Fund Raising Totals May Signal Changes Among Upper Tier Candidates

Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton in fund raising was even greater than many would have guessed Friday when Clinton’s campaign signaled defeat. Barack Obama raised $31 million for the primary campaign and an additional $1.5 million for the general election. In contrast, Clinton raised about $21 million for the primaries, with approximately $6 million more for the general election.

The fund raising totals further contributed to suspicions that John Edwards’ campaign is having serious difficulties, while Bill Richardson is on the up swing. Edwards raised only $9 million during the second quarter, with Richardson coming in close with over $7 million.

Update: Posting has been briefer (and often limited to links) while I’ve been on vacation, but there is a question in the comments which I would have normally have addressed in the post regarding why I consider the numbers to be bad for Edwards (even though he met his target) and good for Richardson.

The target levels are largely spin from the campaigns. Edwards has been considered a top tier candidate for quite a while, but the last few weeks the “conventional wisdom” (which may or may not have any validity) was that Edwards’ campaign was floundering. There have been predictions that Obama and Clinton would surpass him in Iowa, and without a lead in Iowa there would be nothing left of Edwards’ campaign.

Edwards may have met his target, but his target was extremetly low. It doesn’t say much for him that his target was so low below the target for Obama and Clinton. Obviously it is still early and much can be change, but at the moment barely beating Richardson makes Edwards look as if he’s not doing well.

For Richardson it’s all about momentum. He’s been in a distant fourth place or below since the start of the campaign. Recently he’s moved up in both the Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and now has come quite close to Edwards in fund raising. For someone with no expectations of doing anything, that is quite good. People who have previously ignored Richardson might now pay attentionand his press coverage should improve.

This still leaves Richardson in fourth place with little chance of winning, and may be irrelevant that he’s moved from obscurity to Edwards’ levels as that is still a long way from being competitive with Clinton and Obama. Still, it does give him a chance if Clinton and Obama should both run into trouble. We have seen candidates such as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter come from obscurity to win. I doubt that will happen this year, but if it does someone like Richardson who is showing signs of improvement in his campaign has a better chance than people like Dodd, Biden. Gravel, or Kucinich who are not showing such progress.

Doctor Who: The Last of the Timelords

If anyone expected a well plotted and ingenious solution to the predicament The Doctor, and all of Earth, were left in at the end of last week’s episode they might be disappointed. I predicted that they’d throw the cosmic reset switch to return everything to normal, and that is exactly what happened. Fortunately, such a cosmic reset switch made more sense on Doctor Who, than when it was used on Star Trek: Voyager. Many more spoilers ahead.

The Last of the Timelords takes place a year after the events of The Sound of Drums. The population of the earth has been either killed off or turned into slave labor as The Master plans to attack other planers with the help of the Toclafane. I earlier commented that we never learned the fate of the last remaining humans who went off to Utopia. That should have been my clue that would turn out to be the source of the Toclafane. The Master turned the Tardis into a Paradox Machine to enable the classic time travel paradox, going back in time to kill one’s grandparents. Once this was revealed, it was no surprise that all would return to normal if the Paradox Machine could be disabled.

Normally The Doctor in operates in obscurity, known to only a handful of humans. To get the power to defeat The Master, The Doctor breaks from his usual modus operandi to have Martha travel the earth spreading the legend. Thanks to tapping into The Master’s own Archangel Network, The Doctor channels the thoughts of the remaining humans, resolving the conflict a little too easily.

While the resolution might be a little too simple, the episode makes up for it with what we learn of the characters. As with past incarnations of The Master, Mister Saxon takes delight in humiliating The Doctor rather than killing him. After the first process of aging him, The Doctor is treated as a dog. After making him still older, The Doctor becomes a CGI Gollum type character who is kept in a bird cage. Later in the episode it becomes important to have learned that the aging of a being who does not die leads to transformations in their body form over time.

We see once again how lonely The Doctor is as he desires to keep The Master alive, under control in The Tardis, as opposed to losing the only remaining Timelord. The Master would rather die than suffer this fate, and seeing how his refusal to regenerate after being shot has distressed The Doctor, declares he has won. The conflict between the two might not be over. The Doctor leaves his apparently dead body to burn, but a hand picks up a ring. We’ve already seen both The Master and The Doctor store their essence in a watch, and perhaps the ring will act the same way– assuming it wasn’t a regenerated Master who picked up the ring.

We also learned more about the two companions. Captain Jack actually felt a sense of responsibility and decided to return to Torchwood. Before leaving he questioned what he will become as he cannot die yet continues to age. It was suggested that, like The Doctor whan artificially changed, Captain Jack’s fate is to ultimately become The Face of Boe. Meanwhile, Martha tires of waiting around to see if The Doctor will notice her attraction to her and leaves, at least for the moment.

Reportedly Martha will not be around for the Christmas episode, which takes The Doctor to the Titanic, but will return next season. Her relationship to The Doctor will be changed by the addition of a new companion.A British tabloid spread rumors that the show will end after the next season due to Russell T. Davies stepping down. While Davies may be stepping down, the BBC promises Doctor Who will remain for years to come.

Why Winston Wouldn’t Stand for W

Lynne Olson, writing in the Washington Post, notes that, after Jesus, Winston Churchill is one of George Bush’s role models. Olson shows why Churchill would not like what he would see if he could see Bush’s conduct in office.

Posted in George Bush, Op-eds. No Comments »

Was campaigning against voter fraud a Republican ploy?

This week while traveling there will probably be limited posting, but I will at least add links to articles of note when I do go on line to check the news. Today McClatchy asks: Was campaigning against voter fraud a Republican ploy?

Public Opinion Turning More Against War; Another New Low for Bush

A CBS News poll shows increased opposition to the war:

More Americans than ever before, 77 percent, say the war is going badly, up from 66 percent just two months ago. Nearly half, 47 percent, say it’s going very badly.

While the springtime surge in U.S. troops to Iraq is now complete, more Americans than ever are calling for U.S. forces to withdraw. Sixty-six percent say the number of U.S. troops in Iraq should be decreased, including 40 percent who want all U.S. troops removed. That’s a 7-point increase since April.

Fewer than one in five thinks that the troop increase is helping to improve the situation in Iraq, while about half think the war is actually creating more terrorists.

The CBS News poll also showed what was recently seen in the ARG Poll and other recent polls with Bush’s approval at a new low. His approval in the CBS News poll is at 27%, down 3% from last month and one point below his privious low of 28% in January.

Posted in George Bush, Iraq, Polls. Tags: , . 1 Comment »