Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards out

It's down to Hillary and Obama now. (And Mike Gravel.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FISA success!

Success! Our phone calls did make a difference! The Senate Democratic coalition held together enough to support Chris Dodd's filibuster on the FISA bill that contains an immunity provision for the telecom industries for what they did in helping the Bush administration spy on American citizens. So now they and the GOP want immunity from ever facing any punishments for breaking the law.

And if any of you are wondering, the GOP's excuse of "9/11 changed everything" is bullshit; reports show the Bush administration first asked the telecoms to help them spy on Americans in February 2001. You'll note that that was seven months before 9/11. Bush and his cronies wanted to spy on us long before the terrorists attacked us.

Today on the Senate floor, even Hillary and Obama showed up for the vote. We flipped several votes our way from those who voted with the Republicans last time. Republicans couldn't even break 50 votes for cloture on Dodd's filibuster (60 are needed to stop a filibuster). They only got 48 votes, versus 45 against. Four Democrats, all from southern/midwestern red states, voted with the Republicans. Only one Republican, Arlen Specter, voted with us on this, and that was because he wanted his own amendment heard, which it wouldn't be after a filibuster.

Now, there was a second cloture vote on a bill that would extend the current temporary FISA bill for 30 days beyond its expiration date on February 5th. This time, it's the Republicans that wanted to block this bill with a filibuster, as Bush wants to veto it. But see, if Bush does veto it, then that would destroy the entire GOP talking point of caring about protecting us from terrorists, as they would then have allowed FISA to expire even when presented with a 30-day extension, It also shows that they place telecom immunity ABOVE protecting America. Cloture failed on this too, also by a 48-45 margin (but with the entire vote basically switched from the first one), so Republicans did succeed in blocking this extension from being voted upon. This time, it was a straight party-line vote: every Democrat (and Independent Bernie Sanders) voted for cloture, every Republican voted to keep the filibuster on this alive. This does now show us that Republican Senators care more about giving the telecoms immunity than protecting America.

(Oh, and Joe Lieberman wasn't there today, as he was campaigning for John McCain down in Florida.)

Markos had a very important question for all those libertarian Paultards regarding the FISA fight.

For all the talk of "freedom" that the Paulbots claim to believe in, they sure as heck have been silent on the horrible FISA bill we're fighting to fix in the Senate right now. Same for Ron Paul. Why the silence? And the CATO people and the libertarian publications like Reason, where are they?

Here we are engaged in a huge civil liberties issue, and progressives are being forced to fight this thing alone. It's easy to talk about "liberty". It's much more impressive to actually do something about it.

And as a commenter noted about libertarianism:

Funny isn't it when you take out the civil liberties part of the equation. George Bush was the libertarian that the Randoids dreamed about, I mean he was the John Galt who cut taxes, got rid of regulations and hell, he is doing a heckavajob with New Orleans and Baghdad so some future Howard Roark can do some work there. As for the rest of us? We The Living? It's Orwell time.

Amen. Now watch how many Paultards flood the comments section to defend their man.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Martin Luther King, III praises Edwards in letter

Martin Luther King, III, wrote a letter to John Edwards praising him for leading in the fight for economic justice, and urged him to stay in the race. Who better to understand what Martin Luther King, Jr., stood for than his own son? Just some more food for thought.

The Honorable John R. Edwards
410 Market Street
Suite 400
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father's legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are - a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don't have lobbyists in Washington and they don't get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

Daily Show/Colbert Report writers hold debate

So the writers for the two shows went to D.C. to stage a mock debate in Congress's Rayburn Building. Campus Progress covered the proceedings. There were several nice introductions from various (Democratic) members of Congress.

And then the debate began. Three writers from the Colbert Report played the AMPTP, and three writers from the Daily Show played... well... themselves. Former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers moderated. Here are the highlights of the "debate". Be sure to check out what happens midway through! ;-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Stephen Colbert gets serious

It's really amazing, an entire segment on the Colbert Report that did not contain one laugh except at the very beginning and the very end. Betcha none of you knew this about Stephen Colbert before now.

