Posted by James @ 3:02 am on January 31st 2008

Quote of the last century…er millennia…

And I want to stress once again, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you for your support, and I want to assure you that I cannot — and I will not — leave the Golden EIB Microphone. (applause) I will not retire. I will not concede. (cheers and applause) I will not drift away! I will not fade away, until every American agrees with me.

Rush Limbaugh (talk radio host)

Ok then.

Posted by James @ 1:44 am on January 31st 2008

My 1000 word picture of the day.

With a few words attached…

In trouble with who, Bill? And for what? Doing a lot?

Hello?

Posted by Brad @ 11:00 pm on January 30th 2008

Schwarzenegger to Endorse McCain

The most sought-after endorsement in the Republican race looks sealed. He waited until the debate was almost over for his people to break it.

Posted by Brad @ 9:01 pm on January 30th 2008

Republican Debate – The Quickening

Hopefully my co-posters can liveblog. I don’t have a TV in this room, so have to do it the old fashioned way. Commercial and smoke breaks and after-analysis.

Posted by Adam @ 8:59 pm on January 30th 2008

What does Rudy get?

Following the question asked by commenter Tessellated here, I am wondering what Rudy Giuliani gets out of his endorsement. I am thinking that if McCain wins the nomination and if he wins the Presidential election (the latter a huge ‘if’) that Rudy maybe becomes Attorney General. I can see a VP pick following the nomination, too — they both appeal to independents — but I am not sure that it makes sense (I say Fred Thompson for that role, to alleviate the problem with elements of the Republican Party).

Posted by Rojas @ 8:57 pm on January 30th 2008

The worst hair on earth

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I couldn’t find any images of his comments today in DC before the Select Committee on Global Warming. Suffice to say he was having a bad hair day even for him. I’m considering becoming a warming skeptic for that reason alone.

Posted by Rojas @ 8:39 pm on January 30th 2008

In a nutshell

Today’s RedState offers the truest paragraph in the history of paragraphy:

The Democrats will hand Mitt Romney his ass on a silver platter, and force him to wear it as a hat. His sunny demeanor unchanged, he will give a strong farewell speech thanking his supporters, and give the experience a solid B+.

Posted by Adam @ 8:07 pm on January 30th 2008

Every cloud has a happy fantasy lining

From Rush Limbaugh, via Kathryn Jean Lopez (who links to a members-only page), my emphasis:

How can it be said that I have lost or that conservatism has lost, when all of our Republican candidates claim to be conservative and to carry the conservative mantle?

Firstly, I don’t think that conservatism has lost (thank God,although some of the most sanctimonious members of the Republican Party have been doing fine work in discrediting it) or that Rush Limbaugh has ‘lost’ (an entirely different thing and an event which, should it ever occur, will precipitate my beating my previous record for “world’s smallest tear”) or that talk radio has lost (allthough some may fear that they will) but, Jesus, can Limbaugh not see how that’s an incredibly stupid statement? It’s presumably symptomatic of the way that he kept ‘carrying the water’ (his words) for the Republican party of Tom Delay, et al. The great test of conservatism — “do you claim to be a conservative?” Leaving aside the implication that Limbaugh, peddler of populist crap, is somehow a Guardian Of, or Proxy For, Conservatism, it’s just a stupid, naive thing to say. Jesus Christ. Every cloud has a happy fantasy lining, if you just wish hard enough.

Posted by Brad @ 5:55 pm on January 30th 2008

A Perfect Storm

Let’s not let me get too far out on the “McCain is the Republican nominee” thing. There is, after all, still an outside (though it is outside) chance that the anti-McCain forces rally behind Romney and cause enough trouble to throw the contest back into doubt. But for now, McCain is the presumptive nominee, and that’s a damn good place to be as January closes.

