Thursday, January 31, 2008

Obama Winning White Voters in California Rasmussen Poll

Rasmussen Reports has a new poll out on California that shows that Obama has moved within three percentage points of Clinton. The poll is a telephone poll and was taken immediately after the Florida primary results were known, but before John Edwards dropped out.

Here are some of the findings from the poll:

Obama had a narrow 43% to 41% advantage among the party’s liberal voters while Clinton held a 45% to 35% edge among moderate voters.

Obama held a three-point lead among white voters in the state while Clinton had a twenty-seven point lead among Hispanic voters. Clinton trailed by eight points among men but led by ten among women.

Obama is viewed favorably by 83% of California’s Democratic Primary Voters, Clinton by 79%.

Sixty-nine percent (69%) of the state’s voters were certain they had settled on their final choice. That meant nearly a third could still change their mind, a figure that grew when Edwards left the race.

Forty-six percent (46%) said the top voting issue is the economy while 29% mentioned the War in Iraq. Clinton led by fifteen among those who view the economy as the highest priority. Obama led by eight among those who view the War as the top voting issue.

The two interesting points are Obama leading Clinton among white voters and the fact that more Democrats have a favorable image of Obama than of Clinton. One thing that should be kept in mind is that California voters have been voting early for some time. Thus, there is no way of knowing how many voters have already voted. There is no indication on the Rasmussen Reports summary of the poll that the voters surveyed were voters who have not yet voted.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Who Cares if Obama and Clinton Don't Like Each Other?

Once again we have the media writing and reporting about whether Obama was snubbing Clinton during the State of the Union message. We have a stupid column from Maureen Dowd, who apparently is trying to see just how irrelevant she can appear. We have Chris Wallace of Fox News asking Clinton about the alleged "snub." We have blog entries on the alleged snub. Well, here's a question: Does anyone think that voters, who know real people, give a rat's butt whether Obama and Clinton like each other?

We can just see it now: Iraq war continuing, foreclosures rising, health care cost exploding, but when Mr. and Mrs. Average Voter sit down to dinner, the conversation isn't about those problems, or the kids, or their jobs, no, it's whether Clinton and Obama like each other. Give us a freaking break.

Frankly, we want the Democratic candidate to be tough enough to take on the slime machine that it is the Republican Party and its media allies. Nothing is served by some namby-pamby primary process during which Democrats decide to make love, not war. We are not getting it, and from the looks of things, we aren't missing it.

Is One of the Clintons' Strengths Also a Big Weakness?

One of the strengths of both of the Clintons is that they don't really care what others, especially the media, think of them. This was seen in 1992 when the media wrote him off time and time again. First it was Gennifer Flowers, then it was the issue of the draft, then it was the issue of his supposed trip to Russia when he was a Rhodes Scholar, and on, and on, and on. Every time the pundits told us that Clinton couldn't win and, of course, he won.

Then he was president, the trend continued. The media claimed that he was a lame-duck president after the 1994 Republican take-over of Congress. Many thought that he would be a one-term president. Of course, he easily won re-election in 1996.

Next came the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Again many in the media predicated his demise, and again he survived.

Through all of these crises, the Clintons drew strength from the fact that they didn't seem to really care what others thought. There was a great line from Hillary Clinton when the Gennifer Flowers issue was blowing up and a reporter asked her if her husband was going to drop out. Her response was something like, "We will leave when the voters tell us to leave, not before."

This attitude of the Clintons drives many in the media crazy. First of all, it diminshes their role. The media likes to think that they are gate-keepers of the political system. Many reporters see themselves as part of the system, even though they never run for office, or run a campaign, or serve as advisers. When they take a shot at a candidate and pronounce that candidate dead, well, damn it, that candidate should have the good grace to die. Only the Clintons don't.

Their attitude also drives reporters crazy because most of them, indeed most of us, don't have that kind of self-confidence and some people resent those who do. Most of us, if the media was telling us that our stuff stank, might wonder if, indeed, it does stink. Only the Clintons don't.

Which leads to the premise of this entry. Often in life a character trait that works for you in one situation will work against you in another. It could be that Bill Clinton didn't realize the impact that his statements about Obama were making, or the reaction that they would cause, because, in the past his judgment has been shown to be so much better than others, especially in politics. Thus, he made some really unfortunate remarks that ticked off not just commentators, but African-American voters in South Carolina, and voters of all races in other places.

Of course, the other thing that the history of the Clintons tell us is never to underestimate them. They work best when their backs are against the wall. If Obama doesn't win enough delegates to beat her on February 5, it might be hard to beat her at all. One thing is sure, when the Clintons are involved, you are in for one wild ride.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Democratic Vote Totals After Three Primaries

This is the total Democratic vote for the three top candidates after three contested primaries:

In South Carolina the vote was 295,214 votes for Obama, 141,217 for Clinton and 93,576 for Edwards. In New Hampshire the vote was 112,251 for Clinton, 104,772 for Obama and 48,681 for Edwards. In Florida, with 99% of the precincts reported, Clinton has 856,944; Obama has 568,930; and Edwards has 248,575.

These results give the following totals:

Total: 2,488,160

If you examine those three votes in terms of percentages, you get Clinton with 44.6% of the total vote in those three premaries; Obama with 38.9%; and Edwards with 16.5%. (Percentages are only shown to the nearest tenth.)

There will be a lot of spin over the next week as to what these figures mean. Obama supporters will argue that they don't mean very much since no delegates have yet been awarded from these results. Clinton supporters will argue that they show that she has more appeal in larger states than Obama. Our position is they we give the numbers and you decide what to make of them.

New Technology Helps Grassroots Efforts

Matt Stoller has an article up on the Nation magazine website about how new technology is helping improve the effectiveness of grassroots campaigning. This is a quote from the article about why television is losing influence as a campaign medium:

Since the 1960s, television has been the primary conduit for political information, with campaigns spending about 80 percent of their budget on media. But while broadcast television can reach millions of voters, it is, as Podhorzer notes, a dying medium. "The main thing that has changed is the heading to collapse of broadcast TV and heading to dominance of systematic, organized word of mouth and more targeted communication," he says. What's most promising about the shift from broadcast campaigns to those centered on "systematic, organized word of mouth" is the possibility of activating new voters, something TV has never been capable of doing. Political scientists Alan Gerber and Donald Green, experts on election turnout, conducted an experiment in 1998 with voters in New Haven, Connecticut, showing that person-to-person canvassing when the canvassers are ethnically and demographically matched to voters can increase turnout by 10 percent with a single contact and a nonpartisan message.

The article goes on to talk about the new database system that the DNC has put together under Howard Dean. This effort by Dean is being matched by an effort of the Ohio Democratic Party under Chair Chris Redfern called Votebuilder. Votebuilder is designed to compete with the Republican database program called Voter Vault. Both rely on using databases with a lot of information about potential voters so that when volunteers go out to canvass voters, they can be more effective in their presentation.

Of course, all of this technology depends on having volunteers and paid canvassers and a party leadership dedicated to making the technology work. It is up to local Democratic Party leaders, particularly county chairs, to make sure that their local parties are using the technology being provided by the DNC and the ODP.

If You Are Torn Between Clinton and Obama.....

not to mention John Edwards, then this article in Alternet is for you! Cast as a debate between a husband who supports Obama and a wife who supports Clinton, it is an excellent summary of the positives and negatives of each candidate. It is presented without rancor and with a lot of humor, but it covers a lot of territory. We highly recommend it. (And no, I haven't resolved how we would vote either between Obama and Clinton, although my favorite candidate is Edwards.)

Obama Closing Gap on Clinton in California

SurveyUSA has a poll out that shows Obama closing the gap with Clinton in California. Significantly, Obama has gone from 37 points down in October to 11 points down in a poll taken on January 28, 2008. This is the SurveyUSA explanation concerning the poll results:

In CA, Obama Closes On Clinton; Had Been Down 37, Now 11: In a Democratic Primary in California today, 01/28/08, eight days to the vote, Hillary Clinton defeats Barack Obama 49% to 38%, according to this latest SurveyUSA tracking poll conducted for KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego and KFSN-TV Fresno. Compared to SurveyUSA's most recent CA poll released two weeks ago, before Obama's South Carolina win, Hillary Clinton is down 1 point, Obama is up 3 points, and John Edwards, who finishes today at 9%, is down 1 point. In October, Clinton led Obama by 37 points; today, it's 11 points. Obama today leads among men by 11 points; Clinton leads among women by 30 points -- a 41-point Gender Gap. Clinton today takes 43% of the white vote; Obama takes 41, a virtual tie, and significant in that Clinton led among white voters by 25 points at the beginning of December.

The two significant points from the above are gender gap and the percentage of white voters that Obama is receiving. In previous posts we have pointed out that Obama needs to be taking over 40% of the white vote to be competitive in a general election based on how Gore and Kerry did in 2000 and 2004. In this poll he is taking 41%. If he could do that nationally, he would have a good shot at winning the presidency against any Republican.

According to the SurveyUSA poll, Clinton leads Obama among Hispanics by a 65% to 28% margin and among Asian voters by a 53% to 31% margin. Among early voters, which has been going on for some time in Calfornia, Clinton leads by 56% to 32%. It is possible that Clinton could win the California primary because of Hispanic votes and because of early voting. Even if Obama loses the total vote, given the fact that the Democratic party has proportional voting, he will still win a lot of delegates in California.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Is the South Carolina Primary Vote Like the United States Vote?

