Obama, Clinton, and the "blue states"

In another thread, lambros wrote:

>> Obama hasn't persuaded another blue state to support him but his own [Lambros did not specify, but usually IL and HI are considered "home states" for Obama. In the full text of his comment, lambros also mentioned MO, which he characterized as a "near tie".]

To which politcsmatters unhelpfully replied:

> What reality do you live in? [Although s/he does not say so directly, I am assuming that politicsmatters used this nasty rhetorical question to assert that lambros is incorrect.]

I like to think I live in the real reality, so I decided to find out who is right. To see who is right, I just needed to answer two questions:

  1. Which states are the blue ones?
  2. Which states has Obama won?

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For the "Obama is Inevitable" folks

Hey Obama fans,

Full disclosure up front. I am a former Dodd supporter, now Clinton supporter, willing to vote for Obama if (you might say when) he is the party's nominee. We need to talk.

If you really, truly think Obama has the nomination locked up, I don't understand why you are posting so many diaries and comments to that effect, especially in the mocking tone I have seen all too often. (Yes, we can do math - some of us have degrees in it.) If, as an Obama supporter, you really think that there is NO WAY Clinton can win, you should be spending all your time starting RIGHT NOW trying to make nice with as many Clinton supporters as you can. Don't wait to start the healing - reach out now before the wounds go any deeper.

I am not talking about making nice with the so called "Clinton supporters" around here who bear a striking resemblance to right wing sock puppets from Free Republic. You can just ignore them, as Obama is never getting their votes. Why waste energy?

There are a bunch of real Hillary Clinton supporters on this very web site who are solid Democratic voters, looking for a reason to back down from their promise to never vote for Obama in the GE. There are a bunch more who are barely hanging onto their determination to vote for the Democratic nominee, and hoping not to be pushed over the edge.

Maybe you could try giving them a reason to stay with the party, by being understanding and gracious and unifying in victory. When they hold out a slim hope that the candidate for whom they have worked and voted and donated all these months may still win, why not just let them have their ray of hope? What can it hurt, if Obama has it locked up anyway? Let the democratic process take its full course. On top of that, it is more in keeping with Obama's stated goal of taking some of the poison and acrimony out of political discourse.

Or you could continue with the insults, and trash talking, and rubbing their noses in the delegate counts, and angry recriminations every time someone utters the sacrilege that Hillary still has a chance. Have your fun. Just remember that most of them are activists, and probably influence the votes of many of their less politically aware friends.

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More reasons your candidate is Teh Suck!

Your candidate refuses to recognize the reasoned, logical, enlightened position of the opposition on each and every issue.
Your candidate's supporters are (gasp!) BIASED!
Your candidate stubbornly refuses to release records, personal papers, DNA sequences, etc. that might be helpful in opposition research fishing expeditions.
Your candidate refuses to stop trying to win.
Your candidate's campaign shamelessly spins news events in your candidate's favor.
Your candidate's campaign interprets arcane party rules in your candidate's favor.
Your candidate has friends who have said nasty things at various points in their lives.
Your candidate has accused the opposition of having friends who have said nasty things at various points in their lives.
Your candidate is trying to influence the votes of convention delegates.
Your candidate is getting votes from independents and Republicans.
Your candidate is exceptionally egotistical and ambitious.

All this leads to one of two obvious conclusions. Either:
a) Your candidate is trying to destroy the space-time continuum.
b) Your candidate is running a campaign to win the Democratic Party's nomination for President.

Well, which is it?

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Sorry to disappoint you, but neither side is evil.

We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking.
-- Mark Twain

I think any of us who retain even the smallest scrap of objectivity can agree that the above quotation is sadly relevant to the current state of the Dem primary.

If you look for the bad in people, expecting to find it, you surely will.
-- Abraham Lincoln

One manifestation of the intense feelings on all sides is the unfortunate way every slight or misstep is taken as proof of evil intent on the part of the transgressor. While I admit that evil intent is hard to disprove in many cases, as enlightened human beings, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard that that, before we break out the tar and feathers.

Let's look at a couple of recent incidents in light of the above ideas.

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Simple explanation for media behavior

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on
his not understanding it. -- Upton Sinclair

Much has been made of Keith Olbermann's recent slide into virulent anti-Clinton spin. Is he a misogynist? closet righty? Obamaniac? Acting on double-secret marching orders from the VWRC? It seems to me there is a much simpler explanation - straightforward careerism.

