Archive for the ‘Dean’ Category

Barack Obama is really acquiring a whiny tone to his statements. It isn’t appealing for the supposed unifier of all things political to have such a negative tone. This time, he’s whining that Hillary is stirring up trouble with the Florida delegation to the Democratic Convention. Here’s his latest whiny diatribe:

“The Clinton campaign has been stirring this up for fairly transparent reasons,” Obama told reporters on the plane from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Chicago, adding she had not done so earlier in the race when she did not need the delegates to win.

“Let’s not…pretend that we don’t know what’s going on. I mean this is, from their perspective, their last slender hope to make arguments about how they can win, and I understand that,” Obama said.

It’s rather slick that Sen. Obama didn’t talk about the legality of not seating the Florida delegation. that’s the last thing he wants to talk about. It appears as though winning is more important to Sen. Obama than is the potential disenfranchisement of almost 2 million voters. That’s a pretty partisan move for THE postpartisan candidate, isn’ it?

What’s obvious to me is that Sen. Obama knows his momentum has disappeared. Sen. Obama knows that his momentum disappearing is making him look mortal, which can’t help him this fall. The more mortal he looks, the less chance he has of winning this November.

He didn’t get serious questions when he was the messianic candidate. The minute he started looking mortal, though, he started getting grilled on a daily basis. Since the grilling started, he’s lost ground with blue collar workers. If that doesn’t change, Obama can’t win the November election.

Based on this article, it’s obvious that Bill Clinton isn’t about to stop pressuring Obama, either. Here’s how he kept the pressure on today:

Speaking to a crowd of about 200 in Fort Thompson, S.D., Clinton seemed slightly subdued during his 30-minute speech, which largely focused on the issues important to the Native American community. As he wrapped up his remarks, a woman in the audience asked him a question about voting for Hillary Clinton.

“If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote,” Clinton said. “And they’re trying to get her to cry uncle before the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan because they are claiming that it only takes 2029 votes on the first ballot to win, and it takes a lot more than that if you put Florida and Michigan back in. Well, they will have to unless we want to lose the election. I mean, look, so there is that that is going on.”

The former president was strong in his assertion that his wife has the best chance to win against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, arguing that many electoral map predictions have his wife winning more electoral votes than Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., the Democratic frontrunner, in a general election.

“She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence,” Clinton said. “And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running. Her only position was, “Look, if I lose I’ll be a good team player. We will all try to win but let’s let everybody vote and count every vote.'”

It must be frustrating for the Clintons to not get all the adoration in the press. I know that they got slapped pretty good for their scandals but they got kid glove treatment during his re-election campaign.

Now they’re finding out what it’s like every day to be the GOP candidate. This isn’t anything new for Republicans. It’s what happens daily.

The funniest thing is that Billary is whining about the press coverage, Obama is whining about Hillary not rolling over and playing dead and John McCain just stays positive while he’s campaigning.

Is it any wonder why John McCain is doing better than expected?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Though Howard Dean wants all his problems to disappear, that won’t happen now that the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit against the DNC for disenfranchising their voters. This comes just a day after Hillary threatened to take that fight straight to the Convention in Denver.

Florida’s history of discrimination against African Americans should force the national Democratic Party to count all of the state’s delegates at its national convention, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday claims.

The suit, filed by state Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller and two other Democrats, claims that the federal Voting Rights Act prohibits the national party from stripping the state of its convention delegates.

The Civil Rights-era law requires the U.S. Justice Department to approve any significant voting change in Florida to make sure it doesn’t disenfranchise minority voters. Geller argues that includes the Democratic National Committee’s demand that Florida switch “from a state-run primary to party-run caucus system” to avoid losing its delegates.

“The purpose of this lawsuit is not to support one candidate over another; it’s to enforce one of the most basic tenets of our democracy: Count the votes as they were cast,” Geller said in announcing the lawsuit.

This isn’t the first time that the DNC has been accused of holding primaries that weren’t all that democratic. Gov. Ed Rendell made a similar accusation in late April:

GOV. ED RENDELL (D-PA): The popular vote is, to me, a much fairer indicia than the pledged delegates because the pledged delegates are elected in a very undemocratic way.

As I pointed out then, Sen. Obama lost the Texas Primary but won more delegates than Hillary. How is that democratic? If I understand it right, a candidate wins more delegates for winning minority districts.