Yesterday, January 26, we posted an entry that asked the question: What percentage of the white vote can Barack Obama get in a general election campaign? If Barack Obama is to win the White House the answer to this question is crucial. According to the CNN exit polls for 2000 and 2004, white voters made up 81% and 77% of the two respective electorates. Al Gore got 41% of the white vote and won the popular vote, while John Kerry got 40% of the white vote and lost the popular vote. So clearly while it is not necessary to win the white vote, it is apparently essential to get around 40% of the white vote.

Which brings us to the CNN exit poll for the South Carolina Democratic primary. According to the CNN exit poll for the Democratic primary, African-American voters made up 55% of the vote in South Carolina's Democratic primary. Non-black voters made up 44%. Among those voters, Barack Obama got 52% of white voters 18-29; 25% of voters age 30-44; 23% age 45-59; and 15% age 60 and older. According to CNN news reports these figures add up to "nearly a quarter" of the white vote. Which means, of course, that around 75% of non-black voters, to use the CNN term, voted against Obama.

We don't want to rain on the Obama parade, but in the general election getting around 25% of the white vote isn't going to cut it. It should also be kept in mind that he didn't win 25% of the total white vote in South Carolina, but only 25% of those whites that took part in the Democratic primary. Certainly not the same thing.

Are we saying that Barack Obama can't win the general election? No, because there are some variables that are not easy to predict. One is whether his being on the ballot in November would increase the African-American vote from the 11% of the total vote it was in 2004. Second, the Hispanic, which was important to Bush winning the popular vote in 2004, seems to be going in the Democrats' direction. Third, Obama does do well among young voters of all races and his being on the ballot might increase their participation.

What we are saying is that the South Carolina Democratic primary electorate is not like the national electorate and therefore while Obama's win there is impressive, it is certainly not conclusive on the issue of whether he can win enough of the white vote to win the presidency.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

What Percentage of the White Vote can Obama Take in November?

In 2004 John Kerry lost the presidency by around three million votes. In that race, according to the 2004 CNN exit poll, he got 41% of the white vote. White voters made up 77% of the national electorate. In 2000, Gore carried the popular vote and got 41% of the white vote, again according to the CNN exit poll for 2000. In 2000 white voters made up around 81% of the national electorate. So, in two races, the Democratic candidate was getting around 40 to 41% of the white vote and whites were over three-quarters of the electorate.

This brings us to the 2008 Democratic presidential race. In New Hampshire, Barack Obama got 37% of the total vote. Since New Hampshire is a state that has, according the Census Bureau, a population that is 95.1% white and only 1% African-American, it is a pretty safe bet that almost all of his votes were from white voters. In Iowa 38% of caucus goers chose Obama. Again, like New Hampshire, Iowa is a state that is 93% white, it is again safe to assume that most of his support came from white voters.
Thus, in two races in states that were over 90% white, the best that Obama has done is 38% of the vote.

The issue is whether Obama can do better than that in a national election? Can he get into the 40% of the white vote that both Kerry and Gore got against Bush? Conversely, could he increase the black vote from 11% of the total vote to more like 12 or 13% of the total vote? Given the recent history of two straight presidential defeats where the Democratic candidate only got around 40% of the white vote, the answer to these questions is crucial if Obama is the Democratic nominee.

Once Again Peggy Noonan Declares the End of the Clintons

For what has to be the one thousandth time, Peggy Noonan has declared the end of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Once again she is sure that everyone will see through the Clintons. She is sure that the Clintons, by running an aggressive campaign against Barack Obama will tear apart the Democratic Party and allow Republicans to swoop in and start getting black votes.

Of course she announced this in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, in the same column in which she blames Bush for tearing apart the Republican Party. It is obvious that Noonan isn't aiming her message at rank and file Democrats since most rank and file Democrats don't read the Wall Street Journal. No, she is aiming it at Republicans, assuring them that even if Bubble-Boy has seriously damaaged the prospects of the GOP, the damage is only temporary.

Part of the problem here is that Republicans have never accepted the legitimacy of the Clinton presidency. Therefore, the fact that the Clintons have electoral success amazes and confounds them. The same attitude is observed on the left among people who can't stand George W. Bush. A lot of Democrats see Bush as the beneficiary of the equilavent of a black-robed coup and then as the beneficiary of the 9-11 attacks on America. Just like Republicans convince themselves that if Ross Perot hadn't been on the ballot in 1992 and 1996 they would have won, Democrats believe that if the 9-11 attacks hadn't taken place, Bush would have been a one term president.

Of course, in politics, as in the world in general, it doesn't matter what could have happened, it only matters what did happen. Bill Clinton was president and George Bush did get re-elected. Conservative pundits can continue to act as if the Clintons are through politically and, while they do, the Clintons will continue to run campaigns, and will probably win a fair share of them.

Friday, January 25, 2008

South Carolina Dems Dividing Along Racial Lines

In what may not be a good trend for Barack Obama in the long run, Democratic voters in South Carolina are dividing along racial lines, according to a poll released by the McClathy News Service and MSNBC. McClatchy's Washington Bureau reports that the poll finds African-American Democrats going for an Obama candidacy by a 59 to 25% margin over Clinton. Clinton, however, is getting support from white Democrats by 36 to 10% while Edwards is getting 40% of white Democrats. This means that 76% of white Democrats are backing a white candidate over Obama.

This trend will help Obama in states like Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, where African-American voters are a big factor in a Democratic primary. It is hard to see, however, how this trend helps him in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania where African-American Democrats are important, but probably do not constitute a majority of likely Democratic voters.

It may be that in states where there is a substantial African-American vote, reports that Obama is doing very well among African-Americans voters actually depresses his white vote by causing a reaction among white voters. This may be especially true in southern states which have a history of segregation and discrimination.

Obama needs to get more white voters outside the south to get the Democratic nomination. It is hard for him to get such votes, though, if his message of hope and change are not heard through the acrimony of a bitterly contested Democratic nomination battle.

Thirteen Democratic Senators Vote to Support Bush on Wiretap Bill

Thirteen Democratic Senators voted to support the Bush Administration on its controversial wiretap bill by voting against a Democratic alternative. The thirteen Democrats are mostly, but not all, from states that Bush carried in 2000 and 2004. They are as follows: Bayh from Indiana, Carper from Delaware, Inouye from Hawaii, Johnson from South Dakota, Landrieu from Louisana, Lieberman from Connecticut, McCaskill from Missouri, Mikulski from Maryland, Nelson from Florida, Nelson from Nebraska, Pryor from Arkansas, Rockefeller from West Virginia, and Salazar from Colorado. (We realize that counting Lieberman as a Democrat seems wrong, but that is the way the Senate records his party affiliation.)

Of those 13 Senators, nine of them come from states that Bush carried in both 2000 and 2004, assuming that you accept the fact that Gore lost Florida in 2000. The Senators that come from states that Democrats carried in both elections are Carper,Inouye, Lieberman, and Mikulski.

On the Republican side, no Senators voted with the Democratic position, although two of them, McCain and Graham, did not vote. Two Democratic Senators also didn't vote, Obama and Clinton. They, like McCain, are campaigning for their party's presidential nomination, but even if all four of them had been present, the bill still would have had 60 votes and been assured passage by a margin great enough to overcome a filibuster.

Eight Democrats who voted for the bill who came from states that Bush carried in both 2000 and 2004 are Baucus from Montana, Brown from Ohio, Byrd from West Virginia, Conrad from North Dakota, Dorgan from North Dakota, Lincoln from Arkansas, Tester from Montana, and Webb from Virginia. Obviously for the above eight Senators, this was not an easy vote, and they are to be commended for their political courage in opposing the Bush Administration on this bill.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

If Obama Can't Take Heat from the Clintons, How is he Going to Stand Up to Republicans?

Here is an article from the Washington Post about how some in the Democratic Party are queasy about the campaign that is being waged for the Democratic nomination. The article states that people are upset with the Clintons because they fear that the campaign could divide Democrats in November. (Ironically one of the people supposedly concerned is Ted Kennedy, who divided the Party in 1980 by challenging Jimmy Carter, but that's a whole another story.) Although both sides have accused each other of misrepresenting their candidate's respective positions, the article's thrust is aimed at the Clintons.

Look, we are concerned about the increasingly bitter tone of this contest. We undertand that when there is little difference between the candidates on issues, each side is going to look for an edge, no matter how small. We also understand that the Clintons are upset that African-American voters who stood behind Bill Clinton in his presidential campaigns are abandoning the 2008 Clinton campaign for Obama. We also understand that supporters of Barack Obama are so impressed by his personality that they can't understand why the Democratic Party just doesn't give him the nomination by acclamation. But, here's our question: If Barack Obama can't take the heat from the Clintons, how is he going to stand up to the Republicans this fall?

Does anyone really think that the Republicans aren't going to attempt to divide Americans along racial lines if he is the Democratic nominee? Come on, this is the Party who has been winning elections since 1968 because of white Southerners leaving the Democratic Party after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This party practically invented dividing Americans along racial lines.

And it is not only race that they will use. We understand that Obama's supporters believe that his drug use as a young man should be off limits, especially since the media gave Bubble-Boy a free pass on his alleged drug use in college and beyond. But do his supporters really think that the Republicans are going to play fair in the fall?

