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Update: Bill O’Reilly Video Recovered – Raw Story Carries O’Reilly Going Crazy

It’s back. I love the internet machine. Enjoy.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

From before:

The clip of Bill O’Reilly everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived. It’s your favorite deviant going absolutely crazy on tape and I’m sure it’s not the first or last time it will ever happen. Enjoy.

Clinton Losing in Superdelegate TotalsIt has officially gotten a lot worse for Senator Hillary Clinton’s Campaign. The word coming from the New York Times and the Associated Press is that Clinton is now trailing Senator Barack Obama in superdelegate totals and it looks like there might be no end to the bleeding.

In truth, this is the time that the superdelegates have been waiting for. Without a true winner in the past few months many of them were not willing to stick their neck out to shift the balance in favor of one candidate or the other. Obama’s recent North Carolina win last week, and the media coronation that followed, has assured any undecided super-d that the danger of declaring their allegiance too early has clearly passed.

Obama’s latest superdelegate pick-ups have now given him a lead in every measurable category over Hillary Clinton. As a result, one could easily envision a scenario in which Obama surges ahead in collecting superdelegates and claims the 2,025 total delegates/superdelegates he needs to clinch the nomination.

Those super-d’s who have decided to declare for Obama post-Indiana/North Carolina were, in all likelihood, simply waiting for an opportunity like this to present itself. I doubt that many will follow suit, but enough may that it could render the remaining primaries moot (perhaps even more so than they already are).

Though I will offer a word of warning here. As much as I have dedicated a lot of space to analyzing the faulty arithmetic that has led Senator Clinton into her own electoral quagmire, I have recently come to believe that keeping Hillary in the race might have a silver lining.

The current state of affairs, despite how important you may think it is for the Democrats to start the healing process, is actually beneficial to the Democratic Party. Dan Balz said it best last week when he mentioned the incredible success that the Dems are having in registering new party members and organically growing new campaign organizers. As soon as this history-making race went past Iowa and New Hampshire, voters for Hillary and Barack invested themselves even more in their party. The media circus also stirred up interest never before seen in a presidential election, much less a presidential primary season.

The Democratic Party has been reeling over the past 20 years. Its non-answer to the Republican marketing and issue machine has left it at an organizational disadvantage and funding disadvantage, which it is finally starting to pull out of. Thanks to a miserable 8 years of President Bush, Democrats are reaping the rewards of public opinion gone sour.

For as much as Hillary’s presence in this race is angering Obama supporters, threatening disunity and increasing the potential of alienating independent voters, calling the race because super-d’s flock to Obama’s side will hurt party organizing in the remaining states. Not only will voter’s feel robbed of the opportunity to have their voices heard (and the press will hammer that point home, I can assure you), the Democrats would lose the opportunity to register thousands of Democratic voters and build up an organization that has been lacking in so many ways for so many years. There’s no need to stop this train before it reaches its last stop.

Let the last vote be cast in Puerto Rico before we call it quits.

updated May 12th

Senator John McCain has launched a new TV spot advertising his new funeral home business. It shows him wheeling out the corpse of his one thousand year old mother to chat with him about his birth during the French and Indian War.

If your reading this Senator McCain (or if any of your campaign staff are tuned in) let me give you some free (and excellent) political advice. If you’re trying not to reinforce the negative stereotype about your age, you’d better not put your white-haired self in front of a camera next your blue-haired mother. Perhaps your intention was to look young next to the woman who so kindly gave birth to you, but I look at this ad and I immediately see two half-dead senior citizens reminiscing about Life Magazine in the crumbling library of a nursing home.

Senator, it might be time that you accepted your age as a disadvantage and stopped trying to remind us that, compared to your mom, you’re as healthy as a horse. Voters overlook things like age if you’ve got a solid message, proven skills and an unimpeachable character. Which you have in spades.

And you’re a war hero. And not just any war hero. One that was continuously tortured for years and as a result, can’t fully use your arms because of the trauma you’ve sustained. If there’s a contrast between your age and Obama’s youth, there’s an even better one between your awesomeness and Obama’s complete inexperience.

Look, if you’re ever going to look young in your ads, this isn’t the way to do it. The only way you can ever achieve that is if you eat nails or shoulder-press a live tiger.

I don’t see that happening. In fact, that scenario is the opposite of what your Mother’s Day commercial is. And that’s my point. If you’re not willing to go to one extreme to pedal your youth, don’t go to the other. Having your mother make speeches introducing you at campaign stops is one thing, but having her appear in commercials seen by millions of voters is quite another. I hope for your sake, your campaign staff has learned their lesson.

And, of course, Happy Mother’s Day.

