Fork in the road - Baehr: Clinton = victory; Obama likely disaster

Richard Baehr lays it out - Obama is a weak candidate.  

"Starting with the revelations about Reverend Wright, the Obama campaign has dropped from the semi-celestial status it enjoyed in the eyes of many. The gaffe-a-day express, the foot in mouth disease among Obama advisors, the glaringly weak posture on national security and foreign relations the candidate has put forth (and for which several times he has been forced to backtrack), all have damaged Obama's chances. Now he is a mere mortal -- except to the true believers, and they are not enough to put him over the top in a general election."

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/article s/2008/05/obamas_woes_a_tale_of_three_st .html

Baehr goes through point by point, state by state, electoral vote by electoral vote to show how Obama who is essenitally tied (or I think behind) in the popular vote, may wrestle away the nomination for near certain loss to John McCain.

Why is Obama weak?

  1. Kentucy, Arkansas, West Virginia (rinse and repeat)
  2. Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania (rinse and repeat)
  3. Bill Clinton had 370 and 379 electoral college votes - remember those good ol' days? when Dem nominees like Gore and Kerry weren't in photo finishes each time.  HRC is on the Bill Clinton track to a trouncing of McCain in the fall.
  4. Because of the incredible closeness of this election, it is imperative that the SDs look closely at how delegates were awarded in the caucuses

If Obama is nominated Baehr writes: "A system built on proportional distribution of elected (pledged) delegates will have grossly expanded the popular vote margin to give one candidate a decisive victory among these delegates, which has been used to justify the shift to that candidate of super delegates."

I am glad to see that Hillary has taken her charge directly to the superdelegates

http://www.talkleft.com/story/2008/5/28/ 131952/920

I'd like to win and she can do it.  Hopefully the superdelegates will have the vision to act bravely and nominate her despite the

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'Nominate anyone but Obama and McCain is toast'

While the creative class goes into throes of offense about a nominee discussing history, the Republicans are actually working. Have we taken our eye off the ball here?  Republicans are charting many scenarios by which McCain would blowout Obama should Obama become the nominee.  Concerned Democrats and progressives everywhere should have their focus on that.

Despite general signs of weakness of the Republican brand.  Kuhn lays out the growing confidence in a big McCain victory - http://www.politico.com/news/stories/050 8/10585.html

Quoting GOP pollster, Glen Bolger -  who apparently echoes the beliefs of 10 Republican strategists - we hear

"No disrespect to the other candidates, but if anyone else had been nominated we'd be toast."

Working in the Democrats favor is, of course, that Obama is not the nominee despite his coronation by the press. Why are Republicans making arguments predicting that McCain will beat Obama by a larger margin that Bush's margin over Kerry in 2004?  Here is one scenario Kuhn lays out:

"Begin with the 2004 electoral map. Add Iowa and Colorado to Obama's side, since both are considered states Obama could pick off. Then count McCain victories in New Hampshire and Michigan, two states where McCain is competitive. In this scenario, McCain wins the Electoral College 291-246, a larger margin than Bush four years ago."

And, personally, I don't think Obama will take Colorado and Pennsylvania (both needed under this scenario).  This losing scenario has also been a cadence day in and day out here:

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Ob ama/Maps/May24.html

Barone is also taking the long view on the Reverand Wright debacle

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/article s/2008/05/the_rev_wright_connection_stil .html

- asserting flat out that the whole scandal can be summed up as 'Obama being caught out in a lie' - a crisp soundbite.  Think this won't have legs in the fall?  Think again.

Paul Maslin is at least looking at it clearly even if the much of the left blogosphere is indisposed with idolatry of Obama. Maslin says - "The truth about this race [is], this is the year that we [Democrats] shouldn't lose, and we could lose." 

The superdelegates should be taking a close look at how Hillary can be the closer and the winner here blowing out McCain with over 300 electoral votes.

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Cl inton/Maps/May24.html

Why should the superdelegates risk making Obama the nominee?

