Arthur C. Clarke Dies at 90

AP reports that Arther C. Clark has died at age 90 in Sri Lanka, where he moved in 1956, of post-polio syndrome. Clarke is best known for his science fiction books including 2001: A Space Odyssey and Rendezvous with Rama. Clarke has been credited with the idea of communications satellites in 1945, well before they became a reality. In recognition of his contributions to the development of satellites the International Astronomical Union has recognized a geostationary orbit as a “Clarke orbit”. Clarke also worked with Walter Cronkite as a commentator on the Apollo moon shots for CBS News in the late 1960’s.

The Obama Campaign Annotates Clinton Email

The Clinton campaign has many faults, but they certainly do not lack in chutzpah. They recently made a lot of noise about having Obama be Clinton’s running mate without ever explaining why the front runner should give up and take the VP spot. They have falsely claimed Clinton is the more experienced candidate so many times that many in the media actually act as if this is true, considering proximity to power as being real experience. Although they have based much of their campaign upon dishonest attacks, and Obama has run a remarkably clean campaign in response, they sent out an email yesterday falsely claiming that Obama has been doing the attacking.

Here’s another example of the nonsense typically put out by the Clinton campaign last week. I’ve received a lot of ridiculous emails from the campaign which I haven’t posted as they were not sent for publication. There is no reason not to post this as I’ve been off their email list for a couple of months (for obvious reasons) and I did not receive this from the campaign with any agreement that it would not be posted. What makes this Clinton campaign email particularly interesting is that Obama’s people added their own comments (in bold).

To: Interested Parties
From: Clinton Campaign
Date: Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Re: Keystone Test: Obama Losing Ground
[Get ready for a good one.]

The path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania so if Barack Obama can’t win there, how will he win the general election?

[Answer: I suppose by holding obviously Democratic states like California and New York, and beating McCain in swing states like Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin where Clinton lost to Obama by mostly crushing margins. But good question.]

After setbacks in Ohio and Texas, Barack Obama needs to demonstrate that he can win the state of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is the last state with more than 15 electoral votes on the primary calendar and Barack Obama has lost six of the seven other largest states so far — every state except his home state of Illinois.

[If you define “setback” as netting enough delegates out of our 20-plus-point wins in Mississippi and Wyoming to completely erase any delegate advantage the Clinton campaign earned out of March 4th, then yeah, we feel pretty setback.]

Pennsylvania is of particular importance, along with Ohio, Florida and Michigan, because it is dominated by the swing voters who are critical to a Democratic victory in November. No Democrat has won the presidency without winning Pennsylvania since 1948. And no candidate has won the Democratic nomination without winning Pennsylvania since 1972.

[What the Clinton campaign secretly means: PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT WE’VE LOST 14 OF THE LAST 17 CONTESTS AND SAID THAT MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA WOULDN’T COUNT FOR ANYTHING. Also, we’re still trying to wrap our minds around the amazing coincidence that the only “important” states in the nominating process are the ones that Clinton won.]

But the Obama campaign has just announced that it is turning its attention away from Pennsylvania.


This is not a strategy that can beat John McCain in November.

[I don’t think Clinton’s strategy of losing in state after state after promising more of the same politics is working all that well either.]

In the last two weeks, Barack Obama has lost ground among men, women, Democrats, independents and Republicans — all of which point to a candidacy past its prime.

[“A candidacy past its prime.” These guys kill me.]

For example, just a few weeks ago, Barack Obama won 68% of men in Virginia, 67% in Wisconsin and 62% in Maryland. He won 60% of Virginia women and 55% of Maryland women. He won 62% of independents in Maryland, 64% in Wisconsin and 69% in Virginia. Obama won 59% of Democrats in Maryland, 53% in Wisconsin and 62% in Virginia. And among Republicans, Obama won 72% in both Virginia and Wisconsin.

But now Obama’s support has dropped among all these groups.

[That’s true, if you don’t count all the winning we’ve been up to. As it turns out, it’s difficult to maintain 40-point demographic advantages, even over Clinton]

In Mississippi, he won only 25% of Republicans and barely half of independents. In Ohio, he won only 48% of men, 41% of women and 42% of Democrats. In Texas, he won only 49% of independents and 46% of Democrats. And in Rhode Island, Obama won just 33% of women and 37% of Democrats.

[I’m sympathetic to their attempt to parse crushing defeats. And I’m sure Rush Limbaugh’s full-throated endorsement of Clinton didn’t make any difference. Right]

Why are so many voters turning away from Barack Obama in state after state?

[You mean besides the fact that we’re ahead in votes, states won and delegates?]

In the last few weeks, questions have arisen about Obama’s readiness to be president. In Virginia, 56% of Democratic primary voters said Obama was most qualified to be commander-in-chief. That number fell to 37% in Ohio, 35% in Rhode Island and 39% in Texas.

[Only the Clinton campaign could cherry pick states like this. But in contrast to their logic, in the most recent contest of Mississippi, voters said that Obama was more qualified to be commander in chief than Clinton by a margin of 55-42.]

So the late deciders — those making up their minds in the last days before the election — have been shifting to Hillary Clinton. Among those who made their decision in the last three days, Obama won 55% in Virginia and 53% in Wisconsin, but only 43% in Mississippi, 40% in Ohio, 39% in Texas and 37% in Rhode Island.

[If only there were enough late deciders for the Clinton campaign to actually be ahead, they would really be on to something.]

If Barack Obama cannot reverse his downward spiral with a big win in Pennsylvania, he cannot possibly be competitive against John McCain in November.

[If they are defining downward spiral as a series of events in which the Clinton campaign has lost more votes, lost more contests and lost more delegates to us … I guess we will have to suffer this horribly painful slide all the way to the nomination and then on to the White House.]

[Thanks for the laughs guys. This was great.]

One other note on Pennsylvania. Despite the fact that Clinton will probably win the primary by a large margin, Obama is doing better than Clinton against McCain in the state. There is no correlation between the outcome of a party primary and the general election.

Obama’s Speech


Barack Obama gave his much anticipated speech on race today, with video above and the transcript under the fold. The speech was primarily given in response to the controversy over his association with Jeremiah Wright which I recently discussed here. This speech should put an end to the problem. That does not mean that we won’t hear more about this. Right wingers, and possibly even some Clinton supporters, will continue to try to drag up anything possible to attack Obama with, but Obama has made it clear there is nothing there. No reasonable person  could claim that the controversial statements from Wright in any way reflect Obama’s thinking or that they will have any bearing on what he would do as president. If anything, the manner in which Obama took some messages from Wright while rejecting those based upon racial hatred or hatred of America in formulating his views can only be taken as a positive sign about Obama’s ability to transcend old style racial politics and deal with divergent viewpoints.

One of the most favorable comments comes from a conservative site, The Corner, in which Charles Murray disagrees with others posting there who are critical of Obama:

I read the various posts here on “The Corner,” mostly pretty ho-hum or critical about Obama’s speech. Then I figured I’d better read the text (I tried to find a video of it, but couldn’t). I’ve just finished. Has any other major American politician ever made a speech on race that comes even close to this one? As far as I’m concerned, it is just plain flat out brilliant—rhetorically, but also in capturing a lot of nuance about race in America. It is so far above the standard we’re used to from our pols…. But you know me. Starry-eyed Obama groupie.

Another conservative “Obama groupie” also has a favorable review. Andrew Sullivan wrote:

Alas, I cannot give a more considered response right now as I have to get on the road. But I do want to say that this searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech is the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime. It is a speech we have all been waiting for for a generation. Its ability to embrace both the legitimate fears and resentments of whites and the understandable anger and dashed hopes of many blacks was, in my view, unique in recent American history.

