Ay-O-Way to go, Ohio. (And Texas, too!)

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Well, we found out a few things tonight:

One, Ted Strickland looks like a great candidate for Vice President if Hillary Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee.  Two, Obama should drop out immediately because continuing his campaign is divisive and hurting party unity.  My math (see above) proves conclusively that he can’t win the nomination without the Superdelegates.  (Kidding!  Well, except for the Ted Strickland as V.P. part.  Ohio’s a must-win this fall, and he delivered tonight.  Too bad, Bill RichardsonNo soup for you!)  Historiann is both a Democrat and a democrat, so let’s count all the votes and may the best person win. 

Three, the media’s own campaign against Clinton, combined with Obama’s excellence at organizing the caucus states and winning a streak of key primaries in February (gotta give the man his due, natch!) may have made her, perversely, just what she wants to be:  the underdog candidate, which is pretty ridiculous if you think about it.  She’s a sitting Senator and the wife of a former two-term president.  She couldn’t have run an outsider’s campaign–she would have been laughed off the stage even faster by the media–so she had to campaign as the embodiment of experience and know-how.  (And I agree, my Obama-supporting friends, that she picked a bad strategy and some bad people to run the campaign at the outset.  Not a great advertisement for that whole “experience and know-how” message!)  But Democrats love them underdogs, especially us Femocrats, whose protective maternal instincts kick in and make us drive through freezing rain to exercise our Constitutional rights.  I talked to a number of older ladies down in North Texas today who were pretty fired up about voting for Clinton, and wanted to keep me–an annoying political phone caller–on the phone to talk about how wonderful she is.

0 thoughts on “Ay-O-Way to go, Ohio. (And Texas, too!)

  1. Now things are going to get very interesting. I don’t think Hillary will pick up more than 7-10 delegates based on tonight’s performance. But I don’t think it matters. She can’t, based on the math, overtake his pledged delegate count lead anyway. So it’s all a matter of convincing the superdelegates to side with her. If she wins in PA, she might just do it. But he’s still the odds-on favorite, I suppose, to get the nomination (because of that insurmountable pledged delegate lead). Unless he loses PA.. Then the bloom might be off the rose. And all bets are off. At which point we might get our wish: a do-over on the MI and FL primaries. Whee!

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  2. Ari–there was a lot of chatter about those do-overs last night, but we’ll have to see…(and thanks for being such a sport about my teasing in this post!) Obama has run a great campaign, Senatorella not so much until recently–she is a fighter, and whatever happens, it’s good that she’s made a solid last stand.

    And KC–yes–no interruptions last night! (But, to be fair, the night she was interrupted, she went on before the WINNER!)

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  3. Well, a nice win for Senator Clinton last night. If I were Obama, I would now go after her on releasing her tax returns (you know, so she’s properly “vetted” before a general election campaign) and I would carry the fight forward to Wyoming and Mississippi. Whatever delegates he’s lost from yesterday can probably be made up by this time next week. After that, roll out the super delegate endorsements he supposedly has lined up in his pocket, and then take the fight to Pennsylvania, if need be. I do hope that the party comes to some kind of agreement by then, because the longer this drags on the more McCain benefits, no matter who the nominee is. I know some people disagree with that, but I think there are diminishing returns at this point, and while it is nice to have everyone vote and be energized, it is also bad for November when the top candidates are engaged in this kind of gutter war. It gives the Republicans so much ammunition for the fall.

    I made some phone calls, too, for my candidate, to Ohio. It was mostly a frustrating experience. After next week it will be nice to have this campaign go into a bit of hibernation for a few weeks. This is getting to be exhausting.

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  4. Oh, as for revoting in Michigan and Florida, it will be interesting to see if that happens. Dean hasn’t agreed to it yet, but I don’t think anything could happen on that front until June, given the challenges of rescheduling a major primary like that.

    If it does happen, I like Obama’s chances in Michigan, though not so much in Florida.

