Saturday, May 24, 2008
Think about where McCain is. He's someone who had always assumed he would run as a reformer/outsider, as an agent of "change," who now finds himself facing Obama, saddled with lobbyist problems and the most unpopular president in modern history.
His plan was to run from the right into the middle, but no matter how hard he tries, he will have to constantly throw breadcrumbs to the right on religious/social issues, immigration, taxes, etc. He will always be harnessed with the need to feed his right wing.
His fundraising gaps may be managed by big donors pouring money into the RNC and 527's, but I still am not seeing any real grass roots push, any group that is wedded to the dream of a McCain presidency. Without that, where does he get volunteers?
Last, this is not a man who has been tremendously successful headlining big campaigns. He was kneecapped and collapsed in 2000. In 2007, he created a campaign structure that collapsed under its own weight, and now he's trying this very dubious model of ten autonomous regional directors with local control of money, advertising, organization, and to some degree, message.
And all of this doesn't even mention the underlying "passion gap" of the political landscape this year which will likely drive Dems to the polls at much higher rates.
There're a bunch of challenges facing McCain. I just think that needs to be out there.
The Pakistanis offer to turn over the "US's terrorists" to Iran
In another sign of growing tensions with the United States, Pakistan is threatening to turn over to Iran six members of a tribal militant group Iran claims are "spies" for the CIA......
The CIA has denied any direct ties with the group, but U.S. officials tell ABC News U.S. intelligence officers frequently meet and advise Jundullah leaders, and current and former intelligence officers are working to prevent the men from being sent to Iran.
The six Jundullah members were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities last week, and the Iranian Mehr News Agency reported Pakistan would soon extradite the men to Iran, where they would likely be put on trial as spies and face execution.
And, the new Pakistani government is pushing ahead with its tribal area peace deals over the US's strenuous objections.
Pakistan is quickly swinging away from the US.
Forcing the fat kids to fight
How dare they make peace......
Picture of the Day
Friday, May 23, 2008
The Clinton plan to win
With all the history and all the crazies, is this really a proper thing to say?
Later: Yup, she really said it. (video)
Later still: She apologizes (to the Kennedy's and "the nation," not to Obama.)
Bottom line: She said she's staying in the race, among other reasons, just in case some crazy assassinates Obama.
Did you hear that crazies? Hillary Clinton just (unintentionally) told you how to help her win.
I'm sure she would know who you were then......
This is just unbelievable.
Question on tactics of Clinton as VP
Does Bill Clinton really want to release all his personal financial info? What about the donors to his foundation? Couldn't the Obama camp very reasonably make "transparency" a condition of her VP candidacy?
They could just hint around at this and turn the whole thing back on her.
Picture of the Day
Sistani sanctions attacks on US troops
Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric has been quietly issuing religious edicts declaring that armed resistance against U.S.-led foreign troops is permissible — a potentially significant shift by a key supporter of the Washington-backed government in Baghdad.
Maliki and Sistani met Thursday.
There's a fair argument that this is just part of the broader intraShia politics. Sistani affirmed Maliki and "adherence" to the law, and then issued these edicts which will cut into Sadr's support, but still, when Sistani does this it has impact.
Juan Cole has a looong post on Sistani and his motivations.
(Later: Todd notes in the comments that I'm painting this too simplistically and too black and white. He's right. It's more about Sistani positioning himself relative to the broad Shia politics and against the US occupation than about Maliki/Sadr.)
Clinton as VP
CNN's Suzanne Malveaux says the Clinton campaign has "reached out" to the Obama campaign and lays out the options the Clinton camp are pushing. (Be aware that this sounds like it is all sourced from the Clinton campaign. This is what they want out in public.)
To me, alot of this seems like the Clinton campaign trying to reverse the withdrawal pressure and lay it all at the feet of the Obama campaign.
And I do think Obama's public beginning of his VP search is intended to put an end to the Clinton as VP talk.
Later: It appears the Clinton camp has decided to push hard for the VP invitation. (Also note that once again a Clinton fundraiser is threatening withholding money.)
(Also, New York Gov. David Paterson, a strong Clinton supporter, calls Clinton "desperate" and runs down her Fla and Mich claims.)
Taking the Christians for granted
2) In the highly publicized McCain meetings with possible VP candidates this weekend, McCain's apparent shortlist contains none of the Christian Right's preferred. (Romney (Mormon,) Jindal (Indian/Catholic,) and Crist (rumored "not that there's anything wrong with that."))