Theoretically, a candidate should win 60% of the delegates if they win 60% of the vote. I think most people would agree with that thinking. Of course, we’re talking about Democrats so logic doesn’t apply.

This lawsuit will likely have a chilling effect on the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee’s deliberations. I’d have to think that the people serving on the Rules and Bylaws Committee will have that in the back of their mind as they deliberate. Rest assured that they’ll know that their decision might well be overturned.

Here’s the argument that the lawyers will be making:

Geller, a Cooper City lawyer, said the Democratic National Committee has repeatedly argued that the reason it is punishing Florida is because it held its primary before the February date authorized by the party and then refused to conduct a post-primary caucus to designate delegates.

Geller argues that a caucus would have replaced the vote of 1.75 million Floridians with an event that was expected to capture only about 100,000 voters at 120 polling sites, thereby disenfranchising thousands of Florida Democrats, including those serving in U.S. military based outside Florida.

That sounds like a reasonable argument to me. I won’t predict that the lawsuit will be successful but I won’t predict that it’ll fail either. That’s sure to have Rules and Bylaws committeemembers thinking.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Hillary Clinton is keeping open the possibility of taking her fight to the Democratic Convention. Here’s the title for Brendan Farrington’s article:

Clinton may take delegate fight to convention

I’ll bet that that headline is giving Howard Dean and Barack Obama their worst cases of heartburn in years. Here’s the portion of Mr. Harrington’s article that’s giving Mssrs. Dean and Obama their heartburn:

Clinton, too, was in Florida, pressing to narrow her gap with Obama by having delegates counted from its renegade January primary.

Democratic rule-makers meet May 31 to decide whether to count delegates from Florida and Michigan; the states were striped of their delegates as punishment for holding early primaries in violation of party rules. Clinton won both states, but Obama had his name kept off the Michigan ballot and neither candidate campaigned in those states.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Clinton said she is willing to take her fight to seat Florida and Michigan delegates to the convention if the two states want to go that far. Asked whether she would support the states if they appeal an unfavorable rules committee decision to the convention floor, the former first lady replied:

“Yes I will. I will, because I feel very strongly about this.” “I will consult with Floridians and the voters in Michigan because it’s really their voices that are being ignored and their votes that are being discounted, and I’ll support whatever the elected officials and the voters in those two states want to do.”

Taking her battle to the convention would fly in the face of an increasing number of party leaders who say the contest needs to be wrapped up shortly after the last primary on June 3 to prepare adequately for the fall election.

Don’t think that Republicans wouldn’t point out the Democrats’ hypocrisy if they don’t seat Florida’s delegation. Think of how their actions today would contrast with their “Count every vote” mantra of November, 2000. Frankly, I’d highlight the fact that Sen. Obama is running as a change agent who’s talked about moving the discourse beyond partisan politics.

I don’t think it’d play well with independants if Sen. Obama doesn’t work to seat those delegates. Surely people would demand that a ‘postpartisan savior’ do everything possible to prevent the disenfranchisement of Florida’s Democrats.

Sen. Obama has other reasons to be worried. Even without seating Florida’s delegation, Florida will be a difficult state for him:

The Illinois senator confidently detoured Wednesday from the three remaining Democratic primary states, Puerto Rico, Montana, South Dakota, to campaign in Florida, a crucial state in the November general election. He also kept his focus on McCain, the Republicans’ certain nominee in the fall.

I’ve talked with several GOP activists in the state, one who lives in the panhandle, the other living in south Florida. Both contacts told me that Jewish voters are very skittish because of his willingness to meet with Ahmadinejad. Cuban Hispanics aren’t thrilled with him either, mostly because he’s said that he’d meet with Castro.

South Florida has a sizeable population of ex-New Yorkers who’ve retired in Florida to escape their high taxes. These New Yorkers still care about national security, which isn’t Sen. Obama’s strength. Sen. Obama’s inexperience will be exploited by the McCain campaign, too. Hillary couldn’t win the ‘inexperienced argument’ because she wasn’t significantly more experienced than Sen. Obama. Sen. McCain, however, will win that argument because he’s dealt with lots of national security issues over a couple of decades.

