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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Texas specific Clinton ad

I just saw a new Texas specific Clinton ad complete with the twangy overvoice. I mention this because 1) This is how they sell everything from cars to banking down here, 2) It's definitely targeting white suburban <$50K, and 3) I think it's likely to be effective.

It's a quite a bit different than the two Ohio targeted spots.

Thought you might find the regional contrast interesting.

Picture of the Day - 2

Our "war president..." Lincoln was famous for his clowning. FDR, too.

(President Bush is pictured with traditional Liberian dancers before a lunch, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008, in Monrovia, Liberia. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))

Obama pushes

I do think the Obama campaign is looking for a knockout on Mar. 4. Look at what Obama said at a press conference today. (And this, and this.) They've apparently decided to push, but that may be a mistake. That's dangerous ground.

They seem to be willing to risk the halo to finish it right here.

And, another "mood" piece on the Clinton campaign in the NYTimes. (This is the top story over Clinton criticizes Obama.)

Clinton finally finds a good attack footing.

Hillary Clinton attacked Obama and his campaign today over some mailers. I don't know enough to judge the merits of her charges, but from a tactical point of view it seemed very effective in that it allowed her to attack from a position of indignation and self defense. (They watched McCain and the NYTimes?)

The Obama campaign has responded, but I think they'll lose this round unless they can catch her in an open untruth.

If she can press this, it could be big.

Here's the video from CNN. Take a watch and tell me that's not the most effective attack she's launched since "Day One."

(Is this an indirect "we will fight" response to the WaPo story I posted next? The Clinton campaign has been furiously batting it down all day.)

Later: After failing with their first response trying to "prove the facts" in their mailers through a press release, the Obama campaign has taken a different tack by questioning the genuineness of the anger coming straight from Obama's mouth, (AFP) "I'm puzzled by the sudden change in tone, unless these were just brought to her attention."

The Clinton rumors begin

This is the first credible one of these I've seen, multiple sourced, inside and around the campaign, and in a major news outlet.
Some supporters said they had discussed how to raise with Clinton the subject of withdrawing from the race should she fail to win decisively on March 4. One option was to wait a day or two and then dispatch emissaries to former president Clinton to urge him to make the case.

One adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely, said Obama's 17-point Wisconsin victory on Tuesday had started to sink in as a decisive blow, given that the state had been viewed weeks earlier as a level playing field.

"The mathematical reality at that point became impossible to ignore," the adviser said. "There's not a lot of denial left at this point."....

Some Democratic political sources said discussion has begun about encouraging Clinton to transition into a different party leadership role, one that could carry her on a path to becoming Senate majority leader.

If the insiders are starting to talk about "the after"......

Working Theory on Obama's "movement"

Just a working theory of sorts:

One of the reasons the Obama campaign has evoked such a crazy level of support is that the Obama campaign figured out a way to tap into the anti-Bush sentiment in the Democratic party through a positive frame. Instead of negatively attacking the Bush administration, as we're all fairly tired of hearing, they've successfully framed a vision of America where George Bush and all the attendant negativity no longer exists.

In a very strange way, this message allows a release of all the anti-Bush negativity in the people who follow Obama. Maybe a shorter version would be, "After all these years, I'm tired of hating. I want to feel good again. Take me to that place."

If that is the subtext of the message, it also works a powerful double whammy on the Clinton campaign because one of their main selling points is that they will fight the Republicans more effectively (Read: 4 more years of fighting,) and it turns every negative attack against Obama into an attack on that aspiration in Obama's supporters to personally step past the negativity. (He delivered that point brilliantly in Thursday's debate.)

The question to me, if this assumption is correct, is how far does this anti-Bush/anti-negativity message reach into the broader electorate? It obviously has some resonance with some disaffected Republicans and independents, but I wonder if it's enough to win the center which will be the deciding factor in this election.

