Saturday, April 26, 2008

The electability gambit

By J. Kingston Pierce

Since Hillary Clinton managed to pull off a much narrower than expected victory in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary this week, suddenly the American media are questioning Barack Obama’s ability to win the general election battle against John “100 Years War” McCain? Gimme a break. Once more, the media strive to create a horse race where there isn’t really one. As analyst Charlie Cook, founder-editor of the Cook Political Report newsletter, writes in National Journal:

The good news for Hillary Rodham Clinton is that she’s winning a lot of battles. The bad news is that the war is pretty much lost. Sure, she won Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary by a strong 9 points in the face of being outspent on television ads by Barack Obama 2-to-1. She also won Ohio, Rhode Island, and at least the primary part of the bizarre “Texas two-step” primary-and-caucus combination on March 4. But today, she is 133 delegates behind Obama, 1,728 to 1,595, according to NBC News. At this point last week, she trailed by 136 delegates. Since then Clinton has scored a net gain of 10 delegates in Pennsylvania, according to NBC, but has lost a few more superdelegates, so she has made little headway.

If this contest were still at the point where momentum, symbolism, and reading tea leaves mattered, Clinton would be in pretty good shape. Everything she has needed to happen is happening now. Obama is getting tougher press coverage and critical examination. He’s also getting rattled a bit, and he didn’t perform well in the recent debate in Philadelphia. Clinton is winning in big, important places, but it’s happening about three months too late. ...

As long as Clinton is winning, she can’t quit. But even in victory, she isn’t getting any closer to securing the nomination. This political purgatory will continue if she manages to win Indiana but loses North Carolina--hard to drop out but harder to see winning the nomination. If she loses in both states, then her campaign’s donors and creditors, as well as superdelegates and party leaders, are likely to intervene. But that can’t happen as long as she continues to win.

The Clinton folks are now trying to get the media to swallow the ludicrous proposition that Senator Obama is somehow unelectable, even though he’s well ahead in this race. It might work; reporters covering the 2008 presidential campaign have already shown themselves to be gullible,
and suck-ups, to boot. How else to explain their willingness to accept the fallacy that McCain is some kind of political centrist, or that he’s a straight-talker, rather than the abject flip-flopper he is in reality?

But blogger and political analyst John Cole dismisses the Clinton camp’s assertions out of hand:

If Barack is such a bad candidate, and he is so unelectable, and it is such a bad idea to have him as the Democratic nominee, why can’t Hillary beat him?

Why is she behind him in every conceivable metric? Why is she behind in pledged delegates? Why is she behind in the popular vote (and don’t insult my intelligence by trying to pass that sheer nonsense the morons at certain pro-Clinton blogs are lapping up)? Why are super delegates flocking to Obama, while Hillary has picked up only a handful in the past few months. Why has she won fewer states? Why is she trumpeting her narrow delegate pickup in [Pennsylvania], when it is less than the number of net delegates Obama picked up in a variety of other states? Why is she behind in fund raising? Why was she unable to turn her double-digit lead a year ago into any actual primary wins? Why, with her starting financial advantage and name recognition, was she held to a tie on Super Tuesday?

Why to those questions and a hundred more like them. If your candidate is so much better, why is Obama kicking her ass? Why?

Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, further shreds Clinton’s contention regarding Obama’s unelectability in
an interview published yesterday in National Journal. When asked whether there isn’t some legitimacy to Hillary Clinton’s argument that only she can triumph against McSame in the must-win big states in November, Plouffe responds:

Well, let me just [address] the big state question--you know, they point to California, New York, Massachusetts. We are going to carry those states comfortably. Yes, she did win Ohio and Pennsylvania in the primary. If you look at polling matchups of McCain versus Obama and Clinton in Pennsylvania, we perform roughly equal. We’ve won a lot of big battleground states--Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington state, Iowa, Virginia. North Carolina, by the way, is going to be a big battleground state in 12 days, so I guess by their definition they need to win there. So this is kind of a ridiculous argument that, you know, they are trying to latch on to.

I mean, I think her electability issues are the following: she’s got a high unfavorable rating. It would be the highest unfavorable rating for any presidential nominee in recent history. Fairly or not, the majority of voters don’t trust Senator Clinton. Those two points are related, obviously: her unfavorable rating, and the sense that voters do not find her honest or trustworthy. And I do think she has limited appeal with independent voters. A Democratic nominee has to be competitive with independent voters. Ideally you’d win them. John McCain has unique appeal with independent voters. Senator Clinton has difficulty matching up with him with independent voters. She’s got less appeal to Republicans, and I also think she’s not going to create the kind of turnout we will in the African-American community and with all voters under 40.

So I think she’s got real limited range here, and we think that we will be just as strong as she will be in the core battleground states like Pennsylvania, like Ohio. But the question is, in Iowa, in Wisconsin, in New Mexico, in Nevada--these are states that have always been very close, that a Democratic nominee has to carry. And we’re doing much better than she is against John McCain.

Once more, it seems the only way that Clinton backers can get ahead in this contest is by trying to tear down Obama. That neither reflects well on her, nor will it benefit the Democratic Party when Obama finally becomes the nominee. A good part of the reason I switched my allegiance from Clinton to Obama is because the senator from New York seems willing to use ugly Republican’t tactics against a fellow Dem. That’s not sportsmanlike, nor is it at all politically smart. It gives McCain material to build on in the general election, and in the meantime it’s damaging both Hillary Clinton’s national standing and--much worse, in my book--the standing of her previously very popular husband, former President Bill Clinton.

It’s time for Senator Clinton to find a graceful way out of this race, to accept the fact that Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic candidate--and most likely the next president of the United States. All she’s doing now is making it easier for Republican’ts to put up a decent showing in the latest White House race, and invite trouble for the Democratic Party, despite McCain being just an older version of George W. Bush. And we all know how electable he would be nowadays.

READ MORE:Party Fears Racial Divide,” by Jonathan Weisman and Matthew Mosk (The Washington Post); “Dems’ Suspense May Be Unnecessary,” by Elizabeth Drew (Politico); “On Course for Another White Guy Election,” by Thomas B. Edsall (The Huffington Post); “Media Conventional Wisdom Shifting Towards Belief Clinton Could Defeat Obama?,” by Joe Gandleman (The Moderate Voice); “Heading Toward the Danger Zone,” by Bob Herbert (The New York Times).

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This guy calls other candidates "elitist"?

By J. Kingston Pierce

Following up on its recent TV spot pointing out how John “100 Years War” McCain and George W. Bush are joined at the hip as far as their political policies go, the group Progressive Media USA now rolls out a second ad, this one making clear that the elderly, anger-management-challenged McCain comes by his ignorance of problems facing everyday Americans honestly: he’s too rich to know better, married as he is to a beer heiress and toting around one of American Express’ ultra-exclusive Centurion Cards. (Believe it or not, he also pockets about $20,000 a year in Social Security income, draining money from coffers that would better be used to help poor and out-of-work Americans.)

As Matthew Yglesias observes quite rightly at, “[I]f you’re looking for an elitist in the Presidential race you might want to look at the super-rich guy who made his fortune by marrying an heiress.”

(Cross-posted at Limbo.)

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Middle East food situation

By Carol Gee

People around the world do not have enough to eat. Many factors threaten the world's food supply. Nor will the problem be over any time soon. To quote from

On 6 March, while visiting the European Union in Brussels, the executive director of the UN World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, warned that high food prices and resulting inflation would continue . . . fuelling discontent on the streets of poorer nations.

. . . Over 25,000 people die from hunger or related illnesses every day across the world, with one child dying every five seconds, according to WFP.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the global food crisis has reached emergency proportions, and our current president acted quickly. To quote:

. . . rapidly escalating global food . . . threatens to wipe out seven years of progress in the fight against poverty, . . . He called for short-term emergency measures in many regions to meet urgent food needs and avoid starvation and urged longer-term efforts to significantly increase production of food grain.

. . . Ban's appeal came as President Bush ordered the release of $200 million in emergency aid to help nations where surging food prices have deepened hunger woes and sparked violent protests . . . Bush's move came one day after World Bank President Robert Zoellick's appealed to governments to quickly provide the U.N. World Food Program with $500 million in emergency aid that it needs by May 1.

The emergency includes people in the Middle East. The situation is particularly bad in several countries, according to an earlier editorial in The Middle East Times. Those include Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, and Egypt. To quote:

Last week, the U.N.'s World Food Program, the globe's main provider of food aid, warned that it would soon have to start rationing deliveries. . . . This is not just bad news for countries like Afghanistan and Ethiopia that depend on its supplies, and for Palestinians who have just seen up to 90 percent of their crops wiped out by extraordinary frosts and cold weather.

. . . World grain reserves are at their lowest levels since records were first kept back in 1960, and the U.S. stockpile had not been this low since 1948. . . Pakistan has re-introduced food ration cards, an unpopular and crisis-driven move that has contributed to the unpopularity of President Pervez Musharraf and helps explain his party's recent stinging electoral defeat. . . Egypt has extended its own food rationing system. . .

Some food industry executives are already starting to use the dreaded F word for Famine. This could make Saudi Arabia reconsider its decision to stop growing wheat and start importing some 3 million tons a year. It should not. With intelligent use of arable land for food crops, suitable irrigation and seed technology and an end to market-distorting farm subsidies, the world can produce enough food. It is a political problem we face, rather than a food shortage.

IRIN reports that it is particularly troubling in Afghanistan,

Food shortages in Ajristan District of Ghazni Province, central Afghanistan, have forced some families to eat dried grass in order to survive, local people and the district administrator told IRIN."

. . . According to the World Food Programme (WFP), increases of up to 70 percent in staple food prices, road blockages and other winter-related problems have pushed millions of Afghans into "high risk food-insecurity." reports also that climate change could threaten food security in the Middle East. In addition to the above-named countries, add these countries where there is widespread protest against rising food prices: Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. To quote:

"Climate change will affect food security in all its four dimensions - food availability, food accessibility, food stability and food utilisation," Will Killmann, chairman of FAO's working group on climate change, told IRIN on 10 March.

. . . On 3 March Prime Minister of Bahrain Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman al-Khalifa used his weekly meeting with officials and ordinary people to address the issue of food security in the region: "We need to draw lessons from the current spiralling inflation hitting the world and start seriously to think about ensuring food security in the Arab world," he said.

. . . Recent incidents in Egypt highlight the vulnerability of the Middle East region to the vagaries of reduced agricultural production and the rise in food prices. . . In the past few weeks, there have been food riots or demonstrations - albeit on a smaller scale - against rising food prices in a number of countries in the region, including Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

. . . A number of Gulf states have introduced price controls, including food subsidies and caps on rent increases, to offset the impact of price rises on their populations. The Omani Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for example, proposed on 9 March that food suppliers should control price rises by introducing ceilings on nine basic food items, including rice, wheat flour, sugar, lentils, cooking oil, tea, milk powder, evaporated milk and ghee.

What do people think? Aljazeera collected the views about the food situation from a number of people over several days for an interesting comment thread here.

The World Food Programme, at the United Nations, maintains an excellent website. There you can link to the wildly popular game FreeRice, where your play helps to feed people -- a grain at a time. I just donated 600 grains of rice to the cause. I note that I am already addicted to the game.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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Marcus Dixon, the Steelers, and the 2008 NFL Draft

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Update 1: Marcus Dixon was not drafted. Scouts Inc. ranks him seventh among undrafted DEs. As expected, then, he could get an invitation to a pre-season camp as a rookie free agent. Hopefully some team is willing to give him a shot -- preferably more than one. He deserves it.

Update 2: Dixon has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Cowboys, one of the Steelers' arch-nemeses. I wish him the very best (even as I don't wish the very best for the 'Boys). For more, see his Wikipedia entry. For more on the Cowboys' draft and related news, see The Dallas Morning News.

Update 3: For more, see Todd Archer at the DMN's Cowboys blog. It's good to hear that the team was "aggressive" in trying to acquire Dixon (and that it would have drafted him in the seventh round if it had had a pick left).


I'm not a huge college football fan, but I'll be paying close attention to the 2008 NFL Draft today. Specifically, I'll be paying close attention to what the Steelers do. I've read far too many mock drafts and far too many player analyses and far too many pre-draft articles for my own good, and I'm a frequent visitor to the Steelers pages at the Post-Gazette and, to a lesser extent, the Tribune-Review (even if it is Dick Scaife's rag).

Prediction for the Steelers in Round 1: Gosder Cherilus, (OT - Boston College).

Although the PG's Ed Bouchette thinks it'll be Kentwan Balmer (DT - North Carolina).

Other possibilities: Jerod Mayo (LB - Tennessee), Calais Campbell (DE - Miami), and Jonathan Stewart (RB - Oregon).

However, Stewart will likely be gone by the time the Steelers pick at #23. So, too, others, all O-linemen, I'd love to see in black and gold: Branden Albert (G/T - Virginia), Jeff Otah (OT - Pittsburgh), Ryan Clady, (OT - Boise State), and Chris Williams (OT - Vanderbilt).

I know the NFL Draft is overhyped and overdramatized, but it's still an exciting event.

Update: Well, no Cherilus or Balmer, but... wow! Rashard Mendenhall (RB - Illinois) and Limus Sweed (WR - Texas) with their first two picks. Two awesome offensive weapons. Sure, they still need help on the DL and, to a lesser extent, on the OL, but there was no way they could pass up these guys (both of whom fell into their lap). And they ended up with some solid players in later rounds, too: Bruce Davis (LB - UCLA), Tony Hills (OT - Texas), Dennis Dixon (QB - Oregon), Mike Humpal (LB - Iowa), and Ryan Mundy (S - West Virginia).

See Ed Bouchette's Q&A here.


Anyway, regardless of what the Steelers do today, one player I'll be rooting for is Marcus Dixon, a DE from Hampton. He may not be drafted, either Saturday or Sunday, and, if not, he may end up a rookie free agent.

He's a solid, if unexceptional, player. But his story is incredible.

Dixon spent 15 months in prison for aggravated child molestation and statutory rape. Actually, though, he didn't do anything wrong. When he was 18, he had sex with a 15-year old. It was consensual, but the girl, likely pressured by her racist father (in a small racist town in Georgia), claimed he had raped her. He was acquitted of rape and other charges -- the jury determined it was consensual sex -- but the prosecutors (also racist?), seeking a major conviction, got him on child molestation, which they had added to the list of charges only to ensure that he would be handed a long prison sentence.

The rest is a long story, but one that ends with justice triumphant.

His story became a cause célèbre in the media, and, at long last, in May 2004, upon a favourable ruling by the George Supreme Court, he was released from prison.

And he went to Hampton to study and play football.

For more, read Greg Garber's fantastic piece on Dixon at -- seriously, read it.

Is there a happy ending to Dixon's story? Yes -- regardless of what happens this weekend, regardless of whether he makes it to the NFL or not.

Marcus Dixon is a good and admirable young man -- and, with all that he's been through, the victim of injustice, one wishes for him only the best.

Maybe he'll even end up with the Steelers.

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Sexualized ads become "obscene" when guys are the objects

By LindaBeth

So this video and news issue is a wee bit old, but the idea it raises isn't at all.

Apparently an in-store Abercrombie ad campaign (see video below) received complaints for being too sexual/obscene. Abercrombie has been doing this for years, for example, depicting cartoons of topless girls (yeah, they looked awful young) in pools and having threesomes in their catalog back when I worked in the mall 10 years ago. And in this day and age of hypersexualization of women's bodies and the general pornification of everyday life, you would think these ads must be awfully revealing to be so scandalous.

The thing is, the ads aren't that revealing. Not by far, and especially not compared to most ads we see everywhere. we. look.

Except that most sexualized ads we see are of women's bodies (I said most-I am well aware of the sexual and homoerotic tones of several cologne ads). However, the Abercrombie campaign includes some sexy images... of guys. And the marketing target is upper-middle class, heterosexual teens, both female and male.


This is the part that struck me most:

"there's half naked guys running around -- it's obscenity -- is Playboy able to hang naked pictures in their store?"

Um, sorry dude, but the half naked men shown in Abercrombie ads is not the same as fully naked Playboy pictures. Like, at all. It's more like Victoria's Secret ads (and even then not quite the same there either)... and oh yeah, they are able to show those, and not only in their stores, but on billboards, the sides of buses, every f*cking magazine you pick up, not to mention, the goddamn TV!!

The ads are only 'scandalous' because guys are being (mildly) depicted as erotic objects of heterosexual desire. And this just doesn't happen. Even when there's male (frontal) nudity in movies, it's typically either goofy or is not eroticized. Women as sexual objects, as seen as serving a sexual function for men (being sexually desirable rather than having sexual desire) have functioned in a particular way in western patriarchy, along with wife/mother, to produce female ideals whose value relies on seeing women in terms of how they function for men's benefit. This is the very definition of objectification--defining (a person) in terms of how you already see them to be, in how they're useful for you, rather than seeing them on their own terms. Men are really only able to objectify women in this way because such narrow and all-defining judgment is never returned to them; they are rarely, if ever, made the objects of female-centered desire. It's awfully hard to objectify someone when you recognize they have their own desire -- and that you might not be up to their standard.

I'm getting a bit off track, and I'll continue to blog about that in the future, but getting back to the anxious guy... his comments are screaming male privilege. The fact that these images bother him so much can be attributed to him rarely having to be faced with the eroticization of his own body, even in the mild Abercrombie images of guys in jeans showing a little buttcrack. What's fascinating is that he is so bothered by it. I'd like to say that he's finally getting a small taste of what women go through, but that's not even close to the truth: he has the luxury of being able to avoid dealing with the images by walking out of the store. These kinds of images (and so much more) are simply unavoidable for women--we can never just walk away, because they're there whenever we turn around.

Another fascinating thing about his comment was his analogy of these images to Playboy images. On an obvious level, he's so wrong, because, um, come on, they're nowhere near close: they're not the same degree of nudity, not the same degree of sexualization (there's little about the Abercrombie poses that are seductive or vulnerable), and not the same intent. On another level, they are similar, because sexualized women's bodies are so commonplace these days, that we wouldn't even blink an eye if we were to replace the guy in the Abercrombie ad with a woman. We probably wouldn't even think it was racy, or even that sexual. So his analogy, in a way, speaks very much to the ubiquitous sexualized female body and the rarely eroticized male body.

Finally, what I'm also quite interested in regarding this video news story, is that the campaign included images of girls, depicted in much the same way as the guys are...yet he never mentioned being bothered by the "obscenity" of those! When we take this reaction, and think about the male anxiety around male nudity in general, and especially gay male sexuality (but, of course, not lesbian sexuality), it it very clear that, in popular culture,
sexuality becomes "obscene" when it does not reinforce heteronormative masculinity. Images are only seen as improperly sexualized when it's the male body on display for a (presumed) het-female audience.

(Cross-posted to
Smart Like Me.)

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Because giving is fundamental

By Creature

My girlfriend, Dina, and her good friend, Tarona, have hit the road to donate their time and their energy to worthy causes from Georgia, to New Orleans, to Utah and beyond. You can follow their progress at Donation Nation. Feel free to drop an encouraging word and feel free to pass the word as well.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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Focus on the cradle

By Carl

It seems silly to think that, in this time of minor turbulence here in America, as two perfectly qualified people duke it out for the chance to run against another perfectly qualified man for the most powerful office in the nation, if no longer the world, we forget there's a far larger and more complex world out there.

Case in point:
Zimbabwe. In what could be a preview of our own November, Zimbabwe's recent election results indicated that a thuggish regime, that of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, lost its hold on parliament to the Movement for a Democratic Change.

Mugabe would not be much of a thug if he just accepted those results and turned the reins of power over (which is where comparisons to America pop up, by the way). Further, preliminary results seem to indicate, altho there is no official word, that Mugabe himself has been voted out of the office of president.

A recount was called for, in due course, if only for appearances sake, the electoral commission agreed to do so. So far, 190-odd elections have been officially recounted and 190-odd results remain unchanged.

Now, if this was just a simple election dispute, no problem, right? After all, in the grand scheme of things, Zimbabwe is another landlocked country, borderded by South Africa (which to its credit has taken the lead in beating the drum for international attention), Boswana, Mozambique, and Zambia.

The story does have some intriguing aspects to it, not least of which is an unexpected wedge:

Angola's government has authorised a Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe to dock, although it says it will not be allowed to unload weapons.

In a statement, the government said the vessel would only be allowed to deliver goods intended for Angola.

On Thursday, the Chinese authorities said they would recall the ship to China after port workers in South Africa refused to unload the weapons.

Other southern African countries had also refused to allow the ship to dock.

Leaders in the region had expressed concern that the weapons could heighten tensions in Zimbabwe.

Basically, this ship swung around the South African cape, looking for a place to dock like a drunken sailor looking for an open bathroom.

Angola is China's second largest oil provider.

You can do the math, I assume. There's no way those weapons aren't being off-loaded in Angola. And, yes,
war is not out of the question. We are talking about Mugabe here...

Africa is a rich oil producing region, in particular Nigeria (as you probably know), but it seems the western coast of the continent has fairly robust oil reserves: Angola, Ghana, the DR Congo, all have discovered some oil reserves that they are hurrying to exploit.

Naturally, China has seized an opportunity that we in our infinite stupidity, declined to pursue.

Because, you know, it's all about the Sauds.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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Chris Matthews, (racist?) moron

By Michael J.W. Stickings

We know he's a sexist, but it seems he's also something of a racist:

[Thursday] night on Hardball, host Chris Matthews sought to give Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) some "advice" on how to get white Americans to vote for him for president:

MATTHEWS: You got to talk like a firebrand because if you're carrying their fight for them, they're going to like you. You know, a lot of white people root for black athletes because they're winning for the home team. People are quite willing to pick up black heroes, if they'll win for their side.

So... a lot of whites are racists who root only for the blacks who play on their favourite sports teams?

So... whites in Chicago only liked Michael Jordan because he played for the Bulls, with homerism trumping racism?

So... these racists, what do they think of blacks who play for other teams? Let's say Jordan had been traded to the Lakers or the Celtics, would they then have gone all racist on him?

So... whites only put aside their racism for sports "heroes"? And so... blacks aren't good for anything other than playing for the hometown team?

I agree with Libby: "[H]ow does this jerk still have a job? I don't see any way to view this remark about Obama as anything but purely racist. Besides, even when he's not dishing out sexist and racist stereotypes, his political commentary never rises above inane gossip. It's ridiculous to pretend he's a serious analyst. He's a disgrace to the industry and should be taken off the air."

In the meantime, it seems to me he's got some explaining to do.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Explaining Indiana: Culture, context, and demographics in the Obama-Clinton race

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(Following up on my post from earlier today.)

As I mentioned earlier, Indiana is, at the moment, a toss-up. The polls show an extremely close race that could go either way. Obama has the advantage of being from Illinois, next door, and he should do well in Indianapolis and in the northwest, near Chicago. Hillary, meanwhile, should do well everywhere else.

Posts today by Balz at WaPo and Scheiber at TNR have prompted me to delve a bit deeper into the nuances of the state:

Media coverage of the Obama-Clinton race has been poor -- I hardly need to tell you that -- but it's much worse than the obvious decontextualizing and sensationalizing that is so common nowadays and that has been the evident focus of the coverage throughout the race.

Basically, prevailing media narratives are shallow. It's all about who's supposedly up or down according to polls that may or may not be reliable, who supposedly has momentum, what the expectations are heading into a vote, be it a primary or caucuses, and who is winning this or that metric. Given their inability to think (self-)critically, as well as to look at the race from a more detached perspective, the media are also easily manipulated by campaign spin, unironically incorporating such spin into how they cover the race, that is, into their narratives, all of which are of the moment, one replacing another when the existing one gets stale or when new spin gains traction.

Throughout the Obama-Clinton race, we've heard a lot about demographics: Obama wins these groups (blacks, students, affluent and educated suburbanites, independents and crossover Republicans, etc.), Hillary wins those groups (women, working-class whites, Hispanics, the elderly, etc.), and that's it. How well they do depends on how well they do among their core constituencies, as well as on to what extent, if at all, they eat into the other's core constituencies.

This is the media worldview, an American electorate segregated into specific and discrete demographic groups. The problem is, the world, and the American electorate, is much more complex than the media worldview would have us believe.

Take Indiana, for example:

According to the media worldview, Obama will win his core constituencies and Hillary will win hers. And, what's more, Indiana seems to be a lot like Ohio and Pennsylvania, another Rust Belt state. Shouldn't it play out the way those two states did?

Maybe it will, but, whatever the similarities, Indiana is not exactly like Ohio and Pennsylvania, which Hillary won, nor exactly like Wisconsin or Missouri, which Obama won. Here's Scheiber:

Dan Balz's take on the Indiana primary got me thinking about a subtle advantage Obama has in the state: Even though it's somewhat similar demographically to two of the states he's lost by large margins -- Ohio and Pennsylvania--it's also overwhelmingly Republican. For Obama, the beauty of this is that there probably isn't an especially strong statewide Democratic machine that can swing into action for Hillary. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign tends to excel at organizing virgin territory (territory that borders his home state, no less).


Balz also makes a point along the lines of my post yesterday on that McCain Obama memo: Indiana, he writes, "is neither a carbon copy of Ohio and Pennsylvania -- whose demographics and political culture were favorable to Clinton -- nor is it Wisconsin, whose demographics were similar to Ohio and Pennsylvania but whose political culture is not.

Which is to say, it is important to keep in mind not just the similarities between and among states but also the dissimilarities, that is, the particulars of each state, particulars that make each state unique, as well as the timing (when the vote was held in the overall primary/caucus season).

Take Ohio, for example. Why did Hillary win there? Not just because of demographics (an abundance of white working-class voters) but because she was well ahead there before the campaigning started in earnest, because she had much of the Democratic Party establishment behind her, because of the Clinton name (and what Bill did as president that made him popular there), because her "kitchen sink" attacks on Obama had weakened him, and because, in particular, of NAFTA-gate.

Why did she win Pennsylvania? Again, not just because of demographics but because the political machinery was behind her, including Governor Ed Rendell (hence, perhaps, her big wins in the Philadelphia suburbs and exurbs), because the weeks leading up to the vote were tough on Obama (Wright, Bittergate, etc.), and so on.

In other words, demographics matter, but so so culture, context, and timing.

It remains to be seen whether Obama does in fact have "a subtle advantage" in heavily Republican Indiana. What is certainly true, though, is that Indiana is no Ohio and no Pennsylvania. We can learn a lot from what happened in those two states, as from other, similar states, but, on March 6, contra all those shallow media narratives and the narrow media worldview, Indiana will be voting as a state with its own distinct identity.

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The state of the race in Indiana and North Carolina

By Michael J.W. Stickings

And so, with Pennsylvania now behind us -- and what a wild time it was (and how much we now know about the state's fascinating demographics!) -- we turn our rapturous attention to Indiana and North Carolina and their upcoming May 6 primaries. (Oh, right. Sorry, Guam. You hold your caucuses on May 3. We'll try not to forget.)

Let's look closely at each state:

Indiana: The RCP Average is Obama +3.0, with recent polls putting Obama up by 1 to 5 points, including this one conducted for The Indianapolis Star: Obama is up by 3, but the margin of error is +/- 4.2 and undecideds are at a whopping 21 percent. Still, the numbers suggest a fairly dramatic turnaround over the past few weeks. Hillary was up from 3 to 16 points in polls conducted late last month and into the middle of this month. One of those pollsters, SurveyUSA, seems to show a pro-Hillary bias (i.e., she does better in its polls than in others), but, regardless, there is a discernible trend. But will that trend continue?

Given its demographics, Indiana is a state where Hillary should do well: The "small town" world of John "This is Our Country" Mellencamp -- though Mellencamp himself has endorsed Obama. However, Obama is a senator from a neighbouring state, Illinois. He should do well in Indianapolis and in the northwest, next to Chicago. She should do well everywhere else. The map of how each county voted, I suspect, will look a lot like the post-vote maps we've seen of states like Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Obama has the money to run an aggressive advertising campaign, as he did in Pennsylvania -- and he will be able to focus on Indiana because he is well ahead in North Carolina -- but Hillary has raised a significant amount since her win on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, and upcoming polls may show a bump in support.

In other words, the race is pretty much even. Which, given where it was just a few weeks ago, is something of a victory for Obama. Many of the primary votes haven't been close, but this one could be. I'll say, for now, Hillary by 4.

North Carolina: Unlike Indiana, this state is clear Obama Country. The RCP Average is Obama +15.5. Recent polls have him up by 9 to 25 points (again, SurveyUSA seems to downplay his support). However, there are no poll results yet post-Pennsylvania. It's possible that Hillary could see a bump here, too.

Regardless, overall, there has been a dramatic turnaround over the course of the campaign. Hillary hasn't been up in the polls since early December, but, prior to that, she was fairly well ahead.

While Obama can focus the bulk of his attention on Indiana, Hillary needs to win Indiana and do relatively well in North Carolina, and, as the WSJ is reporting today, she isn't conceding the latter: She is "spending millions of dollars on advertising and holding rallies in dozens of communities throughout the state... Clinton wants to avoid the kind of blowout loss to [Obama] she suffered in South Carolina in January... North Carolina has a large population of the economically hard-hit rural white voters among whom [she] has fared well in recent contests."

The state's demographics -- in particular, its large black population and its concentration of highly educated and affluent voters in and around Research Triangle Park -- seem to favour Obama, but Hillary should do extremely well, once again, among white working-class voters. Those voters may not be enough to put her over the top, but the race could turn out to be much closer than recent polls suggest. I'll say, for now, Obama by 10.

And remember that these primaries aren't just about winning but about performing in relation to expectations. Obama is expected to win North Carolina by a significant margin. Therefore, a narrow victory for Obama would be interpreted as a victory for Clinton. It's not clear how the expectation game will play out in Indiana, where the race is a toss-up, and the game depends to a great degree on media analysis and campaign spin, but, in North Carolina, Hillary has a chance to achieve a huge breakthrough. (And the media are playing along, thoughtlessly regurgitating the Clinton spin. WaPo today calls the state a "a firewall for Obama," even though he already has an insurmountable pledged delegate lead.) If she wins Indiana and narrows the gap in North Carolina, and then goes on to win West Virginia a week later, and then Kentucky a week after that (and do relatively well in Oregon, where Obama is expected to win), her electability/momentum argument for the superdelegates, propped up by the pro-Hillary media narrative, will take on at least the appearance of credibility. (I say "appearance" because, in reality, Obama has the delegate and popular vote lead, has won many more states, and has picked up many more superdelegates then she has since Super Tuesday in early February.)

Barring a dramatic Obama collapse, this is her only possible path to the nomination.

But first, Indiana and North Carolina. And we have almost two weeks left.

Stay tuned.

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Joe Klein is a degenerate fool

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The ridiculous Joe Klein, who's worse than David Broder -- via The Plank:

Obama... entered the primary as a fresh breeze and left it stale, battered and embittered — still the mathematical favorite for the nomination but no longer the darling of his party. In the course of six weeks, the American people learned that he was a member of a church whose pastor gave angry, anti-American sermons, that he was "friendly" with an American terrorist who had bombed buildings during the Vietnam era, and that he seemed to look on the ceremonies of working-class life — bowling, hunting, churchgoing and the fervent consumption of greasy food — as his anthropologist mother might have, with a mixture of cool detachment and utter bemusement. All of which deepened the skepticism that Caucasians, especially those without a college degree, had about a young, inexperienced African-American guy with an Islamic-sounding name and a highfalutin fluency with language. And worse, it raised questions among the elders of the party about Obama's ability to hold on to crucial Rust Belt bastions like Pennsylvania, Michigan and New Jersey in the general election — and to add long-suffering Ohio to the Democratic column.

Right, because:

-- Hillary, McCain, and the media had nothing to do with waging a negative campaign against Obama over the weeks leading up to the Pennsylvania primary, spreading lies and rumours and innuendos and misrepresentations and otherwise smearing Obama with reckless abandon.

-- It was all his fault, of course.

Look what Klein is doing here. He's spinning the same old smears:

-- He brings up Wright again, neglecting to mention Obama's brilliant speech on race and politics.

-- He brings up Ayers, a casual and rare acquaintance, a non-story being pushed by right-wing nuts, neglecting to mention that Ayer isn't what he used to be and that they hardly have anything resembling a friendship.

-- He brings up the elitism charge, bring so presumptuous as to tell us what's going on inside Obama's head.

-- He brings up white "skepticism" of Obama, playing the race card even when there's no evidence of racism among Democratic voters.

-- He calls Obama "a young, inexperienced African-American guy," a clear insult with racial overtones.

-- He brings up Obama's "Islamic-sounding name," as if people aren't voting for him because of his middle name.

-- He brings up Obama's ease with language, his inspirational rhetoric, suggesting that he is an out-of-touch intellectual, as if being a good speaker and being smart are bad qualities to have.

-- He claims that party "elders" are now worried about Obama's ability to win key states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, and hence his electability generally, as if primary losses to a strong candidate like Hillary would necessarily mean losses to McCain in the general election, as if he has no strengths to offset such possible concerns, as if he wouldn't be a strong candidate in Ohio and Pennsylvania and Michigan and New Jersey... and who are these "elders," anyway?

All in all, another piece of contemptible punditry from the contemptible Joe Klein.

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Real women have bodies... politicians even

By LindaBeth
This article from last week on
Salon's Broadsheet just cracked me up. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the leader of the German nation is... a woman!!! And not just that... she has breasts! OMG!

Apparently her appearance at the German Opera in an evening gown with a plunging neckline caused quite a furor. Just more proof that:

  1. Women can be sexual or politically powerful, but not both.
  2. Women can be politically powerful, as long as they "act like men."
  3. #2 means they must pretend like they don't have a body. Wait, that they don't have a female body, which is of course redundant in our culture where men have the luxury to be people first and bodies second (or never).
  4. Female sexuality is unable to be tolerated when it's not for someone else. (I can't hook up with her/masturbate to her/marry her so why does she think she can demonstrate that she has breasts?)
  5. Women cannot be "taken seriously while sexy."
And it's not even sexual!! It's just some cleavage!! Evidence of having a female body!! Sheesh!

(Cross-posted to
Smart like me.)

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David Broder, idiotic dramatist

By Michael J.W. Stickings

For someone who's been around politics for so long, David Broder sure spews opinions like he's completely wet behind the ears. He has a reputation for the sort of wisdom that comes with age, with being around for so long, and he writes and talks with the confidence of cushy authority, Beltway-style, but he's as much a look-at-me sensationalizer as anyone else in the media. The title of his latest piece of melodramatic banality says it all: "The Democrats' Worst Nightmare."

Yes, says the Dean, he ongoing nomination battle between Obama and Hillary is our worst nightmare.

Really? Come on. Our worst nightmare?


I can think of many things that would be worse nightmares than the Obama-Hillary race. How about a third Bush term? Or a GOP takeover of Congress -- 1994 all over again?

But, no, Broder has a job to do, and that's to use his pontificational platform at the Post to blow way out of proportion what has been a competitive and much-less-nasty-than-most-people-think nomination race.

Which is not to say that his entire analysis is wrong. He makes some good points. And it's true that McCain is benefitting from the Obama-Hillary race. Indeed, for the sake of the party, for the sake of the general election, the race needs to end sooner rather than later. (And Reid and Pelosi may indeed have to intervene.)

But are Democrats actually "praying for this divisive primary campaign to end"? No. And Broder tips his hand when he praises McCain as "the rare exception who is not assumed to be willing to sacrifice personal credibility to prevail in any contest."

Et tu, Broder? Of course. The media love McCain, and Broder is no exception. Apparently, while Obama and Hillary are tearing each other apart, and Democrats are tearing their hair out, McCain is wallowing in perfection, unable to do wrong.

So says David Broder, and he's on Meet the Press a lot, so he must know what he's talking about.


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Whose authority?

By Carol Gee

The United States Department of Justice is the nation's highest center of law enforcement. And the Attorney General inevitably sets the tone for how the laws are enforced in Washington, D.C. and around the country. Under what authority can the Attorney General mislead Congress?

Attorney General Michael Mukasey was confronted by House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers for making false claims regarding foreign intelligence gathering. According to Glenn Greenwald at, last week Mukasey "acknowledged (because he was forced to) that the call he claimed originated from an "Afghan safe house" into the U.S. was fictitious, but he nonetheless vaguely asserted that his underlying point -- that FISA unduly restricted pre-9/11 eavesdropping and prevented detection of those attacks -- was somehow still accurate." The FBI is under the authority of the DOJ. The FBI Director, however, has a degree of independence because he is appointed for a set term of 10 years.

FBI Director, Robert Mueller, was confronted by members of the House Judiciary Committee on the question of the legality of torture. Evidently, the FBI did not have the authority to enforce the laws within the executive branch, if a "higher authority?" had intervened. Such interrogation techniques were approved by the Justice Department and used by the CIA. The current Director of the CIA, General Mike Hayden, claims that those techniques are no longer practiced by the CIA. Lara Jakes Jordan covered this story for the AP yesterday: " FBI: Interrogation tactics might be inappropriate." To quote from the story:

FBI Director Robert Mueller on Wednesday recalled warning the Justice Department and the Pentagon that some U.S. interrogation methods used against terrorists might be inappropriate, if not illegal.

FBI protocol "wouldn't engage in torture," said Rep. Stephen Cohen, D-Tenn. "But if you find out that other agencies may engage in torture, that you believe is illegal — does your protocol include informing those agencies that you believe their actions are illegal?"

"Yes," Mueller answered.

"Who did you inform?" Cohen asked.

"At points in time, we have reached out to DoD, DoJ, in terms of activity that we were concerned might not be appropriate, let me put it that way," Mueller said. DoD refers to the Department of Defense and DoJ to the Department of Justice.

. . . Asked how the Justice Department and Pentagon responded to the FBI's advice, Mueller declined to discuss it publicly, citing concerns about releasing classified information. He also referred to the Justice Department's legal guidance at the time that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods were legal as long as they did not result in organ failure or death.

Former head of the Justice Department, Attorney General John Ashcroft was confronted by DailyKos' "Elsinora", a co-ed member of his Knox College audience, on the question of the legality of torture. He bristled at having his authority questioned by a young female recently and rather came unzipped for all to see. To quote the author,"Earlier today, I promised you Kossacks an eyewitness account of John Ashcroft's speech on "Leadership in Troubled Times" at Knox College this evening, which I just got back from attending. So, while it's still fresh in my mind, here's how it went--including the question I asked that made him lose his cool completely. " (Hat tip to Blue Texan at Firedoglake).

"Operation Sudden Impact" was confronted here at The Reaction Monday by my co-blogger Libby Spencer on the question of our emerging police state. The FBI leads Joint Terrorism Task Forces in over 100 cities around the country. Recently three states conducted massive sweeps. To quote:

Radley Balko . . . tells us, "Last week, federal, state, and local police in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas conducted a massive sweep, including raids of businesses, homes, and boats; traffic roadblocks; and personal body searches."

. . . So in other words, our law enforcement authorities spent at least tens of thousands of dollars on a quasi-military sweep and busted a few low level drug users and a whole bunch of bad drivers. No terrorists were reported to be injured or arrested in the shakedown. This is how 9/11 changed everything. Our own government terrorizes us to "keep us safe" under the aegis of "fighting terrorism." But here's what should raise alarm bells with every civil libertarian:

Even though Memphis hasn't suffered a terrorist attack, the city is using federal grants to fight crime, which might lead to the discovery of a terrorist suspect. Other cities are using federal money with similar programs.

This is just the beginning of a new trend in domestic law enforcement. As far as they're concerned, we are all terrorists now. To paraphrase the old saying, just because you haven't done anything wrong, doesn't mean they won't come looking for you.

Libby was echoed here today by Michael, who confronted the question of a recent SCOTUS ruling foreshadowing "The United Police State of America." To quote from the latter:

Now, the ruling was technical insofar as the case involved the relationship of state law to the Fourth Amendment, a relationship that is muddled. Still, what is clear is that the Supreme Court has pushed the United States ever closer to being an authoritarian state in which the police, and those who rule, have the "prerogative" to search and seize as they please.

Another sudden impact -- Blogger "profmarcus" (hat tip to betmo) confronted the question of a recent set of mass surprise raids on Pilgrim's Pride poultry plants in five states. Headlined "'Papers, please' -- getting people used to the idea of suprise law enforcement raids and 'disappeared' people," the post begins and ends with these chilling paragraphs:

news flash... it ain't just about immigration... first of all, note the first paragraph... that's right... it's now expanded to include identify theft and document fraud... you don't have the proper papers...? what a shame... it's off to the detention center for you... what's that you say...? your children are in daycare and there'll be no one to pick them up or care for them...? what a shame... it's off to the detention center for you...


just wait... your turn is coming... the horror of the "disappeareds," a tactic pioneered and tested by the u.s. in latin america (see "los desaparecidos" and operation condor), is coming back home... i've posted on this many times before (see here), but it's important to realize that we are being slowly but surely led to an acceptance of such treachery in our very own country... make no mistake... it IS happening...!

Until something changes, the United States appears too frequently to be a nation of men above the law if they choose to be, rather than a nation of laws under which all men must operate. The current news does not bode well for a positive trend towards protection of the people rather than those in power over the people.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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The tide is turning

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Hillary is claiming that, with her victory in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, "the tide is turning."

It is not, I would argue, but her stupid and delusional comment reminded me of one of the greatest YouTube clips I've ever seen, one that Creature posted here almost a month ago.

Allow me to post it again. It is deeply moving. It is profoundly inspirational. And, to me, it speaks to why America and the world need Barack Obama in the White House.

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In praise of Helen Thomas

By Michael J.W. Stickings

From TP:

On April 9, ABC News reported that in 2002, President Bush's most senior advisers approved the use of harsh interrogation tactics. Days later, Bush confirmed to ABC he "approved" of the tactics. Sadly, the media have largely ignored the story since it was first reported. Moreover, not one White House press corps reporter has raised the issue with the Bush administration... until [yesterday].

And it was Helen Thomas who did it.

(For my post on "torturing from the top," see here. For more, see C&L.)

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McCain votes no on equal pay for women

By Libby Spencer

Well, he didn't actually bother to vote, but he says he would have voted no on a bill that would have repaired damage done by Alito's hamfisted decision in Ledbetter.

Republican Sen. John McCain, campaigning through poverty-stricken cities and towns, said Wednesday he opposes a Senate bill that seeks equal pay for women because it would lead to more lawsuits.

Oh of course. We wouldn't want the courts to used to litigate injustice. Everybody knows the sole function of the judiciary to rubberstamp whatever 'decision' the president makes. And remember how the GOP was caterwauling about up or down votes and threatening the nuclear option to eliminate filibusters?

Senate Republicans killed the bill Wednesday night on a 56-42 vote that denied the measure the 60 votes needed to advance it to full debate and a vote.

Yes, they used a filibuster to kill it. In fact, the GOP minority, as I'm sure you recall, has used the filibuster to block progress more than any previous incarnation of Congress. Why the Democrats aren't vigorously pointing this out every time it happens is beyond me.

Meanwhile, McCain, acknowledges that poverty is worse among women than men. "The Arizona senator said he was familiar with the disparity but that there are better ways to help women find better paying jobs."

"They need the education and training, particularly since more and more women are heads of their households, as much or more than anybody else," McCain said. "And it's hard for them to leave their families when they don't have somebody to take care of them.

Of course, this bill was about equal pay for equally educated workers. And maybe McCain hasn't heard that most families have both spouses working. Or about all those single mothers who hold down three jobs to pay the bills while the day care providers are raising their own kids. And the reason they have to work so hard is because they're not paid as much as men doing the same work thanks to an archiac mindset rooted in the days when most women had the luxury of staying home.

McCain tells the most poverty striken people in America that "I wouldn't be back here today if government had fulfilled the promise that Lyndon Johnson made 44 years ago." As if a guy who owns 13 houses worth $13 million would even recognize poverty if it jumped up and bit him in the ass. Somehow he fails to notice that poverty has grown tremendously in the years GOP held the reins of power and sliced the social safety net to shreds, while passing bill after bill to enrich the already wealthy.

But then, as he admits himself, economics isn't really his thing. But he's sure that cutting taxes for the top 1% of the wealth holders in this country is the answer -- because our current economy is doing just great and that empty wallet in just a figment of your imagination.
(Cross-posted at The Impolitic.)

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The United Police State of America

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Things are getting worse under our right-wing government here in Canada, to be sure, but what's going on south of the border, in "the land of free," the active rolling back of liberty, is truly appalling (and deeply worrying). And here's the latest, a SCOTUS-sanctioned expansion of police powers:

The Supreme Court offered unanimous support for police Wednesday by allowing drug evidence gathered after an arrest that violated state law to be used at trial, an important search-and-seizure case turning on the constitutional limits of "probable cause."

"When officers have probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime in their presence, the Fourth Amendment permits them to make an arrest, and to search the suspect in order to safeguard evidence and ensure their own safety," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote.

David Lee Moore was stopped by Portsmouth, Virginia, officers five years ago for driving his vehicle on a suspended license. Under state law in such incidents, only a summons is to be issued and the motorist is to be allowed to go. Instead, detectives detained Moore for almost an hour, arrested him, then searched him and found cocaine.

At trial, Moore's lawyers tried to suppress the evidence, but the state judge allowed it, even though the court noted the arrest violated state law. A police detective, asked why the man was arrested, replied, "Just our prerogative."

While some of the justices expressed concern about that level of discretion at oral arguments in January, their 9-0 ruling raised few such doubts.

A unanimous ruling. Even the so-called liberals went along with this.

Now, the ruling was technical insofar as the case involved the relationship of state law to the Fourth Amendment, a relationship that is muddled. Still, what is clear is that the Supreme Court has pushed the United States ever closer to being an authoritarian state in which the police, and those who rule, have the "prerogative" to search and seize as they please.

(For more, see DWT.)

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Twisting the truth: Hillary, the popular vote, and Clintonian ethics

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Good for ABC News. Here's Jake Tapper:

In [yesterday]'s edition of "The Note," ABC News' Rick Klein wrote that "By one (rightly disputed) metric -- the popular vote, including Florida and Michigan -- Clinton has pulled ahead of Obama. But without the rogue states, Obama is still up by 500,000 -- and if you can find another objective measurement by which she’s in the lead, let us know."

Including the popular votes from Florida and Michigan -- which were not sanctioned Democratic National Committee primaries, where the candidates did not compete, where Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois was not even on the ballot in Michigan -- is a sketchy notion, and Rick was conveying that with the proper air of skepticism.

Somehow, the Clinton campaign took his report and twisted it into this: "ABC News reported this morning that 'Clinton has pulled ahead of Obama' in the popular vote."

That is a false reflection of what ABC News reported.

Yet it's the Clinton campaign spin-of-the-moment -- and, of course, Hillary supporters like Taylor Marsh have picked up on it.

Look, Clinton and her campaign have been twisting the truth and moving the goalposts throughout the campaign. It's what I like to call "Clintonian ethics" -- basically, when you're losing, change the rules so that you're not losing anymore.

Hillary is losing the popular vote and delegate count (with and without the superdelegates). Since Super Tuesday, Obama has trounced her in terms of superdelegate pick-ups. Hillary won Ohio and Pennsylvania, of course, but Obama has won many more states than she has. So what's the spin? Hillary has won more "big" states. Or, the states Hillary has won collectively have more electoral college votes. Or, caucuses aren't as important as primaries. Or, well, whatever. In this case, it's that she's won more of the popular vote... if you include Florida and Michigan.

But why should Florida and Michigan be included? The decision to strip them of their delegates was the DNC's, not Obama's -- and Hillary went along with it until she was losing and needed those delegates. (She wouldn't be complaining if she were in the lead now.) Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. Nor was Edwards. Oh, Hillary was, but for what purpose? To "win" an uncontested primary? They were all on the ballot in Florida, but they all agreed not to campaign there. Yet Hillary went there to declare "victory" after the "vote". How convenient. Clintonian ethics, you see, is situational ethics -- the situation being, when it helps the Clintons, or whatever helps the Clintons in any given situation.

And now it's this convenient popular vote argument that is being pushed -- with the truth being twisted, as required.

I take nothing away from Hillary's wins in Ohio and Pennsylvania, New York and California, and elsewhere. She is a very strong candidate. I may not like her much anymore, and I may deeply dislike her campaign and surrogates, but what is truly despicable about all this is how she is trying to win. First, by throwing the "kitchen sink" at Obama, by smearing him, including by praising McCain as presidential. Second, by turning herself into a populist (god, guns, and booze) and warmongering ("obliterate" Iran) Republican to win over right-leaning voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Third, by trying to change the rules over and over again -- so much so that her shifting of the goalposts compares to Bush's shifting of the goalposts of "victory" in Iraq.

And what now? She may have won Pennsylvania, but the remaining votes may play out to a draw. Indeed, despite her victory yesterday, Obama's lead, though narrowed, is even more insurmountable.

Simply put, barring a dramatic collapse, Obama should win the nomination.

So expect more from the cesspool of Clintonian ethics.


Update: Jon Stewart had a brilliant piece just now (Apr. 23) showing how Hillary's spin has changed over the course of the campaign. If you missed it, go find it.

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