And then he had Ambassador Andrew Young on as his guest!

And what a fitting tribute to end the show. The other guy is Milton Gladwell, Stephen's first guest from that evening, who discussed IQ tests.

Al Gore comes out in favor of gay marriage

Monday, January 21, 2008

A small way of remembering...

Perhaps the most worthwhile way you can spend 11 minutes on a day like today. Still the most amazing speech I have ever heard.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Young vs. old; partisanship vs. compromise

I was struck while reading Julia Grey's diary, and reminded about what happened at the Bruin Dems' "mockus" two weeks ago. Things got a little heated when someone mentioned the youth vote supporting Obama, versus the older people supporting Hillary. Well, be careful about that. History can be a hard lesson to learn.

I was a teenager in the 60s. The politically active Boomer cohort of that era -- roughly the same demographic that seems to dominate this site, educated people ages 18-29 -- was saying the same things about the Democratic candidates at the time. There was even a very colorful and influential (in all the wrong ways) riot at the party nominating convention by young people who objected to the nomination of "business as usual" Democrat Hubert Humphrey...perhaps you remember him? The one who lost to RICHARD NIXON?

We didn't like the influence old folks had on politics, either. They were "in the way," just like we Boomers are today. If they would just let us take over the party, we'd clean the joint up and send all the corporate fiends packing, yesirree. Well, we did kinda take over the party in '72, nominating George McGovern...who also lost to RICHARD NIXON.

So you can pretty much see where a lot of us got our cautious, practical, reality-based political streak. What you call our cowardice. We started looking at what could be done and how it could be done and all that boring stuff that comes after the bright shining moments of wild enthusiasm and righteous dreams.

I know it irritates you that the Democratic party is like the biddy going 60 in the fast lane. Just fast enough to be a pain in the ass to pass, but too slow for the idealistic traffic coming up from behind her at 80. "Your" party is just poking along, maybe even with her left turn signal on...blink.blink.blink.blink.... It's maddening.

But you're stuck with us, I'm afraid. Millions upon millions of us baby-boom oldsters between you and your vision of total non-corporate bliss. Even worse, we're reliable voters!

We're gonna dare to vote in "your" party's primaries for quite a while yet. Because, here's the thing, it's NOT "your" party. It's not the Young Impatient Idealists party. It's the Democratic party. You know the one: the big tent, the party that wants universal health care coverage, liberal judges on the Supreme Court, troops coming home, and serious investments in public goods like education and infrastructure that the Republicans have shamefully neglected lo, these many years.

So, unfortunately, we'll be here a while, annoying the bejabbers out of you with our insistence on using our influence in "your" party, but helping you elect Democrats for at least another couple of decades.

Still, there's hope on the horizon. Eventually, just in the natural course of events, you'll be rid of us at last...just in time to be contemptuously referred to as "old farts" yourselves.

I wonder... will the youth who support Obama right now still vote for a Democrat if he doesn't get the nomination? Because let me tell you, losing in politics is a hard thing to get over. After Kerry's loss in 2004, I completely shut out politics from my life for 9 months, not reading DailyKos again (can you imagine that?) until the week before Hurricane Katrina hit. Others not as dedicated may leave permanently.

Understand that this is a fight for the long haul. We're not going to fix all our nation's problems in a few weeks, or even a few years. And as long as there are 41 obstructionist Republican Senators come 2009, you can betcha that any Democrat in the White House, whoever it may be, will face getting large parts of his or her agenda filibustered to death by the Republicans.

At the California Democratic Convention last April in San Diego, Obama promised us he would find those 67 votes to override a Bush veto to end the war in Iraq. Yeah... how'd that turn out? How do you "work with Republicans" when they're not willing to work with you?

To this end, I'll cite dday, who was in Las Vegas to cover the caucuses. He talks about this sense of compromise and reaching across the aisle to work with Republicans appearing in both Obama and Clinton's speeches in Nevada.