Of course, part of the beauty of the Obama branding has been the highly malleable campaign themes "Hope" and "Change" which at various times have been shaped to attack the Bush administration, Hillary Clinton, the war, the economy, etc. It's the very inexactness of these terms that has allowed the campaign to shift its footing while maintaining its overall theme, and they could very easily do this again.

I think the bottom line is that the Obama campaign has found a way to tap into supporters emotions, to make the election more about them voting to ratify their feelings, than for or against any candidate.

And really, you gotta say, that's brilliant.

(Is it similar to evangelicals "voting their feelings?")

Just some stuff that's been bouncing around in my head. Feedback?

Picture of the Day

(President Bush adjusts his award after he was presented with Liberia's highest civilian honor by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Thursday, Feb. 21,2008, at the Executive Mansion in Monrovia, Liberia. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))

The Prarie View march

This is just outside of Houston. Thousands of black students from Prairie View A&M, a very black college, marched down the highway 7.3 miles to the nearest early voting location in very white Waller County to protest no early voting on their campus.

I mention it because I thought the video was cool.


(AP) "A Planned Parenthood clinic in suburban Kansas City will turn over a limited number of patient records to a grand jury investigating abortions there, a clinic attorney said Friday....."

'Dozens dead' in Turkish assault

(BBC) "Turkey's army says its ground offensive in northern Iraq has left five soldiers and dozens of Kurdish rebels dead....

Senior Iraqi Kurdish sources told the BBC the Turkish side had exaggerated the operation, which they believe to be "very, very limited", and in a remote border area."

(AP) "Turkey gave the United States and Iraqi authorities advance notice of its incursion....(White House spokesman) Scott Stanzel stopped short of saying the United States played any role in coordinating details of the incursion."

And, A very good NYTimes article on Basra.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Drip, drip, drip.......

A third "contradiction" for John McCain. (WaPo front page.)
Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson today contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf.

And at least a third bad news day for him.

PS. Bob Bennett, McCain's anti-NYTimes lawyer,
"We understood that he [McCain] did not speak directly with him [Paxson]. Now it appears he did speak to him. What is the difference?" Bennett said.


Picture of the Day - 2

(Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, introduces him at a town hall meeting in Indianapolis, Ind., Friday, Feb. 22, 2008. (AP/Gerald Herbert))

Political bits

(CBS) On 60 Minutes, a Republican operative in Alabama will say that Karl Rove told her to stalk former Governor Siegelman to destroy him. (Significant because of the suggestions Siegelman might have been politically prosecuted as part of the US Attorneys thing. I don't know enough about the Siegelman case to judge.)

(Politico) Ralph Nader seems to be hinting that he might announce a run on Meet the Press.

(Politico) The pro-Clinton 527 still hasn't bought any adtime. (Were they scared off by Obama lawyer Bauer's advice or is there a shift in the Clinton campaign?)

(Ambinder) Obama campaign may raise $50 million this month(?)

(FirstRead) Obama outspent Clinton 5 to 1 in Wisconsin.

(CNN) "Hillary Clinton declined to say Friday whether she will continue her presidential run past the upcoming March 4 contests, no matter their outcome."

Rasmussen confirms Texas is tight with a slight Clinton lead.

(AP) AP survey: Superdelegates jump to Obama

(NYTimes) "Clinton Says Debate Remark Not Meant as Farewell"

Oh, and (WSJBlog) Another Republican Congressman indicted.

(And today's Texas musician is none other than Houston's own Archie Bell and the Drells with "Tighten up.")

McCain gazes over the edge of the bottomless pit.

Once the press starts picking at the details, the story will continue for quite awhile. We may be seeing the drip, drip, drip.....
A sworn deposition that Sen. John McCain gave in a lawsuit more than five years ago appears to contradict one part of a sweeping denial that his campaign issued this week to rebut a New York Times story about his ties to a Washington lobbyist.

(NewsweekBlog) Suddenly, John McCain's plane isn't the press friendly operation it's always been.

(WOAI) Mike Huckabee states his goal is a deadlocked convention.

