Archive for the ‘African-American Voters’ Category
I was hoping that I would not find myself wasting time, energy, and pixels on another article criticizing Hilary Clinton. It’s enough already. I wanted to enjoy last night’s historic outcome of the Democratic presidential contest; a talented, African-American, progressive will now be heading the ticket of a major American Party. Wonderful Earth rocking news. It seems that America can still send a meaningful political “shot” around the world. But instead my excitement had to be mixed with disappointment and outrage. Hillary, there she goes again. Not only did she fail to concede graciously in order to help bring the Party together, but she invited comments from her supporters to her web site to tell her how to proceed. Of course she knows how they will respond. What extraordinary bad faith. And for what, two bits to pay off her bills or perhaps have some leverage for herself in the coming months. Further, she continued to make the same misleading claims about the popular vote that she has been making for weeks, namely, that she has won it. The fact is that there is no national popular vote. Or better still, there are hundreds of possible permutations in figuring out what the national popular vote might be. You simply can’t combine the apples and oranges of caucuses and primaries, as well as all of the different sorts of state primaries, including two that were considered non-contests, to come up with a solid figure. But I will let this one go. Hillary will say what she needs to say, especially that people should go to Hillary.com.
But I decided to write not only to vent. I want to see a solution to the Hillary problem, as does every Democrat who wants to win in November. I got a lead this morning (June 4th) from a blog on the Daily Kos, “A Dream Team?” by georgia 10. The writer quotes at length from an article that appeared in the on-line version of the Telegraph. Here are the passages quoted directly from the June 1st Telegraph.
The Obama camp, however, remains nervous about Mrs Clinton’s intentions and ambitions, and is preparing a face-saving package that will allow her to continue to play a role in health care reform, which has been her signature issue for more than a decade. Despite pressure from some Clinton allies, Mr Obama and his advisers do not wish to ask her to be his vice-presidential running mate. “They will talk to her,” one Democrat strategist close to senior figures in the Obama camp told The Sunday Telegraph. “They will give her the respect she deserves. She will get something to do with health care, a cabinet post or the chance to lead the legislation through the Senate.”
Another Democrat who has discussed strategy with friends in the Obama inner circle said that Mr Obama was openly considering asking Mrs Clinton to join his cabinet, alongside two other former presidential rivals: John Edwards, who is seen as a likely attorney general; and Joe Biden, who is a leading contender to become Secretary of State.
Mr Obama hinted at the plan last week. “One of my heroes is Abraham Lincoln,” he said. “Lincoln basically pulled in all the people who had been running against him into his cabinet because whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was ‘how can we get this country through this time of crisis?’ And I think that has to be the approach that one takes.” [Emphasis added]
“Hillary Clinton to be offered dignified exit” By Tim Shipman http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection2008/democrats/2058907/US-Elections-Hillary-Clinton-to-be-offered-dignified-exit.html
In some ways, of course, this is not news. The cabinet solution has been around for a while. But I was struck by Obama’s citing Lincoln. This article was written on June 1st. One could argue that Hillary has put herself further into the dog house with the Obama camp after last night’s speech. But Obama, in a Lincolnesque sort of way, might only see this as more reason for the cabinet option. She is a piece of work alright. But all the more reasons to give it a whirl and put her in a cabinet slot. It shows that 1) Obama is strong enough to deal with her and 2) magnanimous enough to extend a hand.
I will swallow hard. The logic is there. I hope Obama goes for it and finally ends the Hillmail. If she won’t settle for this, then Obama needs to methodically work around her. Most of those who voted for Hillary will not put up with her undermining the Party.
“It’s Over: Clinton Won’t be the Democratic Presidential or VP Candidate (and Boomers will make sure)”
Hillary’s most consistent supporters have been folks over 50, especially women over 50. With her statement about RFK’s assassination, and her bizarre “apologetic” explanation (namely, I was thinking about Teddy and so I mentioned Bobby’s assassination), she has lost a substantial number of these supporters. I will not say all. I will not say those closest to her. But I will say, a very significant number. Most importantly, in terms of the race, many superdelegates in this age cohort, who may have been leaning her way, will be looking around for the nearest Exit sign. Ditto for those who were in favor of placing her in the VP slot.
Most of you reading this commentary will have heard what Hillary Clinton said yesterday afternoon, May 23rd, to the editorial board of South Dakota’s Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, in response to a question about staying in the race.
“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right?” she said. “We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.” The New York Times, May 24, 2008, Katharine Q Seelye reporting. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/24/us/politics/24clinton.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
And you may have heard Clinton’s “apology,” also reported by Seelye in the Times.
“ ‘The Kennedys have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy,’ referring to the recent diagnosis of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s brain tumor. She added, ‘And I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive.’ ”
Members of the Democratic Party who experienced the trauma of the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King will understand that Clinton crossed a line yesterday. Many will agree with Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, an uncommitted superdelegate. Seelye reports that Clyburn “said through a spokeswoman that the comments were ‘beyond the pale.’ ” For those who remember Bobby lying in a pool of blood the night that he won the June California primary, little explanation is needed as to why prominent figures shouldn’t mention the assassinations of presidential candidates.
To say that Hillary was simply using RFK’s assassination as a time marker doesn’t cut it. There are simply too many other ways that Hillary could have talked about extended nominating contests. For example, she could have simply said, RFK won the California primary in June. “Oh, but Hillary would never wish the death of another candidate,” a supporter might reply. But it is not a question of her wishes, whether benighted or angelic. I leave it to the psychologists to analyze her motives. What I do know is that someone who lived through the sixties as an adolescent or adult should understand the dangers of invoking the assassination of a presidential candidate during a campaign, especially one in which the front-runner is an African-American. And Clinton not only invoked an assassination, she invoked the assassination of the brother of a Senator who has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. How disturbing is this? Just ask yourself, could you have imagined this story before it happened?
