Clinton's Dirty Tricks Campaign

Let's recap. Hillary accuses Obama of being in bed with a slumlord, and it turns out that he contributed to the Clintons as well. Bill falsely accuses Obama's unending non-support of the Iraq War as a fairy tale. Worst, he falsly claims that Obama brought race into the race (Presidential), something Obama would be incredibly stupid to do since the majority of Americans are white, and something Obama didn't do. But in a brilliant political move, the Clintons made the allegation, and it stuck (at least in the public), so immediately and forcefully Obama started rising in polls of African-Americans and dropping among Whites. This despite Obama's strong determination to run as the Democratic candidate, and not as the Black Candidate. By making the accusation of bringing race in, Clinton was actually able to bring race in. They probably realized that this would help Obama win South Carolina, but lose most states in the primaries. Then, today and yesterday, Hillary steps back and says we've gone too far, and lets start being more civil to each other.

There were a couple states recently who got no delegates, for they disobeyed DNC rules, which after all is the head of the Democratic organization. Hillary won Michigan because she was the only one on the ballot (but only by 55%)- a state with a large number of African-Americans, if we're going to bring race into it. A state that would have been great for Obama, next door to his home of Illinois, a place (Michigan) where some have heard of Obama even before he entered fame a couple years ago. But he and everyone else didn't campaign there, or in Florida, because the two states violated their party's rules, and the DNC, which all candidates need, asked the candidates not to campaign there.

Should Iowa and New Hampshire always get to go first? No. Should other states begin to go first too? Yes. Should Michigan and Florida's DNCs follow the national DNC? Yes. Should they suffer for not obeying HQ? Yes. Should the DNC have done something more like the RNC in stripping only half the delegates, and been more balanced in the punishment? Yes. But once the decision is made, it's made.

But, now, four days before the Florida primary, Hillary is stating that Florida's delegates get seated at the convention. Again, brilliant politically; disgusting ethically. She has violated her pledge to not campaign in Florida. She is clearly doing campaigning there. Stating that she is not physically in Florida when she makes this statement is a lie not worthy of the Internet Age. Now, with no time to campaign in Florida, Obama's campaign suffers, for Floridians will be enraptured by Hillary's commitment. Obama can't campaign there even if he had the time, because he also made a pledge, and he's an ethical candidate. And he is hamstrung in pointing all of this out because Clinton just seemingly extended an olive branch between the campaigns. Allegations on Obama's part makes him look the bad guy.

Consistently, polls show Clinton over everyone else in Michigan and Florida, and almost every state, because she gets name recognition. Where Obama actually campaigns, he starts to win or come in a close second. By DNC rules, the candidate with the most delegates gets to decide who's seated. Doesn't matter if they have the magic number of 2025 delegates- if they have the majority, they get to decide who's seated. Of course, on name recognition and being the only one on the ballot (in Michigan), Clinton will get the lion's share of Florida and Michigan.

The DNC won't punish it's standard bearer (Bill) for his statements, or the possible nominee for her statements. So Obama loses delegates for Michigan and Florida, Hillary gets the bump from a symbolic win in both states, and then comes into the convention without the 2025 delegates but close to it- and insists on seating the delegates of both states, based on how they voted. Ironically, the citizens of both states are disenfranchised, for they didn't get to really know the candidates because there was no campaign there, and so only know Hillary from name recognition.

If Hillary wins this way, she loses my vote in the General.


Jan 27th Update:

Hillary is now campaigning openly in Florida, visiting the state two days before the primary to do "private" fund raisers, and getting off the plane with palm trees in the background to tell the press that it's "great to be in Florida". At least she's now being honest in her lack of integrity.


With Great Sadness

Well, this has not been a good day for our team. Obama didn't win the New Hampshire Bowl. But only by the slimmest of margins.

Sadly, no one's noticing that this is actually a big win for Obama. Hillary won by only less than 3%, resulting in a tie in delegate counts. This is a smaller difference delegate-wise and percentage-wise than Iowa, giving Obama more (non-super) delegates than Hillary currently. Plus, minus post-Iowa predictions, Obama did great, and came in where he was expected.

Pundits will be discussing for days how it is that the polls diverged from what happened. And truthfully, this is the reason for the great disappointment we now feel, for we had all of our expectations placed so high by those polls.

As for why, I think it was a variety of reasons. It's sexist, but I think that we, men and women, don't like to see a woman cry. Especially if there's something we can do about it. As one commentator said, we don't want to fire her (from a possible Presidency). When she expressed emotion the day before the primary (and I don't think that was false- I think it was genuine emotion, though perhaps a calculation to express it), voters realized she had emotions, and they didn't want her to cry. It seems a number connected with Clinton at that moment as a real human being, and as a woman. (Ironically, the woman who prompted the tears with her question- she ended up voting for Obama.)