(And somewhere Mitt Romney is trying to build a time machine.)

I'll repost later

I always forget that Friday's are quiet, and I want some feedback on it, so, with no comments, I took down the Obama "movement" post. I'll put it up again at a more trafficked time.

Here's where the NYTimes story gets messy for McCain

There was alot of discussion about the "romantic" angle alleged between McCain and the lobbyist in the NYTimes atyicle yesterday, but it's the lobbying side of the story that's more likely to have legs. It may serve as a starting point for all sorts of questions regarding McCain.

Although the NYTimes appears to have been cowed into silence, take a look at the WaPo frontpage followup today,
The Anti-Lobbyist, Advised by Lobbyists

For years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has railed against lobbyists and the influence of "special interests" in Washington, touting on his campaign Web site his fight against "the 'revolving door' by which lawmakers and other influential officials leave their posts and become lobbyists for the special interests they have aided."

But when McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried.....

I would also argue that McCain's shenanigans with public financing and the FEC will contribute to that impression. (This could be messy for him. He may just break the rules and pay the fine in 2009.)

We'll have to wait and see, but when a candidate claims a top attribute of lobbying purity, you gotta figure the press will try to puncture that. (Pay attention Barack Obama.)

Clinton's spending

There are alot of near pre-mortems being written about the Clinton campaign, like this one in the NYTimes today or this one in Politico yesterday, that seem to focus primarily on issues of money. To me, these articles seem to be about apportioning blame rather than really looking at the campaign.

The three threads appear to be a "day to day argument" trying to blame the now departed Patti Solis Doyle, a "consultant argument" blaming Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson, or ad guru Mandy Grunwald, and a "lack of planning argument." Each of these, conveniently, has different villains.

BUT, take a look at the graphic at the left of the NYTimes article. (Java so I can't direct link.) Her proportional spending is not at all out of line with Obama's. I think this way too public argument is about people spreading and dodging blame rather than a real argument.

(PS. With all these money recriminations, we should remember there were tons of questions when Hillary Clinton spent $36 million on her 2006 Senate reelection when she was facing a nobody.)

Turkish troops enter Northern Iraq

This is a pretty big operation.
Turkish troops launched a ground incursion across the border into Iraq in pursuit of separatist Kurdish rebels, the military said Friday -- a move that dramatically escalates Turkey's conflict with the militants.....

Private NTV television said 10,000 troops were taking part in the offensive and had penetrated six miles into Iraq, though some reports said that not all the troops had been deployed. The operation was reportedly concentrated in the Hakurk region, south of the Turkish border town of Cukurca.

Picture of the Day

From the end of the debate. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Political bits

(Politico) Obama campaign chief David Plouffe is in North Carolina. (They say it's not about Edwards.)

(CNN) McCain may have some complications with the FEC.
(His loan strategy of stepping into, out of, and back into public financing may be a problem.)

(CNN) McCain is trying to fundraise off the NYTimes article.

(Politico) It's bringing Limbaugh and the rest to McCain's defense.

(ThinkProgress) With conditions.

(AP) Obama wins the Democrats Abroad primary.

And, (CNN) In Beaumont,Texas, Bill Clinton said his wife has to win both Ohio and Texas or she loses the nomination. (Was that off the cuff? Are the campaign folks pulling their hair out?)

Later: (Politico) Obama lawyer Bob Bauer is making some explicit threats against the participants in the new pro-Clinton 527.

(ABC/WaPo poll) Another poll showing Obama is closing. Clinton +7 in Ohio, tied in Texas.

(Curious question: In all the states since Super Tuesday, the formula has been a week or two of Obama advertising followed by 3 or four days of campaigning, and in each case he surged.

With the 2 week window for Texas and Ohio, will Obama ceiling, surge and fade, or keep growing?

Picture of the Day - 2

I don't think that's what they mean by "caging" black voters.

(President George W. Bush steps under a mosquito net during a tour of A to Z Textile Mills in Arusha February 18, 2008. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

Dear Clinton supporter.......