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  5. Hi David–I agree with you that Obama should get tough and fight back. She’s taking the mantle as the “one who will fight for you,” so he’d do well to start putting her on the defensive. He should fire the economist who met with the Canadian embassy and clarify once and for all his NAFTA position–she has benefitted by forcing the scrutiny on this flip/flop/lie thingy, but she’s very vulnerable on NAFTA too. That might set him up better to compete in Michigan, which people forget is a border state that relies on friendly relations and open borders with Canada. (However, Michigan is a lot like OH and PA, demographically and economically, so it could be an uphill battle for Obama, but he’s got to make her fight for it!)

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  6. I had a conversation with a coworker, an older woman who is now a grandmother, that was interesting for me. She was looking at a picture I had of Carl Hubbell, pitching for the New York Giants during the 1930s, and she started talking about how proud she is that she has a granddaughter who can play Little League, about how when she was a kid she was never allowed to play. And then she added: And now we could have a woman president, now that Hillary has won Texas and Ohio! She looked at me and then softly added, “Of course, I’d support Barack Obama too…”

    When I hear comments like these, I think I understand better why so many women support Hillary. They want a chance to have a female president during their lifetimes, and indeed, I agree that it is a disgrace that America has never had a woman as president. But then I wonder…how much deeper does this woman’s support go? Does she simply identify with her as a woman, and fail to hold her accountable as a politician? I don’t know. But the thought occurred to me again as I looked at the image for this post. Is a vote for Hillary a vote for Hillary or a vote against sexism?

    Of course, the same questions can be raised about Obama’s support, but not being African-American, I can’t speak to them. It is something I’ve definitely noticed more among Hillary’s supporters. In my department, most of the young people support Obama, and when we talk about why, we usually talk about Iraq or some other reason having to do with the candidate’s records or plans. We don’t really talk about race, and with Hillary we don’t really talk about gender. We are right in one of Obama’s core demographic groups: under 35, holding graduate degrees, working in a university. Why does this group go so heavily towards Obama (if the exit polls and anecdotal evidence are to be believed?)

    Sorry for the rambling nature of this comment.

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  7. Like you said, younger, well-educated liberals probably prefer Obama because of his policy positions (especially the war) as well as the excitement of his (relative) youth and the promise of a fresh start. No one is more tired than I am of baby-boomer politics and the old *ressentiments* of the Vietnam War being continually revisited on our politics than I am, so I really understand that. Most of my peers–maybe up to age 40 or 45–seem to be Obama supporters too because he’s pure of the stain of the AUMF vote, and they’re still very angry at Hillary Clinton for that vote.

    The story of your colleague is a good one, and probably fairly typical of Hillary’s base. (Which is not to say that older women don’t care about policy details–they do, and they trust Hillary because of her command of said details.) I think that these women have rallied around her more passionately the more they perceive her to be treated unfairly or overlooked. (I’ve felt it in myself, for sure!) Identity politics are inescapable, and they’re not all bad–sometimes they’re just about being able to see your granddaughter or grandson as a future president, and wanting to support someone who will blaze the trail ahead.

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  8. Well, I must admit that I found myself beaming as I watched HRC’s speech in Ohio last night. She’s putting up a fight, and she should (although I do agree that some of strategies are pathetic–she would do so much better if she got rid of the key men in her life (Penn, which she has, and of course, Bill). It is about time that a woman was cheered and celebrated as she was last night. I do fear that she will be blamed for breaking party unity, as Historiann alluded to in an earlier post. Just like a woman to disrupt unity…….

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  9. Indeed, listening to my co-worker talk, for a moment I wanted Hillary Clinton to be the next president, even though my support for Obama has been pretty passionate. I agree that identity politics aren’t all a bad thing, but I worry about the way they get exploited, by all sides.