We will be—as with most conservative bloggers—picking apart the carcasses of the other campaigns soon enough, and taking what lessons we can from the McCain victory if it does get sealed. However, one thing worth reiterating, things that look obvious in retrospect rarely ever were. Also worth reiterating is that really, every century, only about 100 people ever manage to even break 1% in the race for the presidency, and it’s certainly not the 100 most qualified or best positioned necessarily. Any campaign that goes anywhere, to a huge degree, relies on luck and moment as much as anything, a strange concoction that can’t necessarily be predicated or depended on. We like to think, in the punditocrocy (or now, blogosphere), that everything has simple, rational explanations that can be picked through and seen clearly, but the truth is that it’s an impossible constellation of chance that tends to put candidacies over the top.

To that end, Ross Douthat has a must-read post on the massive amount of pure luck that’s carried McCain to where he is.

Of course, establishmentarianism helps quite a bit too. Let’s remember that, with Rudy, McCain has been the frontrunner for this race since basically January 2001. Were it not for his spectacular collapse for about six months over the summer, this wouldn’t even be a mild surprise. And, his status as “comeback kid” is not much more than Kerry’s was in the last contested primary (though Kerry managed to hold on to more money; of course, he also won more convincingly).

But, even there there’s a lesson.

The conventional wisdom isn’t usually worth much.

As is often the case (I reminded you in June), the guys polling in single digits in September (McCain, Huckabee, Romney) are now on top. And the guys that all the “momentum” and “viability” had coalesced around (Giuliani, Thompson), wound up as paper tigers who went precisely nowhere.

We’ll forget that by 2012, of course.

Posted by Brad @ 4:50 pm on January 30th 2008

…28…

Add one more. Tom Davis (R-VA11) won’t seek reelection. His district went Bush over Kerry by 50-49, and is now a prime pickup opportunity for the Dems. Not only because of the demographics, but because the most likely Democrat running is actually Davis’ predecessor who held that Congressional seat before him and vacated it to run for Lt. Governor.

Plus a bunch I missed over the last week.

Posted by Brad @ 4:39 pm on January 30th 2008

Oh, And More Bad News For Issue-Specific Conservatism

As I’ve also said before, fiscal responsibility appears to be if not a dead issue, than one on a rapid descent in Republican circles, sad to say.

As a Sully reader writes:

What shocks the hell out of me is that by a 12% margin, Democrats are more interested in reducing the budget deficit [than Republicans]. Barely half of Republicans even care. What ever happened to what was supposedly the party of fiscal responsibility? Dick Cheney was right. Deficits don’t matter, at least not to Republicans.

Heck, I’m surprised it rates for even half at this point, way people have been voting.

At least this is one matter that McCain is ahead of his party on, so there’s some hope yet.

Posted by Brad @ 3:54 pm on January 30th 2008

The Issue of Immigration Won McCain the Republican Nomination

Man is this primary full of delicious ironies. How’s that for a post title?

I’ve argued before—much to the consternation of many of our most loyal conservative readers—that immigration is a dead, even counter-productive, issue nationally for the GOP. I happen to sympathize with tough talk on illegal immigration from a rule of law perspective, and framed appropriately I think most people do, but am with my fellow bloggers in being pretty pro-immigrant generally, and as a beating-over-the-head sort of issue, I think it’s not just a long term loser for the GOP, but a short term loser as well. I’ve made that argument here, here, significantly expanded here, and elsewhere; Adam has put in his own general thoughts all over the place, notably here.

Yesterday, as Simon Rosenberg explains, we got even more evidence. I think it’s fair to say that Florida delivered McCain the nomination. And I think it’s also fair to say Hispanics delivered Florida for McCain.

According to the exit polls Mitt Romney and John McCain tied 33% to 33% among the 89% of the Florida voters last night who were not Hispanic. Among Hispanics, who where 11% of the Florida GOP electorate last night, the vote was 54% McCain, 24% Rudy and 14% Romney. So it was the vote of Hispanic voters who put John McCain over the top in Florida, and gave him the most important win of his fight for the GOP nomination.

Thus, John McCain, the candidate who championed immigration reform, may have had the nomination delivered to him by those Hispanic voters he has been fighting for. And Romney, who has led the anti-immigrant crusade in the GOP field this year, saw this strategy explode on him – as it has virtually every other Republican who has invested in it – last night.

