Obama Beats Clinton Again–This Time For Grammy

Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton in five primaries and caucuses this weekend. Obama also beat bill Clinton, this time at the Grammy Awards:

Obama on Sunday won the spoken word Grammy for the audiobook version of his blockbuster tome “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” It marked his second statuette, following a win in 2006 for “Dreams From My Father,” an audiobook for a memoir first published in 1995.

Obama beat Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter for this award:

Bill Clinton was seeking his third Grammy with “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World,” a call to public service. Another former Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, also was in the running, with “Sunday Morning in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World,” a collection of Bible lessons. Carter won the award last year.

Obama also won a previous Grammy in 2006 for Dreams From My Father. Bill Clinton has also won two Grammys and Hillary Clinton has won a Grammy for It Takes a Village.

Another Landslide For Obama

Maine was a state where many thought the demographics were in Clinton’s favor, but Obama still is winning by a landslide. Women voters were expected by some to give Clinton an advantage in the state. Back in October, Clinton was leading by a 47 to 10 margin. The Politico reports on the upset:

Obama’s victory comes despite being down in all four polls of the state, and despite his loss in the primary in neighboring Massachusetts. Clinton had been thought to have a strong shot at winning in Maine, whose demographics — largely white, heavily working-class — are those that have typically favored her. She also had the support of the state’s governor, John Baldacci, and of his organization.

Matthew Yglesias predicts the Clinton spin:

My understanding, though, is that this doesn’t really count because it’s a small state, much as Utah doesn’t count because there aren’t many Democrats there, DC doesn’t count because there are too many black people, Washington doesn’t count because it’s a caucus, Illinois doesn’t count because Obama represents it in the Senate even though Hillary was born there, Hawaii won’t count because Obama was born there. I’m not sure why Delaware and Connecticut don’t count, but they definitely don’t.

Realistically, Clinton seems to have difficulty winning anywhere she can’t mobilize racial polarization in her favor. Obama has, of course, deployed polarization to his benefit in a number of states (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana most notably) but he’s also dominated the states with very few black voters.

UPDATE: I forgot about Missouri. Obama’s win in Missouri, of course, doesn’t count because the state was called too late.

Even before these results were reported, the Clinton campaign knew it was in serious trouble after Saturday’s losses, with several more losses anticipated in the upcoming contests. Some described the campaign as being in a state of panic. Clinton replaced campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle with Maggie Williams following yesterday’s four big losses. After all the mistakes the Clinton campaign has made, I doubt that a change in personnel will make a difference. The biggest mistake of all was adopting Rove-style tactics, which says as much about Clinton’s own ethical principles as the advice of her staff. Once she has exposed herself as being morally unfit for the office of president there is no amount of adjustments to a campaign staff which can repair this damage.

WGA Negotiating Committee Unanimously Accepts Contract Deal

There has been a tremendous step towards ending the WGA strike:

The negotiating committee of the Writers Guild of America voted unanimously to accept a new tentative three-year deal with the major Hollywood studios, according to a person familiar with the situation, clearing the way for final approval of the agreement by film and TV writers who have been on strike for more than three months.

The full board is meeting to discuss and vote on the contract, this person says. The WGA has scheduled a press conference early this afternoon in L.A. to talk about the contract.

A vote to accept the contract is the first step towards ending the work stoppage that has paralyzed the entertainment industry. It’s not yet clear when writers would return to work. Under one scenario, the guild would allow its 10,500 members to vote on whether or not to halt the strike in the next 48 hours, which would put writers back to work mid-week. But it’s unclear whether the guild will move forward with that idea or simply call off the strike later today.

Clinton Campaign Unable To Respond Effectively To Obama’s Momentum

The Clinton advisers might be in a state of panic after their poor showing yesterday, and they certainly don’t appear to know what to do. This problem began even before Super Tuesday. Frank Rich mocks the televised town hall Clinton held prior to Super Tuesday as a “Bush-style pseudo-event.”

Like the scripted “Ask President Bush” sessions during the 2004 campaign, this town hall seemed to unfold in Stepford. The anodyne questions (“What else would you do to help take care of our veterans?”) merely cued up laundry lists of talking points. Some in attendance appeared to trance out.

Rich also reminds readers of how Clinton played the race card after the Iowa caucus when they found that the campaign was in trouble:

Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.

The Clinton camp does not leave such matters to chance. This decision was a cold, political cost-benefit calculus. In October, seven months after the two candidates’ dueling church perorations in Selma, USA Today found Hillary Clinton leading Mr. Obama among African-American Democrats by a margin of 62 percent to 34 percent. But once black voters met Mr. Obama and started to gravitate toward him, Bill Clinton and the campaign’s other surrogates stopped caring about what African-Americans thought. In an effort to scare off white voters, Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user (by the chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, among others), “the black candidate” (as Clinton strategists told the Associated Press) and Jesse Jackson redux (by Mr. Clinton himself).