    And I definitely think age is a huge factor. Obama seems more of my generation than my parents’ generation, and a good chunk of my support for him is precisely because I want to put an end to the hyper-divisiveness that has marked American politics, especially since Bill Clinton’s impeachment. But after yesterday, I also find myself wondering if it is true that Obama has a “glass jaw,” that he can’t respond effectively to smears and spurious attacks. I got an email from him today asking for more money and boasting that despite her wins, Clinton may have only picked up four delegates yesterday. That may be true, but damn it, I don’t want to hear math arguments right now after he took a 10-point drubbing in Ohio and lost Texas. I want him to fight back. Throw out the delegates and pretend you are down and almost out for the count. Don’t smear or get nasty, but show me that you have the spine to handle adversity.

    So, I’m waiting at this point, but I’m worried that Obama has figured out the math and will just put things in cruise control, which is a big mistake, in my opinion.

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  10. Oh, and I agree with Said Friend that Hillary is a more impressive candidate when Bill is not in the picture. I think he’s more of a liability than an asset for her now, and her campaign has done the right thing by putting the clamps on him the last several weeks.

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  11. Wow, David–I didn’t peg you as someone who would ever have second thoughts about Obama! It’s interesting: I’ve listened to some Air America shows today, and they’ve been totally pro-Obama lately, get on the train before it leaves the station, etc. But this loss in Ohio has everyone freaked out beyond reason (and I say this as a happy Hillary supporter.) Ed Schultz and his callers were all about Hillary’s “dirty tricks” and “going negative,” and now Rachel Maddow is seriously taking calls about whether or not it’s time to force Obama and Clinton into a “unity ticket” so that the campaign doesn’t “divide the party” and pave the way for a McCain win in November. Democrats seem surprised that this is actually a campaign!

    I really don’t get the panic that has set in–way overblown, just like the divide in the rank and file is way overblown. If I weren’t acutely sensitive to the use of gendered language, I would tell everyone to “man up” and get a grip ;). Hillary had a good day–finally–but she’s got a long way to go before true discouragement and despair should set in.

    And–I thought Said Friend meant dump him as a husband! I agree that she’s done better by muzzling him a bit, using him in more under-the-radar ways. She needs to look like she’s in charge, not him.

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  12. Oh, she can dump him as a husband if she wants. I doubt he’d mind.

    For me it isn’t about panic, it’s about Obama being tested. As one of his supporters, before we talk about a unity ticket or delegate computations or dirty tricks, I want to see how Obama handles adversity, because he will face a lot of that if he ever gets to the White House. He needs to go on the offensive now, to answer the questions that have been raised about him, and to do so in an effective way. If he does that well, I will feel confident in his ability to win the general election. But if he acts as if this doesn’t matter and it’s all over, then yes, that would sorely disappoint me.

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  13. I can understand your point of view! It’s truly amazing that anyone would volunteer to go through all a primary and then a general election, and THEN have to deal with the permanent campaign that is running the White House. Obama and Clinton have lots of other options, and I really admire them both for their willingness to go through all of that b.s.

    I’m sure Bill would mind! He’d be nothing without Hillary. (And vice-versa, of course.)

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  14. I don’t care what she does with Bill in her personal life. She just needs to get him out of the PICTURE. I also want to once again talk about the fact that Obama supporters seem so annoyed that she is still in the picture. When she was on The Daily Show the other night, she reminded the audience that Bill did not secure the nomination until June. Witnessing the annoyance of my Obama-supporter roommates, I can’t help feel that 8 years of the Bush administration’s undermining of democracy (both of its idea and its execution) might be rubbing off on our fresh young electorate so ready for “change.” Every time I say it’s a good thing that the contest persists, I get the hostile look. Even Paul Krugman has recognized this (see his 3/3 column Deliverance or Diversion).

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  15. Well, part of my disappointment over yesterday’s results stems from my feeling that going negative really works in elections. I don’t like campaigns that go negative in the way that Clinton’s campaign did. (Of course, other campaigns have done much worse, but still, it’s just a general principle for me.) I think it’s fair to attack people on their record and to raise legitimate questions, but I think some of the rhetoric and tactics from Clinton’s campaign have been too far. Be that as it may, I think Obama winning 11 contests in a row really got a lot of people wishing that Clinton would leave the race. But she didn’t, she went negative, and it worked. Now, I would argue that instead of dealing with the negative attacks, we need to deal with the fact that Ohio and Rhode Island voted for her by solid margins and she also won the Texas popular vote. The idea behind Clinton leaving the race should be that the party is uniting around Obama. Yesterday sort of puts the lie to that assertion.