Despite the fact that a large swath of GOP base voters are obviously disgusted with McCain in large part for his “pro-amnesty” stance, it hasn’t apparently helped any of his opponents get a leg up on him, and in fact in the one state where it noticeably played, it lent a critical blow to his opponents.

In a general election, of course, the Democrats promise to compete heavily in the Southwest and Mountain West, and the Midwest remains one of the closest battlegrounds. And, of course, Hispanics remain the fasted-growing demographic in the country. So I’m not sure it would make sense to argue that it would play BETTER in a national general race.

In short, the most pro-immigrant candidate won, in no small part perhaps BECAUSE he was pro-immigrant. And in a general election (as in state elections), immigration as a paper tiger just doesn’t seem to pan out as its proponents repeatedly insist it does as a truism.

I don’t expect that’ll convince the Minutemen crowd much, but perhaps it’ll send yet another pretty clear message to the Republican party and Republican candidates that hammering away at immigrants is an electoral loser.

Kos adds his own thoughts in a good post titled “Bashing Brown People to the Electoral Abyss”. When you get past the shadenfreude, he makes a compelling case.

Posted by Brad @ 3:28 pm on January 30th 2008

Letter To Sullivan on McCain-Obama(-Paul?)

In my tradition of writing anonymous reader mail to bigger blogs and then remembering that I may as well be posting those thoughts on my own blog, here’s a letter I sent off to Sully this afternoon:


Hi Andrew,

I know it’s early yet, and you won’t hear it from professional pundits, but let me be the first to put this forward: with last night’s results, we are now virtually assured that either John McCain or Barack Obama will be our next President.

I take it as a given that McCain now has the nomination virtually locked. The Democratic race is still up in the air, but it basically boils down to this: if they nominate Clinton they lose, if they nominate Obama they win.

Either way, by my reckoning, it’s going to be McCain or Obama come 2009.

And, for all the disappointments of this primary, how awesome is that?

I have to say that a lot of credit is due to Republican primary voters. Despite a biblical level of teeth-gnashing sure to come from the Hewitt/Limbaugh/NRO crowd, and despite a veritable minefield of bad to worse options in front of them, they managed to look past the bullshit and put their best guy forward. That is, after all, the ideal way a primary ought to work. Kudos to them.

Now let’s see if Democratic primary voters have as much sense.

Although it does suck to be an anti-war conservative right now, or even a conservative who believes we should be malleable on Iraq. You say today “Bush is doing all he can to make the occupation of Iraq a permanent feature of global politics for the rest of our lives.” Well, we did just get the one Republican running who makes exactly that the explicit and central pledge of his campaign. A bit of cold water, but it needs to be said.

And one final (related?) addendum: I know you’ve cooled considerably on Ron Paul, but according to the latest polling, Paul still, surprisingly, has a significant constituency out there if he chooses to run in the general. If McCain is the nominee, he’s pushed past 10% (and if it’s McCain-Clinton, there are going to be a LOT of severely disaffected voters in BOTH party bases looking for a place to go and finding none). So even in the worst-case scenario of Hillary managing to squeak it out, it could well be with John McCain and Ron Paul hammering the shit out of her for 9 months, with Ron Paul reaching the threshold to get in the debates.

A Barack Obama – John McCain – Ron Paul general election?

Happy days are here again!

Posted by Brad @ 3:09 pm on January 30th 2008

Time to Start Being Nice to Ron Paul

Rasmussen is out with a new set of numbers polling general election scenarios. With Rudy out, I’d say the chances of a Bloomberg run have diminished significantly. However, Ron Paul is still, I imagine, carefully weighing his options, and certainly with a McCain nomination, a conservative fly-in-the-ointment might make a decent draw from the anti-immigration and anti-war conservative crowds. With Hillary in the race, perhaps doubly so.

With Clinton-Romney:

Hillary Clinton leads Romney by five in a head-to-head match-up, but her lead grows to fourteen points with Bloomberg and Paul in the mix—Clinton 46% Romney 32% Bloomberg 7% Paul 7%.