UPDATE: I just was researching a couple things and found this NY Times article that ties into my post perfectly. Check this out:

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — At the Aberdeen Golf and Country Club on Sunday, the fountains were burbling, the man-made lakes were shining, and Shirley Weitz and Ruth Grossman were debating why Jews in this gated neighborhood of airy retirement homes feel so much trepidation about Senator Barack Obama.

“The people here, liberal people, will not vote for Obama because of his attitude towards Israel,” Ms. Weitz, 83, said, lingering over brunch. “They’re going to vote for McCain,” she said.

Jeremiah Wright still plays a big part in Jewish voters’ trepidation about Sen. Obama:

American Jews hold two competing views of Mr. Obama, said Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington. First, there is Obama the scholar, the social justice advocate, the defender of Israel with a close feel for Jewish concerns garnered through decades of intimate friendships. In this version, Mr. Obama’s race is an asset, Rabbi Saperstein said.

The second version is defined by the controversy over his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., worries about Mr. Obama’s past associations and questions about his support for Israel and his patriotism. “It’s too early to know how they will play out,” Rabbi Saperstein said.

Sen Obama will be held hostage by Jeremiah Wright until Election Day. If he pops his head out right before the election, he might well sink Obama’s chances of winning Florida.

Clinton pressed this issue publicly at an appearance in Boca Raton in Palm Beach County, a key site in the battle between George W. Bush and Al Gore over the Florida presidential vote recount in 2000 that was decided in the Supreme Court.

Floridians “learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren’t counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner,” she told supporters. “The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear: If any votes aren’t counted, the will of the people isn’t realized and our democracy is diminished.” “The people who voted did nothing wrong and it would be wrong to punish you,” she added.

Even if Hillary doesn’t push the issue, this is still a potential thorn in Sen. Obama’s side. If he doesn’t fight hard to seat that delegation, how will he have any credibility when he tells Floridians that he’ll fight for them? People will correctly ask why they should trust him.

If people don’t trust you, you’re going nowhere fast.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Salena Zito has a must read post on her Primary Colors blog that talks about the disconnect between superdelegates and voters. It’s a stinging rebuke of the Democrats’ nominating process, too.

Joe Andrew, a Democratic National Committee chair for five minutes, lives and operates out of Washington, D.C. But when it comes to giving news conferences about the presidential campaign, his podium is in Indianapolis. That is where Andrew went from Beltway boy to Hoosier to make his “big” announcement on changing sides from Sen. Hillary Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama.

And the whole word gasped.

Well, not really the whole world. In all honesty, the collective gasp was heard from within the Beltway, that patch of geography where the chattering elite class of politicos live, breathe and eat.

But drive 15 minutes in any direction outside of the Beltway, and no one knows who Joe Andrew is or why his deflection should affect their vote.

Here is the problem that the media seems to ignore in this race for the Democrats: While there is plenty of headlines and pontifications about superdelegates moving their support to Obama, there is a curious dismissal of Clinton’s string of strong wins with the John Deere voters.

The reality is that elitist Democratic Washingtonians love being in the power chair. They love to think that their’s is the final opinion, that their’s is the opinion that matters most.

As blogs become the voice of Mainstreet America, the superdelegates’ opinions matter less and less. That’s where the disconnect is most clearly seen. At the center of this is Howard Dean, the man who fancies himself as an outsider. In reality, he, like Markos Moulitsas, is a Washington insider with a brash voice pretending to speak for the people.

Salena does the nation a great service by calling voters in the Heartland John Deere voters. They’re trying to tell people who their preference is for the Democratic nomination. The superdelegates aren’t listening. Here’s one of Salena’s most stinging rebukes:

While putting nearly 2,000 miles in the Hoosier State in the past week, the reflections and opinions of the voters is not that different than what I saw in Ohio and Pennsylvania. And those opinions are that superdelegates to them are people who make their minds up based on their experiences and geography, i.e. Washington D.C.

The voters make their opinions and decisions on their experiences in their geography, i.e. Middle America.

Yet the story remains that Clinton cannot mathematically win. Well since Barack Obama cannot win either without her dropping out, perhaps what the analysis should be is why voters continue to vote her in while Beltway news conferences tell them “no, no, no.”