The Hillary Deathwatch widget from Slate…probably the most timely thing that I’ve come across in recent days. Apparently, the internet news mag started this great little graphic last week. As I’ve been saying for so long here, it’s only a matter of time before Clinton needs to throw the towel in and now I’m glad someone caught on with a great little graphic. Enjoy!

The Hillary Clinton Deathwatch

In a 24 hour period, Sen. Barack Obama has started to sound presidential and Sen. Hillary Clinton’s message is getting lost in the weeds. Take a look at just a few minutes of Obama’s speech from North Carolina and you’ll see what I mean. If you’re the presumptive nominee, you should be talking like this guy.

If this is our Democratic nominee (and I have said in this space for a long time that I think he is) the question now becomes, how did Hillary fall so hard?

As we so often do here at thinkmatter, let’s look at her messaging. Peter S. Canellos of the Boston Globe yesterday had picked up exactly the line that the Clinton campaign had been hoping every reporter would. Specifically, a softer, less opportunistic and distinctly blue collar Hillary who understands the needs of everyday people.

“Few politicians in American history have carried less of a reputation for “Cheers”-like camaraderie than the senator from New York, who was widely seen as cold and calculating.

But that stereotype has been cast aside by many voters, replaced by its positive twin: The same steely-eyed characteristics that made Clinton seem cold now make her seem purposeful; what was once seen as calculation is now determination.

Part of the transformation has been a matter of comparison. Some people think her opponent, Barack Obama, has an academic aloofness to him. Next to him, Clinton’s grittiness stands out in far sharper relief.”

This is an unprecedented success for a candidate, and an especially unusual one for a candidate like Hillary, whose past reputation has been weighed down by perceptions that she’s an…ahem, ‘rhymes with rich’.

Had this cream-puff story carried any water into the May 6th contests, she would have gotten a pass for the last few months she has spent essentially asking for the most unprecedented thing in American political history – crown her the nominee based on her own projection that she could be a better candidate against McCain. Ignore the numbers and vote tallies, she’s saying, and make me your nominee because I might have a better shot at winning in November.

Unfortunately, her campaign is faced with an entirely different storyline. Instead of the glowing reviews she was getting prior to Indiana/North Carolina, she woke up today faced with a sharp rebuke of her continued candidacy:

“Very early this morning, after many voters had already gone to sleep, the conventional wisdom of the elite political pundit class that resides on television shifted hard, and possibly irretrievably, against Senator Hillary Clinton’s continued viability as a presidential candidate.

The moment came shortly after midnight Eastern time, captured in a devastatingly declarative statement from Tim Russert of NBC News: “We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it,” he said on MSNBC. “Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.” Jim Rutenberg writes in today’s New York Times.

I understand the strength of her logic before Indiana/North Carolina. For many voters casting their ballots in a primary season, the ‘electability’ question is often taken into account when voting for a candidate. But after her showing in these primaries, it will be a Sisyphean effort to convince entire groups of electors (namely superdelegates and the Democratic Party establishment) to take this into account over and above the will of the voters.

Her arguments are now seen for the absurdity with which they were formulated. She has no measurable numbers on her side and now that she took such a huge hit in North Carolina, it would be difficult for her to achieve any viability from here on out.

Now, she says that she will fight until there is a nominee.

If you will permit me just one last thought before the unveiling of the Delegate and Superdelegate tracker. How long do we think the Republicans won’t latch themselves on to the following storyline: “The political ambitions of a few people are now superseding the interests of many Americans. Democrats aren’t bickering about policies, they are simply bickering about ambition. It’s not about becoming president, it’s about what you want to do when you are president. Sen. McCain is going around the country touting his plans to solve real problems for real Americans, and Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are simply trying to outwit and outflank each other just for the sake of a seat in the Oval Office. The Democrats arent’ talking about real issues.” Commence launch of potential GOP talking points.

Staying in this race hurts her and it hurts Sen. Obama. Let’s see what she does after the last primary in June. The smart money might be on her striking a deal to become V.P. prior to the Puerto Rico Primary. Of course, the even smarter money might be on Obama marginalizing her by addressing only Senator McCain in his speeches and letting the press hammer her into dropping out.

All speculation aside, if we see anything at all in the next few weeks, it’s going to be Hillary scrambling.

And now, the long awaited Delegate and Superdelegate Trackers.

NBC’s Sunday morning juggernaut and ABC’s less successful little brother have finally achieved some relevance outside the Beltway. The Boston Globe, Washington Post and New York Times are all referring to the cross-network debate that Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama held between themselves on NBC’s Meet the Press and ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopolous just prior to the primary showdown this Tuesday. Opinions about suspending the gas tax dominated the jabs Clinton and Obama threw at one another and made the network execs happy when they woke up Monday morning to the front page news about the sparring on their shows.