The Clintons can take a punch and they can deliver a punch. What Democrats need to know is whether Obama can do the same. This campaign will tell us what Obama is made of and how he reacts under pressure. It is important to know that because Democrats who think that the Clinton campaign against Obama is like Karl Rove's either suffer from amnesia or are terribly naive.

Iraq War Cost Keeps Going Up and Up

There is a new report out by the Congressional Budget Office that shows that the cost of the Iraq War rose sharply in 2007. This is from the Reuters article:
War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.

The cost of this war is not being borne by Americans in the form of tax increases or cutbacks in government spending. Bush and his Republican allies in Congress have ruled out tax increases. It is being financed by borrowing and passing the cost on to future generations of taxpayers. When George W. Bush took office, the country was running a surplus, now it is running a deficit projected this year to reach 250 billion dollars.

Meanswhile the Federal Debt has gone from around four trillion dollars to over 9 trillion dollars. A lot of this is owned by foreign entities which are controlled by foreign governments, like the Chinese.

None of this seems to worry "Bubble-Boy" and his Republican allies since they think that they won't pay any political price for supporting these idiotic policies. Let's try to disabuse them of this notion in November.

Call it "The Iraq Recession"

Think Progress has an entry up on its blog that points out that economists were predicting that if the Iraq War caused the price of oil to go up, or caused a shortfall in production, the United States was at risk for a recession. Of course, as can be seen from the increase of the price of oil since 2002, both events have happened.

Although the Bush Administration wants to deny the connection, there is no reason why Democrats should let them. There is a suggestion in the comments to the Think Progress blog entry that Democrats and progressives should refer to any recession as the "The Iraq Recession."

This is a great idea because in one phrase it ties together two issues, Iraq and the economy, that are concerning voters. They are, of course, the two issues that will ensure a Democratic victory in the 2008 presidential race.

One thing that Republicans have been better at than Democrats is "branding". Their skill in this is seen both in the positive sense of using branding to explain their policies and in the negative sense of using branding to attack their opponents. This Republican superiority in branding is related to their better use of emotion in political advertising, according to Dr. Drew Westin, author of The Political Brain.

It is past time to return the favor and the target-rich environment of the diaster that has been the Bush Administration gives Democrats a lot of opportunities.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Martin Luther King III Letter to John Edwards

We got this letter from Talking Points Memo and decided it was so great, we had to reproduce it in its entirety. It speaks for itself. Here it is:

Dear Senator Edwards:

It was good meeting with you yesterday and discussing my father's legacy. On the day when the nation will honor my father, I wanted to follow up with a personal note.

There has been, and will continue to be, a lot of back and forth in the political arena over my father's legacy. It is a commentary on the breadth and depth of his impact that so many people want to claim his legacy. I am concerned that we do not blur the lines and obscure the truth about what he stood for: speaking up for justice for those who have no voice.

I appreciate that on the major issues of health care, the environment, and the economy, you have framed the issues for what they are -- a struggle for justice. And, you have almost single-handedly made poverty an issue in this election.

You know as well as anyone that the 37 million people living in poverty have no voice in our system. They don't have lobbyists in Washington and they don't get to go to lunch with members of Congress. Speaking up for them is not politically convenient. But, it is the right thing to do.

I am disturbed by how little attention the topic of economic justice has received during this campaign. I want to challenge all candidates to follow your lead, and speak up loudly and forcefully on the issue of economic justice in America.

From our conversation yesterday, I know this is personal for you. I know you know what it means to come from nothing. I know you know what it means to get the opportunities you need to build a better life. And, I know you know that injustice is alive and well in America, because millions of people will never get the same opportunities you had.

I believe that now, more than ever, we need a leader who wakes up every morning with the knowledge of that injustice in the forefront of their minds, and who knows that when we commit ourselves to a cause as a nation, we can make major strides in our own lifetimes. My father was not driven by an illusory vision of a perfect society. He was driven by the certain knowledge that when people of good faith and strong principles commit to making things better, we can change hearts, we can change minds, and we can change lives.

So, I urge you: keep going. Ignore the pundits, who think this is a horserace, not a fight for justice. My dad was a fighter. As a friend and a believer in my father's words that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, I say to you: keep going. Keep fighting. My father would be proud.


Martin L. King, III

Monday, January 21, 2008

Democrats Need Both Black and White Voters to Win

According to the Census Bureau, the United States population breaks down racially in the following percentages: White-73.9%; African-American-12.4%; Asian-4.4%; Native Americans-0.8%; Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander-0.1%; Some other race-6.3%;Hispanic/Latino-14.8%; and Two or more races-2.0%. This means that in order for Barack Obama to get elected he will have to get votes from millions of Americans who consider themselves "white" when asked their race.

Conversely, in order for Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, or any other white Democratic nominee to win the presidency,they have to get votes from millions of African-American voters. In 2004, John Kerry lost both the white male and the white female vote. He ran 25 points behind George W. Bush among white males and 11 points behind Bush among white females. The only reason why he carried 17 states and Washington, D.C. was because he carried non-white males by 37% and non-white females by 51%.

The above figures show why the tone of the race between Obama and Clinton is so distressing. When Democrats win, they usually win by getting around 49% or 51% of the popular vote. The only Democrat since Roosevelt to blow out a Republican was LBJ in 1964. He had the advantage of the Republicans nominating a candidate who was too far to the right for most Americans. Also, the Democratic Party coalition that FDR put together was just starting to come apart so the Democrats were stronger internally than they have been since 1964.

The Democrats have a great opportunity to put together a new governing coalition in America, one that will include Hispanics, African-American votes, white women, and white men, especially those in trade unions. The current tone of the 2008, though, could make putting that coalition together much tougher. As Rodney King famously once said, "Can't we all just get along?"

The reason why that advice is so crucial for Democrats is that if we don't find a way to get along we are going to end up with another four years of a conservative Republican. America, and the world, can't afford to take that risk.

Former Bush Aides Plan $250 Million Dollar Political Action Committee Targeting Liberals and Democrats, which, according to this Washington Post article, has Ari Fleischer as its spokesman, is aiming to raise $250,000,000.00 to influence the 2008 political campaigns. It has already made its influence felt in northwest Ohio when it got involved in the special election won by Representative Del Latta. This group is being billed as the conservative answer to

The funding of this group is particularly interesting. According to the Post article, one of its main benefactors is Sheldon G. Adelson, a Las Vegas casino executive who last year pledged an unprecedented $200 million to Jewish and Israeli causes. He is joined by others who support Bush's policies in the Middle East, particularly with respect to Iran and Iraq. This is how the Post describes the origins of this The organization was conceived at a Florida meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition last spring with the initial aim of defending Bush's policies in Iraq and Iran. According to the Post, these are the people running the organzation: Ari Fleischer, a former Bush press secretary and a Freedom's Watch founder. The other organizers are Bradley A. Blakeman, another former Bush White House official, and Mel Sembler, a Florida strip-mall magnate who served as Bush's ambassador to Italy.

Of course, their support isn't confined to just foreign policy, as the ads they ran against Robin Weirauch show. This is how the Post described the group's ads against Weirauch: Behind a blood-red foreground, the group's ad showed Latinos hurrying under fences and being frisked by police as a narrator accused Democratic candidate Robin Weirauch and "liberals in Congress" of supporting free health care for illegal immigrants

This is the same stuff we have been getting from the Republican Party and its supporters for years. Find a hot button issue, such as immigration, that can be used to get votes from working class voters, predominantly white, and then get wealthy poeple interested in other issues, such as taxation, or in this case, supporting Israel in the Mideast, to funds ads exploiting those issues. Of course, the pay-off for the working class voters never comes and the conservatives elected not only vote against illeagal immigration, but also against workplace safety, raising the mimimum wage, against regulating corporations and for obscene tax cuts for the rich.

Do You Evangelize for the Democratic Party?

At church on Saturday evening, one of our ministers talked about the origins of the word "evangelical." Although most often used in the media to refer to a person who believes in a certain view of Christianity, it derives from the verb "evangelize." According to, the word "evangelize" means to "To explain ones beliefs to another in the hope that they might wish to adopt them. The word is sometimes used as a synonym for "Proselytize" - to actively attempt to convert another person to your beliefs.".

That got me thinking, are most Democrats evangelizing for the Democratic Party? Are we explaining our beliefs in such a way that others would want to adopt them? Or are too often assuming that most people have already decided what they believe politically and there is nothing we can do to change their minds?

One of the strengths of evangelical Christians is that they are sure of what they believe. This allows them to self-confidentally explain their beliefs to others. Too often, by contrast, Democrats, especially those of us who live in "red" counties don't exhibit that same kind of self-confidence.

Which is too bad, because we have a lot to be self-confident about in terms of political philosophy. We don't believe in dividing people along racial, religious, economic, sexual orientation, or gender lines. We don't believe that some Americans are more worthy than other Americans. We do believe that government has the obligation to conduct itself in such a way as to allow all Americans the opportunity to improve their lives. We don't favor a government that only concerns itself with the rich and only tries to advance the agenda of corporations.