There’s a reason why Sen. Obama is in deeper trouble than DC insiders think. It’s because he hasn’t connected with John Deere voters. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that Hillary Clinton really connects with them, either. It’s just that she’s connecting with them better compared with how Obama is right now.

Neither compares with how Bill Clinton connected with how he connected with John Deere voters. That’s diminished now, mostly attributable to his spending the last 16 years inside the Washington-New York media bubble. That’s another post for another day.

Here’s another key Salena observation that the Democrats have ignored:

There is a huge disconnect between the Joe Andrew voters and the John Deere voters in this world. No one can win in the general election without them. They are the Reagan Democrats that swing elections. The last time I checked, the voters who live in the Beltway have never swung a national election. Ever.

Predictably, the best description of why Democrats are in trouble in their bid to reclaim the White House comes from a voter:

As one Hoosier voter said to me along the road, “just let us vote. Stop telling us it is over before we go to the booth.”

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The last thing Howard Dean wanted to do on Sunday’s Meet the Press was defend the process in the Democrats’ presidential nominating process. That’s what he was forced to do, though, thanks to this quote from Ed Rendell:

GOV. ED RENDELL (D-PA): The popular vote is, to me, a much fairer indicia than the pledged delegates because the pledged delegates are elected in a very undemocratic way.

Here’s Dean’s reply to Russert’s question:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you agree with that?

DR. DEAN: Well, no, I don’t. First of all, I don’t agree with it. And secondly, look, we have a set of rules. My job here is not to side with one candidate or the other and talk about pledged delegates or superdelegates or any of that stuff. My job is to take the rules that everybody started with and enforce the rules without fear or favor of any candidate. The–somebody’s going to lose this with 49 percent of the delegates in Denver, and that person has to believe that they were treated fairly if–otherwise, we can’t win. Look, John McCain is a weak candidate. He’s wrong on Iraq, as far as the American people are concerned. We don’t want to stay there for a hundred years. He’s wrong on the economy; it wasn’t the mortgage holders that, that, whose fault this was. He’s wrong on healthcare. We should have health insurance for all our kids. He is not a strong candidate.

The only thing that’s going to beat us is if we’re not unified. And my, in order to be unified, both the losing candidate and the winning candidate have to feel like the system was fair. So Senator Rendell may say–I mean, Governor Rendell may not like the rules, but the rules are what we started with. Most of them have been in place for the last 25 years. That’s what we’ve got to go by, whether you like the rules or you don’t like the rules.

Dean’s got a point that both sides knew the rules going in. That said, Gov. Rendell is justified because he’s saying that it goes against the Democrats’ own principles. How can Dean’s Democrats justify Hillary winning Texas by a healthy margin but Obama getting more delegates than Hillary? How can they call that proportional apportionment? That’s what Al Gore called fuzzy math throughout the 2000 campaign.

Dean’s answer isn’t pure spin but it’s close. Dean’s calling John McCain a weak candidate isn’t close to the truth. Though Dean will attempt to paint Sen. McCain as a George Bush double, the truth is that that’s an uphill fight for Democrats. They’d have better luck selling parkas in Miami than selling John McCain as a Bush clone.

I’m left questioning why he’s even attempting that tack, especially given all the articles that’ve been written about McCain the maverick, the biggeest thorn in President Bush’s side. Howard Fineman was on Chris Matthews’ show all the time talking about how much trouble Sen. McCain was supposedly causing him. I never bought into that meme, though the internet is littered with those types of stories. (For all the heartburn Sen. McCain was supposedly causing President Bush, the list of achievements on President Bush’s resume is rather lengthy.)

Here’s proof that Gov. Rendell is right about the undemocratic methods used by Democrats:

MR. RUSSERT: The candidate with the most elected delegates is not guaranteed the nomination?

DR. DEAN: The rules say that the candidate with the most delegates gets the nomination, and I support the rules.

MR. RUSSERT: So that the superdelegates could, in effect, overrule the elected delegates?

