Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ferraro on going to the wrong school

Here's an excerpt from Ferraro's Boston Globe editorial:
[Reagan Democrats] don't identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate.
Yet she expects them to identify with Clinton, someone who went to Yale Law School and is married to a another Yale Law graduate. Oh, and he's also a former two-term President of the United States. That's so much more down to earth. I guess Yale is now the school of regular old workin' class white folk. Who knew. Next time someone accuses me of being a an elitist snob, I'll just say, "No way, dude! I went to Yale! That makes me a regular guy with whom even a Reagan Democrat could identify." Except I probably wouldn't use the "with whom" construction, as it might sound effete.

It amazes me how divorced from reality these comparisons about who is "elite" and "out of touch" are. Does Ferraro really think that Reagan Democrats would flock to Obama if he had gone to a public university?

Different groups of people identify with different candidates to varying degrees. It think Democrats fetishize the working class white voter a bit too much. Yes, it's an important demographic. And, yes, I wish Obama performed better among Appalachian while voters. But other people are just as important. And they're votes count just as much. And Obama does very well among lots of groups of people. Including non-rich white people in many states.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Why are polling sample sizes so small?

More from the same article referred to in my previous post:

The reason for the differences is not hard to find. American polling organisations tend to rely on relatively small samples (certainly judged by British standards) for their results, often somewhere between 500 and 700 likely voters, compared to the more usual 1000-2000-plus for British national polls. The recent New York Times poll that gave Obama a 12 per cent lead was based on interviews with just 283 people. For a country the size of the United States, this is the equivalent to stopping a few people at random in the street, or throwing darts at a board. Given that American political life is generally so cut-throat, you might think there was room for a polling organisation that sought a competitive advantage by using the sort of sample sizes that produce relatively accurate results. Why on earth does anyone pay for this rubbish?

The answer is that in an election like this one, the polls aren’t there to tell the real story; they are there to support the various different stories that the commentators want to tell. The market is not for the hard truth, because the hard truth this time round is that most people are voting with the predictability of prodded animals. What the news organisations and blogs and roving pundits want are polls that suggest the voters are thinking hard about this election, arguing about it, making up their minds, talking it through, because that’s what all the commentators like to think they are doing themselves. This endless raft of educated opinion needs to be kept afloat on some data indicating that it matters what informed people say about politics, because it helps the voters to decide which way to jump. If you keep the polling sample sizes small enough, you can create the impression of a public willing to be moved by what other people are saying. That’s why the comment industry pays for this rubbish.

The Democratic primary in a nutshell

I like this opinion:
The salient fact about this campaign is that demography trumps everything: people have been voting in fixed patterns set by age, race, gender, income and educational level, and the winner in the different contests has been determined by the way these different groups are divided up within and between state boundaries. Anyone who knows how to read the census data (and that includes some of the smart, tech-savvy types around Obama) has had a good idea of how this was going to play from the outset. All the rest is noise.
Pretty much everything in the Democratic primary has happened according to expectations. Except for maybe the fact that Clinton is hanging on longer and making dumber arguments than people thought she would. But none of the actual primary results have been that surprising.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

California voters narrowly support gay marriage

For the first time, a poll of Californians shows a majority support gay marriage:
For the first time in over three decades of polling on the issue of same-sex marriage laws, The Field Poll finds more California voters approving than disapproving of allowing same-sex couples the right to marry and having regular marriage laws apply to them. In a survey completed May 17-26 among a random sample of 1,052 registered voters the idea of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry is now approved by a 51% to 42% margin statewide.
I think that anti-gay marriage ballot initiative is going to have a hard time. By November, there will a lot of actual marriages. Some of them will include famous people (Ellen DeGeneres, George Takei) I think some people who might otherwise vote against gay marriage will think twice about invalidating already existing marriages.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't fight it hard, though.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Our lame-ass media

Former Bush spokesperson Scott McClellan (via Glenn Greenwald):
If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.

The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. . . . In this case, the "liberal media" didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.

John Cole:
Thanks for speaking up so early, when we could do something about all the lies you witnessed. Dick.
I think in order to salvage yourself, you had to bail out of the Bush administration and do your tell-all book long before May 2008. I'm not sure when the cut-off point was. But we're long past it now. You score no points for throwing a deeply unpopular lame duck under the bus.