I don't dislike Hillary Clinton. I think she'd make a great president, just like I think Obama would. It's her CAMPAIGN that has rightfully received my derision.

I don't think I've ever actually criticized Hillary Clinton or her positions on this blog. (Or really praised Obama as a person or his positions.)

I have written mainly about the campaigns, the events, and the strategy, and frankly, the Clinton campaign and strategy deserves heaps of criticism. The Clinton campaign has been outplayed, backwards and forwards, up and down.

They still have arguably the better candidate, but all they're talking about now is figuring out ways to take Obama down. They're not trying to figure out ways to lift Hillary Clinton up.

I'm sorry if I'm not criticizing Obama enough for your tastes, or reflecting the points you want made, but from the beginning, my focus has been more on the campaign than the candidates.

And when you really think about it, I don't think you can honestly tell me that the Clinton CAMPAIGN doesn't deserve to be pilloried.

Today's Texas Musician.....

In honor of the above post, today's Texas musician will be Janis Joplin, "Try (just a little bit harder.)"

Picture of the Day

I don't know what to make of the NYTimes story (and WaPo companion) about John McCain's relationship with this lobbyist. I just can't get past the freakiness that she looks so much like his wife, only younger.

(PS. Does anyone else find it funny that so many lefty bloggers, who presumably defended Clinton when there was so much more evidence, are jumping all over this?)

The Clinton plan

Two different summaries of the campaign call outlining the Clinton strategy going forward. (Chris Cilizza, and the NYTimes blog.)

Frankly, it sounds more like a strategy to try and keep the balls in the air rather than a path to victory, and it seems to rely greatly on forces beyond their control (McCain, the media, some future event) to magically cut Obama down.

I think it's telling that their perception is that it's not about their candidate or her message. It's not about connecting with voters. It is solely about Obama.

Seemingly, there will be no introduction of a new theme or inspiration as to why we should vote for her.

It's just the same argument more loudly.

Later: Add this NYTimes piece to the strategy question.

Good News - Sadr extends ceasefire

Reportedly, Sadr's ceasefire extension is expected to be announced at Friday prayers.

(And, include this WaPo piece talking about the "purges" (killings) by the Mahdi of some of its own "renegade" people.)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Picture of the Day - 2

(President George W. Bush prepares to cut a ribbon to formally open the new U.S. Embassy at a ceremony in Kigali, Rwanda, February 19, 2008. (REUTERS/Jason Reed))

Sadr's ceasefire deadline is finally drawing coverage

The second informal ceasefire called by Muqtada al Sadr for his Mahdi militia is due to expire near the end of this month, and as yet, he has made no commitment to continue it. (Finally getting a little coverage. AP, Reuters.)

Apparently, the way the Sadr camp is structuring this, either Sadr makes an announcement to continue the ceasefire by Saturday (read Friday prayers) or the ceasefire ends and Mahdi commanders will go back to battle.

(Later: I zapped part of this post because it appears he will extend.)

Picture of the Day

Who's Jesse Now?

(Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama speaks at a rally Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan))

Political bits

In the last 5 primaries, Obama has beaten Clinton by more than McCain has beaten Huckabee.

NBC's Chuck Todd has become the most accurate analyst out there (from blogger to kingmaker.) Here's his junior explaining his math.
On the flip side, Clinton needs to win 58% of all remaining pledged delegates simply to get the pledged delegate lead back. Forget 2025. And if you assume Obama wins Vermont, Wyoming, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota, then the magic percentage number in the states Clinton wins rises to 65% -- SIMPLY TO GET THE PLEDGED DELEGATE LEAD BACK...

In a couple of days we should get the first post-Wisconsin polling for Texas and Ohio.

(FirstRead) "An Obama campaign source tells NBC News that after the two speeches, Clinton called Obama to congratulate him. The conversation was described as "brief."