We should be evangelizing on behalf of the Democratic Party be telling our relatives, friends, neighbors, and/or co-workers about what we believe and why we believe it. I am not suggesting that we be obnoxious about our evangelizing, but that we should have the self-confidence to tell people why we are Democrats.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Inside Look at the Clinton Ground Campaign in Nevada

Huffington Post has an article up about the Clinton ground campaign in Nevada. The ground campaign started about a year ago and involved volunteers talking with voters and recruiting potential volunteers. The article makes several good points. One is that good organization tends to be ignored by the media because they can't see it and its effects aren't known until the end of the campaign. Another point is that ground campaigns tend to be organized and run by relatively young volunteers because it is physically and emotionally and it helps if you don't have a family and/or a full time job stressing you out in addition to the campaign work.

According to the writer of the article these were the goals of the Clinton campaign:

The purpose of the organization Mook was building was to accomplish a very specific string of results: (1) Recruit a competent and dedicated leader for every precinct; (2) Test those leaders to make sure they are capable of recruiting and leading other caucus goers; (3) ID and turn out as many Clinton supporters to caucus as possible; and (4) Train precinct leaders to make sure they know how to lead their caucus attendees on the big day.

Quite frankly that should be the goal of every Democratic county party in Ohio. Find dedicated precinct leaders; train them and test them to make sure they know what they are doing; identify voters who will vote Democratic in their precincts; and make sure those voters vote on election day. Too often precinct committee persons positions have been treated as if their sole function was to elect the county chair and governing committee. Consequently in many counties Democratic candidates are on their own when it comes to building a grassroots structure and in every election cycle the work has to start all over again. Folks, that is no way to run a railroad.

If you are interested in grassroots organization, check out this article. If you are involved in a successful grassroots organization, let us know how your organization works. You can email us at

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How HIllary Clinton Won Nevada

CNN conducted an entrance poll where they polled Nevada voters as they went into the caucuses. The poll, which can be viewed by clicking on the above link, shows that Clinton beat Obama by taking women voters 51% to 38%; by taking voters 45 and older; by taking Democrats 51% to 39%; by taking white voters 52% to 34% and Latino voters 64% to 26%; by taking voters who cared most about the economy 49% to 40%; and by taking voters who cared most about health care 51% to 39%.

Interestingly Clinton also did well among voters who thought the debate conducted this last week was either very important or somewhat important. Among the first group, Clinton won 53% to 41%. Among the second group, Clinton won 48% to 37%. Most observers thought that Clinton had a good showing in that debate and it appears that Nevada voters agreed with them.

If you add in Edwards total to Clinton's total among white voters Obama only got 34% of white voters. This is obviously worse than he did in either Iowa or New Hampshire. In Nevada whites made up 65% of the vote and Afro-Americans and Latinos made up 15% of the vote each. In New Hampshire and Iowa whites made up a bigger percentage of the vote, yet Obama did better. Why?

One reason might be that Nevada is hurting economically. While Las Vegas is one of the fastest growing, if not the fastest growing, metropolitan area in the U.S., Nevada now leads the country in foreclosures. The percentage of caucus participants who thought the economy was the number one issue facing the country was 50%. The percentage who thought that about Iraq was 22% and the percentage who picked health care as the most important issue was 23%. Thus 73% of voters picked issues that, according to the CNN poll, favored Clinton over Obama.

Right now Clinton is trailing Obama in South Carolina polls by anywhere from 7% to 13%, according to polls reported on Talking Points Memo. Both Clinton and Obama are picking up some support while Edwards's support in going down. If Nevada is any guide, Clinton will pick up the white voters backing Edwards while Obama will pick up the Afro-American voters backing Edwards. If Edwards continues his downward slide when the voting starts, Obama will win, but it will be closer than the current polls indicate.

Washington Post Writer Lists Ohio's 16Th Congressional District as Most Likely House Seat to Change Hands

If you read the Washington Post on a regular basis, you will know that there is a Post writer,Chris Cillizza, who has a regular blog called "The Fix." He covers all kind of political races. This is how he describes his blog:
Welcome to The Fix, a new blog that aims to serve as a one-stop shop for political junkies in Washington and the wider world.

One of his regular items is called "The Line." In that part of his blog he lists the top ten races for the House, the Senate, and for governors of various states, that have the potential to change from one party to the other. In the most recent line for House seats, Cillizza ranks Ohio's 16Th Congressional District as the most likely seat to change. The Democratic nominee in that race is John Boccieri, who is currently an Ohio State Senator.

This ranking is good news for John's candidacy because it is the kind of thing that is read by Washington insiders. Such insiders can help John raise money and raising money makes the job of winning the November election a lot easier. Republicans will fight like hell to hold this seat, so if you can sign up to help John or contribute to his campaign, it would certainly be appreciated. Here is his website:

Why Edwards Should Continue

If you are a reader of this blog, you know that we tend to favor John Edwards as the Democratic nominee. Frankly this is because we are much more economically liberal than socially liberal. We are concerned about issues such as the minimum wage, allowing workers to organize, workplace safety, the influence of corporations on the political process, the availability of higher education for working class familiies, and the growing income inequality in America. We believe that John Edwards is the best candidate to both win the nomination and advance action on those issues. Having said that, however, we could easily support either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee. We also believe that any of the three leading Democratic candidates is better than any of the Republicans candidates on those issues.

Which brings us to the point of this blog entry. (We know that you have been patiently waiting for us to get to the point, but felt we had to make the above disclosure.) According to CNN's Election Central, there have only been elected delegates awarded for Iowa and New Hampshire since the DNC stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates. Of those elected delegates, John Edwards has obtained 26.8% of those delegates elected. This is because there are no winner take all Democratic primaries or caucuses. As long as a candidate gets 15% of the vote, he or she gets delegates.

There are 4050 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Approximately 790 of them are not elected, but the rest seem to be elected delegates. This means that there are approximately 3250 elected delegates. Fifteen percent of that number is 488, and 25% of that number would be 813. (In both calculations we have rounded off to the next higher number.) Clearly such a number would be significant block of votes and would allow Edwards to have an impact on both the nominee and the party platform.

Of course, given the propensity of the media to cover the horse race aspect of the nomination struggle, it will be hard for Edwards to get coverage for his campaign as the number of primaries increase, and he may effectively run out of money. If, however, he can continue, then a vote for Edwards in the Ohio March primary may not be a wasted vote if you care about his issues.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Could Obama Bust Open the Old Confederacy for Dems?

Since 1964, no Democratic candidate has won the presidency without winning at least some of the states of the Old Confederacy. Johnson, Carter in 1980, and Clinton in both 1992 and 1996 won at least some of the 11 states that made up the Confederate States of America. The thinking has always been that only a southern white could win such states, but a look at the demographics of southern states as set forth at show that maybe Obama could change that thinking.

As this page at the Census Bureau's website shows, there are six states in the South where Afro-Americans make up more than 25% of the population. They are Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama. Five of those states were in the CSA, while Maryland, although it flirted with secession, was not. In Mississippi the percentate of Afro-Americans is 37.4% of the total population.

It would seem logical that Afro-Americans in the South would come out and vote heavy for Obama. His candidacy could spur huge voter registration drives in the South. Much more than Clinton or Edwards, he could make a difference in Southern voting. If nothing else, his candidacy would force the Republicans to campaign in Southern states and spend money in those states.

We aren't saying that this will happen, only that it could happen. While it is not a reason in and of itself to support Barack Obama, it is certainly something to think about.

"Most people would rather go to a movie that has a plot."

The title of this entry is a line from an article on Huffington Post by Tom Edsall titled "Will the GOP Blindside the Democrats on Terror Issues?". He is quoting Brian Katulis, who Edsall describes as "a less well known figure in the Democratic foreign policy establishment who is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress where he is a Senior Advisor to the Center's Middle East Progress project".

Katulis's point is a good one and is applicable to national, state, and local campaigns. Too often local candidates run for office by putting out a list of what they think are important issues with no attempt to connect the issues into a coherent story line. They do this because they assume that most voters are as interested in politics as they are. It is this interest, after all, that propels the candidate into the race.

Well, here's a news flash: Most voters are a lot more interested in their lives, in their families, in their jobs, than they will ever be in politics. Most people aren't that interested in politics, at least not as interested as those who run for office, or, for that matter, who read blogs like this one. Most people want a movie with a plot.

So, if you are a candidate for a local office this year, take Katulis's advice and give the voters a movie with a plot. Give them a coherent narrative. Something this is easy to remember. Don't just give them a list of issues you think are important and expect them to remember your name.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Democrats Out Voting Republicans in Primaries

This is a very interesting statistic, and one that is not good for the GOP. So far, there have been two contested Republican primaries and one contested Republican caucus where individual votes were counted. Those are Iowa, New Hampshire, and Michigan. In those three contests, according to CNN's Election Central, the total number of Republicans votes was 867,136.

On the Democratic side, there has been two contests where individual votes were counted Those were New Hampshire and Michigan. In Iowa the Democratic Party reported the number of delegates that each candidate won at the district level, but does not release individual votes. In those two contests the total number of Democratic votes was 877,082. In other words, the total number of Democratic voters in two races exceeded the number of Republican voters in three races. Not only was the total bigger, but in Michigan Obama and Edwards weren't on the ballot and Clinton didn't campaign.

Quite frankly these figures indicate that rank and file Republicans don't have the saem enthusiam and intensity that rank and file Democrats have about the 2008 elections. Six years of Bush, of a war that seems neverending, of budget deficits, of incompetence. of constitutional violations, have weakened the Republican Party. Couldn't have happened to a better group of people.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Congressional Dems Introduce Bill to Prevent Bush From Signing Long-Term Agreement Without Congressional Approval

On January 13, 2008, we published an entry in which we said that Democrats need to introduce legislation prohibiting Bush from entering agreements with the Iraqi government that continue beyond the end of his presidency. Imagine our delight, and to be honest, also our chagrin, when we found out that Congressional Democrats have done, and are doing, just that. One bill has been introduced by Senator Hillary Clinton in the Senate and another bill will be introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

Rep. DeLauro will introduce the Iraq Strategic Agreement Review Act of 2008, which would require the administration to consult with Congress on the agreement and withhold funds for the agreement if it did not come in the form of a formal treaty. “We simply cannot allow the Administration to finalize an agreement that could lead to permanent bases in Iraq and other major economic and political commitments without Congressional consultations and approval," she says in a statement on the bill.

This is only the first step, however. The second step is to big it a political issue when the Republicans bottle it up in the Senate or Bush vetoes it and the Republicans don't provide enough votes to override his veto. What Democrats need to do is take our full page ads in about 100 of the biggest newspapers in the US asking Americans if they want to see American troops in Iraq until 2018. If they don't, ask them to call their Republican Senators and Representatives. If the DSCC and/or the DCCC ran such ads, they would receive a lot of coverage and move this issue up on the media's agenda.

Too often, politicians and their advisers act as if ads on television are the only way to go. A lot of people, however, read the newspapers. You could probably potentially reach 50 million or so readers with such an effort. The cost would be negligible compared to running 30 second tv spots, and you would probably get just as much of an impact. It is time to think outside the box, pun intended.

Newsweek Cover Story on Hillary Clinton

Newsweek is following up its cover story on Barack Obama with a cover story on Hillary Clinton. It is a very interesting article. It contends that a mistake the HRC campaign made was assuming that she was known by voters. It also contends that both HRC and her advisers have learned that she is not that well known and that they have to allow the public to see a more complete picture of her.

When Clinton ran in New York for the US Senate she adopted a strategy of going everywhere to dispel the images that voters had of her. It worked in that she was able to do well enough in upstate New York to counter the Republican vote in the suburbs of New York City. Doing that made sure that the big Democratic vote out of New York City was sufficient to elect her. She followed the same campaign strategy that Charles Schumer had used in 1998.

The problem, though, is the size of the United States makes it hard to do that on a nationwide basis, especially if your campaign is distracted by charges of racism made by other Democrats. The question is can you go around the media and get enough voters to change their opinions about you? Opinions that have been formed not on personal experience by on the basis of media stories.

Well, we are about to see if HRC can pull it off. On the one hand she is an incredibly polarizing figure in American politics. On the other hand she is a very intelligent and very hard working woman. Only a fool would count her out, as the media found out last Tuesday in New Hampshire.

Iraqi Defense Minister Wants US in Iraq Until 2018

The Iraq Defense Minister said yesterday in Washington that he envisions the US in Iraq until 2018. He doesn't believe that his country will be able to handle internal security until 2009 to 2012 and will not be able to defend its borders until 2018 to 2020. These remarks need to be jumped on by Democratic candidates running for President.

In the past Bubble-Boy has gotten away with mouthing platitudes like "When the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." Platitudes that were designed to sound tough, but avoid actually telling the American people how long their sons and daughters were expected to be in Iraq. Now, thanks to the honesty of the Iraq Defense Minister, we know what this Administration's plan is for Iraq. Its plan is that American troops stay in Iraq for another decade.

It is time for Democrats to engage the Republicans on this issue. The choice is pretty clear. We can be in Iraq for 10 more years while the Iraqis fight among themselves or we can set deadlines and get out. We can't control what the Iraqis do, we can only control what we do.

If Bubble-Boy and the Duck Hunter would have told the American people back in 2003 that we would lose at least 4,000 American troops in Iraq, spend at least half a trillion dollars, and be tied up in Iraq for 15 years, there is no way that the American public would have supported this war. Of course, we weren't told that. Instead we were told that we had to worry about mushroom clouds over our country.

Right now, according to a recent CBS/New York Times poll, only 3% of Americans would support having large numbers of American troops stay in Iraq longer than five years. Only 10% would support having large numbers of American troops in Iraq for two to five years. Given those numbers, there's no way that Americans will buy into BB's 10 year plan.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Democrats Need to Push Bill Prohibiting Bush From Making Iraq Committments Beyond 2008

A development that most Americans may not be aware of is the Bush Administration's desire to enter into an agreement with the Iraqis allowing the US to stay in Iraq indefinitely. This plan is referred to by the Bush Administration as U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation and you read a summary here. The reason why this is supposedly needed is that the United Nations mandate under which the United States is operating in Iraq ends in December of 2008. The Iraqis don't want to extend that mandate. Rather they want to replace it with this agreement between the US and Iraq.

Note that the Bush Administration is not entering into a treaty with the Iraqis. Why? Because such a treaty would be subject to Senate confirmation. The whole point here is to avoid going to Congress to get authorization for this move.

Here is how Lute described this agreement at a news conference in November:

As Dana just mentioned, today is an important day for us on the Iraq team, because President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq signed an important document that frames our emerging strategic relationship with Iraq. This so-called Declaration of Principles has its roots in the Iraqi leader's requests for a long-term bilateral relationship in their communique of August 26th. So the root here really goes back to this communique of 26 August.

The day after that, the President accepted the Iraqi request in concept, and today's document is now the first of a three-step process that actually codifies this mutual decision for a long-term partnership. The next step is that we'll look to renew the United Nations Security Council mandate for yet another year. This is actually required on its renewal date by 31 December.

And then in the course of 2008, the two countries, the United States and Iraq, will codify formally our bilateral relationship with, as we're calling it, the strategic framework agreement. Today's declaration outlines the main parts of what we expect that emerging agreement to contain. There should be a political-diplomatic segment, there will be a segment dealing with economic affairs, and then a security segment.

Today's agreement is not binding, but rather it's a mutual statement of intent that will be used to frame our formal negotiations in the course of the upcoming year. It's not a treaty, but it's rather a set of principles from which to begin formal negotiations. Think of today's agreement as setting the agenda for the formal bilateral negotiations that will take place in the course of '08.

This is what the Bush Administration wants to do in Iraq: Enter into this agreement which will put pressure on the next administration to continue to follow the agreement. If the next president ditches this agreement, which he or she would have the legal right to do, he or she will be accused on breaking out commitment to Iraq. If anything happens after that, the next administration will get the blame.

The way to avoid this trap is to pass legislation prohibiting Bush from entering into any agreement with Iraq that continues beyond noon on January 20, 2009. Such legislation is easy to explain to the American people. The administration that has botched up Iraq shouldn't have the power to bind the hands of the next administration. If Republicans try to filibuster the bill, so much the better. It links them to Bush's Iraq policy, which most people don't support. There is little political risk in opposing Bush on this, but there could be big political risk in not opposing him.

CNN Poll Shows Democrats Leading Republicans in White House Race

CNN has a new poll out that shows both Obama and Clinton leading all Republicans including John McCain, although McCain gives each of them the toughest race. Here are some figures from the polls:

Obama 56%, Guiliani 40%
Obama 59%, Romney 37%
Obama 49%, McCain 48%
Obama 58%, Huckabee 39%

Clinton 55%, Guiliani 42%
Clinton 58%, Romney 40%
Clinton 50%, McCain 49%
Clinton 56%, Huckabee 42%

Interestingly, all Republicans run 1% to 3% better against Clinton than against Obama. Obama gets a bigger percentage against Guiliani, Romney, and Huckabee, but not against McCain. Clinton has the highest "would definitely vote for" rating at 37%, but ties with McCain on the would "definitely not vote for rating" at 43%. Obama is at 30% and 38% in both categories respectively. According to this poll, over 50% of those polled said that would definitely not vote for Giuliani, Romney or Huckabee. Hopefully one of those three will get the Republican nomination.

Medina County Dem Amanda Armstrong Selected As Obama Delegate

Amanda Armstrong, who grew up in Seville and is President of the Medina County Young Democrats, was selected as the third female delegate for the Barack Obama campaign. This brings to four the number of Medina County Dems selected as potential delegates at the 13Th and 16Th Congressional District caucuses held on January 3, 2008. All were women. Two were for Bill Richardson, one was for John Edwards, and one was for Barack Obama.

Lakewood Democratic Club Sponsoring Straw Vote on January 31, 2008

Attend an Ohio Democratic Presidential Straw Poll Thursday, Jan. 31, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Lakewood Masonic Temple, 15300 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood.

Why should Iowa and New Hampshire have all the fun? It’s your turn to have your say! Come cast an early vote for your choice for Democratic Presidential Nominee. Ohio voters will have a chance to weigh in BEFORE Super Tuesday (Feb. 5).

The winner of the straw poll will be publicly announced to let the media know who Ohioans want for president.

WHEN: Thurs., Jan. 31, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

WHAT: Ohio Democratic Presidential Straw Poll

WHERE: Lakewood Masonic Temple, 15300 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood

SPONSORS: Lakewood Democratic Club and partner organizations

COST: $5 per voter

ELIGIBILITY: Must be 18+ years old and an Ohio resident. Non-registered voters can vote in the straw poll, then register to vote in the official March 4 primary


Progressive Spends Millions on Naming Rights While Laying Off Workers

Does this make any sense to you? Progressive Insurance announced in November that it was laying off 341 workers, most of them at the company's headquarters in the Cleveland area. Now, in January, the company enters into a deal with the Cleveland Indians whereby it will spend approximately 3.6 million a year for 16 years to have the naming rights to Jacobs Field.