4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons books: They're here!

You'd never want to download them in torrent form before they appear in stores June 7th.

Anti gay marriage ballot initiative: amendment or revision?

Apparently, it matters a great deal whether the proposed California anti gay marriage ballot initiative is an amendment or a revision to the California constitution:

[...] California citizens can amend the Constitution by ballot initiative, but they cannot change the fundamental parts of it (such as fundamental rights granted, and fundamental workings of the government) by ballot initiative. Changes of that scale are called revisions, and revisions can only be accomplished by a constitutional convention and popular ratification of the changes made by the convention, or by the Legislature passing the change and submitting it to the electorate for popular ratification.

With the CA Supreme Court ruling on May 15th, marriage was reaffirmed as a fundamental right in California, and furthermore, sexual orientation was placed into a protected category, subject to strict scrutiny. Therefore, a ballot initiative cannot take away that fundamental right, because that kind of a change is a revision of the Constitution, necessitating a constitutional convention. Additionally, any attempt to do so will come under the heading of strict scrutiny, which means that the government must show a compelling reason why it is excluding people from marriage. That cannot be done; there is no compelling reason. Ron George and his fellow justices made sure that they eliminated those arguments in their majority opinion.

Question: isn't it weird that you can amend the California constitution with a ballot initiative that only has to pass by a simple majority? (Am I right about that?) Shouldn't it be harder to amend the constitution than that? The federal constitution requires 2/3 of each legislature and 3/4 of all state legislatures (if I remember my civics correctly). It seems to me that it should be harder to amend the California constitution than to simply pass a ballot initiative. Are there progressive causes that should be taking advantage of this?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Too wacky for McCain, but not for Lieberman

Lieberman joins up with Hagee, who said that Hitler was God's instrument to chase the Jews into Israel. This is a guy McCain ran away from.

Can all of us Ned Lamont supporters now shout out a big "We told you so!"? Yes.

I like Atrios' quote:
The alliance between right wing Jews and Christian lovers of Israel until it is destroyed in a fiery apocalypse and all the Jews go to hell has always been a wee bit puzzling, but one would've thought that asserting that the holocaust was all part of God's divine plan would perhaps strain that relationship a bit.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Obama's fundraising reports so big they break Excel

From Political Wire:
"A milestone of sorts was reached earlier this year, when Obama, the Illinois senator whose revolutionary online fundraising has overwhelmed Clinton, filed an electronic fundraising report so large it could not be processed by popular basic spreadsheet applications."
Well, Excel isn't mentioned by name, but what other "popular basic spreadsheet applications" are there?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Calculate the "walk score" of your address

How walk-friendly is your address? My home is 82 out of 100. My work is 85.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Clinton superdelegates switching to Obama

C'mon Clinton. The writing's been on the wall for some time now. The sooner you concede and start unifying the party, the faster the healing can begin. Your declared superdelegates are starting to switch to Obama:

The endorsement by US Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-California) of Obama today sends an extremely firm message to the Clinton campaign, and not only because he was, until today, a Clinton superdelegate.

The Field has learned that Cardoza is the first of a group of at least 40 Clinton delegates, many of them from California, that through talking among themselves came to a joint decision that all of them would vote for Obama at the convention. They have informed Senator Clinton that it’s time to unite around Obama, and that they will be coming out, one or two at a time, and announcing their switch between now and the convention if Senator Clinton doesn’t do the same.

And by the way, what's this about Clinton mentioning RFK's assassination as a reason not to drop out? What does that have to do with anything? Very strange. Especially inappropriate given Ted Kennedy's recent diagnosis. Weird. Let's wrap this up.

UPDATE: People are not happy about Clinton's latest reference to RFK and assassination.

