-t. I can't believe anyone's surprised.

...which kind of brings us full circle.
Rove’s Total Depravity™ of electoral politics. A neologism suggests itself: Deparavitization.

The twist this story introduces, though, expands the playing field pretty outrageously. This article supports an implication of Canada’s current corporate/privatization-friendly government’s infection with the Bush virus in more than merely ideological sympathies.
Now that’s what I call free trade.

Some things spell-check can’t help with. That should be: Depravitization.

They don't just feel less democratic. They are less democratic. That's why people don't like the Electoral College. It's insane who wins with 35% of the vote to get all the delegates in a state.

That may be so. But at a certain point, a republican form of government is going to fail to be democratic, because in any large polity there's going to be divergence of opinion and it's impossible for every voter to see his or her preference enacted. Unless you have a feasible idea for Athenian-style participatory democracy on a massive scale, i.e. one that gets past the problem of hundreds of millions of uninformed voters making hurried decisions on hundreds of complicated issues they don't have the time or information to understand, things are going to fall to be perfectly democratic at some point. I don't have a problem with that philosophically, as I think an excess of democracy is a bad thing because of the potential for chaos, mob mentality decision-making, etc. But I don't see how it's possible to have a real problem with it practically. The Republican method of cutting the Gordian knot with winner-take-all primaries seems as good as anything else to me.

Here’s the first reasonably thorough reporting here in Canada.

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