The United States Chamber of Commerce announced this past week that it will spend up to 60 million dollars to try and influence the November elections. Why? Because it is concerned about the populist language being used by Democrats like Edwards and Republicans like Huckabee. By the way, it has no plans to disclose who gives it money to influence U.S. elections or to attack progressive candidates.

So why are talking about these two items in the same article? Because if corporations want to know why populism is increasing in the United States, they only have to look at actions like the ones taken by Progressive Insurance. Americans are coming to the realization that corporations don't consider the best interests of their workers or of the communities they are located in when they do things. They only consider the bottom line. Their motives are usually self-centered. Indeed, considering the fact that they owe their shareholders a duty to increase the values of their shares, that's probably exactly what they should do.

Where we have a problem is when they act as if other actors in the political system shouldn't do the same thing. Workers, when they vote, should take their cue from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and vote for candidates who will act in their self-interest. Act in their self-interest by considering extending medical and parental leave, by increasing the minimum wage, and by coming up with a national health insurance program. After all, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Medina County Dem Chosen as John Edwards Delegate

At the 16Th Congressional District caucus held on January 3, 2008, Medina County Dem Kathie Jones of Sharon Township was chosen as a female delegate for John Edwards. This is the second time that Kathie has been selected as a delegate for a presidential candidate at a 16Th. District caucus. Kathie's selection means that three Medina County Democratic women were chosen as delegates at the 16Th. Congressional District caucus. Congratulations to all those Medina County Dems!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Where Do Edward Supporters Go?

Those of us supporting John Edwards for President may soon have to face the fact that he is not going to be the Democratic nominee. Sooner or later in politics you have to win elections. So, assuming that Edwards is out, where does his support go?

The AP ran a story dated January 12, 2008 on that very issue. It is a very interesting article. Here's one quote from the article that illustrates why John Edwards is important to the Democratic Party:

Edwards draws much of his support from people over 50 and those without a college education, the survey found. His voters are more likely to be men than women, and a third are evangelical Christians — a much larger share than among Clinton or Obama voters.

The loss of such voters has been a problem for the Democratic Party. White men went for Bush over Kerry by a margin of 62% to 37%. Educationally, the only two groups that went for Kerry over Bush were those without high school diplomas, (50% to 49%) and those with post-graduate degrees, (55% to 44%). The only age group that Kerry carried were voters 18-29. In that age group Kerry got 54% and Bush got 45%. Kerry lost both Catholic and Protestant voters, but he really got killed among white, evangelical voters. He lost those voters by a 78% to 21% margin.(All of these figures are from the 2004 CNN exit poll.)

Given the fact that Kerry won 17 states and only lost the popular vote by approximately 3%, it is easy to see that Democrats would only have to do a little better with the above groups to win the presidency. The question becomes what Democratic candidate, other than Edwards, can get more votes out of the above groups than Kerry got.

It is a tough decision to make. This might be one reason why, according to the AP article, a poll taken in December showed that Edwards supporters were split evenly between Obama and Clinton when Edwards was removed from the equation. Here is a quote from the article:

A mid-December survey of voters nationally conducted for the AP and Yahoo News found that Edwards supporters split about evenly between Clinton and Obama when asked which candidate would be their second choice. Clinton and Obama each were the second choices of about 27 percent of Edwards supporters. Another 28 percent were unsure who would be their second choice, and the rest were thinly scattered among other candidates.

By the way, Edwards supporters nationwide amount to about 14% to 20% of the Democratic vote, according to national polls. In Medina County, where MCDAC is based, there are 16,776 Democratic voters. If Medina County reflects the nationwide average, then there would be approximately 2348 to 3355 Edwards supporters among Medina County Democrats. There could be more, however, since in the 2004 Democratic primary in Ohio, Edwards got 31.8% of the vote. Obviously, in a close election between Obama and Clinton, Edwards supporters could be a big factor.

So, where do Edwards supporters go? Both Clinton and Obama have a lot to recommend them. Obama is a new face, doesn't have the baggage of the whole Clinton-Lewinsky controversy, and is a very inspirational speaker. Clinton is experienced in the ways of Washington, has plenty of grit, can both take and deliver a punch, and has a great command of policy. My guess, though, for what it is worth, is that Obama will do a slightly better job of emotionally connecting with former Edwards supporters if Edwards is not a viable candidate by the time of the Ohio primary on March 4th, 2008.

Lakewood, Ohio Democratic Club Sponsoring Dem Nomination Straw Vote

Fellow Democrats and Progressives,

Would your organization be willing to cosponsor an Ohio Democratic Presidential Straw Poll this Jan 31? The Lakewood Democratic Club has secured a time and location and would like to include as many Northeast Ohio Democrats as possible. We hope you can team up with us to put on Northeast Ohio's first-ever (to our knowledge) straw poll!

Why should Iowa and New Hampshire have all the fun? It¢s our turn to have our say! This event will give Ohio Democrats the chance to cast an early vote for their choice for the Democratic Presidential Nominee BEFORE Super Duper Tuesday (Feb. 5). The winner of the straw poll will be publicly announced to let the media know who Ohioans want for president.

By cosponsoring, you agree to:

Lend your name to the event
Publicize the event to your members
Ask your members if they can volunteer to run the even (e.g. set up, break down, check in table, count votes, etc.)
There is no cost to your organization.
Eligibility To Vote: Any 18+ year old Ohio resident may cast one vote for the cost of $5 (funds defray cost of event). Voters must be physically present; no proxy voting. Non-registered persons can vote in the straw poll, then register to vote in the official March 4 primary
DEADLINE: If you can cosponsor, please let us know by Sun, Jan 13 so we can include you on the flier and still have time to publicize the event. (Preliminary flier attached.)


Tom Bullock
Lakewood Democratic Club, 1st Vice President

Reader Submission: Broadway Comes To Iowa

The snow dust has settled in Iowa and the pundits are in retrospect. The mainstream media will now inform us how it happened that an underfunded Mike Huckabee beat the Republican front runners and their media favorite, Hillary Clinton placed third in the corn-belt caucus.

Democrats came out to vote in unprecedented numbers almost doubling past presidential primaries. Those numbers are telling. Democrats are hungry for change, not just a new path for our country, but a new path for the Democratic Party. Hillary offered Democrats a repackaged move to the middle – shades of a Democratic party in the minority ala Bill Clinton White House tenure. Progressives Barak Obama and John Edwards gave Iowans a vision of the new Democratic Party, one that will reestablish our international role as the light on the hill, the courage to fight the corporate take over of our democracy, and what we must do to rebuild our middle class.

The Republican turnout was underwhelming. Huckabee was able to win by playing to what has become the base of the Republican Party in recent years – the religious right, proving there are still enough believers who have not lost faith in the GOP.

The question is; Can Huckabee play on off-Broadway, or better put – to Independent voters? It is hard to fathom that free-thinking Independent voters, those who will decide our next president, duped a second time into believing the Republican Party speaks to their values.

There always comes a time on Broadway to shut the theatre doors and write a new musical - and hire different actors.

Patrick J Carano
Summit County

Thursday, January 10, 2008

So Why Did Hillary Take New Hampshire?

That is the question that the political chattering classes are asking, following one of the biggest examples of polling failure since Dewey beat Truman in 1948. Was it her tears? Was it Barack Obama's rather peevish line about her being likeable during the last debate? Was it the presence of Bill Clinton on the ground in New Hampshire? According to Joshua Holland of AlterNet, the answer to all of those is "No." He attributes it to far more mundane factors: turn-out, organization, and Biden's supporters going to Clinton.

Now, the media has a vested interest in pushing the line that it was her supposed "tearing up" during a question and answer session in New Hampshire that made the difference. This is because it makes them look important and because it is an easy story to explain. It has good visuals, it has a narrative, and it encourages debate among viewers and readers. (Were her supposed tears genuine? Was this a planned stunt? Is she human after all?)

The points that Holland is making are much less compelling from a story-line point of view. Turn-out, organization, and Biden's supporters going to Clinton do not make for good television and do make for a pretty boring story. In the final analysis, though, campaigns are won far more often because of turn-out and organization than are won because of a "television moment", George Allen's defeat in Virginia notwithstanding.

So when you hear political pundits confidently telling you why Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire, just remember this: If they were so wrong about what was going to happen in New Hampshire, why should you believe them when they tell you what happened in New Hampshire?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More Voters in Dem NH Primary than in Rep NH Primary

Although New Hampshire has a higher number of Republican voters than Democratic voters, more people voted in the 2008 New Hampshire Democratic Primary than in the 2008 Republican New Hampshire Primary. Using the figures on the CNN Election Central website, with 99% of the precincts reporting, the number of voters in the Democratic Primary exceeded the number of voters in the Republican Primary by 50,874. This is the second vote in a row where the number of Democrats voting exceeded the number of Republicans voting. It will be interesting to see how many times this happens this primary season.

Two Websites for Updated Delegate Counts

Both Time and CNN have put up websites that keep a running count of what the delegate count is for each presidential candidate in each party. CNN's is found at and Time's is found at . Of the two, we find the one at CNN a little easier to use because it uses numbers instead of a bar graph to show the delegate count.