Keith Olbermann on DailyKos:
Those words, Senator?
You actually invoked the nightmare of political assassination.
You actually invoked the spectre of an inspirational leader, at the seeming moment of triumph, for himself and a battered nation yearning to breathe free, silenced forever.
You actually used the word "assassination" in the middle of a campaign with a loud undertone of racial hatred -- and gender hatred -- and political hatred.
You actually used the word "assassination" in a time when there is a fear, unspoken but vivid and terrible, that our again-troubled land and fractured political landscape might target a black man running for president.
Or a white man.
Or a white woman!
You actually used those words, in this America, Senator while running against an African-American against whom the death threats started the moment he declared his campaign?
You actually used those words, in this America, Senator, while running to break your "greatest glass ceiling" and claiming there are people who would do anything to stop you?
Senator -- never mind the implications of using the word "assassination" in any connection to Senator Obama...
What about you?
You cannot say this!
John Cole on Balloon Juice:
Pretty amazing. Hillary is now claiming that she is partially justified staying in the race because let’s face it- someone might kill Obama.
Delaware Dem on DailyKos:

It is now obvious you have considered Obama's murder as a political possibility and a reason to prolong our disunity.

And that makes you immoral. And unfit to lead. It reveals that you have no character.

It makes me not want you in my political party.

So get out, Senator Clinton. Get out of this race. Now.

Yes, I am shoving you out, because you deserve it.

I don't go so far as Delaware Dem in my negative reaction. But it was very creepy and weird.

Clinton has apologized.

More reactions.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Clinton's complete cynicism re: Flordia

I'm going to keep posting videos like this one until Clinton stops making these ludicrous arguments about Florida and Michigan that completely contradict her campaign's earlier pledges on the matter.

Clinton, you have a right to stay in the race (I still think it's a bad idea). But stop saying incredibly stupid things. It's deeply insulting, and it's driving our discourse into stupidland. You're driving people crazy. You had so much goodwill from so many Democrats (including me) and you're pissing it away and it won't do you a lick of good.

You could make yourself into an incredible hero right now by putting a fork in all this. Or if you want to keep running, be honorable about it.

The Repudiator

I must applaud McCain for rejecting another hate-spewing preacher. Perhaps with McCain there will be a line drawn between the Republican party and batshit apocalyptic hate-filled versions of Christianity. Let us hope. (I first griped about McCain getting a pass on Hagee at the beginning of March...oh wait, here's an earlier example.)

Could it be that the media is getting bored of Clinton's endless goalpost shifting and starting to turn a skeptical eye on McCain?

McCain rejects Hagee endorsement

Thank goodness there's a limit to right wing Christian-flavored nuttiness that Republicans can safely associate with. McCain has rejected Hagee's endorsement. I suspect this statement that recently surfaced on YouTube had something to do with it:

I'm just relieved that there is a line that a right winger can cross and get shunned by mainstream Republican politicians. I was beginning to think it didn't exist.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Clinton: Michigan primary won't count for anything

Of course, that was back in October.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brooks is right on this one: Farm bill a disgrace, why is Obama supporting it?

Ezra Klein:
Read David Brooks on the Farm Bill. And keep reading even after he begins to slam Obama and praise McCain. Frankly, McCain, in opposing this bill and agitating for a bottom-up reworking of it, exhibited much more political courage than either Obama or Clinton, both of whom bought into an inchoate porkfest. Obama's statement on the bill did include some gestures towards the legislation's myriad failings, but as a presidential candidate with a national spotlight, he could've slammed the thing and actually argued for a better bill, and with McCain doing much the same, Republicans couldn't have made him suffer for it.
Obama, if you're candidacy is about change, this sort of mindless agribusiness porkfest is exactly the sort of thing that should be changed.

Obama has clinched lead in pledged delegates

With the results from Orgeon and Kentucky, Obama has now secured an insurmountable lead in pledged delegates. Obama also leads in declared superdelegates, according to the counter at DailyKos: 304.5 to 277.5.

I renew my call for Clinton to concede. I understand many people have fought hard for her, but she has lost. Every day Clinton stays in this race, she looks a little more ridiculous, a little more selfish, a little more deluded. I think the long primary has been a net positive for the Democratic party, but the benefits are rapidly decreasing. She still has a chance to salvage her legacy, but every day she stays in she makes that job a little bit harder.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Live long, and prosper

George Takei, who played Sulu on the original Star Trek series, is getting married:
Our California dream is reality. Brad Altman and I can now marry. We are overjoyed! At long last, the barrier to full marriage rights for same-sex couples has been torn down. We are equal with all citizens of our state!