DR. DEAN: That, you know, you shouldn’t think of it that way. So-called “superdelegates” are, in fact, elected by exactly the same people who vote for the elected delegates. This is just–this is like an–a representative democracy. You elect a–80 percent of the delegates, and they have to do what you ask them to do. The others, the 20 percent you elect, essentially do what’s in their best judgment, just like the House and the Senate does. Sometimes you like it, and sometimes you don’t. But these folks are elected, all, all of them, almost all of them are elected. A tiny minority are not elected; they’re appointed. But most of them are elected. They’re elected by the same people who went to the–who go to the conventions and go to the–vote in the primaries. They’re governors, senators. A lot of them are, are, are DNC members. There’s 21-year-olds there, there’s–50 percent are women and so on, and on, on it goes. So this should not be looked at as some bunch of cigar-smoking folks in the back room slapping each other in the back and electing the next president. It doesn’t work that way.

Is it just me or is Gov. Dean doing an excessive amount of tapdancing around these questions? Personally, it sounds like Gov. Dean would rather be taunting a cobra than facing Mr. Russert. To be fair, he should be nervous. Both Democratic candidates have been exposed, one as a lightweight with questionable judgment, the other as someone who can’t give a straight answer if her life depended on it.

This exhange will give you mental whiplash if you think it through:

MR. RUSSERT: But the elected delegates were elected because they ran supporting the person that won the primary or the caucus. What should be the criteria of a superdelegate when they make their judgment as to who to vote for?

DR. DEAN: Well, I’m not going to say what their criteria should be because that’s not what the rule–the rules don’t give you a criteria. They’re supposed to vote their conscience. My personal belief is they’re going to vote for the person they think, think can beat John McCain, which is what I think a lot of these voters are voting for. I think a lot of these folks are going to the polls and are going to go the week after next in Indiana and North Carolina are saying, “Which one of our folks, of our folks, Senator Obama or Senator Clinton, can best beat John McCain?”

MR. RUSSERT: So your personal view is that even if someone has won more elected delegates, if you think the other person would be a stronger candidate against John McCain, you’d opt for the other person?

DR. DEAN: Tim, that is not my personal view. My personal view is, I am the chairman of this party, we have a set of rules that have been in place for a year and a half, and I am the person who’s in charge of upholding the rules whether I like them or not. Are there some rules I might change next time around? Yeah, maybe so. But right now we’re focusing on the rules we have. Look, that’s all we’ve got. No–I feel like I’m the referee here at the NCAA finals. You know, you make some calls, but if you stick to the rules and do the right thing according the rules, you’re going to end up with a decent process. And that’s what we have to do.

There you have it. Gov. Dean was for voting the superdelegates voting their conscience until he was against the superdelegates voting their conscience. That was Gov. Dean’s personal belief until it wasn’t his belief 20 seconds later. Was Gov. Dean lying the first time when he said that it was his personal belief that the superdelegates were “going to vote for the person they think, think can beat John McCain” or was he lying when he said that that wasn’t his personal belief? Or is it just that he’s tapdancing as frantically as any political party chairman has ever tapdanced?

Whether it’s A, B or C, it’s indisputable fact that Gov. Dean’s appearance hurt his party by sounding so incoherent.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

ABC’s Jake Tapper just posted that the Pastor Wright ad that the NCGOP planned on running won’t run, at least in a large part of the state. The people at those stations are kidding themselves if they think that this stops the so-called controversy. First, let’s identify the stations:

ABC Charlotte affiliate WSOC-TV and CBS Raleigh affiliate WRAL-TV are refusing to air the North Carolina Republican Party TV ad featuring the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an ad condemned by both the RNC and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

“I just don’t think it’s appropriate to be on our air,” Joe Pomilla, general manager for WSOC-TV, told The Charlotte Observer. “I think it’s offensive, and I’m not real comfortable with the implications around race.”

Mr. Pomilla’s saying that the ad has racial implications is insulting. This ad doesn’t have anything to do with race except with people who think that everything is racial. This has to do with highlighting Sen. Obama’s relationship with extremists. That’s fair game.

There’s another question that begs asking, namely, would they have refused to run this ad if Hillary was making this buy? I suspect that they would. If they would’ve run this ad had it been Hillary’s buy, then isn’t that censorship?

It’s worth questioning Democrats’ objections to the ad based on this statement:

The North Carolina Democratic Party has called the ad racist. Jerry Meek, the chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, told the Winston-Salem Journal that the ad is attempting to exploit racial bias among white voters.

“It clearly is the case that this is part of the ‘Southern strategy,'” Meek said. “It’s been around for a long time. This is a page directly out of something that Jesse Helms would do.”