    Indeed, after yesterday I would say it would be a bad thing for Obama if Clinton left. It would look like she was conceding not due to lack of support, but political pressure. Obama needs to win the nomination by convincing the party that he is the best candidate, or by grinding his way through every last primary and coming out with more delegates. I’d prefer the former, but there are no shortcuts here. Which is why the email I got today from his campaign kind of annoyed me. “We’ve already won, it’s over, give us money.” Bleh.

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  16. I spoke with my mother about the contest a few days ago, and she basically said that as an older woman, she really was annoyed that the charming young man was getting all the positive publicity. And while I am more favorable to Obama (because I think we need to be able to have disagreements over policy that don’t become personal, and I think Obama is MORE likely to get us there than Clinton) I really get her perspective on this. They are fundamentally different personalities, but I wonder if we could imagine a woman with Obama’s approach?

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  17. I’m with David on the regret over the success of tactical negativity. That red phone ad was paaaaathetic. I think it was John Stewart who sometime this week showed an archival campaign ad of the same nature (the red phone) and it was Walter Mondale’s! I also agree that the contest is GOOD for Obama. I do believe that he needs to be challenged to get concrete and savvy. Thinking that he can jet over to foreign countries and charm them with his charisma just does not cut it on a foreign policy profile.

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  18. Happy happy joy joy
    Happy happy joy joy

    1. Do-overs in MI & FL
    2. Unity ticket: Clinton/Obama
    3. McCain says, “Vote for them. I am really, really tired. I think I’ll just take my Metamucil, snuggle up next to some toothpick wearing a blond wig, and go to sleep.”
    4. Obama really needs to stop with the “We’ve already won this thing and Hillary is trying to steal it” line. He sounds like Bush/Rove in FL 2000. And we all know how well that turned out.

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  19. Susan–you’re dead on. There is no way that a very youthful and good-looking 45-year old woman with 3 years in the U.S. Senate who gives great speeches would be taken seriously. She’d be portrayed as a lightweight, accused of being too “sexy,” and not taken seriously as a presidential contender. Hillary has to play it like the wonk she is, and in many ways it’s probably to her advantage to be middle-aged and a bit frumpy. We like the sexy with male politicians (Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and now Obama), but on women it’s evidence of unseriousness, or of pressing an unfair advantage. Not that I blame him for his campaign–he’s got to use what he’s got, too.

    Said Friend–I really, really disagree with the prevailing judgment of the phone ad. It wasn’t fearmongering at all–it was an ad touting HRC’s experience and appealing to people to ask, “who do you trust?” There was nothing negative at all about the ad–no pictures of missles on the way, and no shadowy brown people, as in Republican fear ads–just a mother making her rounds after putting the kids to bed, and an image of Hillary as the vigilant, protective mother who will take care of all of us. And, apparently, it worked with those ladies in Texas!

    And Roxie: yes, even if all we get out of this is the reenfranchisement of MI and FL, it will be worth it. I find it really, really unfortunate that Democrats have been denying the vote to other Democrats this year, all in the name of brownnosing IA and NH. (Why not make Michigan and Florida the first primary states in 2011, in partial recompense?)

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  20. I read yesterday that Clinton herself remains opposed to a revote in Michigan and Florida. She wants the standing results to count, which is exceedingly lame.

    Re: the red phone ad. With the way the narrator’s voice was used, and the mother making her rounds in the dark, that to me was an exploitative ad. First, the message is basically: “Vote for me or your children will die.” Second, it plays to the image of the domestic intruder, which inevitably carries a racial component in the way the message will be perceived. “Don’t trust the black guy. Your children are sleeping and may not be safe. I am the mother who will protect you.” There are many ways of making the point that Hillary has more experience than Obama, choosing that imagery in my opinion makes the ad highly charged, with racial overtones. She’s not just appealing to women with that ad, she’s appealing to white women, a demographic that was starting to slip from her grasp before Texas.