(FirstRead) "The Obama campaign also tells NBC News that their January money total was actually $4 million more than they had previously claimed....the actual total was $36 million -- not $32 million." (Oops, we found $4 million under this sofa cushion....)

(WaPo) "That dwarfed the $13.5 million in January that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is expected to report Wednesday." (The Clinton campaign claims to have brought in $15 million online so far in Feb. .)

(McCain has $5 million cash on hand with "significant debt.")

(Ambinder) The pro-Clinton 527 targeting Ohio and Texas is taking shape with a $10 million goal.

LATER: ABCNews has more detail. This 527 will target white women under 50 in Ohio, and some white men. (Defensive.)

(Politico) The Clinton campaign's effort to get Florida and Michigan included steps up this morning with a new website. (Today?)

(NYTimes) "Mrs. Clinton wasted no time in signaling that she would now take a tougher line against Mr. Obama...." (Does going negative work if your campaign is perceived as desperate?)

(Politico) Clinton's new tag line, "Let's get real."

(AmericaBlog) Hawaii was expecting 10,000. 37,000 showed up.

Last, in honor of my home state of Texas' incredibly rare position in a primary race, I think I'm going to theme these posts with Texas musicians. We'll start today with Texas' own Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators with "I've got Levitation."

It could have been worse in Pakistan?

In the blowout of the Pakistani elections, Musharraf's party was cheating?
"There was not a level playing field. It was a field that benefited the ruling party," the EU said in its initial report on Monday's elections, which were won by opponents of President Pervez Musharraf.

And, (NYTimes) "The Bush administration was scrambling Tuesday to pick up the pieces of its shattered Pakistan policy.... Nor have administration officials given up hope that there would be some way to construct a coalition that will keep Mr. Musharraf in power as president."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Picture of the Day - 3

That ticking clock I wrote about earlier just got a whole lot louder.

First paragraphs Wed. morning: (AP) "Barack Obama cruised past a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton...."

(Reuters) "Barack Obama has surged past Hillary Clinton to open a big national lead...."

(AFP) "Barack Obama pummeled...."

(NYTimes) "Senator Barack Obama decisively beat... accelerating his momentum.... cutting into Mrs. Clinton’s support...."

(WaPo) "dealing another significant blow to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose imperiled presidential candidacy now hangs on the outcome of showdowns in Ohio and Texas in two weeks."

(Senator Hillary Clinton arrives at her Wisconsin primary election night campaign rally in Youngstown, Ohio February 19, 2008. (REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk))

Early exits. Bad news for Clinton.

Politicalwire has compiled some exit polling.

  • Women: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%
  • Change vs. experience, 52% to 24%.
  • Just 17% are first time voters
  • Families with income under 50,000: Obama 51%, Clinton 49%
  • Independents: Obama 63%, Clinton 34%
  • Seniors: Clinton 60%, Obama 39%
  • Top quality - experience: Clinton 95%, Obama 5%
  • Union households: Clinton 50%, Obama 49%

This exit polling could be wrong, but oy. Obama wins women. Obama wins under 50K.....

Another bad Clinton sign

Clinton is making her speech tonight at 7:30PM, even before the polls close.

(Later: Obviously that information was wrong. Sorry.)

More Exits - Gossip/Rumor

Treat this as the rumor it is. (From Mike Allen at Politico)
Democratic officials with access to exit polls say Sen. Obama looks like he’s headed for a huge win in today’s Wisconsin primary. The polls could turn out to be off, as they have in the past. But the officials’ revelation reflects the chatter in the campaigns in advance of the 9 p.m. Eastern poll closing.

The party officials said that if the trends reflect in the interviews with hundreds of Badger State voters, the news out of the primary will be: Obama encroached deeply into three of Clinton’s core groups of voters — women, those with no college degree and those with lower incomes — while giving up none of his own. However, Clinton looked to be winning senior citizens, the officials said.

Treat this as rumor, but Obama "encroaching deeply" into Clinton's core groups would be a disastrous narrative for her.