With Obama-McCain:

Obama: 47%
McCain: 45%

Obama,McCain,Paul,Bloomberg

Obama: 40%
McCain: 33%
Paul: 11%
Bloomberg: 5%

For some reason they polled all viable scenarios BUT Clinton-McCain. And they don’t poll either-or scenarios with just Bloomberg or just Paul. But still, eyebrow-raising numbers, and consistent with all other polling done on this question.

This surprises me after most of the wind-in-the-sails that Paul might have had with the general electorate seems mostly gone as the race has focalized more around the frontrunners. But it appears that a third party or independent challenge from Dr. Paul would still retain a significant draw in a general election, and as Rasmussen puts it: “the pair of third party candidates attract from 13% to 17% of Republicans in each match-up. They earn only 5% to 10% of the Democratic vote.”

Ron Paul, I think we can conclude, goes all the way to the convention, with delegates. He also pretty consistently gets an apparently momentum-proof chunk of what I think anybody would concede are the most die-hard and committed supporters of the cycle. When he can draw from disaffected Independents and Democrats also, that number still goes up to about 10% (the more open the primary, the better he seems to do; general elections being of course the most open primary of them all).

I have no idea what Ron Paul should do, but I think it’s clear, if even a little counter-intuitive, that Ron Paul still has an opening, should he take it, to keep pumping his message out there. And in a very long general election in which he’s consistently drawing voters and the media will be out shopping for stories, he could conceivably remain in the spotlight to some extent. Hell, if he starts polling consistently at 10-12%, he’ll even get in the debates (!). And, if it’s Clinton-McCain (one of the most likely scenarios, if not the most likely), there are going to be an awful lot of severely disaffected voters in BOTH parties looking for a place to go. I think with Clinton-McCain, Paul genuinely might throw the election to Hillary.

Again, I’m torn on whether he should even bother or if he should just start circling the wagons and building up a congressional slate (not that that’s mutually exclusive per se), but it’s an intriguing possibility nonetheless.

And, doubts aside, I have to say, the prospect of a Barack Obama – John McCain – Ron Paul general election sure does appeal.

Posted by Brad @ 2:55 pm on January 30th 2008

The FISA Fight Continues

Please, even though I’m not covering it as extensively, everybody click through and read up on the FISA fight in the Senate.

More important than any of this candidate rubber-necking. And, at the end of that post, suggestions for action.

Please read. The FISA fight is about a lot more than just telecomm amnesty, and this week is critical.

Posted by Brad @ 2:54 pm on January 30th 2008

McCain the Establishment

It may or may not follow through ideologically, but Nick Bradley rightly throws a little bit of cold water on the notion that John McCain is an “outsider” just because a lot of conservatives hate him.

Although McCain claims that he’s an “outsider”, he’s been part of the establishment for more of his life than any candidate in US history: Born on a naval base as the son of an admiral (and grandson of an admiral), lived on a military base his entire childhood, went off to the Naval Academy, served a full military career, immediately ran for congress in ’82 after retiring from active duty, moved on to the Senate in ’86, and has been there ever since. So McCain has been a paid employee of the US Gov’t for 54 years and grew up in an elite military family before that. You can’t get any more ‘establishment’ than John McCain.

Freedom Democrats made this same point on our blog last week, with the added note that everything independent-minded conservatives love about John McCain has come since he started revving up his entire career shooting for the Presidency, circa late 90s.

All that said, it’s damn, damn nice to see John McCain vindicated. I say that from residual bad blood over the way he was treated in 2000 (and fresh bad blood about how he’s treated today in some circles), but also because, after Ron Paul, I think all us bloggers agree (though we’ll get it in the comments) that John McCain, though by no means perfect, was on another level of acceptability from the rest of the field. Rojas was right last night when he pointed out that the Republican voters managed to navigate a minefield and, at the end of the day, come up with the best candidate. As much as you hear the teeth-gnashing on the right, the GOP primary voters deserve an awful lot of credit for their good judgment in January.

Posted by Brad @ 2:54 pm on January 30th 2008

The Debates

By the way, the Republicans debate tonight, with only McCain, Romney, Huckabee, and Paul, and only two real viable candidates between them (one of which HAS to essentially fundamentally change the entire race if he’s to have any chance). Rudy will be with McCain at a rally scheduled for 6 PM EST, right before (I think the debate will be at 8?).

