Thursday, January 31, 2008

Hilary Clinton on Hallmark Channel

Apparently, Clinton is going to buy an hour of time on the Hallmark Channel to broadcast a townhall meeting on Super Tuesday eve. It may have a significant impact on the voting decisions of the six women who watch the channel.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Fury Of The On-Line Clintonista Army

In the last few days or so, I have come to know the odious writings of Taylor Marsh. I am officially neutral on the deocratic primary; I think they are all good and all have their strengths and weaknesses. But, I find it telling the differences between the supporters of the two leading Dems.

Obama's supporters tend to be true believers, for better or worse. With a doe-eyed, almost cultish devotion, they think everything he does is almost messianic. Frankly, while he has a good message, they might benefit their candidate by demanding more and being a tad cynical; after all the press that shapes the narrative is fueled on cynicism. For those nihilists, hope is an anachronism.

But the virulent hatred by Taylor Marsh, a leading Clinton-supporting blogger. Her anger crosses over to the comical, albeit the depressing kind. Some examples:

  • On the Nevada caucus: "There's nothing dainty about Las Vegas but things are getting rough. Intimidation. Pledges demanded. People to vote for Obama or stay away from the caucus. Call this union vs. the casino workers." What is the empirical data? "I just did an interview with a Culinary union member who was intimidated while eating lunch in the cafeteria at work." One member out of 60,000 members of the NV Culinary Workers Union consitutes union thuggery for Obama? More like silly blogger demagoguery.
  • On Obama saying there is something to be learned from Reagan's candidacy, she wrote "Least we forget, [Reagan] sent us into Lebanon, then when we got creamed and Marines killed, immediately parachuted out, which is the first incident Obama bin Laden uses to make his care that the U.S. is an easy mark and won't make a stand if challenged." Obama bin Laden? Stay classy, Ms. Marsh (note: if you think that is a simple typo, note how far the B is from the S on your keyboard.)
  • If you think she's a class act, check out her crew of commentators. This is one commentator, JoeCHI's thoughtful analysis of Obama: "What a fucktard!"
  • Another ironically called "Merry" has this insightful analysis of Obama: "Mr. Mimic is a Repuglican." Whatever that means.
  • A progressive who calls themself BluePuppy had this to say about the NV Culinary Workers constituency: "How many of the Culinary workers are in the country legally? Can they vote?" At the same time, Clinton surrogates are trying to plant the seed that Latinos should not vote for Obama because he's, you know...

Selective editing? Perhaps, but I defy you to find much positive on the site.

Obama represents a new, fresh form of politics, that eschews the politics of hate and division, and seeks to build a working progressive majority. Some folks embrace that. I am certainly considering it.

For some folks, ironically, the change Obama offers incenses. This anger comes from having been marginalized for so long. An it is irrational, unnecessarily anatagonistic hatred. But they think their anger at what has been done to them can fuel a movement. It cannot. Their bitterness is a terrain that while populated, is not most folks destination of choice. After all, I would have no significant problem with Clinton winning, but these advocates diminish my enthusiasm for her considerably. And, this kind of angry nonsense surely turns off the independents and Republicans that might consider voting for a Dem.

The conduct of more aggresive wing of Clinton's online army has been unbecoming. Tearing down usually arise when you aren't that good at building something.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

No "Bradley Effect" -- It Was Girl Power

As the navel gazers try and figure out why the polls were so wrong in the democratic New Hampshire primary, some are nodding towards the so-called "Bradley Effect." The term references a governor's race in California in the early 1980s where black gubenatorial candidate Tom Bradley was up 10 points in the pre-election polls only to lose by a few points. Some analysts claim that people were unwilling to sound racist during phone polling, but were gladly willing to express it in the voting booth.

There are several problems with the application of this theory to what happened in New Hampshire. First, and perhaps most importantly, the theory might be bullshit. I doubt a 10-12 point swing can be explained by image-conscious whites being to cowardly to express their true polling preferences. Another problem with the theory is that it assumes that racial attitudes are static over time and comparable state-by-state (i.e., th relative size and views of racists in CA are the same as those in NH). There is simply not enough data to intelligently discuss the issue.

Further, the pre-primary support for Obama (36-37%) was the same as the actual result. I think its pretty obvious that the combination obsessive-mysogynistic coverage of Clinton drove women towards a solidarity vote. Further the Clinton folks adjusted their campaign brilliantly, focusing on turning out the woman vote in a state where the female portion of the electorate is significantly above 50%.

There was a sense of detached entitlement to the Obama campaign in the pre-primary days that made his team oblivious to the developments on the ground. Crowds are not votes, no matter how loud they may be. There was probably more curiousity than support at some rallies. Team Obama conducted themselves like all they had to do was not fuck up, and the people would come. The five days between Iowa and New Hampshire Clinton had plenty of time to adjust to a winning strategy, which she did (barely -- claiming a two point victory as major is Rovian spin). A tone deaf Obama campaign may not, however, had enough time to adjust back. Or, without the loss, they may never had.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What I Am And How It Matters...

I have the fever. It has seeped into every pore, every bit of my marrow. The chase for the White House. Those who know me know I have a preference. Over the course of the next months, that choice will likely become obvious. Some part of it anyway.

I was talking to A (soon to be Mrs. K whether she likes the title or not!) about the New Hampshire democratic primary, well before the conventional wisdom began to explain why the conventional wisdom had been wrong. Using conventional wisdom to explore the issue. She is not a Hilary supporter generally. But, for the purposes of the primary she was. There is little question that she would have voted for HRC had she lived in NH.

I was surprised, mostly because I wasn't doing a great job of listening to her at first. When her wise and intelligent points eventually permeated my dull sense of omniscience, one thing became clear to me.

Identity politics matter still in Democratic politics. But more so for women. Hilary won off of sympathy, a powerful, not-insiginificant force in politics where women have been marginalized for centuries. It didn't help that A's first choice, John Edwards, responded to Hilary's legit emotional explanation of the tolls of campaigning with self-serving mysogyny.

Gender identity politics matter more, in my opinion, in states where there is little racial diversity. Imagine, however, the results in racially diverse states. That is where the identity politics chess becomes three dimensional, particularly for minority women who must chose race, sex or neither of the above -- rather, interest.

South Carolina, for the Dems, will be where competing identity politics will stew to a boil. What will black women do? With a pol pushing identity (HRC) and a pol pushing post-partisanship (BHO), the answer would seem obvious. But, Oprah makes clear it is not.