Consider the opposite. (It's great when we have a control for a hypothesis!) Allegations were made against Presidential candidate Edmund Muskie and his wife, and he gave a speech defending her just before the New Hampshire primary in 1972. (It turned out after the election that the allegations were part of Nixon's "Dirty Tricks" campaign.) During the speech it appeared as if Muskie was crying, though he claimed it was snow melting on his face. Because of that event, he won New Hampshire, but by a smaller margin than originally predicted. Previously he was leading in the polls; after that, he fell behind and McGovern gained the momentum and eventually the nomination.

A man crying is bad (to voters), and they won't vote for him. A woman crying is a bad thing, and we (voters believe) have to step in to help her stop.

I think a second big reason New Hampshirans supported Hillary, from interviews with voters after the fact, is that some, especially women, liked all the candidates equally. When it came down to it, they thought, "Well, I should then vote for a woman."

Note that, though I think the wrong candidate won, I think both of these reasons are very legitimate reasons for voting.

Lastly, I believe that because all of the press indicated a big win for Obama, Independents thought, "Well, I don't need to vote for Obama then, and I like McCain too," and they went over for McCain.

A hard thing is Obama's increase in polls in S Carolina was from the Iowa bump, and the culinary union in Nevada was going to support him based on his winning New Hampshire. At least in the last few minutes the union has come out in support of him anyway- and they're the largest union and most organized Democratic organization in the state. Nevada's been overlooked, but it's key to showing that a candidate has strength in the West, particularly all-important California. Florida's an Exhibition Game, and let's face it, Hillary's kind of got New York locked. Nevada and S. Carolina, I'd imagine, as a mix will indicate strength in Texas, the last of the four big states.

So, tonight is a sad night for Obama fans. But there is still hope. After all, we've got Obama, and he has a whole lot of baraka.


Yeah, that's right. My man. He won.

Faithful readers of this blog- let's be honest, the few friends who read this- know that I'm not really into sports. Sure, I'll get fired up about the occasional real football game (soccer), or the Olympics every couple years, but generally, I'm not really into sports. But once ever four years, my favorite sporting event occurs, the most exciting of them all- the race for President of the United States.

It really is basically a sporting event. We have a number of teams, with regular games (read: polls), and 50 bowl games. And so far, there's been one bowl game for both leagues. (I used to say that these quaternary elections were also about as relevant to our lives as sports, considering the minimal differences between the two parties, but the past seven years have really put paid to that idea.)

Contrary to multiple polls indicating Edwards' strong 2nd choice showing (in which voters of candidates who get less than 15% shift their support to their 2nd choice), it was my man Obama who won the day, and that by a solid margin! Indeed, polls are now indicating a substantial lead for him in New Hampshire from the Iowa Bump. (Usually the Iowa Bump fades by the time New Hampshire comes along, but for the first time ever, the New Hampshire Bowl is only five days after the Corn Bowl.)

There are many reasons why I'm hot for Obama. He's the first candidate I've seen since Carter who not only has a strong faith in Jesus, but lets that faith really influence him in his decisions to care for the poor, the needy, and the outcasts. He's African-American, and that would just be way cool to achieve that milestone in American politics. He's worldly, in the sense that he's lived a large portion of his youth abroad, and indeed is the son of a non-US citizen, an African. I relate to that living in multiple cultures, and I think it gives Obama a great perspective that we need in these trying times, where he can see with an international perspective and not the merely myopic American look. And he went to my alma mater, so I kind of have an obligation there. (Yes, a friend has pointed out that that was no reason to vote for Jack Kemp, and she has a fine point.)

But most of all, he is the candidate of Hope. And that's key. Hope is expectant joy, in the Greek. It is the foundation of everything I believe as a Christian. It is the idea that things can change, and is the ability to inspire us to move beyond where we are now, to put our beliefs in something greater than who we are. I don't need specifics as much as someone who's approach to life is one I trust. I see that in his book. And after reading The Second Civil War, discussing the antagonism between the two parties over the past century, I want someone who can work with others who he disagrees with, who can build consensus and practice love of his enemies- even the ones in congress. I want someone who can actually get things done because he knows how to find compromise and agreements. Obama is that man.

Obama made a couple pronouncements in kindergarten. He also deserved the award "Works Well With Others". Or however you say that in Indonesian at the madrasa he supposedly went to.