Nothing concrete to base it on, but.....

I'm getting a Clinton vibe today. Are you?

(Later: I reserve the right to be horribly, horribly wrong.)

I gotta get a life.

I had a dream last night where a Republican Congressman broke down in an interview with Tim Russert and confessed to killing his wife. I think it was John Shadegg (R. Ariz.)

Just filling space until 8PM central.

Picture of the Day - 2

I think she's earned that glass of red wine.

(Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton talks with reporters on her plane before it leaves from Dade County Regional Airport in Madison, Wis., Monday, Feb. 18, 2008.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster))

Hillary Clinton's ticking clock

It's becoming clear, after the quotes by key Clinton backers Schumer and Rangel, that this Democratic primary race will not be allowed to go into the convention, that, at some point, a consensus of Dem powerbrokers and superdelegates will come in to effectively call an end to this race.

This is a second front that the Clinton campaign is battling that is getting almost no coverage. Right now, they've effectively bought time through Mar 4, Texas, Ohio, and Vermont, but to keep that clock alive after that, they are going to have to start winning.

A win in Wisconsin today could turn that clock off.

(Politico) Clinton targets Obama's pledged delegates.
(Later: The Clinton campaign denies this.)


(BBC) A third bombing in Kandahar in three days. (They have targeted, in order, a militia leader working with the US, Canadian forces stationed there, and Afghani police.)

(AP) Castro steps down, but, despite all the headline coverage, does it really change anything?

(Reuters) Banks "quietly" borrow $50 billion from Fed.

Picture of the Day

Chuck Hagel?

(Senator Chuck Hagel looks on as Pakistani women vote, during his visit to a polling station in Lahore, Pakistan, Feb. 18, 2008. (AP Photo/KM Chaudary))

(NYTimes) "a crushing defeat.... Almost all the leading figures in the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, the party that has governed for the last five years under Mr. Musharraf, lost their seats, including the leader of the party, the former speaker of Parliament and six ministers."

(It wasn't even close enough to cheat.)

(Guardian) "With about 30 of the 272 seats undeclared, Musharraf's last hope is to prevent the opposition from gaining the two-thirds majority that would leave him vulnerable to impeachment in the new parliament.....

there were setbacks for the religious parties that have ruled the troubled North West Frontier province since 2002."

(AP) "If the opposition falls short of enough votes to remove Musharraf, the new government could reinstate the Supreme Court justices and ask them to declare the October election invalid."

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's gonna be a race

With Ohio and Pennsylvania apparently leaning hard towards Clinton, my home state of Texas is looking to be decisive in the Dem primary battle, and we have our first dead heat poll.

My sense right now is that we're at Clinton +5 (+/-,) but we're still Wisconsin and two weeks away from the vote. That's a long time.

(Does the polling account for Texas' delegate rules?)

(PS. Obama is about +4 ahead in Wisconsin polling.

And, do I buy this? Obama's internal polling allegedly showing him only -7 in Ohio? That is way, way better than the published polls.)

Wisconsin will determine how much crap is dished down here in Texas.

As a resident of Texas, I hope not, but Chuck Todd says,
Clearly, the Clinton campaign is using Wisconsin is being used as something of a test case of how effective negative attacks on Obama can be. There's been nothing overly nasty, just some tough pokes like the health care mailer and the debate TV ads. If Clinton gets close to Obama tomorrow, the campaign will likely conclude the negative attacks worked, and they'll escalate a bit more ahead of the March 4 primaries.

It's going to be a couple of long weeks down here.

Slow Day Reading

Yesterday, the LATimes had an article on the CIA's "ill conceived" efforts in 2002 and 2003 to try and get at terrorists through giant and expensive European based (Non-official cover) business fronts.

Not earth shattering, but it's a slow day and an interesting read.