I definitely think the Christian Right votes for McCain, but he seems to be giving them very little affirmative reason to be passionate about his campaign, and without the fundies, who are the volunteers and groundstaff for the fall?
Thursday, May 22, 2008
How different it could have been....
When Clinton was assembling her campaign team in late 2006, strategist Joe Trippi sat down with Clinton advisers for a job interview. Trippi, who would later run John Edwards' campaign, suggested that Clinton center her campaign on a Web-based effort to collect $100 each from 1 million women around the country. Clinton's staff rejected the plan, opting to mix some online solicitations with a more traditional pitch to big donors.
I think that woulda worked.
They're trying it now, but it's just too late.
Picture of the Day
I don't agree with the overall analysis, but I think this is right on.
Each of these complaints (from the Clinton campaign) springs from a common premise - Hillary could not have lost a fair fight for the nomination.
But she did.....
(Bill Clinton holds one-year-old Shaelyn Tolleson-Knee after speaking in Missoula, Mont., Wednesday May 14, 2008. (AP Photo/James Snook))
Hiding the old?
Senator John McCain is set to release 400 pages of medical records, including documents related to his melanoma surgery in August 2000, to a tightly controlled group of reporters on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.....
On Friday, the campaign will allow a small pool of reporters access to the records from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Pacific time in a conference room at the Copper Wind Resort in Phoenix, near the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale. The reporters will be allowed to take notes but not remove or photocopy the records.
So, just a few reporters, just a few hours, no medical expertise in the room, done the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Hmmm...
When your administration is weakened and discredited, they're going to stop listening to you, and you lose control of how things shape out.
Just days after President Bush returned from the Middle East, the Middle East is moving beyond the Bush administration.
Two major peace efforts -- a surprise announcement of indirect talks between Israel and Syria brokered by Turkey and an eleventh-hour deal to prevent a new Lebanese war brokered by Qatar -- were launched without an American role, and both counter U.S. strategy in the region....
The United States is not playing a role in other critical Middle East initiatives, Ottaway noted, including an Egyptian effort to reconcile the two major Palestinian parties, Fatah and Hamas, and negotiations between Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council sheikdoms. The Bush administration is absent "across the board," she said.
And, further east......
Pakistan's new government has signed a peace deal with Islamic militants in a valley of northwestern Pakistan, in a process that Western officials worry could take the pressure off Taliban and al Qaeda hardliners.
Indeed, part of it is lame duck, but, I would argue that an equal part is all the political capital and goodwill wasted on ideological fantasy policies and the perception of a US weakened by overextension in Iraq and an overextended economy.
The provinces are defying the weakened empire.
(WSJ) "The world's premier energy monitor is preparing a sharp downward revision of its oil-supply forecast, a shift that reflects deepening pessimism over whether oil companies can keep abreast of booming demand."
(Reuters) "Record high oil prices at $135 a barrel deepened worries about inflation on Thursday...."
Funny, funny, funny..... tragic
On Clinton as Obama's VP
And, according to Tumulty,
Her husband, for one, seems to have a pretty clear idea what he thinks she should get as a consolation prize. In Bill Clinton's view, she has earned nothing short of an offer to be Obama's running mate, according to some who are close to the former President. Bill "is pushing real hard for this to happen," says a friend.
The general consensus from both campaigns still seems to be that there will not be a Clinton VP.
Later: The Obama camp lets it be known that they're beginning a VP search, implying it's not Clinton.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Poisoning the Florida well
I understand she's trying to keep the balls in the air, but by shouting disenfranchisement in the way that she is, and pointing a finger directly at Obama and the Democratic party, isn't she just inflaming Floridians against her party and the nominee? By her own campaign's assertion, these two states are critical in the fall, so aren't her actions damaging Democratic chances?
Picture of the Day - 2
(AP) Clinton threatens to go to the convention over Fla and Mich.
(Politico) Axelrod talks about conceding ground to get a deal.
(Does anyone really think that Clinton is going to get all the delegates out of Fla and Mich? I think all of this is negotiating. My hunch is there will be a deal before the meeting.)
(FirstRead) Last night, Chuck Todd was talking about a nascent deal for the states to have half the delegate votes.
And, (NYTimes) John McCain is hosting an informal weekend at his home for several of his likely VP choices. Crist, Jindal, Romney. (Maybe he should do it like The Bachelor?)