The Democrats debate tomorrow with just Obama and Hillary.

Gonna be some interesting ones to watch, and the stakes are pretty high for them. We’ll live blog.

Posted by Brad @ 2:41 pm on January 30th 2008

Speaking of Potential Democratic Endorsements, What of Bill Richardson?

Richardson has to have his hat in the ring as a solid VP option for either candidate, but particularly Hillary Clinton. But, that option is probably off the table unless he gets off the fence, one way or the other. And with a lot of talk about the Latino vote, which will be big on Super Tuesday, have we seen the last of Richardson?

As the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Democratic Party, Richardson’s endorsement is being aggressively sought by the Clinton and Obama campaigns. California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico are among the 22 states voting next week, and each have sizable Hispanic electorates. Richardson, who cruised to re-election as New Mexico governor in 2006, is a popular figure in the Hispanic community.

Richardson’s torn. He served in the Clinton White House, first as ambassador to the United Nations, then as Clinton’s Secretary of Energy. “I have a history with the Clintons,” Richardson said. “And I’ve always liked her. She always seems very genuine.” But Richardson considers Kennedy, who’s long been respected by Hispanics, as “a mentor.” In 1982, when Richardson ran for Congress for the second time — he lost two years before — Kennedy flew to Santa Fe and campaigned for him. “That might have been the reason I was elected,” Richardson said. And he said he likes Obama, telling a story about how Obama saved him during one of last year’s Democratic debates:

“I had just been asked a question — I don’t remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn’t going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, ‘So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?’ But I wasn’t paying any attention! I was about to say, ‘Could you repeat the question? I wasn’t listening.’ But I wasn’t about to say I wasn’t listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, ‘Katrina. Katrina.’ The question was on Katrina! So I said, ‘On Katrina, my policy . . .’ Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, ‘Obama, that was good of you to do that.'”

Make no mistake, Richardson is tied to the Clinton machine in a way that no other Democratic candidate was. My hunch is the Clinton-Richardson people are in close, close talks right now. And, if he endorses and she wins, he’s guaranteed a huge spot in the administration (an assurance I’m not sure either would give to Edwards).

Posted by Brad @ 1:42 pm on January 30th 2008

Let’s See What Edwards Has to Say

Boilerplate concession about wanting to work on poverty and how inspired he is by Elizabeth to keep on fighting, or a surprise endorsement (“mah friend Barack Obama”), or even announcement (“Imma gonna join the Clinton ticket! Come on y’all!)?

We’re already talking about it here, but consider this your liveblogging space.

Posted by Brad @ 10:19 am on January 30th 2008

John Derbyshire is My New Best Friend Slash Hero

In the midst of the Corner’s biblical gnashing-of-teeth this morning:

On To The McCain-Kennedy Ticket [John Derbyshire]

Oh, stop whining. So what if the likely GOP nominee believes in restraints on free speech, higher taxation, bigger government, open borders, and 100-year U.S. armies of occupation everywhere from Albania to Zimbabwe? Romney believes in those things too — at least, he does when he’s in a room full of people that want him to.

You already have a genuinely conservative candidate on offer. He’s just not slick enough for you. What, he has positions you don’t agree with? More than the other guys? Actually, I have heard very little complaining about Paul’s positions. What I have mostly heard is (a) He’s funny looking, (b) He can’t win, and (c) He has a lot of icky supporters.

The answer to (a) is to put aside the New York Times “Style” section for five minutes and think. The answer to (b) is, that if conservatism is going to lose big in 2008 anyway (newsflash: it is), it should at least make a stand, to inspire future generations. The answer to (c) is, get in there and swell the ranks of non-icky Paul supporters — there are plenty of us — to drown out the nutsos.

While you guys are crying into your light-blended crème frappuccinos, I’ll be making a campaign donation to help Ron & Carol celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary Friday.

Romneybot lost a big one? In the immortal words of Little Richard: Boo [shriek!] hoo [shriek!] hoo [shriek!] hoo.