The California Supreme Court has ruled that all Californians have a fundamental right to marry the person he or she loves. Brad and I have shared our lives together for over 21 years. We've worked in partnership; he manages the business side of my career and I do the performing. We've traveled the world together from Europe to Asia to Australia. We've shared the good times as well as struggled through the bad. He helped me care for my ailing mother who lived with us for the last years of her life. He is my love and I can't imagine life without him. Now, we can have the dignity, as well as all the responsibilities, of marriage. We embrace it all heartily.
Via Towleroad via Sullivan. Here's an advantage California has when advocating for gay marriage: A lot of celebrities live in California. People have an affinity for celebrities, and I don't think they would want to prevent them from getting married, or vote to invalidate their marriages. Not everyone will have this reaction, of course. But I think these celebrity gay marriages will go a long way towards normalizing the idea in people's minds.

So far, George Takei and Ellen DeGeneres have announced. Who will be next?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why so much difficulty for people in college?

Here's a depressing article by "Professor X" in The Atlantic. The author is an intro English teacher at a community college who encounters large numbers of people who just can't do the necessary work:
The bursting of our collective bubble comes quickly. A few weeks into the semester, the students must start actually writing papers, and I must start grading them. Despite my enthusiasm, despite their thoughtful nods of agreement and what I have interpreted as moments of clarity, it turns out that in many cases it has all come to naught.

Remarkably few of my students can do well in these classes. Students routinely fail; some fail multiple times, and some will never pass, because they cannot write a coherent sentence.

Here's a response from Kevin Carey:
This is a common problem in education, both K-12 and higher, wherein we take the students with the greatest educational needs, give them the fewest resources and the worst education, and then call their failure inevitable. Here are some alternative suggestions:

How about not shunting the Ms. L's of the world into, in Prof. X's words, the "colleges of last resort" ? He talks of "the adjunct instructor, who by the nature of his job teaches the worst students." How about that not being the nature of his job? He says "the rooms in which we study have been used all day, and are filthy." How about cleaning them? How about not using adult education as a profit center, and instead investing that money in better adult education? Professor X says of his department chairpersons, "They don't mention all those students who have failed my courses, and I don't bring them up." How about mentioning them? How about bringing them up?
Via Matt Yglesias:
This [the fact that many people who go to college fail] is all true, but there are basically two ways of looking at the upshot. One would be to say that we have too many people starting college. Another would be to say that we need to do a better job of preparing more people for college. The growth in the wage premium associated with a college degree suggests the latter option to me. The fact that many European countries now have a higher proportion of people graduating from college also suggests the same to me. There's also the fact that currently at the college level we devote the most resources to the best prepared students while the worst-prepared students get the least resources (that's clear from Professor X's article) even though the objective level of need runs in the other direction.

Friday, May 16, 2008

How Obama is changing politics

This Atlantic article about Obama's Silicon Valley culture-inspired campaign is very interesting. This information jumped out at me:
In February, the Obama campaign reported that 94 percent of their donations came in increments of $200 or less, versus 26 percent for Clinton and 13 percent for McCain. Obama’s claim of 1,276,000 donors through March is so large that Clinton doesn’t bother to compete; she stopped regularly providing her own number last year.

“If the typical Gore event was 20 people in a living room writing six-figure checks,” Gorenberg told me, “and the Kerry event was 2,000 people in a hotel ballroom writing four-figure checks, this year for Obama we have stadium rallies of 20,000 people who pay absolutely nothing, and then go home and contribute a few dollars online.”
Bottom up, rather than top-down. That is important. If we can't get money out of politics, at least the money can come from a broad base. Now, Obama has an enormous incentive to keep a huge number of small donors happy, rather than a small number of huge donors. That sounds like progress to me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gay marriage verdict

Download it here.

Key verbiage:

We therefore conclude that although the provisions of the current domestic partnership legislation afford same-sex couples most of the substantive elements embodied in the constitutional right to marry, the current California statutes nonetheless must be viewed as potentially impinging upon a same-sex couple’s constitutional right to marry under the California Constitution.

I think this means they're ruling in favor of gay marriage in California.

Yes, I guess I was right. You heard it here first folks, just 7 min after release.