OK, I don't think the battle of the Party is to find unity. It's to find the best ways to push the Republicans and successfully set the agenda. We actually do need a politics based on ideology, unless the "common sense" that Obama suggests is actually ideological.


But at the very end... well, let me give you over to Matt Stoller, who was there as well:

After a laundry list of items she's going to get done, she posed a rhetorical question of how all of that would be possible. Her answer? By reaching across the aisle, like she has done in the Senate. I hope she's checked with the Republicans on that one.

She says that all the time, actually, and so did Bill Clinton at his earlier event, highlighting her work with Lindsay Graham and JOHN MCCAIN. Um, don't you two know that you might actually have to RUN against John McCain, and the time for puffing him up to increase your own credibility should kind of be over?

Is there some super-secret polling showing that Americans what to "end the partisan bickering" in Washington and come together for the common purpose? I really don't see that. I see a country who has turned on George Bush and wants to go in a new direction. Yet two of our main candidates BOTH keep stressing this theme of unity, and the third candidate, who actually does reject this, doesn't get any love from the media and has been practically shunted aside. What is behind this?

Actually, I don't think it's so difficult. In a time tailor-made for progressive ideas, when the conservative brand is almost entirely trashed, we have two centrist candidates running to lead the party. They say this every day, and no matter what kind of onion-peeling and "no, what they actually mean is THIS" you try to do, that's pretty much the answer.

The strategy Clinton and Obama appear to be employing is a perfectly normal general election strategy. “Bringing the country together” isn’t all that radical a political theme, and after 8 years of “my way or the highway” conservatism, I can see how it would have some limited appeal. But we’re in the middle of a Democratic primary. I think it was Stoller in a post about a month ago who wondered if we could be pandered to just a little bit before we were ditched for independents and swing voters. It could be that the first few primaries are open to independents. But yesterday I felt like I was watching the candidates for the nomination of the Independent Party of America, and it rankled me.


Obama at least talks about how he can’t do it alone, and how change happens from the bottom up. And I’m not averse to talking about “working together” with Republicans. But Republicans ARE, and the conservative movement is not likely to give up so easily and watch as an agenda to which they are diametrically opposed gets installed.

Partisanship is a good thing. It gives people choices. There are legitimate differences about how to meet our challenges. The point in between those two differences is not necessarily the best; in fact it’s often the worst. When one side of the political aisle has leaders who believe in the value of that middle point, and the other side believes in the extreme, guess where we’re going to end up. “Screwed” would be the word I would use.

And frankly, I have seen no indication that Republicans are going to do anything other than stick the knife in our backs the first chance they get. They fucking sustained Bush's veto on SCHIP expansion, which all the polls showed freaking 80% of the country supporting! As mcjoan said, "Bipartisanship only works when the other side compromises, too. Otherwise it's just capitulation." And now from Nevada, we may have seen the first signs of Obama's Reagan comments backfiring.

As Stoller writes:

In Iowa, Obama beat Clinton by 16 points among those who consider themselves as 'very liberal'. In New Hampshire, they were even. And now in Nevada, Clinton simply destroyed Obama within that block by 16 points. In other words, while it's not entirely clear who 'won' Nevada, whatever that means, had Obama run even with Clinton among those who describe themselves as 'very liberal', he would have soundly defeated her at the caucuses outright instead of having to play delegate games.

Both Edwards and Clinton dog whistled hard on Obama's Reagan remarks. Many readers and friends simply don't believe me that the stuff he said about Reagan was bad. Here's what it sounds like to people who lived through that period, which is still a majority of the voting universe. Digby helpfully wrote this in a frame of reference many will understand. Imagine George W. Bush in 2000 saying this.

We're still having the same arguments. It's all around regulations and smaller government and it's all ... even when you discuss traditional values the frame of reference is all around abortion. Well, that's not my frame of reference. My frame of reference is "what works." When I first came out against abortion, my first line was I don't oppose all abortions, specifically, to make clear that this is not a theocratic, you know, snake-handling prayer vigil kind of approach."