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  21. David, I adore you and you’re a bright guy, but that’s a totally, totally wrong-headed read of that ad! I categorically reject that it was fearmongering or race-baiting. A lot of people with children do rounds on their sleeping children before they themselves head for bed. The mother in that ad was still dressed in street clothes, she wasn’t running around in panic in her bathrobe. There was no intruder rattling window locks or the door handles of her house. The ad starts with the comment, “It’s 3 a.m., and your children are safe and asleep,” not, “It’s 3 a.m. and we’ve traced the call–IT’S COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!” The background music is swelling and hopeful, not doom-and-gloom. (It reminds me of the intro music from the West Wing, to tell you the truth, with the Presidential snare drum taps.) If you think this ad is irresponsible fearmongering, I ask you: what kind of ads do you think she can run? Perhaps she should run all of her ads by the Obama campaign to ensure that they’re OK with her advertising?

    The ad merely sent the message that she will be on guard for Americans. She didn’t dress herself up in an ersatz military uniform or film it in the “Situation Room” with her finger hovering over the button. It merely shows her working into the night by a desklamp with her reading glasses on!

    Please, please take another look and judge for yourselves:

    http://www.hillaryclinton.com/video/142.aspx

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  22. Dave,

    There seems to be some movement in the Clinton camp to favoring a revote

    http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/03/top_hillary_supporter_bill_nel.php

    Historiann,

    Markos is now pushing Clinton is racebaiting at the Daily Kos

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/5/14345/50395/126/469746

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/5/131156/5021/187/469677

    Needless to say, I find this revolting. Usually, the A list bloggers try to keep their Hillary hatred under control while the comments section are rife with it. As far as I know, he is the first to openly cross the line.

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  23. Thanks, BEW–I had meant to say that earlier. I listened to Ed Schultz on my run this morning, and he was talking about how Clinton was open to a re-vote. I think it’s the only fair way to do it. Perhaps the 2 campaigns could split the cost of the do-over primaries, since they’re both so flush, and since Democrats are so fired up this year!

    I’ve seen the stuff about Kos. I think this is just more evidence that the blogosphere is really dominated by younger men, who are a key Obama constituency. They’ve really driven away a lot of friends and allies with their overheated attacks on Clinton. I just don’t think they get at all what this election or the world looks like to anyone but themselves, and they don’t seem able to admit that there’s any other opinion someone might hold that’s honest and unmotivated by ill will. I think because *they* might fall apart in the event of a Clinton nomination, they’re convinced that the whole party will fall apart, but that’s just not the case. Most Democrats support both candidates remaining in the primary race, and most Democrats like and will accept either one as the eventual nominee.

    After what happened in 2000, will they really be so foolish as to fall for the Nader line that there’s no difference between the Democratic and Republican nominees? (It’s interesting to me that Democratic women don’t make that claim quite as often–you know, the people with uteruses who might conclude that there are indeed meaningful and important differences in terms of sex education, contraception, and abortion politics.)

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  24. Ann,

    Re: the ad. That’s fair, I suppose. I interpreted it differently but, after reading Sullivan’s post today, and blogging about it, I’m going to accept that my interpretation was probably overdone. I don’t like those kinds of ads, but I guess when there’s a black candidate in the race there is a temptation to over-analyze.

    I hope Clinton does agree to a re-vote. If she does, I don’t see how or why Obama would refuse.

    Oh, and I adore you too. I’m glad I found a site where we can try to talk politics in a sane and intelligent manner.

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  25. Thanks! (I just wish more of my lurkers would join us! And you know who I’m talking about!)

    Sully’s post was truly over-the-top. If Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens are against you, then that’s pretty good evidence to me that she must be doing something right! Sheesh.

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