What’s funny to me is that this just highlights Obama’s relationship with a racist. Whether the ad runs or not is irrelevant at this point. It’s been shown on TV. pundits have discussed it extensively. That’s before considering that the ad’s bouncing around the internet.

It isn’t that I think the ad is that effective. It isn’t effective for the NC GOP, though I’m betting that it’s put a smile on Hillary’s face. I’m convinced that it’s helping her there.

The biggest thing that I’d be worried about if I were directing the Obama campaign is that I’d worry that the Wright videos has decimated his ability to attract blue collar workers in Pennsylvania and Michigan. That’s where Reagan Democrats came from.

Sen. Obama isn’t the only one worrying about that. I’d bet the proverbial ranch that Howard Dean is drinking Maalox in unprecedented quantities. I’m betting that state party chairs are worried, too. They were hoping for a huge Obama turnout helping them win extra state legislative seats as well as extra House seats for Speaker Pelosi. The bloom is off that rose. People have noticed that Sen. Obama isn’t a great postpartisan healer of all things political.

People see that he’s just another smooth-talking politician.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The concession speech that Sen. Obama delivered last night was an exercise in intellectual dishonesty. In delivering such a dishonest speech, he’s re-inforcing the notion that he’s just another intellectually dishonest politician. Here’s part of his intellectual dishonesty:

John McCain believes that George Bush’s Iraq policy is a success, so he’s offering four more years of a war with no exit strategy; a war that’s sending our troops on their third tour, and fourth tour, and fifth tour of duty; a war that’s costing us billions of dollars a month and hasn’t made us any safer.

That’s a steaming pile of BS. Sen. McCain criticized President Bush’s policy. Sen. McCain frequently told people that he didn’t have confidence in Don Rumsfeld, that they needed more troops in Iraq. Had President Bush implemented the surge right after his reelection, Iraq likely would’ve been largely cleaned up by now.

Though that’s the biggest half-truth Sen. Obama said, it certainly wasn’t his only whopper:

John McCain said that George Bush’s economic policies have led to “great progress” over the last seven years, and so he’s promising four more years of tax cuts for CEOs and corporations who didn’t need them and weren’t asking for them; tax cuts that he once voted against because he said they “offended his conscience.”

Sen. Obama knows that Sen. McCain isn’t “promising four more years of tax cuts for CEOs”; Sen. McCain is advocating making the Bush tax cuts permanent. Sen. McCain is advocating that because he knows that letting the tax cuts expire is a huge tax increase.

Let’s also draw a contrast between President Bush’s economic policies and the policies that Sen. McCain is advocating. Sen. McCain is committed to eliminating earmarks. He’s threatening vetoes to bills with lots of wasteful spending. President Bush didn’t veto an appropriations bill until after Democrats regained control of the House and Senate. Here’s another portion of the speech that’s worth laughing at:

We can be a party of those who only think like we do and only agree with all our positions. We can continue to slice and dice this country into Red States and Blue States. We can exploit the divisions that exist in our country for pure political gain.

Or this time, we can build on the movement we’ve started in this campaign, a movement that’s united Democrats, Independents, and Republicans; a movement of young and old, rich and poor; white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American. Because one thing I know from traveling to forty-six states this campaign season is that we’re not as divided as our politics suggests. We may have different stories and different backgrounds, but we hold common hopes for the future of this country.

Talk about worthless tripe. If Sen. Obama is the great uniter, why did he get his head handed to him in Pennsylvania? If Sen. Obama is the great uniter, then why can’t he attract blue collar workers? If he’s this great uniter, why is he getting his head handed to him with so many traditional pro-Democratic demographic groups?

Here’s what the WSJ is reporting about last night’s primary:

Pennsylvania delivered a 10-point win for Hillary Clinton last night, the same margin by which she carried demographically similar Ohio last month. Since the two states together are vital to Democratic chances in the fall, their primary results provide an important window on how Mrs. Clinton and Barack Obama are faring with key voter groups after the events of the last seven weeks.

The circumstantial evidence is that Mr. Obama lost ground among those “bitter” rural voters he described in his infamous San Francisco comments as likely to “cling” to religion and guns.