I think Lyndon Johnson changed the trajectory of the country in a way that JFK did not and Nixon did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of racism and anti-communism and government refusing to raise taxes to care for the poor and the elderly, I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was, we want a return to that sense of community and compassion that had been missing."

Bush would have lost the nomination right then and there. Conservatives simply do not run away from their past, they create narratives that reinforce it as a tradition worth belonging to. What Obama did when lauding Reagan as an answer to the 'excesses of the 1960s' (which you can very well see is a conservative meme by doing a quick Google book search) was attack and insult the liberal traditions of feminism, civil rights, environmentalism, consumer rights, and peace movement work from that time.


The past matters. It just does. And if you want to know why, just remember that Bush has rung up a huge credit card debt that we will have to pay off. And if we can't explain that Bush rang up the bill by referencing the past, the country is going to blame Democrats for what Bush did. It's happened before. Just ask Bill Clinton and the 1994 Congressional class of Democrats, who paid the price for Ronald Reagan's binge spending.

We have been fighting Ronald Reagan's psychologically diseased followers and predecessors since, well, since they called themselves the Confederacy and fought for slavery. And we will keep fighting them if we are to retain a republic. That's why the self-identified very liberal Democrats swung away from Obama and took Nevada from him. Because he very self-consciously explained that he is not part of that fight, and they want a leader who is.

Another thing to consider. Many of the February 5th states have closed primaries, so those Independents Obama loves to court will not be participating. If he wants to win this thing, he'll have to wrestle away some of Hillary's support among loyal Democrats. And BTW, right now, Edwards is the reason Obama has the lead in South Carolina. Edwards drops out, and suddenly Obama is tied with Hillary. The two Nevada polls which showed Edwards as weak had Hillary winning Nevada by about 7.5 points; she won by 6. Just something else to consider.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Edwards moneybomb: fighting back

Media blogger KingOneEye started a campaign to help John Edwards break through the media blackout of him. Oh, didn't know there was a media blackout? Yep.

The Project for Excellence in Journalism confirmed this too.

Edwards has been pissing off all the right people. People like Rupert Murdoch, the DLC, William F. Buckley, Bill O'Reilly, and the rest of the corporate media. CNN and SurveyUSA have both dropped Edwards from their general election matchups. FoxNews never bothered to include him in any of their matchups at all. Newspapers around the country do their best not to mention him. And if they do, it's to write negative stories to smear him with. See the New York Post (owned by Mr. Murdoch himself) as an example. Want more proof? See all of Google News. It's not just confined to one or two newspapers.

And so, people all over the country are fighting back with their pockets. If Ron Paul supporters could raise $6 million in one day for him, why can't Edwards supporters raise $7 million in one day? Click on the picture below to help contribute to the cause, and stop the media blackout of John Edwards.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Candidate matching quiz

Take this quiz, and see how well you match up with each of the candidates. Here are my results, which is why Edwards is my guy, with Obama at #2. Your own results may surprise you.

96% John Edwards
92% Barack Obama
90% Dennis Kucinich
90% Mike Gravel
89% Hillary Clinton
87% Joe Biden
87% Chris Dodd
82% Bill Richardson
44% Rudy Giuliani
30% John McCain
24% Mitt Romney
23% Tom Tancredo
20% Mike Huckabee
17% Ron Paul
11% Fred Thompson

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


While most pundits around the country today are watching Michigan intently to see whether Romney or McCain will pwn Fuckabee, little do most Americans know, there is chaos in America's heartland. From the Associated Press:

STEPHENVILLE, Texas - In this farming community where nightfall usually brings clear, starry skies, residents are abuzz over reported sightings of what many believe is a UFO.

Several dozen people — including a pilot, county constable and business owners — insist they have seen a large silent object with bright lights flying low and fast. Some reported seeing fighter jets chasing it.

"People wonder what in the world it is because this is the Bible Belt, and everyone is afraid it's the end of times," said Steve Allen, a freight company owner and pilot who said the object he saw last week was a mile long and half a mile wide. "It was positively, absolutely nothing from these parts.