McCain campaign bribing commenters
Neil McMahon, of Sanford Bernstein, said: “Peak oil views – regardless of whether right or wrong – are seeping into the market and supporting high prices.”....
That trend was exacerbated by T. Boone Pickens, the influential investor who believes world oil production is about to peak as aging fields run dry. He warned that oil prices would hit $150 a barrel by the end of the year.
Personally, I'm a believer in peak oil, although I don't have any way to know if we're there right now. This may just be traders pushing the theory for their own gain, but it makes me nervous.
Picture of the Day
Not election related, but five interesting reads....
(CNN) Gates: U.S. 'stuck' in Guantanamo: "The brutally frank answer is that we're stuck, and we're stuck in several ways...."
(Radar) "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. ...."
(NYTimes) "The military’s elite Special Operations Command has quietly stepped back from a controversial plan that gave it the authority to carry out secret counterterrorism missions on its own around the world."
And, after all the Bush/McCain, Obama, talking to Iran flap, Robert Gates slowly begins to walk his comments back.
Backtracking a little.....
On the one hand, you're trusting your message to surrogates, but on the other hand, nobody in the campaign has to go on the record on difficult questions in the heat of the battle.
Burning Joe Lieberman at the stake.
Some figures out of the fundraising reports
In April, Obama $31 million, Clinton $21 million, McCain $18 million (all McCain gets in a first month as the presumptive nominee?)
Per the LATimesblog, "Clinton's campaign debt has now soared to nearly $31 million, according to numbers crunched early this morning by The Times' campaign finance guru, Dan Morain....."
Also, The Clinton camp claimed to raise $10 million in the 24 hours after Pennsylvania which means they only raised $11 million for the entire rest of the month.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
State of the race
Fear and Loathing in Kentucky
Picture of the Day - 3
A little on Clinton's condition
"The campaign has broken down to those who drink the Kool-Aid that Hillary can still win, and those who don't, and are considering their options," one operative said....
Also of interest, the April fundraising numbers come out tonight. According to Chuck Todd, the hints from the Clinton campaign put her take between $14 million and $20 million.
Keep in mind that the Clinton camp claimed $10 million in the 24 hours after Pennsylvania which means the rest of their month must have been pretty awful.
Later: This Gallup Daily Tracking has some demographic breakdowns which are being sold to show Obama catching up with Clinton in some of his problem demographics, women, Hispanics, etc, but, despite evening up, these numbers are still significantly underperforming the topline number, Obama +14.
To me it looks more like a rising tide lifting all ships rather than gains among these particular groups.
Picture of the Day - 2
This story has become huge in China.
CHENGDU, China - A Chinese policewoman is contributing to the country’s massive earthquake relief effort in a very personal way -- by breastfeeding eight babies.....
The woman from the quake-ravaged town of Jiangyou has just had a child herself, the Western Urban Daily said.
She is nursing the children of three women who were left homeless by the quake and are too traumatised to give milk, as well as five orphans, the report said.
The babies who lost their parents have been put in an orphanage which does not have powdered milk, it said.
The best political ad of the cycle
Steve Novick is running in the Oregon Dem Senate primary. He's 4'9" and a birth defect affected his left hand. I have no idea of his politics and this is not an endorsement, but this is probably the best ad I've seen this cycle.
Quote of the Day
Israeli PM Olmert: “We now have the Palestinians running an Algeria-style campaign against Israel, but what I fear is that they will try to run a South Africa-type campaign against us,” he said. If this happens, and worldwide sanctions are imposed as they were against the white-minority government, “the state of Israel is finished.”.
'Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term'
US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran in the upcoming months, before the end of his term, Army Radio quoted a senior official in Jerusalem as saying Tuesday.
The official claimed that a senior member of the president's entourage, which concluded a trip to Israel last week, said during a closed meeting that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action was called for.
However, the official continued, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic, for the time being.
(And Obama's policy is the problem.....)
(QCTimes) Iowa Dem Party Chairman to endorse Obama ahead of Obama's appearance there tonight.
(TheHill) From the Dept. of Duh, "House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) is backing off his bold prediction that Republicans will gain seats this November...."
(Politico) GOP questions Boehner's leadership.
Howard Kurtz has an interesting column on the McCain campaign's media response. (Rapid and attacking.)