Mr. Obama lost weekly churchgoers (who made up over a third of Pennsylvania voters) by a clear 58% to 42% margin. In Ohio last month, weekly churchgoers voted 51% to 49% for Mrs. Clinton. Catholics, a conservative social group in both states, gave Mr. Obama only 31% of their votes in Pennsylvania and only 37% in Ohio. No numbers are available for gun owners in Ohio, but in Pennsylvania gun owners turned thumbs down on Mr. Obama by 62% to 38%.

All in all, only 63% of Pennsylvania Democratic voters told exit pollsters they would be satisfied if Mr. Obama won the nomination, down from 66% who said the same thing in Ohio. This translates into an opportunity for John McCain. Ten percent of Democrats said they would sit on their hands in a McCain-Obama race, and 15% said they would vote for McCain over the Illinois senator. That’s a significantly higher “grumble factor” than in a possible McCain-Clinton race, in which 6% of those voting said they would stay home and 11% said they would vote for Mr. McCain over Mrs. Clinton.

Given that Pennsylvania voted for John Kerry over George W. Bush by barely two points in 2004, the exit polls in last night’s Democratic primary are an open invitation for Mr. McCain to spend lots of time and money in the state.

The uniter ‘genie’ is out of the bottle as is the elitist snob genie. I don’t see a plausible scenario that helps Sen. Obama put those genies back in their respective bottles now that the video and audio are bouncing around the internet is beyond me.

It takes alot to change a powerful first impression. Voters’ first impression of Sen. Obama has been changed, which speaks volumes about the powerful imagery of the Pastor J-Wright tapes.

Finally, it’s difficult for me to picture a scenario as to how Sen. Obama can win in Pennsylvania or Michigan if he can’t repair the damage that he’s done to himself with his fundraiser speech. How that damages down-ticket Democrats is another consideration in all this. Don’t think that Howard Dean is only worried about whether Sen. Obama is a viable general election candidate. If Obama is seen as elitist, alot of those freshmen will start running away from Obama, putting both themselves and Sen. Obama at risk.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Last week, John Judis wrote about his misgivings about Sen. Obama. Today, he’s asking if Sen. Obama is the next McGovern. Here’s what Mr. Judis wrote on the subject:

Indeed, if you look at Obama’s vote in Pennsylvania, you begin to see the outlines of the old George McGovern coalition that haunted the Democrats during the ’70s and ’80s, led by college students and minorities. In Pennsylvania, Obama did best in college towns (60 to 40 percent in Penn State’s Centre County) and in heavily black areas like Philadelphia.

Its ideology is very liberal. Whereas in the first primaries and caucuses, Obama benefited from being seen as middle-of-the-road or even conservative, he is now receiving his strongest support from voters who see themselves as “very liberal.” In Pennsylvania, he defeated Clinton among “very liberal” voters by 55 to 45 percent, but lost “somewhat conservative” voters by 53 to 47 percent and moderates by 60 to 40 percent. In Wisconsin and Virginia, by contrast, he had done best against Clinton among voters who saw themselves as moderate or somewhat conservative.

Without scrutiny, Sen. Obama could craft whatever image he wanted. Now that he’s scrutinized, that image is changing dramatically. It’s difficult to say that you’re a uniter when you attend a church pastored by a racist. People won’t buy the notion that you’re commander-in-chief material when you’ve got connections with an unrepentant terrorist. People won’t buy the fact that you share people’s goals when you’re an elitist.

The days of Sen. Obama being seen as a moderate are in the rearview mirror. The lunchpail crowd will look the other way rather than vote for Sen. Obama.

The lengthened primary process has kept interest high in the Democrats. The bad news for Howard Dean is that it’s exposed alot of vulnerabilities in Sen. Obama.

Another question worth asking is whether freshman Democrats in swing districts in the South and Midwest will campaign with Sen. Obama. If any freshmen avoid campaigning with him, that’s a definite signal that they think he’s radioactive.

Either way, this isn’t shaping up the way Democrats wanted it to shape up.

UPDATE: Sean Hannity is talking about how Republican house candidates are making commercials tying their candidate to Barack Obama. He says that they’re highlighting Sen. Obama’s ties to radicals like William Ayers and Pastor J-Wright. I can’t say that I’m surprised.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Barack Obama had better hope the superdelegates didn’t pay attention to tonight’s Pennsylvania primary. He’d better hope they don’t check the map in western and rural Pennsylvania, where he got thoroughly thrashed. This county-by-county map tells the tale of how thoroughly Obama got thrashed.