Sorrells said he has seen the object several times. He said he watched it through his rifle's telescopic lens and described it as very large and without seams, nuts or bolts.

And what was the government's explanation for hundreds of sightings?

Maj. Karl Lewis, a spokesman for the 301st Fighter Wing at the Joint Reserve Base Naval Air Station in Fort Worth, said no F-16s or other aircraft from his base were in the area the night of Jan. 8, when most people reported the sighting.

Lewis said the object may have been an illusion caused by two commercial airplanes. Lights from the aircraft would seem unusually bright and may appear orange from the setting sun.

"I'm 90 percent sure this was an airliner," Lewis said. "With the sun's angle, it can play tricks on you."

That's right Ladies and Gentlemen, a shiny airplane! Right...

At least one U.S. President treats the problem seriously.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Huh? Mouseland? It's a very interesting speech from Canada's Tommy Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan and also Kiefer Sutherland's grandfather. This speech from 1944 holds as much truth to it as it did back then. Something to think about.

Why do mice elect a government made up of cats?

I found that while reading this incredibly snarky diary from TXsharon about getting back together with her abusive ex-husband. Read the diary, read the links, and you should understand her final message, which Tommy Douglas articulated over 60 years ago. She ends with a jarring statement.

The Democratic Party and voters are codependent, insane and addicted to cognitive dissonance.

They cry out for leaders who aren't paid protectors of special interest groups yet they continue to elect leaders who are paid protectors of special interest groups and, all the while, they expect a different result for repeating their unfortunate and misguided choices.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Goodbye My Friend

Bill Richardson is gone.

We hardly knew thee Bill Richardson. Your plump visage, your hilarious honesty, your funny antics. On behalf of Bruin Democrats, we shall miss you.

The Tears that Turned 1,000 Heads

Barack Obama's campaign co-chair takes on Teargate with a tone and a position (Hillary didn't cry about Katrina, she didn't cry about Iraq, she only cries about her appearance) that I'm not sure I'm comfortable with for a number of reasons. But what does everyone else think? I promise I won't cry about it...too much...if you disagree.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire Goes to Hillary Clinton

In a HUGELY shocking turn of events, Senator Clinton has won the New Hampshire Primary.

I myself was telling folks on Bruinwalk today that Hillary had no chance to win tonight, and the best she could hope for was a close second. Indeed, recent polls had her behind up to 13 points. Well, I am proven wrong.

It would seem that no matter what the media would have us believe up to the New Hampshire primary, this is still a race. The candidates go on to South Carolina and Nevada, and ultimately to California on Super-Duper Tuesday.

This primary is shaping up to be GREAT for our party and GREAT for democracy. Now it's time for the rest of the country to have our say!!

In other news, John McCain knocks down Mitt Romney to win the GOP primary in New Hampshire.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Look Out California!!!


After thousands of radio and TV ads bombarded the early-voting states for months, Californians' ears are about to be exposed to the biographical story of Paul, who's gained growing attention in recent weeks for his amazing fundraising success; Paul's fervent followers raised nearly $20 million in the fourth quarter alone, including a new online one-day donation record in excess of $6 million


"Who is Ron Paul, the Republican candidate for president? Ron Paul served his country as a flight surgeon after the Cuban missile crisis. As a young doctor, Ron Paul worked nights in the emergency room of an inner-city hospital, taking care of everyone, whether they could pay or not. As an ob/gyn, Ron Paul delivered over 4,000 babies. Dr. Ron Paul knows our healthcare system needs real change, where patients and doctors are in charge, not big corporations or government bureaucrats.

"As a congressman for almost 2 decades, Ron Paul knows our Constitution is there to protect our freedom and limited government. He has never voted for a tax increase or an unbalanced budget. His record clearly shows he will cut taxes and stop runaway spending. People who know him call him the taxpayer's best friend."

Unfortunately, the most important part of Paul's candidacy won't be mentioned in the California ad...


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sarkisyan family endorses...

John Edwards.

And since someone's bound to ask, the family contacted the Edwards campaign and asked to do this.

Health care blogger nyceve has come out in support of John Edwards now.