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New SD for HRC - Ryan of Ohio, key to PA victory

Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio is the latest superdelegate to endorse Hillary
 http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2008/0 4/congressman_tim_ryan_endorses_1.html

This is a very significant gain for Clinton as his area is not unlike that of adjacent districts in PA and could have a very positive effect on her upcoming campaign.  What's more, he was initially a Dodd supporter, I guess he didn't follow Dodd in supporting Obama.

That brings the count to FOUR since Friday, including:

Former New Jersey Governors Jim Florio and Brendan Byrne (add-on
superdelegates) and US Rep. Betty Sutton.

This left me wondering why the New York Times felt the only story that was worthy of front page coverage on the Democratic Primary was one talking about super delegates leaving the Clintons (Mark Leibovitch).  Ridiculous.  As Jay Cost has pointed out there has not been much movement in the remaining  1/3 of delegates

http://www.politico.com/superdelegates/

who still have to weigh in.   Despite Dean's desperate pleas for them to do so.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/horsera ceblog/2008/04/delegates_to_dean_make_us _1.html

Clearly the SDs are waiting to see the upcoming performances in the next 10 states.  Bottomline, the Clintons simply have more and longer standing contacts in politics than Obama does after 8 years in the White House, 6 in the Senate and years in the governorship of Arkansas.  Of course, in a contentious primary some old colleagues will take the other side but many have not making the race essentially a tie right now - because to win either HRC or BO needs the remaining SDs.  If Clinton performs well in Ohio and Indiana, which she is poised to do, I think we could see a real movement of superdelegates to her.

Which brings me to Patrick Murphy, superdelegate declared for Barack Obama from the 8th District of PA  
http://www.patrickmurphy.house.gov/
Canvassing there yesterday, that area is heavily, heavily for Clinton.  Murphy's office on Mill Street is virtually wall-papered in with Clinton signs, coffee shops on his street have Bill Clinton's picture in the window - with Murphy!  Going door to door in working class neighborhoods of Levittown, there is strong Clinton enthusiasm.  I expect he will be under strong pressure to switch to Clinton after Tuesday.

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The quicksand of anti-patriotism, is it pulling on Obama?

The anti-patriotic comments are starting to swirl around Obama, it is becoming a pattern, and don't think Rove and company are not taking notice of how weak a candidate Obama would thus be in the general.  

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0 408/Roves_antiObama_roadmap_patriotism.h tml

They started with the lapel pin (and indeed this resonated in interviews in the NYT this week with Pennsylvania voters) but now they are getting assists from Obama's own team.  This exposes Obama's rookie handling of big sensitive situation - the Iraq war.

The latest from WV Senator Jay Rockefeller impugning McCain's war experience.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/200 8/04/08/mccain-camp-calls-on-obama-to-de nounce-smear/

One does not have to be a supporter of John McCain's politics to appreciate why this is a crass thing to say, a gigantic gaffe, and why Obama will own this kind of talk from his supporters - especially when thousands of young American men and women are walking in McCain's shoes right now in Iraq.

The Democrat who has always handled the military service issue impeccably is Al Franken - never attacking the warrior, only attacking the war.  I think Obama does not know what he is getting into, and it is gaffes like this that underscore for me why Hillary is better able to handle the general election than Obama is.  Obama comes off as too arrogant about the military, this will not fly.

Roll this into the comments from Michelle Obama about being ashamed of her country (and BTW - she has completely disappeared from the press??)  and the mother of all military insulters Rev. Wright and we do not have a winning Democrat in Obama.

Good thing that 12 million people still have to vote.

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Elizabeth Edwards prefers Clinton Healthcare Plan

Apologies for writing a diary that just refers to another spot in the web-universe (particularly the Huff Po, not may favorite place) but it is great that Elizabeth Edwards is speaking out in favor Hillary's healthcare plan.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/02 /elizabeth-edwards-favors_n_94654.html

Very interesting..... I am glad that she is bolstering Krugman's careful analysis.  She has also been diplomatic about both nominees but I think this is a huge boon to Clinton from a woman (Elizabeth) who takes healthcare VERY seriosly.

