2/14/08

Bring It Bama
By: Mark W Adams


Oh My Stars! Much hand wringing found throughout Blogtopia (sctp) over the shocking revelation that (surprise) she's in it to win it.

It's WAR! Okay, Sully really isn't an official member of blogtopia, but MoveOn is rallying the shock troops.

Will she (gasp) go negative? Maybe just a little?

A revealing bit of soul searching comes from the Left Coast where Steve Soto is disappointed enough in Hillary's act to withdraw his endorsement and hop on the fence with me. (I'm sure they're heatbroken at Clinton headquarters. Now they'll have to court even more SuperDelegates instead of bloggers, like Dennis Kucinich.)

I don't really care how annoyed a progressive-to-the-bone blogger like Ezra is; and for the record Mr. Donatelli -- nobody in the Democratic Party gives a flying fig what you or any other card carrying member of CPAC thinks. This is the big leagues and it's "go" time. The time to make the Democratic Party more democratic was back in '04 in Boston. If you are unsatisfied with the current system, feel free to start one of your own.

Jane has a rundown of varied plans to put a stop to the "outrageous" slash and burn tactics the Clintonians have stooped to, like sending Chelsea on a date with a college Junior SuperDelegate. (Okay, it was breakfast, not really a date, and certainly not pimping -- unless she gave him her number.) Dude! ;-)

The Superdelegate Transparency Project by Chris Bowers caught my eye. It's just the sort of thing we should expect and admire from the dedicated online organizers who really think all those phone calls and letters have made a difference in other battles waged against undemocratic acts of our government -- like convincing the Senate to reject Telecom immunity, or protecting habeas corpus rights, outlawing torture, or to filibuster Alito and Roberts, and using Congressional oversight like a club and holding the administration accountable for the Attorney firings, the no-bid contracts, fixing New Orleans, ah ... Blackwater, and um ... SCHIP or ... uh, yeah... Rock on Chris. Good luck with that.

I know one thing, I hate it when I agree with this guy.

[More under the fold.]



Look, it's no secret that the progressive blogosphere by and large doesn't really need a reason to be less than enthusiastic with Hillary's campaign. She's never been the most liberal potential nominee. But I'd like you to look at this from a slightly different perspective with a little more pragmatism and a little less righteous indignation.

First, with the lead in delegates, a slight lead lead in national polls, the lead in States won, and all the momentum in the world, if Obama can't close the deal in TexOhPenn (where he's trailing) to the point where it's no contest, shame on him. The Alamo is in Texas, and Ohio is Hillary's other last stand. If she wins them, we dance some more.

That's why we have conventions -- to sort out who the assembled active and elite members of the party are willing to get behind. I know they've been nothing more that info-mercials over the last 3 or 4 decades, but there really is a reason everybody who's anybody, and all the wannabees in the party, get together in one place every four years. (Folks, if you really wanted a say in things, the path to having a vote in Denver was not through your computer screen.)

Which brings me to my second point. Anything Hillary is planning -- like trying to get Florida and Michigan delegates seated and keeping politicians who endorsed her early in line -- and any other "dirty trick" she might try is child's play to what the nominee faces this fall. Call it trial by fire. We're going up against people who have been fixing elections since 1972.

If Obama gets the nomination despite the worst the Clinton machine can throw at him, this was good practice. If not and by some "chicanery" Clinton gets the nod (like getting the most votes from the people eligible to, you know, vote), it's still good for us because he isn't ready for prime time, needs seasoning or someone to clear the path for his brand of hope next time. Why can I say that? Because if he doesn't win, he's a loser, just like my hero John Edwards. (The last -- only -- winner I ever backed for President was named Clinton.)

Come on Barack, Man Up! Does anyone think he wouldn't get his ass kicked in the General election if he can get beat by a girl, even if she does fight dirty? (Address all hate mail to markwadams dot esq at gmail dot com.)

So have at it. All's fair folks, you have to bring your best game to this thing. I'll get behind whoever comes out of this a winner, cuz winning the White House is what it's all about. In the mean time, I'll probably vote for someone, but I don't have to get on anyone's bus until I show up at my polling place -- so there. I still don't know who I'm for, but I damn well know who I'm against. They call him Maverick.

Just keep this in the back of your head when you criticize her big state strategy -- states in which Obama has to make up significant ground come the general election -- with just a slight win in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania Hillary can prove she has an advantage in winning the 270 votes needed in the electoral college. Only Nebraska and Maine apportion those votes. Come November, it's winner-take-all.