Which brings me to John Edwards. This isn't an easy diary for me to write, because truthfully I admire all three of our leading Democratic candidates.

I am mesmerized by Barack Obama. I think Hillary Clinton, if elected, would return to her progressive roots. And yes, I am shamelessly the unelected president of the Bill Clinton Fan Club. So I have a real conundrum. But I couldn't walk away from this conversation and not recognize that what is going on in this country is far worse than a garden-variety catastrophe. This is a nation bought, paid for, and owned by merciless special interests, chief among them the health insurance industry.

It is a catastrophe in which the government, regulators, and elected officials conspire together to perpetuate the status quo. This is about as serious an evil as I have ever encountered and David Rosen confirmed all my, and our, worst fears.

It is bad my friends. It is very bad.

Let me turn for one moment to the family of Nataline Sarkisyan and why they are standing standing shoulder-to-shoulder with John Edwards. First, I was advised after Nataline died, that the family was in all likelihood going to become healthcare activists. This was a well-considered decision to support the candidacy of John Edwards. They wanted to do something important to honor Nataline's memory. Clearly, John Edwards is the one candidate who seems to appreciate that we are facing a truly vicious foe--the foe responsible for the death of Nataline Sarkisyan.

So, if you are a healthcare voter, it seems to me there is only one candidate who really appreciates the nature of the looming fight.

After speaking to David Rosen, I have no doubt that Edwards is correct about the the epic battle we Americans are facing. You will have no doubt either after you read my upcoming diaries. Edwards is correct--you can't negotiate with these people, you must fight them with every ounce of your being.

And that's a message Barack Obama, given his progressive record, should take to heart as well. But he doesn't. He still wants to give those insurance companies a seat at the table and negotiate with them. We already saw this happen in 1993, when Hillary tried to do it. Guess what happened?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Legends in Democratic Politics

You have probably never heard of Paul Tewes and Mitch Stewart before, but you will. Paul served as Barack Obama's state director in Iowa, and Mitch served as Obama's caucus director. A few Bruin Democrats, myself included, were fortunate enough to have the pleasure of seeing these men in action during the last ten days of the Iowa campaign.

The Fix's Chris Cilizza credits Tewes and Stewart for the incredible caucus turnout we saw on Thursday. In 2004, about 125,000 Iowans attended the caucus. This year, more than 200,000 Iowans made it out to their precint's caucus. This incredible jump is in large part due to the Obama campaign's successful targeting of youth and first-time caucus-goers.

It looks like Paul and Mitch carved out a place for themselves in the pantheon of legendary politicos. Props to them.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Non-Candidate Iowa Post

So as is known widely around these parts, I am most assuredly and unequivocally not a supporter of Barack Obama.

That being said though, I do want to give props to his campaign for their feat in Iowa. It's definitely very impressive - and also mad props should go out to all the Bruin Democrats who went to Iowa to campaign for Obama (and a few for a couple of other candidates).

Regardless of the result, and regardless of whether Hillary or Edwards are ultimately dubbed the 'comeback kids,' or whether Obama continues his Iowa success in New Hampshire and beyond, all of us can agree on a few things:

1. Our ideas are flourishing, and our party is energized

2. The Republicans are bankrupt - both fiscally and ideologically.

3. Any of our candidates would be light years better than our dear friend and Iowa GOP Caucus winner, Motherfuckabee:

Final polls

All right, let's look at what the latest polls are saying about the state of the race.

American Research Group, Dec. 31 - Jan. 2 (Dec. 26-28 numbers in parentheses)

Clinton 34% (31)
Obama   25% (24)
Edwards 21% (24)

This poll assumes 83% of those that show up will be Democrats. In 2004, 81% of those that caucused were Democrats. The low number of Independents and Republicans showing up in their poll could explain the high numbers for Hillary. ARG's polls have traditionally polled Hillary a few points higher than every other poll out there, so we should take that into account too.