Please don’t tell me that her words can be explained away entirely by ‘Hillary fatigue.’ First, because she was quite lucid when she was speaking, and, second, because she has raised the issue of assassination before, without using the term.
“NBC/NJ’s Mike Memoli notes that Clinton said something similar the day after the Indiana and North Carolina primaries. ‘Sometimes you gotta calm people down a little bit. But if you look at successful presidential campaigns, my husband did not get the nomination until June of 1992,’ she said. ‘I remember tragically when Senator Kennedy won California near the end of that process.’ ” http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/05/23/1058940.aspx
Perhaps most tellingly, her “apology” showed little understanding of the seriousness of her “gaffe.” Yes, she should have apologized to the Kennedys, but she should also have taken responsibility for her remarks and made a sincere apology to the American people. She is going to lose support among influential boomers, support that she can’t afford to lose at this point.
This is the end of Hillary’s quest. Her judgment can no longer be trusted. Democrats will not take a chance on running her for president or VP. It is just awful that it had to end like this.
(As a side note, Hillary has been misleading audiences when she has claimed that Bill’s race ran into June. Technically it did because California hadn’t voted. But he had the nomination sewed up before California’s primary in June. The situation is not analogous to the current race.)
Here are a dozen reasons, a baker’s dozen, for why Barack Obama will win in November.
1. The Change Factor: Yes, you have heard it before, but it is for real. People are hungry for it, especially after the worst presidency in living memory. A key point here is that Obama has been on message about change from DAY ONE. He is the Change candidate.
2. The Organization Factor: Obama has built a remarkable organization, in part through using the Internet. Nothing quite like it has been seen before in its capacity to raise money, generate enthusiasm, and get out the vote. For more on the uniqueness of Obama’s organization, see Joshua Green’s piece, “The Amazing Money Machine” http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/obama-finance and Marc Ambinder’s “His Space” in The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200806/ambinder-obama
3.The Charisma Factor: Hard to explain. Hard to quantify. But you know it when you see it. (Obama’s recent Portland crowd, 75,000 in a primary election, was no accident.)
4. The Republican Factor: They are in disarray and have money problems. This will have an impact on the Presidential race. How much? Good question. But no doubt it will have some.
5. The Money Factor: A corollary to the Organization Factor. Obama will have lots of it and will be able to raise more and more of it. To those who say that money can’t buy love or office, agreed, at least in terms of the former. But money can certainly help win office. It is especially helpful if you have a good candidate, a good brand as they say, to sell. Obama is such a brand.
6. The Even Keel Factor: In this case, the younger man, Obama, seems to have a more even temperament than the older candidate. This undermines a potential advantage for McCain and also defies expectations, namely, that age should bring a more even temper. (McCain’s anger problem is for real.) Americans believe that we need a steady hand on the rudder in these difficult times.
7. The Intellectual and Expert Factor: There are those who have claimed that Obama is an elitist, a pointy head, etc., and that too many in his campaign fit this bill. But the bottom line is that candidates who can comfortably make use of experts and genuine intellectuals–not faux intellectuals, for example, the neo-conservative ideologues–are in stronger position than those who cannot. Knowledge may not be power, but it sure can help keep power from making foolish mistakes, like Iraq. It can also help win elections. (It was the “nerds,” after all, who really understood how the delegate process worked in the Democratic race. And guess who had them on staff and who listened to them.)
8. The African-American Vote. Obama will draw the greatest number of African-American voters in American history. It will make a difference. As Poblano’s analysis shows, just a 10% to 20% increase can make a significant difference in who wins in the fall. (Poblano suggests 13 electoral votes for each 10%.) See Josh Kalven’s “Obama Over the Top: How New Voters Could Redraw the Electoral Map” http://progressillinois.com/2008/05/11/features/obama-over-the-top
9. The Youth Vote and Support: Typically the youth vote is viewed as an unreliable voting block. But Obama has shown that he can increase the youth vote. In addition, youth represents ‘boots on the ground.’ They do much of the door to door and office work that campaigns require. On how the youth vote could assist Obama, once again, see Josh Kalven’s “Obama Over the Top: How New Voters Could Redraw the Electoral Map” http://progressillinois.com/2008/05/11/features/obama-over-the-top
10. A Motivated Democratic Party: Yes, there is the issue of whether all of Hillary’s supporters will come around. And there are unknowns in terms of whether Obama will be able to bring more working class folks into his corner. But the Democrats are hungry and they have resources. There will be some synergy between Presidential, Congressional, and local races.
11. The Oratory Factor. We know what the man can do. He is pretty much in a class by himself. Speeches matter. Words delivered well matter. McCain, on the other hand, is not a strong public speaker. (The “My friends” thing just isn’t going to cut it.) In addition, Obama will best him in the debates.
12. The Bush factor: Obama is the anti-Bush. He listens to those outside an inner circle. He is anti-Iraq war, exceptionally intelligent, reasonably hip, etc. McCain, on the other hand, appears to be running for Bush’s third term. The McBush notion will stick with a significant number of voters.
13. Michelle Obama: Michelle has made some gaffes. Some view her as coming on too strong. But her story will get out: poor kid from the South Side of Chicago, who through her own hard work and intelligence made it to Princeton and Harvard. She is now the mother of two young daughters, juggling family and career. Women, many of Hillary’s supporters, will relate. Further, Michelle is a powerful speaker. The Republicans would be foolish to underestimate her.