Picture of the Day

(A sign promoting the visit of U.S. President George W. Bush is seen in Dar es Salaam February 17, 2008. Unpopular at home and in much of the world during the last year of his presidency, Bush is basking in rare adulation on his African tour. (REUTERS/Jim Young))

Sadr/SIIC ceasefire "breaks down"

With the announcement of a date for provincial elections (October 1) and the approval of a Federalism law of sorts that will allow a conglomeration of the Shia southern provinces into a super region, the battle for control of Shia Iraq appears to have begun.

Sadr has canceled the interShia ceasefire.

Although this isn't the larger ceasefire with the Sunnis and US, this is a very big deal. It shows that the path to power is still violent.

There's been less violence while the country was treading water, but as more permanent distributions of power come back onto the game board, the violence will come back. It's just too useful a tool to be left to the side.

(So, what does the US do? The British are out of Basra and there's no effective presence in the south of the country.)

Political bits

Regarding the Clinton plan to battle to the convention floor,
(CNN) Clinton stalwart Chuck Schumer says no on Meet the Press. It should be settled by agreement after the primaries.

More troublingly, (Newsday) Another stalwart Clinton supporter and prominent African American leader, Charlie Rangel, says in prepared statements, "It's the people [who are] going to govern who selects our next candidate and not superdelegates."

(NYDailyNews) The pressure on black superdelegates is rising.

(Politico) Edwards and Obama meet.

(Politico) The RNC outlines its attack lines against Obama.

And, of course, (WaPo) Texas is unfair to Clinton, too.
(They didn't know the Texas delegate rules earlier?)

(LATimes) Obama is going after a demographic strategy for Mar. 4, using NAFTA to attack among labor in Ohio and trying to peel off Latinos is South Texas. (The idea for both groups is to target the youngest voters in each.)

(WaPo) Howard Kurtz starts with the tide of negative reporting against Clinton.

GOP: (AP) The McCain campaign is talking about trying to maintain their small campaign feel as they gear up. (History has repeatedly shown that John McCain is a lousy frontrunner among the GOP, 2000, the 2007 crash, 2008 against Huckabee. Is it only problems in the GOP, or is there something about John McCain?)

(NYTimes) The McCain campaign wants to use the current president for fundraising, but doesn't really want them in the same photograph. (Classy.)

Joe Lieberman didn't even vote in the Connecticut primary.
(And, yes, I did put Lieberman on the GOP side.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Picture of the Day

Not holding fundraisers in Florida, New York, or California, McCain is having to spend his time (and money) campaigning in Wisconsin.

(John McCain talks on his cell pone as he arrives for a rally in La Crosse, Wis., Friday, Feb. 15, 2008. (AP/Gerald Herbert))

A new Clinton spin that's not quite true

Slowly emerging on the Clinton side, I'm increasingly hearing surrogates trying to defend the Clinton campaign's efforts to reinstate Florida and Michigan by citing the Obama campaign's efforts to shape superdelegate voting and then saying something along the lines of "Both sides are trying to change the rules."

That's just not true. There are no rules on how superdelegates should vote. You might argue that the original intent was for superdelegates to vote without regard to the popular vote, but there is no standing rule or law against the Obama campaign trying to guilt superdelegates to his side.

My point is, the Obama campaign is trying to shape the superdelegates' decision making, not change the rules. This talking point is an outright lie. (I'm so tired of all the spin.)

(The NYTimes has an interesting article on superdelegates.)

The Clinton's are fundraising like it's 1999

I found this little snapshot interesting. "Either Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Clinton will headline fund-raisers almost every day through the end of February."

Sometimes several a day. She's even leaving the battleground states for fundraisers.

(I think this is a forward looking sign for her campaign. If they have to win everything from March 4 forward, they can't start March 5 broke.

This fundraising schedule tells me they really do expect to go on.)

All politics, all the time

To those of you who come by for national/international security issues, I assure you we will get back to that soon.

The notable story today is the mass casualty bombing in Afghanistan, 80 killed. The target was apparently "a prominent militia commander who had stood up against the Taliban."

Once again, Iraq tactics move to Afghanistan.