Hillary and Barack Cause Spector Switch

Why did Spector switch parties? I am sitting and observing all of the news networks and I believe they are failing to acknowledge what just transpired as one of the best primary season this country just experienced.

The back and forth struggle between Senators Clinton and Obama for six months brought many many many people into the Democratic Party. Their passion, their skill, their cause, focused everyone's attention to politics and this attention peaked during the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary.

After her much needed win in Texas, Rhode Island, and Ohio, Clinton took her message of the middle class to Pennsylvania. She campaigned hard and met Obama every step of the way when it was time to debate the issues. Candidate preference aside, what exactly did Hillary and Barack do for the Democratic Party in Pennsylvania? See the stats below supplied by the Secretary of States office of Pennsylvania:

1.1 million more registered democrats in 2008 than republicans after the primary fight

475,000 more registered democrats in 2004 than republicans after Kerry secured his nomination

More independents, more of those Reagan Democrats, those moderate Republicans, registered Democratic because of our candidates messages. Now, some of you are going to argue that the state has been trending Democratic since 2000, but what this primary did was allow Pennsylvanians and every American, stand up and not cower when we critized President Bush and his policies. Truthfully, could we have done that 2004? No not really, but the first debate with Kerry started that, but that is another posting.

Anyways, what is even more amazing about these numbers, the new registrants are staying with the Democratic Party up until today! And what has happened?

The tough primary battle royale of our Democratic candidates is still being felt, especially by Arlan Spector.

So when the political analysts give their reasons as to why the Senator switched, here is my reason. The two biggest figures of the Democratic Party changed the polical landscape so much of the Keystone State, its Republican Senator has to adapt.

My predication, Senator Spector won't even make through a primary challenge. There will be a Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania in 2010, and it won't be Spector.

We can thank the glorious primary battle President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.

This is where we are today: Politics can be dividing, but it can be solidifying.

There's more...

Obama and Clinton Seen As Equally "In Touch" In Pennsylvania

I was watching a Barack Obama townhall in North Carolina on CNN.com earlier and the guy I saw on that stage was not the same old confident Barack Obama that I'm used to seeing on the campaign trail. My gut is that Pennsylvania has shaken him. He is sounding to me as though he thinks he has to be everyone's friend, like he has bought into the hype that he needs to be more down home, more accessible, less the caricature of the "out of touch elitist" his opponents would like us to think he is. His manner is more casual but in a sort of forced way and so to me he comes off as less genuine, which is about the worst thing a politician can appear to be. Which says to me he should probably listen to his own talking points more and to the media, which has actually absorbed the Clinton post-PA talking points, less. Looking at the CNN exit polls, turns out Pennsylvanians actually did not see Obama as any less "in touch" than Clinton at all.

Is Clinton in touch with people like you?

ClintonObama
Yes (67%)73%27%
No (32%)17%83%

Is Obama in touch with people like you?

ClintonObama
Yes (66%)37%63%
No (33%)90%10%

Who is in touch with people like you?

ClintonObama
Only Clinton (26%)98%2%
Only Obama (25%)4%96%
Both (41%)56%44%
Neither (7%)61%39%

As you can see, the percentage of the PA electorate that felt that each candidate was in touch with "people like them" was virtually identical (67% & 66%), as was the percentage of support each candidate got from those that felt that he or she alone was in touch with people like them (98% & 96%). Ultimately, the race was won or lost among those who felt that both candidates were equally in touch; in other words, on other issues entirely.

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Post-Pennsylvania Narratives

Last night on MSNBC Rachel Maddow made an interesting observation: every time Hillary Clinton wins a primary, the narrative in the media becomes about counting down to the next "make or break" contest as though a loss for her would in fact end the campaign. Clinton keeps winning "when she needs to", of course, so the theory hasn't really been tested but Maddow I think quite rightly called this phenomenon the primary election equivalent of the Friedman unit. "2 more weeks...6 more weeks...2 more weeks." Adam Nagourney in today's NYTimes is a perfect example:

Even with her comfortable victory on Tuesday, Mrs. Clinton still faces significant, though certainly not insurmountable, hurdles to securing the nomination, and it remains possible that her candidacy could come to an end in as little as two weeks, when Indiana and North Carolina vote.

Maddow's point, of course, is that this is a ridiculous assertion and the media needs to stop falling for it; no matter what happens on May 6th, this. primary. will. continue. Hillary Clinton signaled as much with the timing of a couple upcoming fundraisers. From Ben Smith:

My colleague Ken Vogel notes that Clinton has planned two fundraisers -- one with Hillary, Chelsea, and Dorothy; one with the Arkansas delegation -- for the day after Indiana and North Carolina.

Another media narrative that gets propagated every time Clinton wins another primary is how bad the continued race is for the Democratic Party. Again, Nagourney, whose article, I should point out, is linked on the frontpage of Huffington Post with the alarmist headline: "And The Winner Is: John McCain," provides a case study:

For better or worse -- and many Democrats fear it is for worse -- the race goes on.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton defeated Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania on Tuesday by enough of a margin to continue a battle that Democrats increasingly believe is undermining their effort to unify the party and prepare for the general election against Senator John McCain.

I must give credit though, MSNBC's post-primary coverage today has given much air time to the opposing view. The heads of both the North Carolina and Indiana Democratic Parties were interviewed separately but essentially said the same thing: the energy and the boosts in registration and operations on the ground that the extended primary is affording their states will be good for the Democrat in November. And I just caught Matt Stoller on MSNBC as well, essentially re-iterating the spirit of his "Democrats Are Going To Be Fine" post from last night:

ANCHOR: Do you think Pennsylvania even matters?

STOLLER: Yeah, we have a huge registration advantage in Pennsylvania, activists are excited, voters voted, it was really good for Democrats. Democracy is a good thing. Now I think both candidates, Obama and Clinton, are leading McCain in Pennsylvania, so it's good.

What Matt is referring to here is this morning's Rasmussen Reports story "While Campaigning for Primary, both Democrats Gain Ground on McCain":

While Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to compete against each other in Pennsylvania's Presidential Primary, both Democrats have opened a lead over John McCain in the Keystone State.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Pennsylvania finds Obama leading McCain 47% to 39% and Clinton with a 47% to 38% advantage. That's a significant change from a month ago when McCain was essentially even with both Democrats.

It's no accident that the talking heads who've been most ardently pushing the "Democrats in disarray" narrative have been rightwing pundits who have an interest in projecting their opposing party as weak. It would be nice if such a pillar of the liberal blogosphere as HuffPo didn't join the fun.

Update [2008-4-23 14:12:15 by Todd Beeton]:Along these same lines, Bill Daley, Obama's National Co-Chair, made a good point a few minutes ago on MSNBC:

But this is a tough process and as Senator Obama has said he's introducing himself, he is still new to the American people and so in a strange way this process may be very good for him in that he is able to go to parts of this country and make the case as a new fresh face on the American scene that he can make a difference.

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Spring Breakup

Not to be confused with Spring Break.

Ice Jam on the Yellowstone River - NPS Photo

Anyone who has lived in the Northern Tier from Maine to Minnesota to Montana - and certainly in Canada and Alaska knows what spring breakup is.  That's when the ice goes out on the local river.  More than anything else, it is the signal of a change in seasons.

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Third Party Run for Hillary?

via MAL Contends

Most rational, honest observers (those are not whom we see on cable TV) know that absent a historic meltdown by Obama, Hillary Clinton has virtually no chance of winning the Democratic nomination.

Her nine-digit win in the quasi-machine state of Pennsylvania excites only those with a vested interest in seeing her continue in the race.

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Diaries

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