If she wins all the states she has so far, that represents 146 electoral votes (NV NH CA AZ AR OK NY NJ MA TN). Add that to possible wins in the big ones coming up, OH TX and PA and she'd be up to 220. Give her Florida and Michigan and that puts her at 264 electoral votes, "winning" only 15 states. The Democrat wins DC and probably Oregon and either Minnesota or Wisconsin.

That's over the 270 needed to win the White House, but not really a Florida-proof majority should McCain win there. For that, she'd need to carry Illinois -- Obama land (yes she can). Winning Colorado or Missouri cancels out McCain beating us in his home state come fall (doable). I will "know" she can pull it out with wins in TexOhPenn. I will be worried sick if there's a split and Obama is the nominee without having won most if not all of the big states.

Obama has momentum, a "movement." But that must translate into votes, not just the great feeling of unity he brings. I've got a very faded sticker of an American Flag I slapped on my jalopy in September of 2001 that stood for unity. It didn't last, and this nation is as fractured as at anytime in it's history.

Simply put, for all the gnashing of teeth over superdelegates and what to do about Fla and Mich, if she can't be stopped in TexOhPenn, everybody should get out of her way.

7 Comments:

arubyan said...

Winning primary states has nothing to do with winning those same states in the general. And that cuts for and against Clinton the same as it does Obama.

A better analysis might be to project which candidate will be able to get the Independent swing voters as well as any stray Republicans (of which there are more than a few). Obama has demonstrated that he can expand the Democratic base with them; Clinton...not so much.

If anything, Clinton unites our enemies and divides our friends.

But she makes up for it by being a hell of a fighter, right? Problem is, that's like saying she's a bull that carries around her own china shop. I'm exhausted just thinking about that.

Mark W Adams said...

she's a bull that carries around her own china shop.

You did NOT just make that up yourself! That's a great analogy.

And I've no argument that tracking the independents and stray GOPers would be a better indicator of strength -- but with the data at hand only available from polling, it's not as solid as the fact that Obama doesn't carry big states -- yet.

I'd be a lot more comfortable if he could prove himself outside Illinois and Georgia.

If Hillary sweeps TexOHPenn, this thing will be back to virtual tie territory again -- rightly so. She will have earned it. Then we've got a convention that means something. And if she doesn't, she's done.

It comes down to organization. Obama had to create a grassroots structure from scratch. Hillary had been nursing a top-down network for a decade or more. Combined they are unstoppable. Fighting each other leaves a stalemate.

Interestingly enough, if this goes on through May, his grassroots appeal will be as strong as it can get and butt up against a state where she is arguably stronger than anywhere outside of her base in the NY NJ area because she can tap into a institutionalized local machine, a fortress for the DLC -- Evan Bayh's Indiana.

If this isn't decided by then (and if the polls hold, it won't be) her earliest and strongest endorser, someone who IMO is still the frontrunner for her VP choice, will have to deliver the last big midwestern state.

arubyan said...

Obama doesn't carry big states -- yet.

As you know, it's all about the pledged delegates -- whether they're from California or North Dakota....

...unless...(wait for it)...

...you're saying Hillary Democrats in California will stay home if the race is Obama v. McCain? Or vote for McCain?

Say it ain't so!

It ain't so.

So you'd have to agree that the Hillary voters will vote for Barack in the fall if he is the nominee, right? Of course.

But, at the margins, the reverse may not be true: Independents and Republicans will not vote for her the same way they'd vote for him (as of now).

Bottom line: At this point in time, it's pretty clear -- Obama expands the Democratic base. Hillary does not.

This means he has a better shot at getting elected than she does.

Mark W Adams said...

You seem awful damn sure of yourself for something that's pure speculation.

Interestingly enough, I don't disagree.

I still think it needs to be played out and it's far too soon to be calling a convention 6 months from now an undemocratic event because super delegates have a say in things.

Also note that all of this is contingent on Hillary winning the remaining big states. I wonder what the conventional wisdom will be if she makes it close or wins in Wisconsin and keeps her lead in TexOhPenn and takes Indiana too.

What if she's just a hair ahead without Michigan and Florida but only if we're counting her lead in super delegates?

That's a hard call Ara, and you know it.

There's good arguments on both sides, and we have two extraordinary candidates.

And what happens to your point about independents and stray GOPers if Obama is actively campaigning FOR Hillary?

arubyan said...

something that's pure speculation.

Not so. You read the same analyses that I do. Obama get the Independents and Hillary doesn't.

I'll tell you what pure speculation is: it's when you create a strategy that contains four "if's" and one "contingent." (I counted).

Don't you want to win easier than that? If your margin for error is that close in a friendly primary, how are we going to win in November?

arubyan said...

More on the topid here.

arubyan said...

Dang. "topic."