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch

While we have all been distracted debating the latest mean thing that YOUR sucky candidate's surrogate said, President 19% has been a busy little fascist. He vetoed a bill that would have prevented the CIA from torturing prisoners. (My God/dess, what have we come to?) and then there's this little news item:

Admiral Fallon "Retires"

From a recent article in "Esquire":

Last December, when the National Intelligence Estimate downgraded the immediate nuclear threat from Iran, it seemed as if Fallon's caution was justified. But still, well-placed observers now say that it will come as no surprise if Fallon is relieved of his command before his time is up next spring, maybe as early as this summer, in favor of a commander the White House considers to be more pliable. If that were to happen, it may well mean that the president and vice-president intend to take military action against Iran before the end of this year and don't want a commander standing in their way.

Uh-oh.      

So my next question: how insane are Clinton, Obama, and McCain to vie for the honor of taking over responsibility for the government after the current occupants get done playing with it? It'll be like cleaning up a radioactive asbestos meth lab with your toothbrush.

Here's a quotation about that seems apropos:

There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done? This is it: Only nut cases want to be president. -- Kurt Vonnegut

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Your candidate sucks!

The "discourse" in the Dem primary is getting sillier as the contest continues. You know things are bad, when you start seeing comments like this one:

Your attempt to change the subject to "the issues" is irrelevant.

-- a dailykos commenter, replying to newhorizons attempts to inject some sanity into a comment thread over there. Read in context, it is clear that the commenter was totally serious. I hereby claim this as my new sig line. :-)

I stole the title of this diary from Atrios, who has taken to using variations on it as the title to his open threads. In the extended entry, I have listed:

Arguments I hope I'll never see on MyDD again
... for the rest of the primaries. (yeah right, dream on)

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The consequences of winning the nom

In the comments of a diary, I read:

> If Obama loses [the general election] in 2008 ... he would be .

> almost eliminated from future consideration.

Not "almost", and not just Obama. If either one of our candidates loses in the fall of 2008, given the pro Democrat atmosphere, a farily weak Republican candidate, and a Republican incumbent so unpopular (19% in a recent poll) that his support will be rightly considered radioactive, the media, the party insiders, and liberal institutions will never forget it. Ever.

It would not really be a fair assessment - the Republicans will have unlimited money resources, a well developed slime machine, and a definite (though still not widely acknowledged) media bias in their favor. But fairly or unfairly, if a Demoocrat loses this fall, that person will go down as the biggest loser in party history - worse than Dukakis, worse than Mondale, way worse than Gore or Kerry.

So Clinton backers: you NEED the Obama people - as many of them as you can bring along. Obama backers: you NEED the Clinton people - as many of them as you can bring along. Insulting and taunting each other is not productive, folks. When this is over, we will need as many people from the other camp as possible to fall in line with us and start fighting the REAL battle.

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Clinton is polarizing - I sure hope Obama is too

The "she is too polarizing" argument often raised against Hillary Clinton is amazing to me. It is pretty much a given that someone who is attacked continuously and visciously, not just by political opponents, but also by very powerful media and other interest groups for 16 straight years is going to wind up being "polarizing". I won't go into the unfairness of using the fact that she has survived and thrived under the constant assault of such vitriol as an argument against her, but I really don't even see why it's a bad thing to be "polarizing".

Think back on all the greatest public figures in our history, and you can make the "polarizing" argument against just about every one of them. To be "polarizing", all you have to do is go against some powerful entrenched interests, and insist that they change for the public good. FDR was most certainly polarizing, as were MLK, Lincoln, TR, Susan Anthony, Rosa Parks, Cesar Chavez, and on, and on, and on.

A common (and I think somewhat valid) criticism progressives offer of Bill Clinton is that he "triagulated" too much. In other words, the liberal complaint is that Bill was not polarizing enough. Ironically, some of the same people in the 2008 primaries who complain about Hillary being too polarizing, complain with their next breath that she will not fight hard enough against entrenched interests. In other words, "She is too polarizing, and I fear she will not be polarizing enough".

If Obama is nominated, he will have my vote. If he gets elected, I fervently hope that by 2012, he will have become the most polarizing figure on the national scene. If he hasn't, it will mean that he hasn't accomplished any of the progressive policy goals he claims to espouse.

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On delegate legitimacy

Caucus delegates are not illegitimate, any more than superdelegates are illegitimate. I wish we could all stop trying to deligitimize whole swathes of delegates just because they might favor a particular candidate. Whoever wins the nomination, it would be awful for the party if she or he went into the general election with an aura of illegitimacy.

I hope this doesn't burst anyone's bubble, but the party nomination process is not meant to be a purely democratic contest. The goal is to nominate a ticket that can win the general election. The different types of delegates form a kind of three legged stool of electability.

More below.

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