To the average American these programs are on the channels they flip through on their way to cartoons for the kids. The only audience that they really attract are journalists, wonks and of course, campaign staffers. Perhaps this is why the candidates took pains to throw out indirect questions about the other’s competence in handling public affairs; it allowed them to score hits with the live viewers and facilitate a carry over into print the next day (where average Americans will actually see it).

A good strategy for both camps and an especially economical way to get a cadre of reporters talking about you when you’ve only done one TV interview. Playing these two shows at the same time and obliquely engaging in an unchoreographed debate is a shotgun blast that achieves some good print attention on issues you want voters to think about before going to the polls in Indiana and North Carolina.

Hillary wants to get her populist message accross so that voters will think about the price of gas when driving to their polling location. She wants them to think about her electability and if she can handle other  crisis’s around the world . Not a bad tactical move for her messaging and by attacking Obama, she maintains the offense that could win her one (or both) of these states.

Seizing the opportunity with Tim Russert, Obama came out Sunday to put to bed his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and made a further plea to the American people that Clinton’s gas tax was simply Washingtonspeak. He knows that his back is against the wall and if Hillary is scoring points with a plan to immediately reduce the burden on America’s wallets, he had better have a quick quip to cut her down.

I’m starting to doubt his effectiveness in these past few days and am growing less confident that Indiana and North Carolina are going to pan out according to Obama’s designs. Sure, Clinton is still trailing overall (and badly, I might add) but thus far his jabs have had soft landings since the Rev. Wright debacle. Obama seems wobbly on his feet and isn’t snapping off hard punches like he was in the early rounds. I think Hillary has rattled him and it might take some time after these next two primaries for him to get back into his former fighting shape.

Can I keep the boxing metaphor alive any longer? I’ll stop here, but I will say that I can’t wait for the results tomorrow night. Boxing, boxing, boxing.

Clinton Wins - But May Never Be PresidentBarack Obama would desperately like to shoot the underdog. She’s wounded and she limits the healthy members of the group from making any forward progress. Too bad the small town people in Pennsylvania who cling to guns or religion couldn’t spare the ammo to deliver the fatal shot.

And so we move on. The American media is jumping on the Clinton camp’s statements that this fight will go to June or even to the convention this summer. She has pointed out that with this victory, and if you include the vote totals from Florida and Michigan, she is leading in the popular vote. Which is true, but Florida and Michigan aren’t in play.

The fact remains that Clinton is still battling from behind. She is trailing in the delegate count, popular vote totals (sans Florida and Michigan) and the number of contests won.

She’s losing in all the categories that everyone likes to call ‘objective measures’ and seeing this, Senator Clinton knows that she must cast doubt on Senator Obama to have any hope of making further headway. Or if not headway, she can hope to further damage his now vulnerable persona.

Expect Clinton to hammer on the electability question and claim that her victories are more meaningful for November, despite there being fewer of them.

Let’s see her take on electability first. Senator Clinton is claiming that Obama cannot be elected over McCain because he is too untested and too open to the vicious attacks the Republicans will throw at him. This is the smart move on her part. Her campaign has been pointing to his inexperience from Day One and as we get closer to November, this is just another way of her illustrating her experience over his.

However, she is just as open to this argument as Obama is. Clinton’s negativity rating nationally is incredibly higher than either McCain or Obama and therefore the electability question cuts both ways. If she insists on going down this road, she will need to be prepared for the consequences.

Clinton’s second argument is that the states that went for her contain more swing voters that will be an important demographic in November. This might be the more solid claim she has on her side. Her appeal spans older people, working-class whites, and women – those independent minded voters who may have voted Democratic in the primary season, but will surely be tempted to vote Republican in November.

In theory, this is the right move for her. If she can claim the mantle of populist, her vote totals in swing states will only grow. Arguably, this does translate into her being the more ‘electable’ candidate in November.

But past performances are no indicator of future trends. If she can successfully argue the point, I still doubt it will mean a perceptible difference in the outcome of the nomination. She has barely made a dent in Obama’s delegate totals even though she is picking up larger, more independent-minded Purple States.

The numbers simply don’t match her arguments – nor does the thought that she is more electable than Obama. With nearly 20 years in the national spot light, those swing voters that liked her in Pennsylvania have six months to remember why they typically vote for a Republican for president.

Despite her win, her arguments are only words and do not transform the numbers that simply aren’t on her side. She is building a house of cards that may topple with her having to accept defeat or battle bitterly for a runner-up Veep spot on the ticket. I just don’t see this going her way.

And now… the new Delegate Tracker.