The result? Black America has largely deserted the Clintons. In her California primary victory, Mrs. Clinton drew only 19 percent of the black vote. The campaign saw this coming and so saw no percentage in bestowing precious minutes of prime-time television on African-American queries.

There are more signs today of how the Clinton race baiting has hurt. Douglas Wilder remains upset about some of Bill Clinton’s remarks:

The nation’s first elected black governor said Saturday he is not ready to excuse comments former President Bill Clinton made about Barack Obama.In campaigning for his wife last month on the eve of the New Hampshire primary, Clinton called Obama’s opposition to the Iraq war “a fairy tale.” Clinton suggested Obama had toned down his early anti-war fervor during his 2004 Senate campaign.

“Barack Obama is not a fairy tale. He is real,” former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder told reporters at a Democratic fundraiser as the former president spent the day campaigning for Hillary Rodham Clinton in Richmond and three other Virginia cities.

The grandson of slaves, who was elected in 1989 in what was once the Confederate capital, endorsed Obama last month. Now Richmond’s mayor, Wilder’s comments still get the attention of the state’s black voters, though his influence has waned since he left office 15 years ago.

Clinton also implied that an Obama victory in South Carolina would amount to a reward based on race, like the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 20 years earlier.

Wilder said the former president’s comments stung him and other black voters and diminished their respect for Clinton.

“It’s not just me (who) feels that; any number of people feel that,” Wilder said. “A time comes and a time goes. The president has had his time.”

Obama Has Tremendous Victories In Three States and Virgin Islands; Clinton Campaign In State of Panic

Obama won overwhelming victories yesterday in Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska:

Senator Barack Obama won decisive victories over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington, Louisiana and Nebraska on Saturday, giving him an impressive sweep going into a month when the Democratic nominating contests are expected to favor him.

The successes come just as Mr. Obama is building a strong advantage over Mrs. Clinton in raising money, providing important fuel for the nominating contests ahead. Still, the results were expected to do little to settle the muddle in the delegate race that resulted after the wave of contests last Tuesday in which the two candidates split up states from coast to coast…

While Mr. Obama had been expected to win the contests on Saturday, the margin of victories were surprising, particularly in Nebraska and Washington, which offered the day’s biggest trove of delegates. In both states, he captured 68 percent of the vote in caucuses, compared with Mrs. Clinton’s roughly 32 percent.

Obama also did better than expected in the Virgin Islands. Last week I read predictions that there would be a 2-1 split of the three delegates, with pundits not sure which candidate would receive the better end of the deal. Instead Obama won 89.9% of the vote and wins all three delegate votes. (There are actually six delegates, each with half a vote.)

It’s not looking any better for Clinton in the short run. The Washington Post reports:

Her campaign is already predicting defeat in races that will be held over the rest of this month and is turning its attention to the contests in Ohio and Texas on March 4 and in Pennsylvania on April 22. There are almost as many delegates at stake in those three states — about 600 — as there are in all the post-Super Tuesday contests in February.

Clinton might be trying to play the expectations game as there are some other states where she should be competitive. The problem for Clinton is that Obama is well positioned to pick up the overwhelming majority of the delegates between Super Tuesday and March 4. With this momentum, there is no guarantee that Clinton will win the final three states as she anticipates. Even if she does, most likely they will be narrower victories than those Obama achieves in the states he wins, meaning that Clinton might not pick up significantly more delegates than Obama. Looking at the math, it is no surprise that Clinton’s advisers are “in a state of panic” according to The Telegraph.

The Clinton spin suggests they are in a state of panic as only those in such a state would come up with an excuse as lame as this:

The Obama campaign has dramatically outspent our campaign in these three states, saturating the airwaves with 30 and 60 second ads. The Obama campaign has spent $300,000 more in Louisiana on television ads, $190,000 more in Nebraska and $175,000 more in Nebraska

As Marc Ambinder comments, “Ordinarily, this would be a firing offense — how dare they let a state go uncontested?” Waiting for the big states at the end sounds quite a bit like Rudy Giuliani’s strategy of waiting for Florida. We saw how that worked out for him. The Politico also argues that Obama’s landslides can break the current deadlock.

Obama probably cannot accumulate enough committed delegates to go into the convention with the nomination locked up. Obama has beaten or tied Clinton in delegates every date there has been a contest to date, and is gradually building on his lead. If Obama goes into the convention with an even larger lead over Clinton in delegates won in primary and caucus states it will be hard for the super delegates to deny him the nomination. They will realize that this would tear the party apart, destroying any chance for a Democratic victory in November. Looking at the map they should also note another important trend. Both Clinton and Obama can win votes in the blue states, but only Obama can win in most of the red states.