From Tenant508 on DailyKos, who is slogging through the document:
"To the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional."

Why it won't work to air drop aid to Burma

Barbara Stocking:

Without good intelligence it's very hard to run an effective humanitarian operation - especially an airborne one. It would be only too easy to drop the food miles from the nearest village, or even in water or swamp. Food is perishable and leaving it outside for too long could ruin it. You can't drop a well or a sanitation system from the sky without specialists to set it up. Communities could find themselves with aid completely inappropriate to their situation.

The final stage of food aid distribution is often the most difficult in the whole operation. Aid workers don't turn up at a starving, desperate village with a truck full of food without having organised the trip with village elders or officials first. Things can easily go wrong when giving food to hungry people, and there have to be staff on the ground to organise the process. There are other problems too. Arriving unannounced could lead to a riot, with the strongest getting the food and the weakest leaving with nothing. Crowd control is vital.

Without these precautions the aid would be very unlikely to go to the people who need it most. There are already concerns about the effectiveness of aid and there is nothing to stop the local criminals taking air dropped aid and selling it on for profit. Conflicts between communities, ethnic groups and the rich and poor would be exacerbated. It is impossible to monitor and control the distribution of air drops and ensure the most vulnerable people actually receive the aid.

How true...

From Bryan via Facebook.

California Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage at 10am tomorrow

I hope they rule in favor of it. The legislature has passed it twice, only to have it be vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Marc Ambinder:

The State Supreme Court decision comes down at 10 am PT (1pm ET), and the pro-gay marriage side is very hopeful that they'll be victorious. The court's ruling will determine whether the state's voter initiated ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. If it is, California could be the second state in the union to legalize gay marriage. John McCain, as you'll recall, opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment on federalism grounds but has hinted that he might change his mind if state courts start overturning people-initiated decisions on gay rights. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed same-sex marriage legislation because he wanted to defer to the court's ruling; he has since told a gay rights group that he opposes a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage. Six of the seven justices were appointed by Republicans.

Some gay rights activists are worried about a ruling in favor of gay marriage because they fear the potential political backlash -- locally and nationally -- that would result. And California has a very strong civil unions law, which gives gay people virtually every state-granted right that married couples have access to. What the court is really dealing with here is whether whether the deprivation of the word "marriage" is in and of itself a constitutional harm.

Edwards Endorses Obama

Photo: Jae C. Hong/Associated Press via the New York Times
(HT: Grishnash via email.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Democrats triumph in deeply Republican district

I don't want to go so far as to say that this is the end of the Republican Party, because it's not. But this is as bad news as the GOP could possibly get at this point. They lost a district that leans 6 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in Illinois in March. They lost a district that leans 7 points more Republican than the nation as a whole earlier this month in Louisiana. Now they lost a district that leans 10 points more Republican than the nation as a whole in Mississippi. If they can't win in Mississippi's first congressional district, where can they win?
Childers won by eight points in a district that went 63% for Bush in 2004.

Democrats kick ass!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

McCain and Bush providing disaster relief to Katrina victims

It's very reassuring, when contemplating the disastrous cyclone in Burma and the catastrophic earthquake in Sichuan province, China, that should such a horrible natural disaster ever strike the United States of America, our President Bush and his Republican allies would leap into action immediately to prevent our citizens from coming to harm. For example, here are McCain and Bush, four days after Katrina hit, bravely navigating the flooded chaos that New Orleans had become, saving people from drowning and coordinating disaster relief efforts...

...oh wait, they're not anywhere near the Gulf Coast. Instead they're posing for a photo op in Arizona for McCain's birthday (via on Not Brit on DailyKos).

That didn't take long

As predicted, McCain's other staffer with a history of lobbying for the Burmese junta resigned yesterday. I called that one, though it was pretty obvious it was going to happen. I'm wondering if this will spread. Who else out there did PR for the current rulers of Burma?