(NYTimes) House Conservatives to Offer Ideas for G.O.P. Message. (Boy, those ideas don't seem to fit the current mood at all.)
And, (Politico) The GOP doesn't have a single viable minority candidate for 2008.
Picture of the Day
NYTimes This morning.
Projected pledged delegates: Obama 1,611 to 1,444.
Superdelegates: Obama 302.5 to 271.
Total: Obama 1,913.5 to 1,715.
According to DemConWatch, there are only 406 delegates left, 189 pledged, 217 supers. Of interest, Clinton needs to claim roughly 306 of the remaining 406 to reach 2,025. Obama needs 110.
Two thoughts: 1) Obama passed Clinton in superdelegates just last week and now he's up by 22 to 30.
2) Although the Clinton camp keeps making their popular vote argument (I know there are issues,) nobody in the media seems to be reporting it with any credibility.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Picture of the Day - 2
(Politico) Former Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle sounds like she's sniffing around the Obama campaign for a job. The Obama campaign's comments sound polite but non-committal. (For god's sake, don't give her budgeting control.)
(Politico) West Virginia icon Sen. Robert Byrd endorses Obama.
(AFP) Warren Buffet endorses Obama.
(Politico) Elizabeth Edwards wants it very clear that she will not endorse Hillary Clinton.
(Gallup) Wow. Take a look at the Gallup daily tracking graph. Obama breaks 50 going up; Clinton breaks 40 going down. (Edwards' endorsement was on the 15th.)
(USAToday) Those 32 resigning GOP Congressmen aren't contributing to the RNCC from their PAC's or election funds. (So far, it's a $10 million difference.)
(ABC) Karl Rove is publicly pushing the idea that Clinton poses a tougher challenge, but note, "....which many pollsters would tell you is a rather unscientific way to look at the data." (It's a ploy folks.)
And, My favorite AP headline in quite awhile, "Obama links McCain to unpopular Bush policies."
(Go ahead and keep that one in the typeface, you just might get to use it again.)
Later: An ugly allegation that a billionaire Clinton backer offered the Young Democrats of America $1 million if their superdelegates went as a bloc to Clinton. (He said/she said at this point.)
Picture of the Day
This is Obama at Waterfront Park in Portland, Ore., Sunday, May 18, 2008. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Official estimates by the local Fire Dept. (not campaign estimates) put the crowd at 75,000.
75,000 in Portland, Oregon to hear a speech by a presidential candidate.
(The population of Portland is about 580,000.)
Bush's tough talk on Iran drew only scattered applause. While many Arab states are alarmed at Iran's sway in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, leaders have said they're even more fearful of a preemptive U.S. strike against Tehran that almost certainly would lead to an Iranian retaliation with the potential to ripple across the Middle East.
Or maybe a different angle from the WaPo
But many countries in the region are beginning to hedge their bets as the end of the Bush administration looms. One Saudi analyst saw that dynamic at work in the unwillingness of Saudi officials to make more than a token gesture in response to Bush's plea that they ramp up oil production to help bring down the skyrocketing price of gas.,
Does that work in this environment? Has the perception of the Bush tax cuts benefiting only the extremely wealthy muted this line of attack?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
McCain's lobbyist/campiagn problem
This is a bad topic for McCain who is trying to position himself as "maverick" and reformer while his campaign staff is gutted by the conga line departure of lobbyists with questionable ties. It plays right into the "culture of corruption" narrative.
It's so bad, they've stopped commenting on it. "A few others are expected to leave within the week."
Picture of the Day
Bush in the mideast
(Reuters) "President George W. Bush sought to reassure skeptical Arabs on Sunday he is committed to securing a deal on Palestinian statehood before he leaves office, despite his outspoken support for Israel."
(AP) "Israel got glowing praise from President Bush earlier this week. On Sunday, the Arab world got a stern lecture...."
The Pakistanis begin to pull out
How will Democrats ever unify? Well..... They'll unify.
Top fundraisers for Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have begun private talks aimed at merging the two candidates' teams, not waiting for the Democratic nominating process to end before they start preparations for a hard-fought fall campaign.
If you read into the second page of this article, you will see that much of the hard feelings still exist, however, it does seem to be beginning to wind up.
Picture of the Day
Nobody ever seriously discussed the possibility of the world being run by a black man.
(Sen. Barack Obama and his wife Michelle eat ice cream at Prince Puckler's ice cream shop in Eugene, Ore., May 17, 2008.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong))