Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton and the politics of fear

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Casey Knowles (the girl from Clinton's notorious "3 am" ad) speaks out:

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Rejected, mocked, punished

By Michael J.W. Stickings

So you want to know how the Bush Administration conducted itself -- and how Bush conducted himself -- in the international arena leading up to and after the start of the Iraq War? (And how it has conducted itself with respect to international relations generally? Consider:

In the months leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration threatened trade reprisals against friendly countries who withheld their support, spied on its allies, and pressed for the recall of U.N. envoys that resisted U.S. pressure to endorse the war, according to an upcoming book by a top Chilean diplomat.

The rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy has generated lasting "bitterness" and "deep mistrust" in Washington's relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere, wrote Heraldo Muñoz, Chile's ambassador to the United Nations, in his book "A Solitary War: A Diplomat's Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons," set for publication next month.

"In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished" for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein's government, Muñoz wrote.

But the tough talk dissipated as the war effort worsened and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned. Muñoz's account suggests the U.S. strategy backfired in Latin America, damaging the administration's standing in a region that has long been dubious of U.S. military intervention.

In other words, the U.S. bullied anyone and everyone (including friends and allies) who dared to disagree with its warmongering, threatening opponents (and even would-be opponents) of the Iraq War with reprisals. (You know, you're either with us or against us -- and if you're against us, you're with the terrorists. That was pretty much the extent of Bush's worldview. And that hasn't changed.) Bush himself, it is clear, was the chief bully, but he was not alone. Powell and Negroponte issued threats as well -- as, of course, did Cheney and Rumsfeld (who are not mentioned in the article).

The bullying stopped -- or at least was finally reined in -- once the U.S. found itself in the predictably lame position of having to ask (if not beg) for international support, but by then it was too late. Bush had already destroyed U.S. credibility and had already stomped all over whatever international goodwill there may have been. Having been rejected, mocked, and punished, countries that had opposed the war, including some of America's closest allies, weren't about to come to the rescue.

In the world of diplomacy, as pretty much everywhere else, Bush has been, without doubt, an abject failure.

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Broken news

By Edward Copeland

Michael referred in a post earlier today to a story at The Politico acknowledging what few in the media seem ready to do, either because of fear or ignorance. I thought I'd quote a little more of the article, because it is so great. I've had problems with The Politico in the past, but they are on the mark with this one, since even Clinton campaign officials admit its truth, unless they use pressure and chicanery to steal the nomination away from the voters in a way too eerily reminiscent of Florida 2000:

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates. That means the only way she wins is if Democratic superdelegates are ready to risk a backlash of historic proportions from the party’s most reliable constituency.

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

This is just symptomatic of the media as a whole falling apart all over, such as Michael reported on with even Fox News anchors tiring of their anti-Obama coverage at the risk of their own jobs. (Hey Carl, looking for work? Fox may be hiring a good Obama hater like you soon, since Rupert Murdoch filled your gal's coffers before.)

What still amazes me is how far CNN has fallen (though I don't know why it should). When the passport breach story broke Thursday night, MSNBC was on it nearly immediately and pretty much stayed on it for the next three hours as developments happened. When there is breaking news, I'm prone to switch between all three news channels (and I use that term loosely) to see what they are doing. Not once when I switched to Fox or CNN was there even a mention of it. CNN was even playing a taped Larry King interview with Obama that obviously was made prior to the news. When CNN was live, believe it or not, they spent more time perpetuating the Jeremiah Wright story than even Fox was doing.

One other story that at least AP has picked up on (and that I at least heard mentioned on MSNBC) is how Hillary's chance are such a long shot not only because of delegate math, but because of money in the bank. According to the AP report, Obama has $30 million in the bank while Hillary is down to $3 million. Chuck Todd also reported on MSNBC that Obama is already on the air with TV ads in Pennsylvania where Hillary has yet to buy any air time.

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Richardson endorses Obama

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Clinton campaign (in the form of Mark Penn, among others) is trying to downplay it, and understandably so, but make no mistake about it, Richardson's endorsement of Obama (see video below) is big. Indeed, Clinton wanted it, badly, and it does matter -- The Trail's Dan Balz says there are five ways it boosts Obama:

1) Good timing: "Richardson has ridden to Obama's rescue during what has been the roughest stretch of his candidacy."

2) Message to superdelegates: "Richardson sends a signal to superdelegates that they too should back Obama."

3) Support from a Clinton friend: "Richardson is close to both Clintons."

4) Foreign policy credibility: "Richardson implicitly helps Obama answer questions about his readiness to be commander in chief."

5) The Hispanic vote: "Richardson's support could help Obama improve his standing with Hispanic voters."

All good points.

To which I would add this: While many superdelegates remain uncommitted, that is, have yet to announce their support for either Obama or Clinton, many of the top Democrats have taken sides, including Bill Clinton (of course), John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy. Prior to his endorsement, Richardson was one of the leading uncommitted Democrats, along with Al Gore and John Edwards. Gore likely won't endorse and Edwards seems to continue to be unsure of what to do. After Edwards, who was third behind Obama and Clinton when he dropped out of the race, the contenders for the nomination were Richardson, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, and Dennis Kucinich. Dodd has endorsed Obama, and Biden and Kucinich are uncommitted (though Kucinich may be leaning to Obama). Richardson's endorsement is far more significant than Dodd's, given points 1-5 above, and would be far more significant than a Biden endorsement, also given points 1-5 above, including foreign policy credibility (Richardson's is, I would argue, more significant than Biden's).

All of which is to say that, if Gore and Edwards remain uncommitted, Richardson's was pretty much the biggest endorsement left. So, if I may:

6) A big name.

7) Positive media coverage.

It has indeed been a difficult week -- a difficult few weeks -- for Obama. But his brilliant speech on Tuesday was well-received, Clinton was unable to score any major points, and now, with Richardson's key endorsement, Obama could be getting just the sort of boost he needs. He has been in the lead all along, of course, but he needs a boost to get out of this period of difficulty, much of it driven by Clinton's dirty campaign, the Republican smear machine, and generally negative media coverage. (It helps to have accurate reports like this new one, from The Politico: "One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.")

John Dickerson: "The Democratic race is like a CD stuck on a scratch, just waiting for the superdelegates to give it a kick and put it back on track. Bill Richardson took his shot. Now Obama has to hope that the other superdelegates hear the music and join in."

Yes, let's hope so.

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Chris Wallace, Fox News, and two hours of Obama-bashing

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I never thought it would ever come to this, but: Way to go, Chris Wallace!

Appearing on the typically inane and insane Fox & Friends yesterday morning, Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, criticized hosts Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and Gretchen Carlson for spending a full two hours bashing Obama for referring to his grandmother as "a typical white person" on a Philadelphia sports radio morning show. Wallace:

[I]t seems to me that two hours of Obama bashing on this typical white person remark is somewhat excessive and frankly I think you’re somewhat distorting what Obama had to say.

TP, C&L, TPM, DKos, and HuffPo have the video (along with some commentary).

(UPDATE: I've added the YouTube clip -- see below.)

And it wasn't just Wallace. Kilmeade criticized Doocy and Carlson for taking Obama's comment out of context and for ignoring Obama's intention. Kilmeade actually walked off the set, but only when Doocy called him "a typical sports guy". HuffPo called this "a dispute," and the whole episode as "mayhem," and TP, which has has the video here, stated that Kilmeade was just "so fed up with his co-hosts" that he stormed off the set, but, watching the video, it doesn't seem like it was such a dramatic event. Yes, there was disagreement, yes, Kilmeade seemed genuinely frustrated with his co-hosts, but the walking off looks to me like a bit of a joke. If Kilmeade was serious, he was only mildly so, and only because Doocy offended him. There is hardly a crack-up at Fox News.

Still, if I may make a gross yet completely accurate generalization, Doocy and Carlson, like most of their colleagues at that awful network, are idiots. Carlson wants to have a meaningful discussion about race? She's so offended by what Obama said? Please. What does she know about race, or about race and politics, or about race and religion, or about the history of race relations in the U.S.? This was just an opportunity to bash Obama and, for Carlson, to express some good ol' white righteousness.

Thankfully, a couple of their own called them out on it. Which, at the very least, was a refreshing change.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

McCain, public financing, and the law

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Lost in all the attention lavished on Obama/Wright, and on the Democratic race generally, as well as on McCain's embarrassing Middle East trip, is the not-so-insignificant matter of how McCain is paying for his campaign -- or, rather of where the money is coming from. Is he or is he not in the public financing system? Has he broken the law? Here's WaPo's The Trail:

Sen. John McCain has officially broken the limits imposed by the presidential public financing system, reports filed last night show.

McCain has now spent $58.4 million on his primary effort. Those who have committed to public financing can spend no more than $54 million on their primary bid.

So has McCain broken the law? The answer is far from simple.

Here's how it looks to me: He was in the system when he was well behind in the race and needed money, then he tried to get out of the system when he started winning and jumped into the lead. Specifically, he wrote a letter to the FEC on February 6, the day after Super Tuesday, the day he became the clear frontrunner, declaring his intention to withdraw from the system:

McCain's lawyers said that gave him freedom to spend as much as he wanted -- once he announced his intent to withdraw from the system, they say, he was released from the spending caps.

But Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason wrote McCain's campaign last month to alert him that the commission had not yet granted his Feb. 6 request to withdraw, and that the commission would first need to vote on the matter. A snag: The FEC has four vacancies and therefore lacks a quorum to consider the matter.

On the one hand, what was McCain supposed to do? On the other hand, he still seems to have broken the law. Indeed, he used matching funds as collateral against a $4 million bank loan, and "rules say that candidates who use matching funds as collateral have to remain within the confines of the system".

And yet there's still no quorum. The FEC isn't in a position to rule on the matter.

Legal technicalities aside, however, what is clear is that McCain was in the system before he wanted out of it. He wanted to use public funds to pay for a campaign that looked like it was headed for defeat, back when he couldn't raise enough money to fund it privately, but, once he started winning, once the money started rolling in, the public financing system was no longer useful to him and indeed became a hindrance to him. In other words, it was all a matter of convenience to him, the law be damned.

Let's hope the FEC gets around to resolving this matter. Which is to say, let's hope the FEC starts functioning again. It seems to me we need to know whether or not McCain broke the law.

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Bill Clinton drops a patriot bomb

By Creature

Here's Bill throwing a grenade into a shitstorm as he fantasizes about a McCain/Hillary general election fight. [via Atrios]:

It'd be a great thing if we had an election where you had two people who love this country, who were devoted to the interest of the country and people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues instead of all this other stuff which always seems to intrude on our politics.

Oh, Bill, you couldn't resist, could you?

Basically, you shouldn't vote for Barack Obama because: 1) he doesn't "love this country," 2) he is not "devoted to the interest of the country," and 3) if you do vote for Obama all this "other stuff" will intrude (like Hillary doesn't bring her own baggage filled with "other stuff").

Fuckin' incredible.

Bill Clinton should know better than impugn Obama's patriotism. This is the same shit the GOP pulled on him in 1992 (and, well, every minute since then). It's ugly and it's not an attack that should come from a former president. Why do I feel like we've been here before?

Update: The Huffington Post has the clip of Bill Clinton in all his mudslinging glory.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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"Typical white person"

By Carl

Excuse me?

“She is extremely proud, and the point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person who, you know, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know, there is a reaction that has been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and sometimes come out in the wrong way…

“That’s the nature of race in our society,’’ Obama added in the call to the radio station, “and we have to break through it. And what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little less like that, and that’s pretty powerful stuff.’’

Excuse me, again? "Typical white person," Mr. "There is no black America, there is no white America, there is only the United States of America"?

EXCUSE ME?????????????

Look, pal, I was a liberal with interracial friends when you were still sitting in madrassah classes in Indonesia. I consider myself a white person and I'd like to think of myself as fairly typical.

I grew up in Manhattan. My dentist was on 125th Street, a few blocks away from where Bill Clinton's office is now. I've played in the fucking Rucker Basketball Tournament in Harlem. Don't lecture me about being afraid of black men, you sanctimonious son of a bitch! I walked down the streets of Harlem alone in the dark when most New Yorkers, white AND black, were afraid to step out their front doors! Even Jesse Jackson
said he would be afraid when he heard footsteps behind him and turned around and saw a black man!

It's nice to know so many of us "progressives" are backing a bigot!

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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The Wright Context

By Creature

Maybe before white America gets all up in arms about a black man saying angry things, about a black man speaking ill of his country, about a black man, heaven forbid, blaming white people for society's ills, we should consider stories like this:

Mary Ellen Noone's great-grandmother was a petite woman — probably 95 pounds wet — but she was very strong, Noone says.

Pinky Powell, who was born before the turn of the last century, used to say that she could pick 100 pounds of cotton by lunchtime, Noone adds.

"She never smiled, but I could tell when I looked in her eyes that she really loved me," she says.

One night, Noone was painting her fingernails when her great-grandmother said, "You know, there was a time we couldn't wear no fingernail polish."

To explain, Powell told a story from when she was a girl. Around 1910, Powell lived on a plantation in Lowndes County, Ala., where "she would wash and iron for this white woman."

"One day the lady had thrown away some of her old perfume and nail polish that had dried up. So [Powell] took it home and added some ingredients to the nail polish that made it pliable," Noone says. "Well, when Sunday came, she got all dressed up and painted her nails and put on that perfume and went to church.

"On Monday, she went to the general store, and when she was ready to check out, the white owner asked her, 'What are you doing with your nails painted up like a white woman?' He proceeded to pick up a pair of pliers and he pulled out my grandmama's nails out of its bed one by one."

Noone, 65, says she often wondered as a child why her great-grandmother's nails were so deformed.

"Every time I look at enamel red finger polish, I have a flashback, and I see red," Noone says. "I still have that anger inside of me that someone would have that control over one person just because they wanted to feel like a woman."

Just because you haven't felt someone else's anger, doesn't make it less legitimate.

(H/T Aubrey, via NPR - w/audio. Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Sageman and Leaderless Jihad -- Wrap-up

By Carol Gee

Today's post wraps up my series on Mark Sageman's "Leaderless Jihad." Sageman, an ex CIA agent and forensic psychiatrist, has researched the radical groups of Islamist jihadis. He first published on the subject in 2004, with "Understanding Terror Networks." He presented his most recent theories in late 2007, in "Leaderless Jihad," which he discussed at the New America Foundation on 2/20/08. My first four posts about Sageman's work are linked below.*

At the end of his discussion Marc Sageman did a Q & A. Out of this and the earlier part of his talk, which I covered in the *previous posts, several significant ideas stuck with me. This youthful wave of jihad is about pride, about becoming "heroes for justice." According to Sageman, they will be defeated by drugs, sex, and rock and roll, just as other "cool" movements. We have overstated the threat using exaggerated scare tactics. Al Qaeda Central with 40-50 members, however still is very serious and Sageman reminded his audience that. "They still want to kill us."

  • A major jihadi goal is expelling The Enemy from the lands of Islam. Jihadis do not feel there will be a future for them in their home countries until the repressive Mid-East regimes supported by Western countries are replaced. There is a poverty of positive role models for the youth of these countries.

  • The original al Qaeda movement evolved into three waves, the third inspired by the the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Its current state has degraded and been watered down over time. The Internet jihadis are not particularly religious. And all jihadis -- from those few left in Osama bin Laden's group to today's untold thousands inhabiting their virtual chat-rooms -- remain very dangerous "rejectionists" who want to become heroes by fighting Americans or Europeans.

  • Sageman is pessimistic about Europe. The prognosis of progress in rooting out terrorism in Europe is not good. Sageman believes that European countries do not yet assimilate Muslims as well as does the United States. Noting that these jihadis are third generation of Muslims of imported labor brought in to rebuild Europe after the war. Often they come from north Africa or south Asia. Sageman's research found that most of them do not speak Arabic or read the Koran.

  • There was no trauma that triggered jihadis' radicalization and violence, nor does it come out of humiliation. It is about injustice (killings, rapes, unfair arrests, etc). They become more radicalized via interaction with each other. Poverty is a rationalization that comes later. Sageman does not feel their rehabilitation is possible. But he feels the wave of "Jihadi Cool" will fade decay for internal reasons.

  • The current 140-150 members of Al Qaeda got a new lease on life through the non-aggression agreement between Pakistan and its Tribal Areas in Waziristan. They are now more in the open, meeting with the European jihadis in Mir Alley, but it is not a resurgence. Most European jihadis are not accepted into Al Qaeda, but are trained and sent home with their assignments. Many are then arrested and the plots disrupted.

  • Who are the targets of jihad? First choices are uniformed Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of second choice would be "official" Americans, symbols of America abroad such as embassies. They are not trying that hard to come to America. "The lines at the airport are just too daunting," Sageman observed wryly. The final targets don't get much thought, according to his research. Many jihadis get caught up in the desire to acquiring means and weapons, which are then used against random targets of easy opportunity.

  • Counter-terrorism? Sageman believes we cannot encourage people to become terrorists by occupying their countries. He admits we are somewhat "stuck," limited in what we can do in Iraq. Caught in the crossfire, we must learn to leave a smaller footprint. "We can't have Americans killing Muslims, no matter what," Sageman asserts. Sageman reminded his audience that the U.S. has generally done well with its own Muslim communities.

  • Afghanistan is a unique situation; mchange will be slow and from the bottom up. We are a threat to the local way of life. As other Western countries sometimes knew in the past, and as recently in Iraq's Al Anbar province, "divide and rule" worked well. When we "lumped" all afghan fighters into one group, they unified. Lately there have been fragile Al Qaeda alliances with tribes or parts of very "Xenophobic" tribes. There are many thousands of Taliban, a resistance movement to the central governments, with overtones of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism.

*Posts in South by Southwest Series: First/Itro , Second/Threat Evolves, Third/Networks, Fourth/Global Islam.

Forum: Lucidity is another blog community where I often post. The topic "New Study on Muslim World," generated a number of very thoughtful comments about Sageman's studies and jihad in general. Of particular interest to me are those on how America must learn to "leave a smaller footprint." There are several anecdotes about American military leaders and soldiers who were particularly wise in their choices of action to diminish conflict.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Could be

By Capt. Fogg

I guess the idea is to keep the lies coming so fast and furious that rebuttal is useless. I guess the idea is just to keep saying things, no matter how factually or logically untrue they might be so that the faithful will continue to have something to hold on to as the lies get shot down one by one.

Sure the administration has denied any connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein or that he had a nuclear weapons program or had chemical weapons factories and the means to deliver all that stuff to Festus Missouri in a suitcase, but they keep saying it anyway; they keep basing arguments on it and they keep getting people to believe their war was necessary.

The McClatchy website today quotes Bush as saying on a Radio Farda broadcast that "Iran has 'declared they want a nuclear weapon to destroy people' and that the Islamic Republic could be hiding a secret program" [italics mine]. Of course, they never actually declared any such thing, and the phrase could be doesn't accompany the caveat that could be covers everything from the likely to the ludicrous. I could be the Easter Bunny. Saddam could have had invisible nuclear bomb factories and George Bush could be an honest man too.

"[T]hey've hidden programs in the past and they may be hiding one now. Who knows?" says Bush. The US has gone to war under false pretexts in the past and they may do it again, say I.

If George Bush had not turned the nuclear inspection program in Iraq into a passion play we would not have had this war and it could be that we could have contained Saddam quite well at a ten thousandth of the cost, which would have allowed him to continue to keep al Qaeda out of Iraq and us to concentrate on crippling the group that planned the 9/11 attack rather than the economy and our civil liberties. Could have -- it's a fun game. You can do almost anything.

(Cross-posted from
Human Voices.)

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Move along, nothing to see here?

By Creature

You know, I have no idea if the Obama-passport-breech story is a big deal or not (it certainly makes me uncomfortable in a police-state/Nixonian sense), but the way die-hard Clinton supporters (Taylor Marsh, TalkLeft, and No Quarter) have completely dismissed it out of hand (because, obviously, only a few hours after the story breaks it's simple to conclude that there's "no there there") disturbs me.

Shouldn't we all be concerned when "low level" contract employees are blamed?

We have seen this passing of the buck, this shifting of blame down the chain, too many times during the Bush's years, and some kind of investigation is needed regardless of who one supports during this fucked-up, highly irrational primary season. "Move along, nothing to see here" should be left to the likes of Limbaugh, not to so-called progressives who, just a short time ago, were all fighting the good fight together.

Update: Clinton and McCain join the PassportGate club too. How soon before Condi says something like "no one could have foreseen" blah, blah, blah? She is worthless.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Wow, McCain really is stupid

By Michael J.W. Stickings

TP: "For the second time during their taxpayer-funded overseas trip, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) was forced to correct Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) after he made an incorrect statement. Speaking in Israel yesterday, McCain referred to the Jewish holiday Purim as 'their version of Halloween.' After McCain spoke, Lieberman stepped in and gingerly took blame for McCain's mistake, saying that he had given McCain the false impression of the holiday's meaning." (NBC has the story here.)

Yes, that's right, McCain said that Purim is the Jewish Halloween.

Just to be clear, here's the Wikipedia entry for Purim: "Purim (Hebrew: פורים Pûrîm 'lots', related to Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people of the ancient Persian Empire from Haman's plot to annihilate them, as recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther (Megillat Esther). According to the story, Haman cast lots to determine the day upon which to exterminate the Jews.

McCain got it mixed up, you see. Lieberman told him about the costumes and candy, you see, and McCain connected the dots. A simple mistake. Right?


And yet:

Klein: "The mass media is shying away from the substantive story that has developed all week showing McCain's carefully crafted, though completely baseless, 'expertise' in foreign policy disintegrating. He's as much an 'expert' as the perpetually angry old man down the street screaming at the kids to stay off his lawn. Instead, the media jokes around about McCain getting a little confused -- mixing up Purim with Halloween and Iran with al-Qaeda. Purim/Halloween... doesn't mean squat. Iran equals al-Qaeda... that kind of boneheaded ignorance on the part of the entire Bush Regime is what got us into the disastrous situation we're in now. It's more than squat. It should be a disqualifier.

Greenwald: "Reporters have already decided that John McCain is a Serious, Knowledgeable Foreign Policy Expert -- and an honorable, truth-telling gentleman -- and therefore there is no reason to tell voters about evidence that demonstrates that he's anything but that. Evidence that reflects poorly on McCain's foreign policy seriousness or character is actually suppressed or concealed because they think it can't be newsworthy, because such evidence just can't be true, by definition."

Well, this reflects poorly. And it should at least disqualify him from the media's loving embrace.

It isn't his tongue slipping, after all, it's his ignorance, stupidity, and insensitivity coming out.


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Clinton and Wright, sitting in a tree...

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Ah, so the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (a.k.a., Obama's pastor) was invited to a prayer breakfast at the White House -- the Clinton White House, that is -- on September 11, 1998, and we have the photographic evidence to prove it.

I guess this means that Hillary, who was present at the event, endorses everything Wright has ever said.

Seriously, can we please stop talking about this? The Republicans will do enough smearing for all of us -- and, indeed, they've already started. I appreciate the fact that the Clinton campaign is refusing to make the Wright controversy an explicit campaign issue -- it assumes (correctly) that it is already an issue without having to make it one, which could backfire -- but it is long past time to put this controversy to rest. If anything, let's continue to talk about Obama's brilliant speech on race, and about how we can address race and racism in a mature and meaningful way.

Unfortunately, it seems that it was the Obama campaign that released this photo, and for that it deserves to be criticized, even if it was only doing so to direct some attention Clinton's way, given that she has been benefitting from the ongoing controversy -- and happily so.

Enough already.

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Hillary Camp livid: "They look at his passport, but not ours!"

Breaking News: Bias Charged; Hillary Wants Florida and Michigan To See Her Passport

By J. Thomas Duffy

Brushing aside the breaking news, that State Department employees breached the passport file of Senator Barack Obama, opening it., at least, on three, separate occasion, Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, lambasted the media traveling with the candidate, claiming more bias.

"With the big wins in Texas and Ohio, the widening lead in Pennsylvania," Wolfson barked, clearly agitated, "Now, everyone is running off looking at his passport".

"Why wasn't Hillary's passport breached? ... Why wasn't Hillary's passport looked at?"

'They look at his passport, but not hers? ... It's just like the debates... I'd say something fishy is going on here."

Clinton, apparently still out campaigning as the news broke, quickly integrated the news into her stump speech, offering the voters of Florida and Michigan the opportunity to look at her passport.

"I don't want to see these voters, of two of our most largest, and significant states, being left out of seeing my passport ... That's just not fair."

Reports are still breaking, that three contract employees at the State Department opened and looked at the passport file of Barack Obama.

The dates of the breaches are January 9th, February 21st and recently, on March 14th.

Josh Marshall, from TPM, notes that the dates coincide with "the day after the New Hampshire primary, the day of the Democratic debate in Texas and the day the Wright story really hit."

The Senate office of Obama was notified this afternoon of the breaches.

Two of the contract employees were fired, the third suspended.

It's not clear when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice became aware of the security infractions.

Sources tell The Garlic that Secretary Rice was exercising on her elliptical trainer when she first learned of the problem.

Another source contacted The Garlic, indicating they worked in the State Department and stated they were surprised this news didn't come out sooner.

"Half the department had his [Obama] passport up as a screensaver," said the State Department source.

"If we worked late, we played drinking games with it ... You had to name the date and country he visited, and if you got it wrong, you chugged."

More as this story develops


Bonus Links

Attytood: UPDATED: Breaking Obama passport scandal

Pale Rider - Blue Girl/Red State: Obama's Passport File ALREADY Searched by GOP

Hilzoy - Obsidian Wings: This, On The Other Hand, Is Serious

Jeff Fecke/Shakesville: I am So Surprised...Not

Brilliant at Breakfast: You aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you

Hillary's Smelling Burning Rubber! Or: The Garlic Was Right - Hillary Has Built Her "Field of Voices"

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Headline of the Day (Geraldine Ferraro edition)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

She just won't go away:

Well, boo-freakin'-hoo. While it is true -- as Obama reiterated in his historic speech the other day -- that Wright has said some appalling things (on AIDS and race, for example), Ferraro basically said that Obama is nothing more than an affirmative action case, a man who is who he is, who has become what he has become, solely because of his race. Is that not similarly offensive, similarly unproductive? And while Wright is a preacher who, for better and for worse, speaks for his community, reflecting the good and the bad, Ferraro was, until she resigned in an arrogant huff, a member of Clinton's campaign and a Clinton surrogate.

Gerry Ferraro may not like being lumped in with Wright -- and we can argue over the specifics -- but it's her fault she's in this position, and she deserves it.

She should have kept her mouth shut, and, when it was flapping for the media -- first for the small-time Daily Breeze and then, inviting even more publicity, for the major morning news shows -- she should have shut the hell up.

But she didn't. And she has no one to blame but herself.

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The world we know

By Carl

You get the impression that there is a distinct disconnect between the real world, the world of people living in the reality of life, and what goes on in the news.

You wouldn't be far off. Exhibit A is this item from the
Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) -- A rise in jobless claims and a drop in a key forecasting gauge provided the latest evidence that the U.S. economy is faltering and may be slipping into recession.

The Conference Board, a business-backed research group, said Thursday that its index of leading economic indicators fell in February for the fifth consecutive month. The index, which is designed to forecast where the nation's economy is headed in the next three to six months, dipped 0.3 percent to 135.0 in February after slumping 0.4 percent the month before.

In Washington, meanwhile, the Labor Department said that applications for unemployment benefits totaled 378,000 last week. That was an increase of 22,000 from the previous week and the highest level in nearly two months.

The four-week average for new claims rose to 365,250, which was the highest level since a flood of claims caused by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

That's pretty sucky news, to be sure. Those are leading economic indicators, "leading" in this instance, meaning "forecasting".

The stock market is generally a lagging indicator, or one that confirms what we've all known all along about the economy:

In afternoon trading, the Dow Jones industrial average climbed 158.02, or 1.3 percent, to 12,257.68. Other indexes also were up.

Admittedly, this week the market has been up and down more times than a cheap date in a poolroom bar.

And despite the recent anomaly of Bear Stearns, investment banks have been losing money less rapidly than analysts expected, which has buoyed the market.

Yes, losing money is considered a positive on the Street. It doesn't matter that you've lost money. What matters is that you beat the analysts at their own game.

Kinda silly. It's a lot like the Jets losing to New England by two touchdowns, but hey, the spread was three touchdowns, so hurrah!

And there's the clue: money lives in a different world than you or I do. Money, like power, live in lofty regions that if we're lucky, we'll glimpse.

See, this is why even the debate over race v. gender, Republican v. Democrat, black v. white, even to a large degree, poor v. rich pales in my mind. None of this matters.

Indeed, about the only way it matters is that these divisions can be used by a certain stratum of society that wants us to keep fighting amongst ourselves. Maybe not every single member of that stratum -- indeed, many of these folks work for the good of the planet -- but there is a general momentum towards keeping the lid on things.

Think about this for a moment: Bill Gates has more in common with Bono of U2 than he does with Bob, the guy who mows his lawn.

Bob and he live in the same neighborhood. Bob and he breathe the same air, drive the same roads, see the same sun each day.

But who can call Gates at the drop of a hat?

I specifically used Gates and Bono, because, folks, these are the good guys! Now imagine, if Gates has so little in common with the lawn guy, what would we expect from, say, Dick Cheney?

I was tempted to use George Bush, but this elite "social order" tends to be pretty choosy as to whom they make long-term members. My suspicion is, once he's left the White House, there will be no more deals except for whatever crumbs his daddy can bestow upon him and I'm not sure Poppy is much for that anymore.

I say all this, because I wanted to make a larger point: the Internet.

See, you have more in common, right now, with someone sitting at his computer in Lahore, Pakistan or Birmingham, England, or Vladivostok, Russia, than you do with your Senator, possibly even your Congresscritter.

Re-read that. You have more in common with someone sitting at his computer in a hovel in Pakistan than you do with the guy who's supposedly voting your interests in Washington, DC.

(This dynamic is also why I firmly believe Hillary will win the nomination, since it has to go to the superdelegates: more skin in the game for her.)

And this, too, is partly why stock markets don't really feel your pain. They would rather support the guy who's firing you and paying them a higher dividend, than mourn with you.

Truthfully, looking down the road, I don't see a whole lot that we can do to turn this thing around, short of blood in the streets. We could, I suppose, start interacting with people across the ponds. That would be a good thing, of course, Information should be traded, and this would help others as well as ourselves.

Maybe in so doing, we can start to wake up to the fact that the earth and everything in it is ultimately a zero sum game. There's only one earth with limited-if-substantive resources, which means that as one person gains, another must by definition lose, or more correctly, one person, plus the earth and its resources.

David Suzuki likes to tell a story about a bacterium, placed in a beaker with all the food it could possibly want. The bacterium begins to reproduce, doubling it's population every second, so that after 60 seconds, it will have used up all its resources and the entire colony will die off.

After 59 seconds, the beaker would only be half full. At fifty eight seconds, a quarter full, and so on.

If, at fifty five seconds, one of the colony spoke up and said "Hey, we're going to die in five seconds!" the other would have laughed him off.

"How can you say that? We still have 98% of the beaker left to go!"

When we speak upwards, truth to power, we have to overcome the numbnuts in our midsts who would say something like "98%!" back to us. What we need to do is to foment the belief amongst ourselves and our peers that we have to stop this, from the ground up.

By "this", I mean the segregation of people along strata and class lines delineated by power. It's not enough that we dismantle the power structure in America anymore, the Eisenhower "military-industrial complex" is too simplistic to describe a world where the President of the United States and the head of Al Qaeda, as well as a B-list shlub blogger in New York City, all profit from the same investment firm's trough.

A fundamental change in society, and I'm not just talking political change and I'm not just talking America, is on the horizon.

A "New World Order" was a good idea, in theory, until you start to realize that the people who are putting it together are more beholden to the megacorporate entities that foot their campaigns political and military than they are to the people who they chew up and spit out in those campaigns.

Change from the bottom up, like democracy, cannot be forced on people. It has to be coaxed in order for it to be effective and it has to start with one voice, speaking to another voice. There's precious little time left, so we have to start now.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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John McCain wants to kill your children

By Creature

Now that it has been shown that John McCain's "gaffe" conflating Al Qaeda and Iran was anything but, isn't it time the media stop their praising of this "great foreign policy mind" and start asking him what his intentions are with respect to Iran? We all know he has sung his acceptance of bombing them, but there's a large chunk of low information voters that still need some educating. The media needs to stop massaging this man's ego, eating his ribs, and start exposing him for the danger that he is.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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New low same as the old

By Creature

Just to be clear, Hillary Clinton could have been hiding behind the Oval Office curtains and watching while her husband was getting his rocks off and I still could not give a flying fuck. It was none of my business in 1997 and it's none of my business today. Please, make it stop.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Accountability by the numbers

By Carol Gee

The U.S. military is just ten short of 4000 fatalities in the war in Iraq, as of March 17, 2008. George W. Bush has 306 days left in office. This president has never been held accountable for that casualty number, and probably never will. Nothing else during the Bush years, except the lives lost on 9/11/01, matters as much as this number. It did not have to be this way.

Poll: Most Americans Say War Not Worth It: 64 Percent Say Results Of War Not Worth American Lives Lost. To quote from the CBS story, continued *below:

One the eve of the five-year anniversary of the start of the war with Iraq, Americans continue to think the results of the war have not been worth the loss of American lives and the other costs of attacking Iraq, according to a new CBS News poll.

Today 29 percent of Americans say the results of the war were worth it; 64 percent say they were not.

Vice President Cheney's trip to the Middle East will likely wrap up the Bush administration's plan to finalize a permanent agreement between Iraq and the U.S. that will go into effect when the current U.N. Security Council agreement expires in December. The administration refuses to be held accountable to 100 senators who under the Constitution are supposed to ratify such treaties. To quote further from the CBS story*above:

Meanwhile, in Iraq on Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney played the part of backroom power broker for two days and came away with pledges from Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to firm up a new blueprint for U.S.-Iraq relations that will stretch beyond the Bush presidency.

. . . The deal would take the place of a U.N. Security Council resolution that expires in December, the same time Bush will be packing up to leave office. The administration says the deal will not seek permanent U.S. bases in Iraq or codify troop levels, nor tie the hands of a future commander in chief as some Democrats fear.

Administration officials say they probably will not seek Senate approval of the plan because the agreement will not be a treaty that provides Iraq with specific security guarantees. This position has prompted a backlash in Congress, where Democrats have proposed legislation that would render the agreement null and void without the Senate's blessing.

Democrats and some Republicans have questioned whether the 2002 authorization of force in Iraq still applies legally because it referred to the need to get rid of Saddam Hussein and eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Since the 2003 invasion, Hussein has been captured and executed, and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.

This is the Fifth Year Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is not something anyone celebrates. We mark the date for many reasons. It was a war of aggression, illegal under the U.N. charter. And it was an invasion that was based on 935 lies. It is a very long war that Senator McCain said might go on a hundred years. Juan Cole's Informed Comment says today, March 19, 2008: "5 Years, 5 Lies: (Cole in Salon: My fortnightly column for is now up, commemorating the 5th anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq)." To quote:

"Five years of Iraq lies:" How President Bush and his advisors have spent each year of the war peddling mendacious tales about a mission accomplished.

I posit that each year of the war has been characterized by a central lie by the Bush propaganda machine.

Year 1: "There is no guerrilla war."
Year 2: "Iraq is a model democracy."
Year 3: "Zarqawi is causing all the trouble."
Year 4: "There is no Civil War."
Year 5: "Everything is calm now."

I also suggest that John McCain is pushing for:

Year 6: "Total victory is around the corner."

From Memeorandum -- "Estimates of Iraq War Cost Were Not Close to Ballpark" By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN. Published: March 19, 2008. The war in Iraq is draining our nation of its " blood and treasure," to use a cliche. Crumbling schools and infrastructure; an under-regulated Wall Street-centric economy, propped up by government largess to greedy corporations and very rich individuals; 47 million people without health care coverage; a shrinking Middle Class and millions in prison -- this is the dirty spread sheet of Bush administration priorities. To quote from the New York Times article:

At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.

Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.

Among economists and policymakers, the question of how to tally the cost of the war is a matter of hot dispute. And the costs continue to climb.

Accountability by the numbers if fully at play in the political races of 2008. Florida and Michigan Democrats knew the DNC rules before they changed the primary dates. Presidential candidates rise and fall by the numbers of votes cast, month after month. Democrats will pay an awful price if they mess up the contest between Clinton and Obama; McCain will win by default and we can start all over again in January 2009. We can begin again to amass these horrific numbers. Think about it when you get too caught up in the current MSM spin.

And I, too am accountable. I watch my little blog's SiteMeter statistics. I strive to get more readers-- to be heard, because serious blogging is hard and time-consuming. The writing I do is almost entirely public, except for my real name. I have wrestled as many of my fellow bloggers with this authenticity dilemma. But there is an additional type of accountability of which I have become increasingly aware. I am accountable for my words as they go different countries around the world. Little bits of SiteMeter information catch my eye and give me pause. On the 16th a reader in Pakistan searched and found my post on "leadership qualities." A similar report turned up yesterday as a result of my series post on the tactics of jihadi terrorists, "Sageman and Leaderless Jihad -- Wrap-up". A person 7,820 miles away in Islamabad, Pakistan, wanted to know more about my featured author Marc Sageman's research. I must ask myself whether I have been helpful to a Pakistani lawyer activist, to a member of Benazir Bhuto's political party, to someone who sees himself as a jihadi, or someone I cannot visualize from so far away. Quote from SiteMeter:

Country : Pakistan (Facts)
City : Islamabad
Distance : 7,820 miles
Language English (U.S.)

Referring URL Marc Sageman&meta=
Search Engine -
Search Words - leaderless jihad by marc sageman
Visit Entry Page http://carol-sandy1....derless-jihad-2.html
Visitor's Time Mar 19 2008
Visit Number 17,664

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Electoral history and perspective 2

By Edward Copeland

(Part 1, posted yesterday, is here.)


Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP caucus winner: Romney
Conclusion: The last four elections, Maine has went Democratic. The five before that, it went GOP. In the most recent polls, Clinton leads McCain by only six percentage points while Obama leads McCain by 14 points. It will probably swing Democratic in November, but even more assuredly if Obama is the standard bearer.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: One of the biggest Democratic strongholds, going Dem in 7 out of the last 10 elections. Again, Obama is beating McCain by 13 points while Hillary leads only by 9 points. Either way, the Dems should get this one.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: Romney
Conclusion: A reliably Democratic state, only going red during both of Reagan's elections. Either Obama or Clinton should win this one easily.


Democratic primary winner: ????????
GOP primary winner: Romney
Conclusion: Michigan has gone Dem for the past four elections, but went GOP the five before that. Recent polls show McCain ahead of both Clinton and Obama by three points, within the margin of error, with sizable undecided numbers. Who can say how this one will really play?


Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP caucus winner: Romney
Conclusion: The state only went red in 1972 in the past 10 races and this one shouldn't be any different except that in the most recent polls McCain beats Hillary by five points while Obama beats McCain by 15 points.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: Among the reddest of red states. McCain will get this in a walk over Obama or Clinton.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: This state usually goes Republican, but it's always close. In fact, that was even true in the primaries, where Obama's victory over Hillary and McCain's over Huckabee were both by 1 percent. This will be one of the main battlegrounds, no matter who the Democratic nominee is. This is borne out in recent polling as well, where McCain leads Hillary by 1 percent and Obama by 2 percent with sizable undecideds. Missouri could well be the decisive state.


Democratic primary: To be held June 3
GOP caucus winner: Romney
Conclusion: Except for Clinton's 1992 win, this is a solidly Republican state, though McCain finished third behind Romney and Ron Paul. The most recent polls show McCain beating Hillary by 20 points with 14 percent undecided and McCain beating Obama, but only by 8 points with 14 percent undecided. Still, it doesn't much matter because I'm sure it will end up in the red column.


Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP primary: To be held May 13
Conclusion: For a state that has gone Republican in the 10 past presidential elections, a March poll shows Obama surprisingly close to McCain, losing only by 3 points, within the margin of error. On the other hand, the same poll showed Hillary losing to McCain by 27 points. Could Nebraska actually be in play if Obama is the nominee?


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: New Hampshire went for Kerry and for Bill Clinton twice, but its history has usually been to go for the GOP. Still, N.H. is one of the angriest anti-Dubya states. Despite her primary win, Hillary only leads McCain by 2 points while Obama beats McCain by 13 points.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: New Jersey has been consistently in the Dem column in the past four elections, but before that it went GOP the previous six. Again, though Clinton won the primary, Obama does slightly better in a potential matchup with McCain beating him by 7 points to Hillary's 6 points. Either way, I think N.J. is safe for the Dems.


Democratic caucus winner: Clinton
GOP primary: To be held June 3
Conclusion: Once they finally finished counting, Hillary eked out a 1 point victory over Obama. The general election here is almost always as close. Even though McCain is a next door numbers, polls show Obama winning by 15 points while Hillary only tops McCain by 5 points.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: Of course, it's important to remember that New York is "a big state" that Hillary won, unlike Illinois which Obama one because Obama is the senator from Illinois, so it doesn't count. The fact that Hillary is the senator of New York is merely coincidental to her win. (Interestingly, she only beat Obama by 17 points in her home state compared to the 32 points beat her in his home state.) Still, New York has been reliably Democratic for the past five elections. Once again though, a recent poll shows Obama win over McCain being bigger in New York (21 points) than Hillary's (11 points). Regardless, either Dem should easily take the state. Oh wait, McCain won the primary. So if Obama is the nominee, that means McCain's better equipped to win the general, right? At least, that's what the Clintonistas would argue.


Democratic and GOP primaries: To be held May 6
Conclusion: Surprisingly, for a dyed-in-the-wool red state, a March poll shows Obama only 2 points behind McCain. The same poll shows Hillary 8 points behind McCain. Nevertheless, I imagine it would have to be a true Democratic landslide in November for this state not to go GOP.


Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP caucus winner: Romney
Conclusion: After 10 straight Republican wins in general elections, I imagine you can color this one red, despite a March poll that actually shows Obama 4 points AHEAD of McCain. The same poll shows Hillary 19 points BEHIND McCain. I imagine the Hillary numbers are probably more accurate for both Democrats. At least the state's only worth 3 electoral votes.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: Ohio, while it has gone occasionally to Democrats, always tends to break our hearts. February polls show both Clinton and Obama trailing McCain, but not by a lot. Either candidate will have to fight for this one, which they must.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: If this state is going to go Democratic for the first time since 1964, I can't imagine it's this year, even if a native son was a v.p. choice.


Democratic and GOP primaries: To be held May 20
Conclusion: While this state has gone Democratic for five straight general elections, it was very close in 2004. February polls showed Obama 1 point up on McCain and Hillary 8 points behind McCain. The Dems need to hold on to this one and I think they should be able to. At least I hope they do.


Democratic and GOP primaries: To be held April 22
Conclusion: February polls showed both Clinton and Obama barely ahead of McCain, with a large number of undecided. This is a true swing state. On the plus side, they threw Rick Santorum out of office last time. On the minus side, they elected him to the Senate in the first place and Kerry only beat Dubya there in 2004 by 2 points.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: For five straight elections, this has landed in the Democrats' column and I can't imagine it will be different this year with either Obama or Hillary at the top of the ticket.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: While I would love to see S.C. break McCain's heart one more time, I can't see the Democrats winning here no matter who is at the top of the ticket.


Democratic and GOP primaries: To be held June 3
Conclusion: I'm afraid McCain will beat either Democrat handily here.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
GOP primary winner: Huckabee
Conclusion: If Gore couldn't even carry his home state, I'd be surprised if the Democrats could do it this year.


Democratic primary winner: Clinton
Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: Though Texas did vote for Carter and Humphrey in their respective years, this is a state that threw Ann Richards out of office when they liked it for Dubya. Their judgment isn't the best in the world and McCain has this one locked up. Has anyone looked at a Texas ballot lately? Do they even list the Democratic presidential candidate any more?


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: Romney
Conclusion: Since the state has only gone for the Democrat twice since 1948, I think we can safely assume this one goes to McCain.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: A state that has embraced same-sex marriage and repeatedly votes to impeach Dubya on local and state levels isn't going to vote for McCain. A March poll shows Hillary ahead of him by 10 points and Obama ahead of him by an astounding 34 points.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: Even though Virginia hasn't voted for a Democrat since LBJ, its changing demographics have really been to the Democrats' favor and they could turn a historically red state blue: If it's Obama anyway. He's beating McCain there by 6 points. Hillary is losing to McCain there by 3 points. Then again, they may resent her for saying their state is a small state that doesn't matter.


Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP caucus winner: McCain
Conclusion: Though this state has gone Democratic for the past five elections, March polls shows Obama losing to McCain by 1 point and Hillary losing to McCain by 8 points. I can't believe this will be the case by November, though once again it's a state that Hillary has dissed as unimportant even though they even voted for Dukakis.


Democratic primary: To be held May 13
GOP primary winner: Huckabee
Conclusion: The state has gone blue six out of the last 10 times. A March poll shows Clinton beating McCain by 5 and McCain beating Obama by 19. If Hillary wins the primary, watch how suddenly a mere 5 electoral votes will make it a "bigger" state than Missouri, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. You don't have to be logical in the Clinton universe.


Democratic primary winner: Obama
GOP primary winner: McCain
Conclusion: The past five elections, it has gone blue. In February polls, Obama only led McCain by 1 point while McCain cleans Hillary's clock by 12 points and that was before she dismissed it as unimportant. It's a swing.


Democratic caucus winner: Obama
GOP caucus winner: Romney
Conclusion: From this state's bowels came Darth Cheney. No way it's going blue.

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