Monday, May 26, 2008

As a Memorial

As a memorial to those who have fallen, the ground upon which our brave young men have fought and died, has become valuable, sacred ground from which we should never retreat save only in victory.

And lest we forget, there is a war and two major fronts with which we are contending at present.  But there is news, and it is actually good news, according to Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard:

"The U.S. military is doing a lot of good these days:

The increasing success and pace of air strikes this year indicates that American spy agencies and their allies have made progress in infiltrating Al Qaeda in Pakistan, said Louis Caprioli, a former anti-terrorism chief of France's DST intelligence agency.

"You have to have good intelligence on the ground to hit a target like that," Caprioli said. "It requires human as well as technical intelligence. I think the money that the Americans are spreading around is having an effect.

"Also, there are troops in Afghanistan, prisoners being interrogated. This is a long-term effort that is paying off."

If only killing and interrogating bad guys could address the "root causes" of terrorism and the "legitimate claims" of terrorist groups.  And just imagine what the military could do if it wasn't distracted by winning the war against al Qaeda in Iraq."


Friday, May 16, 2008

How Obama Takes the Table

An Analysis on how Barack wins in November.  HT: Weekly Standard

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obama's Sexism

Barack Obama's remarks today to a Michigan TV reporter, referring to her as "sweetie," is just a little bit over the top.  Sure, people are forgiving him for the remark.  An unscientific poll on MSNBC says 70% believe it wasn't insulting at all while only 27% said it was offensive.  That tells me more about Obama's liberal stalwarts than what people really think about it.  But it sounds to me like a subliminal attitude.  And did anyone notice how John Edwards introduced his endorsement of Obama: "people need a man [for this], and the people also need a man [for that]."  Underlying message: "we don't need no woman."

Take that Hillary constituency!  It is no wonder that over 30% of Hillary voters in W. Virginia said they would vote for McCain over Obama.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Dateline: Denver

I can see it now.

Democratic Convention, Denver, Colorado, August 25 (or 26), 2008

“I nominate Barack Obama to be our candidate....”

“I nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton to be our candidate....”

“I nominate John Edwards to be our candidate....”

“I nominate Albert Arnold Gore Junior to be our favorite son candidate....”

It will seem like the good old days, when favorite sons would frequently be nominated, siphoning off a few delegates in the first round, but of course having no real impact. The process is different now, with many more delegates fixed due to the primary and caucus process. But I see this as a possible scenario

The first ballot: Obama 2000, Clinton 1950, Edwards 10, Gore 2 [TN super delegates] (approximate; however that adds up to the total)

The second ballot: about the same

The third ballot: Edwards throws support to Gore as a unity candidate: Obama 2000, Clinton 1950, Gore 12

The mudslide then gives it to Gore on the fifth or sixth ballot. Or maybe not till the tenth.

As I write this it seems far-fetched. But maybe it’s possible.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Obama will Smash Clinton on Tuesday in NC but Lose in Indiana

Regarding the NC prediction, from the Weekly Standard:

North Carolina reports some demographic statistics on its early voting results, and American University political scientist Brain Schaffner has posted several short and interesting breakdowns over the past week, including the latest numbers from this weekend. Read his latest analysis here.

A few notable points. Almost 400,000 North Carolinians (398,635) had voted as of this past Saturday in the Democratic primary. That means about 13% of registered voters in the state already have cast their ballots. By way of comparison, John Kerry received about 1.5 million total votes in the general election in 2004. It looks like the 2008 primary could generate somewhere between 1.5-2 million votes by the time the polls close tomorrow. If that number is correct, Schaffner notes, 20%-25% of voters already have cast their ballots.

Of those who have already voted, 61% are women and 39% are men. Also, 57% of the early voters are white and 40% are black. The racial breakdown is significant because most pollsters assume about 30% of Democratic primary voters will be black. If the percent at the end of the day is closer to 40%--given the margins Obama runs up among African American voters--that’s very good news for the Illinois Senator and suggests a larger margin of victory than predicted by most polls. When the exit polls come out tomorrow night, watch for that number. If the black vote ends up being closer to 40%, the pre-election polls might be underestimating his performance.

Schaffner’s back of the envelope analysis points to an Obama win. He breaks it down this way:

If we assume that Obama wins 85% of the African-American vote, just 30% of white women and 40% of white men and then we split the remaining 6% of the early voters (those in the "other" category) evenly between Obama and Clinton, then Obama is currently leading Clinton among early voters by a margin of 56-44%. In terms of raw numbers, that would give Obama a lead of somewhere close to 50k votes. And this estimate is probably slightly on the conservative side since Obama could very well win 90% or more of the black vote and could do a bit better among white men and women (indeed, reader "x curmudgeon" notes that surveys show early voters going 63-31% in favor of Obama).

A little about North Carolina

Put this down in the "Things I should have said sooner before the news caught up to me" category. I've been wanting to make this post for two or three weeks, but life has been in the way.

I lived in North Carolina from 1984 to 1988. That's old data, I know, but I think some things I observed might still be relevant to the primary tomorrow. North Carolina was then, and still is, a growing state, not so much through indigenous growth, but from move-ins from the northeast and mid-west. The New England mills all moved there in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Those are all gone now, moved overseas. But other industries were sprouting, and many Snow Birds looked to NC as a blend of the winters they knew and the winters they wanted: milder, but still with some snow. In my neighborhood in the city of Asheboro (right in the center of the state), very few people were native North Carolinians. They brought with them Northeastern and Mid-western values and habits.

True, a large group of natives still makes up a core of the state, but electorate is mixed. You probably have as many voters who were born and lived their early years in New York/Pennsylvania/Ohio as who were born in NC. These are not necessarily white-collar workers who came to manage factories. Many are blue-collar people following the jobs.

The thing I don't know is if this trend has continued in the years I've been gone. If so, I think this bodes well for Sen. Clinton. Even if not, I think the make up of the electorate is more favorable to Clinton than in other states in that region, all of which went for Sen. Obama with big margins.

So, I'm not quite ready to predict a Clinton victory. But I will predict that Clinton will outperform compared to most of the polls I've seen. I believe it will be much tighter than the pundits are expecting.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ominous Signs for Obama?

Michael Barone thinks it may be a bit premature to say the bottom is falling out for Obama, but he has identified some "ominous signs."

Here there are some ominous signs. The latest Fox News poll, conducted after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s appearance at the National Press Club, showed Obama’s favorable/unfavorables at 63 to 27 percent among Democrats, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 73 to 22 percent. Suddenly she’s not the only one with high negatives. And 36 percent of Democrats say they would be disinclined to vote for Obama because of his longtime relationship with his former pastor. There’s more bad news in the Pew Research Center poll of Democrats. Obama’s national lead among Democrats is down from 49 to 39 percent to a statistically insignificant 47 to 45 percent.

He has, however, shown himself to be pretty resilient.  We'll have to see what develops.  He can still claim the good news that Democrat super-delegates are continuing to go his way,...for now.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Why Rev. Wright matters

"So ... American politics gets to be about a man's Church now?"

At the main writer's site where I hang out on the Internet, Absolute Write, is a thread where the above quote was made, one minor quote among many others. The opinions in the thread were somewhat evenly mixed, with many thinking it wrong to consider Wright's behavior and believes as they consider Obama. But the above quote frosted me, and proved to me that these people don't have a clue as to why the Wright issue is a big deal. I wrote the following in response, which I reprise here.

You know, it's not really all about Sen. Obama's pastor and what he believes. It's not about the black church culture and how they behave. It is about the meteoric rise of a freshman senator from the obscurity of the Illinois legislature to be a viable candidate for the most important elected office in the land. Who is this guy? What kind of president would he make? What is his character all about? What are his core beliefs? How is an Obama administration likely to comport itself? Is he a good father and husband? Is he a good citizen? What will his foreign policy be like? Is there anything about the man that might be a negative in how he will perform in office? What kind of company does he keep, how much do they influence him, and, in my opinion, is that company likely to be a positive or negative or neutral factor in his performance in office? It's not enough to go to his website and see what he says about his official stands on relevant issues (I've done that, by the way). It's not enough to look at the soundbites from scripted campaign speeches, or watch the slightly less-scripted debates to see if he stays on or goes off message. It's about seeing what kind of man he is in those unscripted, unguarded moments, where the real man comes to light.

All of these are valid questions. If Obama had been in the senate for 8, 12, or 20 years, we would already have answers to most of these questions. But we don't. I'm not voting for him. I have already made that decision. But I am interested in him because he will likely receive his party's nomination, and I will have a second decision to make: Is he so bad that I should financially support his opponent? Or volunteer to work for his opponent? Or go out of my way to talk with people to vote against him.

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