Americans Want To Talk, Even With Enemies

I certainly would not use polls as evidence of the validity of a complex issue, but there was a certain satisfaction in reading this one. Over the weekend I wrote a post summarizing the many ways in which Obama won the nomination by outsmarting Clinton. One factor I mentioned, but only briefly so as to devote the bulk of the post to more recent matters, was their different positions on negotiating with enemies. Very early in the campaign, well before health care mandates and even before the nonsense on Ronald Reagan, Clinton attacked Obama for his position on meeting with enemies. (We’ll ignore the fact that Obama was taking a position which Clinton had previously held until she mistakingly thought it would be politically expedient to hold a position more in line with the views of George Bush).

Not only was Obama right in his arguments, but he also took the politically more astute position. Gallup found that 67% of Americans “believe the president of the United States should meet with the leaders of countries that are considered enemies of the United States.” This includes 79% of Democrats, 70% of independents, and 48% of Republicans.

It didn’t work for Clinton to accuse Obama of being “naive,” and I doubt it will work for McCain to continue to claim Obama has “reckless judgment.” The fiasco in Iraq demonstrates that the Bush/Clinton/McCain doctrine simply does not work.

Bob Barr Repudiates Racist Endorsement Showing Contrast with Ron Paul

Bob Barr might be seeking much of the support which Ron Paul received during the primaries, but at least he knows where to draw the line. While Ron Paul received considerable criticism, including from libertarians, for his associations with right wing extremists, Barr most likely realizes associating with the extreme right will prevent his campaign from being taken seriously. Reason notes that, ” One of the bigger media blunders the Ron Paul campaign made was its handling of endorsements from the bigots at Stormfront” and that, “White nationalists slithered around the fringes of the Paul movement.”

Barr received a racist endorsement yesterday, and this was promptly repudiated with this statement:

Tell the haters I said don’t let the door hit you on the backside on your way out!Barr consultant Steve Gordon sent me the statement and added: “We denounce anybody who doesn’t want to treat everybody equally under the law.”

The Barr campaign is not going to be a vehicle for every fringe and hate group to promote itself. We do not want and will not accept the support of haters. Anyone with love in their heart for our country and for every resident of our country regardless of race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation is welcome with open arms.

Barr consultant Steve Gordon sent the statement to Reason and added: “We denounce anybody who doesn’t want to treat everybody equally under the law.”

When I and other bloggers criticized Paul for his association with white supremacists his more fanatic supporters often claimed that this was “guilt by association” and sometimes rationalized this by arguing that support for Paul was a justified exercise of their rights by extremist groups. Barr demonstrates that a candidate can control who they are associated with, and that such endorsements can be repudiated without violating anyone’s right to freedom of expression.

Posted in Bob Barr, Ron Paul. Tags: , . No Comments »

Obama To Cash In On Superdelegate Bank

There’s been talk that Obama has a “delegate bank” ready to release this week to put him over the top. Matthew Yglesias has made the point that if he had such a bank it would be better to have them commit before tomorrow’s primaries. He argues that, “on a symbolic plane it seems to me that you want to clinch things with an election result rather than an endorsement announcement.”

I suspect that Obama would have had these superdelegates go public if he was able to. Bill Richardson has tried to push them to commit before the final primaries. I fear this is yet another example of Richardson having the right idea  but lacking the  political skills to properly express it.

Most likely “delegate bank” was the wrong analogy because, while there most likely are many superdelegates who are on the verge of endorsing him, Obama cannot pull them out at will as easily as taking money out of a bank. Many have their own reasons for delaying the public announcement of their support for Obama. Some might think it is better to have the voters have their say before weighing in. Others would prefer not to openly go up against the Clintons until they can cover their actions by arguing that Obama’s nomination was inevitable.

One group does appear to be waiting to announce but will be doing so soon according to CNN:

Most of the seventeen Democratic senators who have remained uncommitted throughout the primaries will endorse Barack Obama for president this week, CNN has learned.

Sources familiar with discussions between Obama supporters and these senators tell CNN’s Gloria Borger that the senators will wait until after the South Dakota and Montana primaries to announce their support for Obama.

Two sources familiar with the sessions said the endorsements will come sometime later this week.

Obama supporters have been “pressing” for these superdelegates to endorse earlier in the week, but according to one source, “the senators don’t want to pound Hillary Clinton, and there is a sense she should be given a grace period.”

Most likely these superdelegates, along with delegates won this week and other superdelegates who are likely to endorse Obama, will be enough to put Obama over the top. Whether or not Clinton wants to acknowledge it, the nomination race ends this week.

Our Long National Nightmare Is Almost Over (Maybe)

It is hard to believe that this is the final day of primary campaigning. Not even Hillary Clinton, despite all the tortured logic used by her campaign to date, can find a way to pretend that more primaries are needed to settle the nomination. With Bill Clinton, we might not be discussing what the meaning of “is” is, but the meaning of “campaign” is now a question. At a town hall Bill Clinton said, “”I want to say also, that this may be the last day I’m ever involved in a campaign of this kind.” Does this mean he realizes it is the end of Hillary’s campaign, or does “campaign of this kind” only refer to primaries?

The rest of the campaign is also giving off mixed signals. Hillary is still talking about going after superdelegates. We saw how she continued claiming after the Puerto Rico vote that she has won the popular vote, despite the fact that she did not win it based upon any reasonable count, and despite the fact that the nomination battle is based upon delegates.

Despite such talk of going after the superdelegates, pretty much everyone knows that this will not work. Most likely several superdelegates who are holding off for the end of voting will endorse Obama after tomorrow’s primaries, placing the nomination mathematically out of reach. Even many Clinton supporters are likely to abandon her if she continues this fight. Tom Vilsack, a national co-chairman of Clinton’s campaign, said Sunday: “It does appear to be pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee. After Tuesday’s contests, she needs to acknowledge that he’s going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him.”

There are also signs that the campaign realizes it is over. Marc Ambinder reported four such signs this morning:

1) She’s going to speak Tuesday night from New York, not from South Dakota or Montana.

(2) The Politico reports that members of her advance staff are being recalled to New York and being given hints that their employment is over; yes, Clinton won’t have any more states to campaign in, but the Obama campaign is not shedding its advance staff after Tuesday

(3) Cheryl Mills, a very senior Clinton adviser, intends to return, full-time, to her job as senior vice president at New York University. (Note: aides say I am making way too much out of this news; Mills would surely stay on board Clinton’s campaign if Clinton continues. And truth be told, I did not contact Mills before I wrote this item, something I should have done.)

(4) Junior members of the staff are making plans for vacation, and they’re not receiving any push-back from their bosses.

The first is not conclusive as the Clinton campaign denies that Tuesday’s speech will be a concession speech. Even if we drop the first, Ambinder added another:

Clinton Campaign staffers and former campaign staffers are being urged by the Clinton campaign’s finance department to turn in their outstanding expense receipts by the end of the week. That’s a sign, to them, that the campaign wants to get its affairs in order soon. If Clinton were staying in the race, there’d be no real reason to collect these receipts now; she’d still be raising and spending money from the same primary campaign account. The campaign is in arrears to the tune of about $11 million.

This might still leave the door open for Clinton to continue a small scale campaign and to try to woo superdelegates privately, but it is hard to believe that Clinton will either continue a meaningful campaign or that she will have any success regardless of what she decides to do. Hopefully she will realize that her own reputation, as well as the prospects for the Democratic Party, will come out ahead should she do the right thing and concede the nomination this week. Besides, this would still leave the door open for the party to turn to her should Obama suffer any of the dire fates she has floated in recent weeks.