(I'm calling it Burma rather than Myanmar. Myanmar is the official name. But it was the current junta that changed the name to Myanmar. So calling the nation "Burma" is a sort of a political poke in the eye to them.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

McCain campaign employs those who lobbied for Burmese junta

Apparently, McCain's campaign employed Doug Goodyear, the CEO of DCI, a lobbying firm that in 2002 worked for the Burmese junta. (The same one that is letting its own citizens die rather than let foreign aid workers come in to help.) Newsweek just published an article pointing this out, and Doug Goodyear quickly resigned. But apparently Doug Davenport, who was head of lobbying at DCI when it was working for the Burmese junta, is still a regional director for McCain's campaign.

How long before Doug Davenport resigns, too? I bet not long.

I'm not sure how much these kinds of bad past associations should count, but it does seem like lobbying on the behalf of oppressive military dictators should be considered something negative. I wonder how many other people involved in the presidential race, both Democratic and Republican, have these kinds of associations.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nelson Mandela on terrorist watch list

That's not an Onion headline. Can we get some competent government, please? Perhaps not:
WASHINGTON — Nobel Peace Prize winner and international symbol of freedom Nelson Mandela is flagged on U.S. terrorist watch lists and needs special permission to visit the USA. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls the situation "embarrassing," and some members of Congress vow to fix it.

The requirement applies to former South African leader Mandela and other members of South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC), the once-banned anti-Apartheid organization. In the 1970s and '80s, the ANC was officially designated a terrorist group by the country's ruling white minority. Other countries, including the United States, followed suit.

Because of this, Rice told a Senate committee recently, her department has to issue waivers for ANC members to travel to the USA.

How about instead of issuing waivers, we just take the ANC off the terrorist group list? At least Secretary Rice has the decency to be embarrassed. Maybe this is a job for Maestro, Internal Monologue's super-secret government contact.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The psychogeography of the United States

Very interesting:

But what about the country's psychogeography? You know, the great river of extroversion that flows roughly southeast from greater Chicago to southern Florida? Or the vast lakes of agreeableness and conscientiousness that pool together in the Sun Belt, especially around Atlanta? Or the jagged peaks of neuroticism in Boston and New York?

It's time to learn.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

How fast the conventional wisdom shifts...

Really, the speed with which this is all happening is pretty amazing. The MSM spends weeks supporting a misleading horserace narrative, then all at once they decide it's over.

The bit has flipped

All of a sudden, the mainstream media has decided that Hillary Clinton can't win the Democratic nomination:

While I think this is a sensible view, I am baffled as to what triggered it. Yes, Obama got more delegates from the North Carolina and Indiana contests than Clinton did. That's pretty much what everyone expected to happen. We didn't really learn anything new. What were people expecting? That Obama would somehow melt into a puddle of sludge? Suddenly, people are on television talking about delegate math and how it's completely impossible for Clinton. The blogosphere (including this blog) has been saying that for weeks. Did Matt Drudge finally look at a delegate count spreadsheet, setting off a mainstream media stampede towards a new common wisdom? Was there some back room deal where media bigwigs told Clinton, "OK, we'll pretend there's a race for now, but if Obama isn't struck by lightning before March 7th, we're ending this charade."?

Who knows. But I feel proud that Internal Monologue got this around March 10, while it took all the highly-paid famous people much longer to come to the same realization. Go blogosphere!

P.S.: Intrade update: Obama 90.4, Clinton 8.5.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The media hasn't been covering the race

Chris Bowers on Open Left makes a very good point:
The established media was never covering the nomination campaign. The simple fact is that is that the media was never covering the campaign according to the structure and rules of the campaign. The Democratic Presidential nomination campaign is not, and has never been, about "winning" states according to the popular vote of a given state. It is, instead, about winning delegates according to a series of complex rules that are based more on congressional district results and margins of victory than on winning states. They have been covering the wrong concepts all along.
Looking at my blog, I realize I've made this mistake, too. To make up for it, I'll post this delegate counter from the top of DailyKos:

Obama 1,490.5 255 1,745.5 279
Clinton 1,339.5 269.5 1,609 415.5
Remaining 404 270.5 674.5
(2,024.5 delegates needed for victory)

Clinton's latest e-mail blast doesn't ask for money

Marc Ambinder has it:

Tonight's victory in Indiana was close, and a margin that narrow means just one thing: every single thing you did to help us win in Indiana helped make the difference.

Every call you made, every friend you spoke to about our campaign, every dollar you contributed made tonight's victory possible. And I couldn't be more thankful for your hard work.