Posted by Brad @ 10:10 am on January 30th 2008

Edwards Out

So reports Chuck Todd. They say he’ll announce today.

Democrat John Edwards is exiting the presidential race Wednesday, ending a scrappy underdog bid in which he steered his rivals toward progressive ideals while grappling with family hardship that roused voter’s sympathies but never diverted his campaign, The Associated Press has learned.

The two-time White House candidate notified a close circle of senior advisers that he planned to make the announcement at a 1 p.m. EST event in New Orleans that had been billed as a speech on poverty, according to two of his advisers. The decision came after Edwards lost the four states to hold nominating contests so far to rivals who stole the spotlight from the beginning — Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

Boy, though the primary season has been in some ways disappointing, can’t argue with today. Giuliani and Edwards drop.

Posted by Brad @ 10:09 am on January 30th 2008

“Mitt Romney is George Bush trying to be Bill Clinton”

Good column by Chris Kelly on the Mittster.

Posted by Rojas @ 10:55 pm on January 29th 2008

Michael Graham goes bat-snot crazy

Over at the Corner, they’re on the point of jumping out windows over McCain’s victory. Leading the parade off the ledge, Michael Graham:

So it is over. Finished. In November, we’ll be sending out our most liberal, least trustworthy candidate vs. to take on Hillary Clinton—perhaps not more liberal than Barack Obama, but certainly far less trustworthy.
And the worst part for the Right is that McCain will have won the nomination while ignoring, insulting and, as of this weekend, shamelessly lying about conservatives and conservatism.

You think he supported amnesty six months ago? You think he was squishy on tax cuts and judicial nominees before? Wait until he has the power to anger every conservative in America, and feel good about it.

Every day, he dreams of a world filled with happy Democrats and insulted Republicans. And he is, thanks to Florida, the presidential nominee of the Republican party.

I’ve listened to all I’ll ever be willing to listen to from Bush’s enablers about what is and isn’t conservatism. However else we may feel about John McCain, it’s impossible not to be delighted in how angry he makes these people.

Posted by Brad @ 10:39 pm on January 29th 2008

Rudy Giuliani – the Little Man with no Balcony

So, when the video pops up I’m going to post it, because I haven’t seen it. But apparently, in what is effectively his concession speech, Rudy took a cheap shot at Ron Paul. Because nobody knows class like Rudy Giuliani.

I would just like to take this opportunity to point out that, if he drops out before February 5th, despite Rudy Giuliani having arguably about the highest name ID of any Republican save the President, and despite having raised (and spent) nearly 50 million dollars, and despite having been an anointed frontrunner for years, and despite spending tens of millions of dollars in all the early states he later said he wasn’t competing in, despite him being Time’s Man of the Year against a guy that doesn’t even get invited to all the debates, despite running against about as marginalized candidate as you can get…

Ron Paul STILL beat him 6 states to 2. Which is also, coincidentally, the delegate count.

The last laugh is always the best.

See ya, Rudy.

Posted by Brad @ 10:13 pm on January 29th 2008

McCain Wins

51% percent of precincts reporting, CNN calls it.

McCain 441,590 (36%)
Romney 390,924 (31%)
Guiliani 191,105 (15%)
Huckabee 164,579 (13%)
Paul 38,788 (3%)
Posted by Adam @ 9:41 pm on January 29th 2008

Giuliani to go McCain?

Via the RCP Florida Primary blog thread, Mark Halperin has it that Giuliani is going to drop out and endorse McCain, possibly tomorrow or the day after.

I hope so. Meanwhile, the Corner has turned into a snakepit for McCain supporters (even compared to the last week).

Posted by Brad @ 9:25 pm on January 29th 2008

Quote of the Day

From an email from the Obama HQ at 6:45.

“Based on exit polling data our campaign is prepared to call the delegate count at 7 pm eastern.”

Zing.

Posted by Adam @ 7:22 pm on January 29th 2008

McCain being buried on MSNBC

Without actually releasing the “who voted for whom” data from their exit polls (as voting in FL is still ongoing), MSNBC’s commentators (who presumably know that data from the exit polls) are all being knowing and appearing to feel prescient in talking down McCain. Postal ballots will have been important, but presumably that doesn’t favour McCain either because Giuliani’s fall (which benefits McCain) wasn’t as pronounced even a week or two ago, although it was certainly well underway by then.