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US News and World Report Prediction: Clinton wins popular vote

Barone crunches some numbers over at USN&WR.  Sorry for the brief diary, but I can't say it better than he did, just wanted to be sure that people saw this interesting story.

http://www.usnews.com/blogs/barone/2008/ 3/28/projection-clinton-wins-popular-vot e-obama-wins-delegate-count.html

Key points in his predictions:
1)    He predicts Clinton will win popular vote/Obama delegate tally
2)    He predicts also that Obama will be behind in the popular vote, even without tallying Florida and Michigan (interesting)
3)    With each of the upcoming 10 electoral events "She would be getting closer to the nomination, not farther away."
4)    He also takes a good look at what each of their state primary/cauces wins means for the electoral college

Which can also be seen here

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Ob ama/Maps/Mar30.html

Not pretty for Obama.

Barone: "My projections don't leave much room for a cascade of superdelegates to Obama."

Check it out.

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50 state strategy - RIP. Thanks for nothing Howard.

Has the 50 state strategy played out as the 48 state disaster?  We need to fix this right away.  While I am delighted that there is now greater Democratic Party infrastructure in Wyoming than there was 4 years ago, I am horrified that the Florida and Michigan revote debacle has alienated core progressive voters in two huge states that the party counts on to win.  We are hemorrhaging support in states that we need to win the election - forget the primaries.  Dean is failing us a leader of the DNC.

From the time he burst onto the national scene as an outspoken supporter of progressive values I have been a huge Howard Dean voter, worker, supporter, donor, buyer of Democracy Bonds, and champion (including pushing for his chairmanship).  Now as I see the Michigan and Florida revotes tabled, I see that Dean is not a strong enough leader of the DNC and is a poor strategizer.  What a disappointment; and how do we fix the problem of vote denial to the members of those states - pronto?

Dean likes to talk of his admiration for Truman - Mr. `Buck stops here'.  Dean is turning out to be no Truman.  Truman would exercise some serious leadership and vision in this situation - would pull the two candidates into his office and say to them for the good of the party we need to get Michigan and Florida to vote - we need a new plan  NOW.  He would have thanked them for agreeing to the resolution at the start of the election but would say this is too close to deny these voters their say.   Plus it has become a national cause celebre now, the party has been branded as denying voters a say.  Dean should not tolerate that - it will have negative ramifications into the general election, it will have negative coattails for House and Senate races, and it will have negative ripples for years beyond.  

Truman would have whipsawed Barack Obama for whining about technicalities as the basis blocking `one-man-one-vote' in two huge states with enormous Democratic strongholds.

But what do we have instead from today's NYT:
 "The Democratic National Committee and its chairman, Howard Dean, have not offered any guidance on how to resolve the impasse."

Dean disappoints on two fronts: 1) defending the basic right to vote, and 2) the `vision thing'.  The first majorly trumps the second but we are paying him to do the second and do it well.  I don't think we are getting our money's worth.  

If Dean's torpor in this situation is a tacit assist to Obama, Dean may be doing so at the price of the entire party and with glib carelessness about what a McCain victory would look like.

Strategists are paid to think through hypotheticals - here is one - Obama has come out against the revote, just `too complicated', he has been damaged by the recent vetting of his life as eloquently diaried by Scan
http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/3/20/1154 46/750

with the loss of Florida and Michigan to Republicans the election goes to McCain - thanks Howard.  

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Hey Barack - Got Leadership? The election is not about you!

The day after a major financial meltdown gets underway - one of the major bailouts in recent history according to the front page of the Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12058084 0784044347.html?mod=todays_us_nonsub_pag e_one

- what is Obama's response?  Go "big"http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/ with a speech about racism.
    Say what?  Reminds me of Spinal Tap, when the band is breaking up and the s*^t has hit the fan, and one of the band members says 'When are we going to do Stonehenge?'

Obama is indeed under siege for having willingly associated and supported (through church membership) a trash-talking sermonist, Wright, but that's not the problem of the American people; that's Obama's problem. Does Obama have his eye on the ball? When the Wall Street Journal puts a picture of FDR on the cover of its print edition and cites his handling of the mortgage bailout. It's the economy, stupid. Earth to Obama?

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