Every time we've celebrated a victory, we've celebrated it together. And tonight is no exception. This victory is your victory, this campaign is your campaign, and your support has been the difference between winning and losing.

Thank you so much for making this campaign possible. Let's keep making history together.


Hillary Rodham Clinton

Kos mentions that Olbermann noted that there was no request for money in that email. I'm not sure how much to read into that.

Well, we're still not sure about the popular vote in Indiana, but I think it's a difference of 1 delegate that's at stake.

I don't think it will matter at this point.

Pundits start calling the race for Obama

Drudge, Tim Russert, and Chuck Todd saying Obama the nominee? Sullivan:
The whole race. Big balls, our Matt. Big brain too. And you have to wonder if someone has told him something. He's got great sources in the Clinton camp. Russert is also reporting that Clinton has canceled all morning television appearances.
Emphasis mine.


A few things:

Russert: Hillary Clinton has cancelled all her morning appearances.

Chuck Todd is the smartest political analyst on TV. And funny too: "We're [staying late] for one delegate."

Props to all the networks that resisted the urge to call Indiana early. CBS has made an ass out of itself by calling the race when the numbers didn't warrant it.

Obama retook what he lost in Pennsylvania in the popular vote. That argument is now absent from the Clinton bag of tricks.

The media narrative is clear: It's over.


Update: All the talk on MSNBC is about who will break it to the Clintons that it's over.

Emphasis mine.

Indiana for Clinton, North Carolina for Obama

Grishnash (via email) points out that even if Obama pulls ahead of Clinton in the Indiana popular vote, he'll still not get as many delegates as her. Apparently, this is because delegates are awarded by district or some other subdivision, not by overall vote count.

Gary, Indiana's late reporting and statements by its mayor are making people nervous. Why so late with the count? It makes people think something fishy is happening.

In any case, Obama will get more delegates than Clinton. Again, these results are pretty much what people expected, with Obama maybe doing a little bit better. And again, every time thing proceed normally, that's very bad for Clinton. I think even the MSM is beginning to catch on that she doesn't have a realistic shot at this. On Intrade, The Obama contract is back up to 86.2, and the Clinton contract is down to 11.3.

Contempt for humanity

Depressing. This is an email to Sullivan from an Indiana Democratic primary voter:
I went to the polls to vote today in a blue collar suburb in the Chicago media market, and what I saw afterward wasn't pretty. My mom and I got done pushing the button for Obama and decided to go to a Main Street diner for breakfast before reporting late to work. What did I hear? The following, utterly depressing "Quotes for the Day": "If he's the nominee, you know his running mate will be Farrakhan." "I had no problem with him until I found out he was a Muslim."
I'm a pretty easygoing guy, and I often avoid confrontation like the plague, but that last one sent me straight out of my comfort zone. From my booth across the dining room, I piped up and objected, saying that he wasn't a Muslim, that it was an email smear, and blatantly untrue. I was prepared to deflect any bullshit defenses hurled my way. But I never got one. What I got in response was depressing (but expected) in its illogic: "Well, I can't take that chance."
Those people at that diner are part of our human family. The differences between them and me are infinitesimal when one gets any kind of perspective on things. And yet the first thing that comes into my head when I read this was: all of humanity deserves to die. This kind of stupidity is somehow not just an indictment of the stupid people themselves, but of all humanity. I guess the logic is something like this: given that some humans turn out to be such ignoramuses, it really isn't safe to continue producing the model. Yes, many humans are pretty functional and some are even incredible. But clearly the basic design is deeply flawed and should be chucked.

And the sad thing is, those are probably good people spouting such ignorant crap.

There are plenty of reasons one might vote for Clinton over Obama. Many of them are good reasons. Thinking that Obama is a Muslim is not one of them.

If people are going to be bigoted about Obama, could they please have the good sense to be bigoted about something he actually is (e.g. black, a Democrat) rather than something he isn't (a Muslim)?

Anyway, maybe my expectations of humanity are too high. No doubt there are things I'm completely ignorant of, and others would be equally appalled at my lack of knowledge. Still, this kind of thing kicks up my alienation meter quite a bit.