And it was a reflection of faith – deep, hopeful, transcending faith in the promises of the Gospels. And it was about America – its unique promise, its historic purpose, and our duty to take up the burden to perfect this union – today, in our time, in our way.

I have never felt more convinced that this man’s candidacy – not this man, his candidacy – and what he can bring us to achieve – is an historic opportunity. This was a testing; and he did not merely pass it by uttering safe bromides. He addressed the intimate, painful love he has for an imperfect and sometimes embittered man. And how that love enables him to see that man’s faults and pain as well as his promise. This is what my faith is about. It is what the Gospels are about. This is a candidate who does not merely speak as a Christian. He acts like a Christian.

Bill Clinton once said that everything bad in America can be rectified by what is good in America. He was right – and Obama takes that to a new level. And does it with the deepest darkest wound in this country’s history.

I love this country. I don’t remember loving it or hoping more from it than today.

A lot will happen between now and November, but it is possible that history will mark today as the day in which Obama’s election became inevitable.  Obama has eliminated the obstacles to his election based upon race and religion. As an added bonus, after this controversy much fewer people should buy the smears that he is actually a Muslim.


Quote of the Day

“Being wrong about sending Americans to kill and be killed, maim and be maimed, is not like making a punctuation mistake in a highway bill. They argue that the president duped them into war, but getting duped does not exactly recommend their leadership. Helping a rogue president start an unnecessary war should be a career- ending lapse of judgment, in my view.”

Lincoln Chafee in Against The Tide: How a Compliant Congress Empowered a Reckless President

Republicans For Clinton

The Boston Globe took a look at Republicans voting in Democratic primaries finding that, “For a party that loves to hate the Clintons, Republican voters have cast an awful lot of ballots lately for Senator Hillary Clinton.” While Obama received some votes from Republicans in early primaries who are likely to cross over and vote Democratic in the fall, the Limbaugh Democrats are primarily Republicans who are voting strategically to prolong the Democratic race and attempt to allow John McCain to run against the weaker Democratic candidate. The Boston Globe reports:

Until Texas and Ohio voted on March 4, Obama was receiving far more support than Clinton from GOP voters, many of whom have said in interviews that they were willing to buck their party because they like the Illinois senator. In eight Democratic contests in January and February where detailed exit polling data were available on Republicans, Obama received, on average, about 57 percent of voters who identified themselves as Republicans. Clinton received, on average, a quarter of the Republican votes cast in those races.

But as February gave way to March, the dynamics shifted in both parties’ contests: McCain ran away with the Republican race, and Obama, after posting 10 straight victories following Super Tuesday, was poised to run away with the Democratic race. That is when Republicans swung into action.

Conservative radio giant Rush Limbaugh said on Fox News on Feb. 29 that he was urging conservatives to cross over and vote for Clinton, their bête noire nonpareil, “if they can stomach it.”

“I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose,” Limbaugh said. “They’re in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch. And it’s all going to stop if Hillary loses.”

He added, “I know it’s a difficult thing to do to vote for a Clinton, but it will sustain this soap opera, and it’s something I think we need.”

Limbaugh’s exhortations seemed to work. In Ohio and Texas on March 4, Republicans comprised 9 percent of the Democratic primary electorate, more than twice the average GOP share of the turnout in the earlier contests where exit polling was conducted. Clinton ran about even with Obama among Republicans in both states, a far more favorable showing among GOP voters than in the early races.

These strategic votes may have had an influence in the primary results:

Some political blogs have suggested that the influx of Clinton-voting Republicans prevented Obama from winning delegates he otherwise would have, by inflating Clinton’s totals both statewide and in certain congressional districts. A writer for the liberal blog Daily Kos estimated that Obama could have netted an additional five delegates from Mississippi.

It is also possible, though perhaps unlikely, that enough strategically minded Republicans voted for Clinton in Texas to give her a crucial primary victory there: Clinton received roughly 119,000 GOP votes in Texas, according to exit polls, and she beat Obama by about 101,000 votes.