After the New Hampshire primary the delegate count, according to CNN is 178 for Clinton, 78 for Obama, and 52 for Edwards. On the Republican side it is 30 for Romney, 21 for Huckabee, and 10 for McCain. The magic number for Democrats is 2026 delegates to win the nomination. The magic number for Republicans is 1191 to win the nomination.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Why Obama Needs Clinton to Stay in Race

A lot of Obama supporters on the blogs are calling for Clinton to get out if she loses the New Hampshire primary. There is even a report out that some of her advisers are urging such a course of action. The concern among such advisers is that Clinton will damage her Senatorial career if she continues the fight for the Democratic nomination even though she is losing primaries. Obviously the reason why Obama's supporters want Clinton to drop out are much different than those of her advisers who may want her to drop out. As a practical matter, though, Obama's supporters should want Clinton to stay in the race. Here's why:

1. The media doesn't like Hillary Clinton. As long as she is in the race, Obama will continue to get favorable treatment from the media as compared to Clinton. Once she is gone, that dynamic will no longer exist and his media coverage could get more critical.

2. In politics it helps to beat somebody as compared to nobody. One reason why Obama is getting good press is that political reporters were stunned that he beat Clinton, who they regarded as having the best organization. Every time Obama beats Clinton in a primary, he looks better. Beating John Edwards doesn't have the same impact.

3. The more you have to campaign, the better you get at it. Politics is like most human endeavors, the more you practice it, the better you become. Running against Clinton is making Obama a better candidate, tougher, more experienced, and more ready to take on the Republicans in the general election if he is the nominee.

4. The media like s horse race and you want to give them one. Once the Democratic nomination is settled, the media will pay less attention to Obama. That's especially true if the Republicans have a race and the Democrats don't.

It will be interesting to see what Clinton does if she loses New Hampshire. She will definitely go on to South Carolina, where, according to recent polls, Obama has a big advantage and she will go on to Nevada. If she loses both of those, then the question becomes whether she will continue on to the February 5 round of primaries. Obama's campaign can only hope that she will engage him through at least the February 5th primaries. In the long run, it can only benefit him.

Monday, January 07, 2008

New Yorker Article Calls Voter ID Laws What They Really Are: Racist and Classist

Jeffery Toobin of the New Yorker magazine has a great article out in which he points out that Indiana's law requiring voters to produce a state-issued photo identification before they vote is actually an attempt to make sure poor blacks and whites can't vote. The reason why this article appears is that the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on Wednesday, January 9, 2008, on whether this law is unconstitutional. What is interesting is that while the state of Indiana claims that it is designed to stop voter fraud, it can't point to one case in Indiana in which a person has posed as another person to cast a vote. Meanwhile the New York Times points out that in Indiana there are at least two real people, one an elderly Democrat and the other an elderly Republican who also happens to be Afro-American who couldn't cast valid votes because of Indiana's law.

Ever since 1960 Republicans have been muttering about supposed election law violations by Democrats where people show up and vote illegally. Of course, when pressed to actually point out examples of such cases, they can't. The lack of evidence doesn't stop them, though, from making the claim or having their media shills like Rush Limbaugh make the claim.

Ohio, of course, has its own version of voter identification. Interestingly, though, voters who vote absentee don't really have to produce copies of such identification. Instead all they have to do is give the last four digits of their Social Security number or their Ohio driver license's number to vote. Now, if you stop and think about it, it is more likely that someone will try to commit fraud by mail, where they don't actually have to appear in front of a real live person, than commit fraud in person. Given that the purpose of these voter identification laws is to prevent fraud, why the difference in treatment between absentee and in person voters?

Well, here is the difference. A lot of Republicans have second homes in places like Florida and so the Republicans want them to vote. Thus, they make it easy to vote by absentee and harder to vote in person because they think that such actions will only disenfranchise Democrats. The Republican philosophy of government is built on the idea that some Americans are more worthy than other Americans. The hetrosexual is more worthy than the homosexual; the religious more worthy than the athetist; the wealthy more worthy than the poor; and the absentee voter more worthy than the in person voter.

The way for Democrats to make this work for them is to encourage voting by absentee ballot. The way to encourage such voting is to flood Democratic areas with absentee ballot applications; to have volunteers pick up such applications and take them to the local boards of elections; then to make sure that people receiving absentee ballot forms actually vote. Given the fact that Ohio has a Democratic governor, there is little that the General Assembly can do to defeat such tactics. If Ohio Republicans want to make it easier to vote absentee than in person, then Ohio Democrats should help them out.

How Important is the New Hampshire Primary?

According to Wikipedia, New Hampshire has been having competitive presidential primaries since 1952. During that period there have been 14 Democratic presidential primaries. Of those 14, three were not seriously contested. Those three were the 1960 primary pitting John F. Kennedy against a businessman named Paul Fisher. The 1964 primary pitting President Lyndon Baines Johnson against what Wikipedia describes as "no serious opposition." The 1996 primary pitting President Bill Clinton against what is again described as "no serious opposition." That leaves 11 primaries that were seriously contested.

Of those 11 primaries, the ultimate winner of the Democratic nomination only won four of them, the 1976, the 1980, the 2000 and the 2004 primaries. In the other eight times, the winner of the New Hampshire primary didn't win the Democratic nomination. Using a percentage analysis this means that only 36.3% of the time has the winner of the New Hampshire Democratic primary won the Democratic nomination.

What about the Republicans? Among Republicans the winner of the New Hampshire primary is more likely to be the ultimate nominee of the Republican Party. New Hampshire has been holding a competitive Republican primary since 1948. This means that there have been 15 Republican primaries. Of these 15, four of them have not been seriously contested. Of the remaining 11 primaries, the winner of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary has won the Republican nomination six times. Again using a percentage analysis this means that 54.5% of the time the winner of the New Hampshire Republican primary has gone on to win the Republican nomination.

All of these is not to say that what happens on Tuesday, January 8, 2008, isn't important for both parties. It is to say that statistically speaking it is more important for the Republicans than for the Democrats.

One thing that makes what happens Tuesday in New Hampshire a little less important in terms of who wins the nomination of either party is the fact that both likely second place finishers, Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney, have the resources to keep their campaigns going until at least February 5, 2008 if not beyond. In the past a poor showing in New Hampshire resulted in a drying up of campaign funds. Assuming that Clinton has not spent all her money in New Hampshire and Iowa, she should have enough money to continue and certainly Romney has enough money to continue.

It will historic if Obama wins New Hampshire and it will be important if John McCain wins New Hampshire, but in neither case will it end the battle for either party's nomination. In the case of the Democrats, the winner of the New Hampshire has a better than 50/50 chance of not being the Democratic nominee. This means that Democrats and Republicans in other states will get a chance to say who gets their party's 2008 presidential nomination.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

California Mail Ballots Go Out This Week

The AP put out a story on January 6, 2008, pointing out that mail-in ballots go out this coming week in California. The article also points out that not all the candidates are poised to take advantage of that fact. This is from the article:

Only better-funded campaigns have been able to assemble significant organizations aimed at influencing voters.

Volunteers for Democrats Barack Obama and Clinton, for example, have made hundreds of thousands of phone calls to potential supporters. Republican Rudy Giuliani has a paid staff of about 20 in California, directing its volunteers and phone banks, while Mitt Romney has a paid staff of four.

According to the article some four million California voters are enrolled as "permanent absentee voters" which means that they automatically receive their absentee ballots. In 2004 about 33% of all California ballots cast in the November election were absentee. In 2008 the article said that some election experts believe that over 50% of all of California voters will cast an absentee ballot in the November election.

Of course, California is not the only state where such voting is taking place. This is from the article:

Residents of 11 states — Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina and Utah — have been able to vote by mail for their favorite candidates since December.

The first was Michigan, where absentee ballots were made available Dec. 1 for the Jan. 15 primary.

It is extremely probable that more voters will have voted by absentee ballot by January 8, 2008, the date of the New Hampshire primary than either voted or took part in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary. Of course, since the elections won't take place until later there is no way of knowing who is winning those votes.

It could be Obama because of the media attention he is getting from his win in Iowa; it could be Hillary because absentee voters tend to be older, and her best demographic is voters over 65; or it could be Edwards if the unions supporting him are encouraging their members to vote absentee.

Since nothing is happening publicly, the media tends to ignore the fact that this voting is occurring. The candidates are not, though, and you can bet that the struggle for these votes is intense.

It's All About Delegates

Before we all get carried away by the results in Iowa and the coming results in New Hampshire, we should remember one important fact: The real race is for delegates to the Democratic national convention. The magic number for any candidate is 2026, which is a majority of the 4050 delegates that will attend the national convention. Of those 4050, 797 are what the media sometimes refers to as "super-delegates". These are elected officials and party officials who are not chosen by either primary voters or caucus attendees.

As of December 28, 2007, when ABC News produced a report showing how the candidates were doing with these super-delegates, Clinton had the lead with 158 committed delegates. Obama was second with 89, and Edwards had 26. Of course, there is no way of knowing how firm that support is, but since most of these super-delegates have been in politics for a long time, such support is probably pretty firm. This is because most people in politics know that your word is important and if they have committed publicly to a candidate, they will probably support that candidate even when the going gets tough.