Their reality has lapped our satire, again

The Pentagon wants to spend $5 billion dollars to turn the Green Zone in Baghdad into a swank tourist destination. Tip to the Pentagon: Maybe you should spend your money providing things like electricity first. If this thing does get built, won't it be target practice for every insurgent rocket and mortar team within range? The Green Zone already gets attacked fairly regularly.

This whole occupation is just sickening. And it's sickening that our politics is so dysfunctional that we aren't leaving, despite the fact that there's considerable public support for doing so. We don't even have a plan to leave. Why are we making Iraq's civil war our problem? Who in their right mind would want to stick their military into the middle of that? Sigh.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Anybody got the TIME?

Apparently, my me and my family are pictured in this week's TIME magazine. It's a full page ad for the Unitarian Universalist church. I checked three stores near here and none of them had it, so if anyone sees it let me know.

Also, if anyone can point me to a pdf of the issue, that would be cool, too.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Democrats pick up House seat in Louisiana

Democrats win a special election in Louisiana's 6th district. With all the focus on the Democratic presidential primary, it's easy to lose focus on congressional races which are extremely important.

If you want to make your political dollars go further, my guess is that it's probably more efficient to donate to congressional races than to the presidential campaigns. The overall amounts of money are so much lower. You can make much more of a difference in a lower-profile race. ActBlue is a good place to look if you want to find a good place for your progressive dollar. I will still contribute to the presidential campaign. But I'll also try to point out some important congressional races, too.

I've been tempted recently to contribute to Obama, but I think I'm going to stick with the idea of waiting until the Democrats have their nominee and then contribute.

And remember, give early. Giving money to a candidate a week before an election just means more TV ads, which people are sick of by then anyway. Early money means more staff on the ground, better outreach, better fund raising buzz, etc.

By the way, it appears that Obama won Guam by seven caucus votes.

Friday, May 02, 2008

My lovely wife now has a food blog

Want to know what the author of Internal Monologue and his family eat? Check out Food Not "Food", my wife's culinary blog at

The pizza tonight was great, as was last night's mushroom popover.

Daily Show on abstinence only

Thursday, May 01, 2008

This sort of thinking pisses me off

From one of Sullivan's readers, a young person threatening to quit politics:
I'll just put that out there. If Obama is done in by this whole Wright thing I am done with politics. I can't invest myself in something that is so sure to disappoint me time and time and time again. If the Democratic party decides that it can not risk nominating a great and decent African American man because his pastor is a scary African American man, it does not deserve power because it will have caved to what is worst about America. Racists on both sides of the divide will rejoice at having taking down the biggest threat to their belief system since Martin Luther King....and young people like myself will burrow deeper into to the holes we were in before Barack Obama dug us out.
No, no no no no! That's exactly the sort of attitude that would reward those who are trying to defeat Obama with a wave of divisive Rovian nonsense. Those forces this young reader decries want young voters to "burrow deeper into the holes [they] were in". They'd like nothing better than for a generation of potential activists to get all pouty and abandon politics. It would be so much better if young people said, "Every time I hear a campaign use a racist smear against Obama, I'm going to give another dollar (or nickel, or whatever makes sense) to his campaign, or spend another minute volunteering for it." When people express the kind of sentiment displayed by the quote above, don't they realize that they're completely shooting themselves in the foot, and empowering the very forces of sleaze that disgust them so?

When politics is disappointing, that's the time to get more active, more involved, more vocal. If the current Democratic party was a great steward of American progress, and did a great job combating Republican insanity, then we wouldn't need activists, bloggers, and progressive politicians to whip it into fighting shape. It's because our politics are so broken and disgusting that we need more people scrutinizing, criticizing, and changing how things are done in this country. I got active because the Bush administration was pissing me off so much.

If you want someone to stop shitting on your country, you don't say "If you keep shitting on my country, it's going to stink so bad that I'm going to run away and hide". You say, "I'm going to get your stinky ass out of office if it's the last thing I do!" And you work to make sure that those who are replacing the shitters are less shitty. Anything else is just surrender.

When you step back and think about it, it's an enormous accomplishment that Obama has come as far as he has. And I think he's going to win. And if he doesn't, I'm not burrowing into any holes.