Des Moines Register, Dec. 27-30

Obama   32%
Clinton 25%
Edwards 24%

Now, much has been made of this poll. Namely, it assumes 60% of the caucus goers will be first-timers. Is this realistic? 2004 already set record numbers in attendance, with 45% of them being new. Those 45% aren't new anymore. Is that pool of new people really there? If so, that would mean a turnout the likes of which are unheard of. But even beyond that, some interesting numbers emerge.

Clinton remains the favorite of the party faithful, with support from a third of self-described Democrats. However, Obama is the clear choice of caucusgoers who affiliate with neither the Democrat or Republican parties, with roughly 40 percent of them backing him in the survey.

The support from non-Democrats is significant because a whopping 40 percent (actually, 39%) of those planning to attend described themselves as independent and another 5 percent as Republican. Only registered Democrats can participate in the caucuses, although rules allow participants to change their party registration on their way in to the caucuses.

So the DMR poll suggests that 45% of Iowans that show up to the Democratic caucus... won't actually be Democrats. And that also means a WHOLE lot of Republicans will be showing up. But look what happens. He's getting 39% of the 45% of caucus goers who are not Democrats. He's getting only 27% support from actual Iowa Democrats, who make up 55% of the caucus pool, according to the DMR. That means...

0.39 × 0.45 = 17.55%
0.27 × 0.55 = 14.85%

Of Obama's 32% in the poll, MORE support is coming from non-Democrats than from actual Democrats! Is this realistic, and is this a good thing? desmoinesdem, who is an Edwards precinct captain, doesn't buy these numbers from the DMR, either the turnout numbers, or the percent of non-Democrats that are supposedly going to show up. But who knows, maybe they nailed it, and we're going to see historic turnout tonight.

But Mark Blumenthal has more on what they meant by "Democrat" and "Independent", suggesting maybe the numbers aren't as much out of line as we'd think. It has to do with independent-minded Democrats identifying themselves as "independent" when asked.

McClatchy/MSNBC (via polling firm Mason-Dixon), Dec. 26-28 (Dec. 3-6 in parentheses)

Edwards 24% (21)
Clinton 23% (27)
Obama   22% (25)

They also did a reallocation (.pdf) based on second choices of supporters of the second tier candidates, and found this.

Edwards 33%
Clinton 26%
Obama   26%

This poll assumes about 20-25% of caucus goers will be first-timers.

The rest of the polls don't tell us the percentage of Democrats or first-time caucus goers in the poll.

CNN, Dec. 26-30 (Dec. 14-18 in parentheses)

Clinton 33% (30)
Obama   31% (28)
Edwards 22% (26)

Zogby has been doing continual 4-day rolling averages in the last week.

(h/t poblano for the graphic)

Research 2000, Dec. 26-27

Edwards 29%
Obama   29%
Clinton 28%

Strategic Vision, Dec. 28-30 (Dec. 26-27 in parentheses)

Obama   32% (30)
Edwards 29% (28)
Clinton 27% (29)

Insider Advantage, Dec. 28-29 (Dec. 16-17 in parentheses)

Clinton 30% (24)
Edwards 29% (26)
Obama   22% (27)

Insider Advantage also factored in second choices. After that recalibration, they found this.

Edwards 41%
Clinton 34%
Obama   25%

That's because in their poll, Edwards was the second choice of a whopping 62% of Iowans who supported the second tier candidates.

And finally, from DailyKos, not a poll, but the most concise summary of what the three top Democrats stand for.

Clinton = "Me"
Obama = "You"
Edwards = "Us"

So... what do we know? Um... it's a 3-way race. Any of the top 3 can win this thing.

Clinton-to-Obama switcher switches again

Remember Susan Klopfer? As a Clinton precinct captain, her story made headlines when she decided to switch her support to Obama. The Obama campaign even featured her in this incredibly popular YouTube video.

Well... since then... she's switched again.

When she switched, the Obama campaign made a video that got lots of play, not only on YouTube, but also on cable news programs.

"It got more hits than Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. It got the all-time highest over that weekend," Klopfer said of the video's YouTube hits. The video was so potent that the Clinton campaign made an answering video with its own former Obama supporters.