Interestingly, the Iowa caucuses didn't produce any immediate delegates for Obama, Clinton, or Edwards. This is because what the caucuses attendees were doing was selecting people to attend a convention. This should, though, result in Obama's receiving approximately the same percentage of delegates to the national convention as he had support in the caucuses. Since Iowa has 45 pledged delegates, ie delegates who are pledged to support a certain candidate, and since Obama got 38% of the vote, he should come out of that process with at least 17 pledged delegates. Clinton would come out with at least 14 and so should John Edwards.

Adding those figures to the ABC News super-delegate totals, the three leading candidates for the Democratic nomination would have the following number of delegates: Clinton-172; Obama-106; and Edwards-40. So while Obama is getting a lot of media attention for his win in Iowa which will certainly help him with his New Hampshire campaign, the delegate count still favors Clinton.

New Hampshire will have 30 delegates to the 2008 national convention. Of those 30, 22 will be chosen in the January 8, 2008 primary. Given the fact that no candidate is polling over 50% of the vote in the pre-election polls coming out, it is possible that Obama could win the New Hampshire primary and still be behind Clinton in delegates, although a lot of the uncommitted super-delegates may start moving toward him if he wins New Hampshire.

What all this means is that we have a long way to go until the Democratic nomination is decided one way or the other. Of course, the longer the battle goes on, the bigger chance that Ohio has to play a pivotal role in the nomination process. Local Democratic parties in Ohio would benefit from a tight nomination fight because it would increase turn-out in the Democratic primaries. Since in Ohio a voter becomes a Democrat or Republican by voting in a partisan primary, a tight battle would result in a larger Democratic party identification. This could come in handy for local candidates looking for yard sign locations, volunteers, etc.

Sherrod Brown and the Five Largest Ohio Counties

Earlier we posted an entry on how Senator Sherrod Brown did in the 20 counties that make up southeastern Ohio, excluding Franklin. What we found was that Senator Brown got over 54% of the vote in those 20 counties, winning 18 of them. In this entry we look at how he did in the five counties in Ohio that have a population of 500,000 or over. Those counties are Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery and Summit.

As it turns out, Senator Brown did very well in those counties. He won four of them, and only lost Hamilton by 2,027 votes. In the five counties as a whole, he received 907,007 and former Senator DeWine received 592,406. This gave Senator Brown a margin of 314,601, or a winning percentage of 63.8%.

Interestingly while these five counties were very important to Senator Brown's victory, his margin of victory statewide was greater than his margin of victory in those five counties. Statewide he won by a margin of 496,393, with a winning percentage of 56.16%.

Here are the totals for the five largest counties:

County/ Brown/ Dewine
Cuyahoga/ 319,645/ 133,260
Franklin/ 217,961/ 154,098
Hamilton/ 142,134/ 144,167
Montgomery/ 100,491/ 88,322
Summit/ 126,776/ 72,559

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Newsweek Article on Obama's Campaign Organization

When you come right down to it, a political campaign, especially one for the presidency of the United States, is a pretty egotistical act. What a candidate is saying is "that out of 300 million Americans, I am the one best able to lead this country." People who are willing to put themselves in that position are not shrinking violets, they are not wallflowers, and they have a very big ego. The real challenge for such candidates is to convince the American public that their campaigns are more than exercises in ego, that their election will bring about good things for their fellow Americans.

The other thing that successful campaigns have in common is that they are usually well-organized. It takes a lot of groundwork to put together a successful presidential campaign. You have to have good people, a winning message, and the courage to stick to your plan even when things aren't going well. Which brings us to the Newsweek article on Obama's campaign.

The article talks about the organization that Obama put together for this run. It also talks about his liabilities as well as his strengths. It is a good article and gives a good portrait of both Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama.

Sherrod Brown and Southeast Ohio

When Sherrod Brown announced for the United States Senate, he pledged that he would campaign in all 88 counties in Ohio and he wouldn't concede any county to Mike DeWine. He kept his word and it paid off for him in the 20 counties that make up the southeastern quadrant of Ohio. For purposes of this entry, we are defining the southeastern part of Ohio as being formed by following IS 70 out of Columbus to the Ohio River and then drawing an imaginary line from Franklin County due south to the Ohio River, but not including Franklin county itself.

There are 20 counties in the area described above. Sherrod carried 18 of them and got 54.4% of the vote in that area. This contrasts favorably with his state wide percentage of 56.16% to 43.82%. He beat DeWine by 210,898 to 176,366 votes in that area.

What is interesting about this result is that Sherrod was thought by many to be too liberal to do well in the southeastern part of Ohio. That area tends to be conservative socially although much more liberal economically. It tends to be a relatively poor area of Ohio and one that understands the need for an active government. It is no coincidence the the lawsuit that held Ohio's method of financing public education unconstitutional came out of Perry county, which is in the southeastern quadrant.

Too often the Ohio Democratic Party has nominated candidates from one of the big urban counties who believed that they could win their election by rolling up the numbers in the big counties. Given the fact, however, that much of Ohio's population has moved from big urban counties to exurban counties, that approach doesn't work. Instead an approach like Sherrod's, where you fight for every county and concede nothing to the Republicans is a better approach.

Another aspect of Sherrod's approach was that his economic populist message resonated in the southeastern part of Ohio. By stressing economic populist themes and not socially liberal themes, he was able to win counties that DeWine had thought would go for him in 2006.

Bottom line for national Democrats in Ohio in 2008? Concede nothing and run on a platform of economic populism. Oh yeah, and before you campaign in Ohio, check in with Sherrod Brown. He knows how it is done.

13Th Congressional District Democratic Caucus Held in Brunswick

While southern Medina County Democrats were busy attending the 16Th Congressional District Caucus in Stark County, Medina County was hosting the 13Th Congressional District Caucus in Brunswick, Ohio. The event in Brunswick was held at the Brunswick High School and was co-ordinated by Pat McNamara, who is a Medina County Democrat and an at-large Brunswick City Council member. The Medina County Gazette ran a story on the caucus in its January 4, 2008 edition.

The caucus was held on January 3, 2008 and the Brunswick High School Performing ARts Center was chosen because of its central location in the 16Th Congressional District. This is believed to be the first time that such a caucus was held by the Democratic Party in Medina County. Congratulations to Pat McNamara for co-ordinating this event!

Two Medina County Dems Chosen as Richardson Delegates for March Primary

Two Medina County Democrats, Irene Adams of Wadsworth and Patricia Walker of Medina, were chosen as the number one and two female delegates respectively for the Bill Richardson campaign in Ohio's 16 Congressional District. Whether they will get the chance to go to the Democratic convention will depend on how well Richardson does in the Ohio primary on March 4, 2008. They were chosen as delegates at the 16th Congressional District caucus held on January 3, 2008 in Stark County.

When you consider that the 16th Congressional District includes all of Stark County, which is much bigger than the part of Medina County which is in the 16th Congressional District, the selection of Irene and Pat is quite an accomplishment. It was made possible by Medina County Democrats who made the trip down to Stark County to take part in the 16th District caucus.

Our congratulations to both Irene and Pat. Our congratulations also to the Medina County Democrats who attended the caucus.

Are Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney Too Managerial?

The Wall Street Journal has an article out about how Mitt Romney's campaign is being run by himself and his business partners. It is quite interesting. It points out that good and the bad aspects of such an approach. This is the opening paragraphs of the article:

MERRIMACK, N.H. -- To get a feel for why Mitt Romney took a drubbing in Iowa Thursday night, consider the reception he got from a little girl in the next battleground state, New Hampshire.

At a recent "Ask Mitt Anything" night here, a nine-year-old girl asked the Republican candidate what is the first thing he will do as president. "I will build the right team," Mr. Romney replied matter-of-factly. "I tend to be a person driven by data and analysis, not just what's political."

The girl looked at him blankly.

Note that there is no emotion in that answer and no passion. The article goes on to talk about Romney's reaction to the Bhutto assassination in Pakistan:

But his analytical approach isn't always what's needed on the campaign trail. Last week, when camera crews surrounded Mr. Romney for instant comments on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, he ducked into the kitchen of a diner to strategize quickly with his team. After being briefed on the event, he emerged outside the dinner where a crowd had gathered. "This points out again the extraordinary reality of global, violent, radical jihadism," he said.

"I didn't hear him say anything about how sad her death is," one bystander grumbled later. Mr. Romney corrected that omission at the next public event.

In a way, Hillary Clinton and Romney have the same problem. One of the biggest complaints that voters have about Clinton is that she is "too programmed", and seems to lack authenticity. Both of them are acting as if voters make rational decisions, not emotional decisions.

Mark Shields, the liberal news commentator who appears on Jim Lehrer's News Hour, once said that voting for president is the most emotional vote that Americans cast. Americans want to feel connected to their leaders. They want to feel that their leaders understand their problems. Such feelings are not cultivated by a managerial approach to politics.

Contrast the Romney/Clinton style to the Huckabee/Obama style, which is much more emotional. Huckabee and Obama seem to emotionally connect to their supporters. They seem to be making people who perceive themselves as powerless, evangelicals and young people, feel powerful. They are, in a lot of ways, the stylistic opposites of Romney and Clinton.

Interestingly, John McCain, who is Romney's chief rival in New Hampshire, is also a politician who seems to connect emotionally to his supporters. For that matter, so does John Edwards. It will be very interesting to see what happens to Romney and Clinton if it gets down to a two person race. One that pits each of them against just one opponent who is high in emotional i.q.