Bah.

Posted by Brad @ 5:23 pm on January 29th 2008

Another Single Issue Group Hits the Airwaves

The Right’s Field has a great find. Being as I got involved in campaign finance machinations and the byzantine regulations therein, I understand that, while organizations dedicated to a specific candidate are harshly regulated, advocacy groups have quite a bit more leeway in discussing candidates, so long as it relates to their single issue. In this case, as RF puts it:

Single issue groups provide great information for voters; If you want to know where a candidate stands on guns, you turn to the NRA. If you want to know where a candidate stands on abortion, you turn to any one of these groups. But if you wanted to know about where the candidates stand on Cousin Marriage, you had nowhere to turn… until now.

Check out their swank website: giulianimarriedhiscousin.org.

Their mission statement?

Dedicated to providing objective, non-partisan information for voters and the media regarding cousin marriage issues in the 2008 Presidential Election. In particular, RudyMarriedHisCousin.org will provide substantive analysis of the campaign of Republican Rudy Giuliani, who married his cousin.

Posted by Brad @ 4:38 pm on January 29th 2008

Hillay’s Plan to Game the System Falling Apart?

So, a (rightfully) big story in the Democratic primary has been Hillary’s rather naked power-bid to have the Michigan and Florida delegates seated. Her argument, which would have had objective merit when the DNC actually handed down its ruling but because a brazenly obvious and shameless delegate-grab now, is that the people of those states deserve a voice, but of course it wasn’t the DNC that screwed them, it was their own state parties who refused to abide by the rules they themselves made and agreed to abide by. And, of course, even barring that, they DON’T have a level voice, because in Michigan only Hillary was on the ballot, and in Florida, none of the other candidates campaigned. So to say that seating the Democrats lets the will of the people prevail is more than a little disingenuous; because, in fact, only the will of HILLARY people was allowed to get through.

In any event, a less big story but perhaps more impactful is the question of so-called super-delegates. “Party luminaries” not tied to any state or poll result make up 800 delegates, or about 20% of the total (how that’s “will of the people” I’ve no idea). And, it’s always been assumed (and reported), that being DNC establishment Dems, Team Clinton has had them more or less in their pocket from Day One.

But these two things might not be unrelated.

Steven Stark at RCP wonders if the recent spat of big-name Democrats going for Obama—Kennedy, Kerry, McCaskill, Napolitano, Conrad, and perhaps Gore, Edwards later—might be a sign that the cement holding the establishment and party luminary crowd to Team Clinton might be cracking. Certainly, if the Clinton’s keep raising holler and doing the old switchback on party rules with MI and FL, if the Clinton’s continue to take this race to places establishment Dems would rather see it not go (and particularly if, in so doing, it begins to hurt the party, and the eventual chances of EITHER nominee), those “party luminaries” might start sifting through the Clinton’s fingers.

Tough campaigns are one thing. But if you’re actively pushing a division in Democratic ranks, if you’re taking one of the party’s biggest rising stars of the last decade and essentially trying to cripple him and rub his face in the mud, and if the Clinton’s continue to overreach and overstep and assume themselves a lot more in control of the hearts and minds of the establishment Dems than they actually are, they may find a critical mass might start building for Obama among those types, and if that happens, that 20% buffer Hillary’s been relying on may not be there when she needs it most.

And finally, a lot of people are assuming that “big” states are going to provide Hillary a huge advantage, and a further delegate buffer. And it would, if she were in a Republican primary. But Democratic states aren’t winner-take-all, they’re by congressional district, and are divvied up much more democratically. Meaning, in many places, Clinton may win the state while Obama reaches parity or even beats her in delegates.

All of that is to say that at some point, Hillary’s firewalls may well not hold up very well. I still say that if if comes down to the wire in a dogfight (say, give or take 500 delegates), that benefits Hillary, but I’m not as confident in that as I once was.

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