But when Klopfer showed up at a John Edwards house party this morning, it was because she was on the verge of switching again.

"In both of those people I didn't see the experience that I'd like to see and kind of the groundedness that I'd like to see," she said of Obama and Clinton, "so I'm really looking at Edwards, and I'm still really looking at (Bill) Richardson."

Klopfer said she went to see Richardson last night in Mount Pleasant last night and was impressed by him.

"Probably I'll caucus for Richardson," she said after Edwards spoke. "My guess is he won't be viable, and then I'll probably scoot right over to Edwards."

In MSNBC's First Read, she's getting pilloried in the comments section for her switch. MSNBC had more about this yesterday morning, and Keith Olbermann also mentioned her at the top of his broadcast last night.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Obama attacking Gore and Kerry?

It looks like Obama took an indirect swipe at both Al Gore and John Kerry. Obama supporters on DailyKos claimed it must have been a bogus quote from Hillary supporter Taylor Marsh. Except... ABC News then confirmed it too.

On Monday Obama suggested that Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore were divisive.

In an argument about his electability, Obama compared himself favorably with Sen. Hillary Clinton who is viewed negatively by nearly half the country. Obama is viewed far more favorably by independents and Republicans.

Then he said, per ABC News' Sunlen Miller, "I don't want to go into the next election starting off with half the country already not wanting to vote for Democrats. We've done that in 2004 and 2000. 47 percent of the country on one side, 47 percent of the country on the other . . . We don't need another one of those elections."

OK, there are so many ways in which what Obama said is simply demonstrably false. Digby destroys the Republican talking point that Al Gore was "too divisive" in 2000. His favorability ratings in 2000 were well over 50%. And the excuses that he didn't specifically mention Gore or Kerry by name?? C'mon people, who do you think was running at the top of our ticket in those two years? Was the "next election" he was talking about the state board of equalization race or something? It's pretty damn obvious he was making indirect swipes at Gore and Kerry.

And if he really wants to talk about "electability" based on favorability ratings, Big Tent Democrat points out that Obama would actually making the case... for John Edwards. Check out the latest favorability ratings via Rasmussen:

                Fav Unfav
Hillary Clinton  48   50
Barack Obama     43   51
John Edwards     49   42

And Molly Ivors minces no words at what the Obama campaign is doing.

Let me state the obvious: Dude, the people you are trying to appeal to are never going to vote for you. Despite what David Broder says, there's not really some mushy middle waiting to be addressed by you. If acting more like Republicans were really the key to victories, then why is Harry Reid not King of the Fucking Universe?

I'll tell you why: because it's a bullshit argument. People know that we're in a heap of trouble in this country. The planet is melting and our jobs are evaporating and we're in a stupid fucking war breaking young men we aren't bothering to help fix. It sucks. And sucking up to and adopting the framing of the people who brought us global warming and rewarded outsourcing and lied us into war and smeared vets who dare to speak out is pretty fucking useless, and no way to actually address any of these problems.

So, because of comments like this and other ones in recent days, even Markos is backing away from his previous decision to vote for Obama.

Not being blinded by candidate worship, it's easier to sniff out the bullshit. And you have to have your head stuck deep in the sand to deny that Obama is trying to close the deal by running to the Right of his opponents. And call me crazy, but that's not a trait I generally appreciate in Democrats, no matter how much it might set the punditocracy's hearts a flutter.

One of the things the Bush/Cheney team discovered after 2000 was that the "center" didn't really exist in this country anymore. It's mythical, propagated by the Beltway pundits who orgasm when they hear the word "compromise". People are either on one side or the other. Those who really aren't sure, are those that never bother to vote anyway. They're probably part of that 31% of Americans who don't even know Dick Cheney is the Vice President.

That's why they dropped the "compassionate conservative" pretense in 2004 and ran to the hard right, courting their base. Turn out the base and win, because that "center" no longer existed. Democrats who try to court that mythical center will generally lose. So please, Mr. Obama, drop the right-wing talking points and talk like a true progressive.