Thursday, February 14, 2008

Political comebacks

As someone who had written John McCain off long ago (just like everyone else did), I’m wary of dismissing other candidates too early. While it would seem that Hillary is in a heap o’ trouble right now (and indeed she is), things could still turn around for her on a dime as this article makes clear.
Still, the people who are saying that Hillary can win in Wisconsin next week are the same ones who said she could win in Washington and Maine and Virginia, etc. So I’m not convinced, but I’m also not going to write anybody off.

Meanwhile, I love to read stuff like this where the Republican Party realists are forced to face up to the reality of their dismal election prospects in November.
With both Obama and Hillary drawing twice the number of voters as all the Republicans combined in a Red state like Virginia, it is very clear that the general electorate is swinging very heavily to the Democratic side this year regardless of which candidate ultimately wins the nomination.

By the way, Hillary was in San Antonio last night for a rally at St. Mary’s University where she got introduced by County Judge Nelson Wolff. The crowd seemed big and enthusiastic, but that is to be expected in a state that has been starved for some attention from these national candidates. I’m sure a lot of people who went may end up voting for Obama, but just wanted to be at the rally to see a Democratic superstar.
And I think the archbishop showed extremely poor judgement by sticking his nose into it and whining about how some candidates’ views don’t match up to all of the Catholic church’s hardline dogma. It was reported that the archbishop had been prompted to speak by local Catholics upset by Hillary’s presense at a Catholic university. I would’t doubt that one of those people complaining most loudly is my old friend Mark.
I just want to hear the archbishop next dress down Sen. McCain for his support of the death penalty and the War in Iraq. Fat chance.

Monday, February 11, 2008

E-N endorses McCain, trashes Hillary

I just caught up on my newspaper reading and saw today that the San Antonio Express-News made their presidential endorsements on Sunday here and here.

Boy! If it wasn’t alreadly plainly clear which side they are coming down on there can be no doubt after this.
The first clue is the prominent placement of the McCain endorsement on top of the Obama endorsement. Sure, this might be quibbling, but the visual impact is unmistakeable.
Then when you read the “endorsements” the contrast becomes distinctly clear. They practically gush over McCain calling him a “war hero” and “political maverick” in the subhead.
There are no such gushing descriptions for Obama. Instead, they set up a rhetorical trick in the lead sentence saying that “America needs a president that tries to create unity out of diversity...” and then follow that by saying that Obama is “the Democratic candidate that offers the best chance to reach that lofty objective.
In other words, they don’t really think Obama can do it, it’s just that he has “the best chance” among the Democratic candidates (i.e. not Hillary).
By the third graph they jump into the political fray, mentioning that Hillary Clinton is “bracing for the fight of her life.”
By contrast, in the McCain editorial they never once mention the name of any of his primary opponents. Instead, they wax philosophically about how all of McCain’s “maverick” positions will prove to be “attractive points for independent voters.”
The only good things they have to say about Obama are done when making a negative contrast toward Hillary.
The main difference, they claim is that “Obama expresses a message of hope that emphasizes what is good for the country, not the party.” With the implication being that Hillary is doing the opposite.
Then they claim, incredibly, that “Obama tends to falter in debates” which is clearly a matter of perception on their part. Before noting that Obama is a powerful speaker on the campaign trail.
From that point on the editorial deteriorates into what can best be described as an anti-Hillary screed. They bring up the failed health care reform of the Clinton years. They talk about the “polarizing baggage that undoubtedly would hamper a Clinton presidency.” They talk about how Hillary and Bill have run a campaign “that has been, at turns, nasty and undignified.” They mention Hillary’s “win-at-all-cost approach” that “is a turnoff to many voters.”
And they wrap it all up with this doozy:

Obama may have a hard time translating his words into action. But embracing his message of hope and a new approach to American politics is a far preferable gamble than the prospect of another era of Clinton politics.

Sheesh! Thanks for that backhanded endorsement E-N.

We Can’t Do It

Atrios is right. This is wonderfully funny in a scary kind of way...

Inspired by the new Obama video making the rounds on the Web, some talented satirists did this competing video for John McCain.

A bad week for Hillary

Obama swept all of the Demcratic primaries and caucuses over the weekend - Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, Maine and even the Virgin Islands.
And he is favored in the polls to win in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. this coming Tuesday.
The only thing Hillary did to make news was to dump her campaign manager in the biggest shakeup of her campaign so far.
Hillary’s campaign is now saying that they expected Obama would win all of those states and they are concentrating on the big states like Texas and Ohio coming up in March. But that is not entirely true. It was thought that Obama would win Louisiana because of the large number of African-Americans there, and in Nebraska because of its close proximity to Kansas where Obama is considered a favored son - his white mother’s family lives there. But Hillary was supposed to have a good shot at Washington where she had the endorsement of the state’s two female senators, and everyone said without question that Hillary would win in Maine and that it would at least be the one bright spot she could hold up after a long hard weekend.
But the endorsements in Washington didn’t make enough of a difference and she got blown out in Maine.
Quite frankly, I think Hillary has her work cut out for her if she expects to win this nomination race. Obama clearly has the momentum and the advantage right now. Saying that she is waiting for Texas and Ohio makes her sound too much like that other New York politician who claimed that he would jumpstart his flagging campaign with a big win in Florida. If Hillary doesn’t start to turn things around now, she will continue to bleed support in the other big primary states coming up.
I’m not ready to write her off quite yet, but she is getting close to the point where I may have to declare that it’s all over.