Of the 68 counties in Pennsylvania, Hillary won 23 counties with 55-65% of the vote and 29 more counties with 65-75% of the vote. Fayette County went Hillary with 79%. Sen. Obama won only 7 counties, with Philadelphia being his best county with 65% of the vote.

The only logical conclusion we can draw from that is that Sen. Obama’s statement at the San Fransisco fundraiser hurt him badly. That said, the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell complains that the Clintons counted on racism to win:

Clinton banked on the strength of Gov. Ed Rendell’s observation that conservative white voters in that state would not vote for a black man. I traveled across Pennsylvania with the Obama bus tour, and tens of thousands of white men and women turned out at his rallies.

But early on, Rendell boasted that the discomfort of white voters with a black candidate may have accounted for 5 percent of the votes he racked up against Lynn Swann, a popular former NFL player, in that state’s gubernatorial race.

Obviously, there are people in this country who are not yet ready to see a black man elected as president, just as there are people who aren’t ready to call a female commander in chief.

Still, it is appalling that any candidate in the Democratic Party, the party that has benefitted from the blind loyalty of black voters, would stoop to exploiting bigotry in order to win the election.

That’s a bit over-the-top. It’s a stretch to say that Clinton exploited that division. It’d be one thing if she had played racial politics or if she’d played the racebaiting game like Pastor J-Wright did during his tenure at Sen. Obama’s church.

Mostly, she won because blue collar Democrats can’t identify with an elitist like Sen. Obama. Those are voters that Sen. Obama has traditionally had difficulty winning over. I don’t see a reason why they won’t continue being a problem for him. These are voters that Sen. McCain has a real shot at.

Don’t misunderstand me. I still find it difficult to picture Hillary winning the nomination. After tonight, though, I find it more difficult picturing Sen. Obama winning over blue collar voters in sufficient numbers to win in November.

Let’s also remember that Sen. Obama outspent Hillary by a 2:1 margin. At minimum, a candidate with that type of spending advantage should win. To lose even though you outspent your opponent is inexcusable. To lose badly when outspending your opponent that badly is a collapse on a par with last year’s Mets.

It’s times like these that I wish I was the Tums distributor for DNC Headquarters.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When the final analysis is written about this year’s Democratic nominating process, this statement will surely be proven right:

Before this year’s historic campaign, poisoned at the root by overt and ugly sexism and covert and coded racism, Democrats have never been asked to choose quite so nakedly which absolutely necessary demographic they would like to do without. Here is the question, a cynic might suggest, that the Democratic Party must answer this summer: Do we want to lose because we drove away blacks or because we drove away white women?

Early in the process, GOP strategists rightfully worried about Hillary’s and Obama’s big turnouts. What’s needed, in my opinion, is something that happened right after George Bush’s re-election. That’s when the Nutroots pushed Howard Dean down the DNC’s throats. From Day One, disaster was predictable, even inevitable. The Nutroots saw the Clinton/DLC connection as GOP lite. The Clintons saw the Nutroots as McGovernite losers. In other words, they hated each other.

In fact, it’s more accurate to say that this rift first started with Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. He repeatedly said that he represented the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.” That rift got wider in August, 2006, when Ned Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary in Connecticut. That night, a new type of Democrat was born: Lieberman Democrats. Brendan Loy typifies Lieberman Democrats, socially and economically liberal but hawkish about national security.

Let’s return to the present. Pennsylvania’s primary is a perfect illustration of the split that’s becoming more apparent each day. Blue collar Democrats will vote overwhelmingly for Hillary. Rich, white liberals will join African Americans in enthusiastically voting for Sen. Obama. Once Sen. Obama wins the nomination, alot of Hillary’s DLC supporters will leave the Democrats’ coalition and vote for John McCain.

While it’d be wrong to think that these DLC types to abandon the Democratic in dramatic numbers, their defections would be catastrophic for the Democrats.

What’s that got to do with this year’s race? Sunday night, I talked with a political insider in Pennsylvania. This insider told me that Sen. McCain has a definite shot at putting Pennsylvania in the red state column, regardless of the candidate. That figures to be the case in other blue collar states across the country.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative