Newsweek: Palin Least Popular of the 4 Candidates

September 17, 2008

All the negative publicity is beginning to take a toll as Palin slides in the polls.  Newsweek says the events of last weekend precipitated a dramatic decline.

This sinking feeling must be felt by Republican strategists as they have induced CNN to report that socialite Lady Lynn Forrester de Rothschild, among the world’s extremely rich, is going to vote for McCain.  She did back Hillary but in a series of published interviews was unable to articulate a reason for this other than Republicans have a bad track record with the economy.  The Democratic Party, weighing money against principle, put her on its platform committee, a platform from which she will stump for McCain.  No sympathy for the Democrats.  Recent events must have somehow disabused her of her distrust of Republican with the economy.  She said that she could not support Obama because he was an “elitist.”  Read her interviews and see how sincere you think that assessment is.

This is what  the “stampede of women” to McCain has come to.   Palin’s slide apparently accounts for Obama retaking the lead in the current Reuter’s poll.

The Republican Party has adopted its standard procedure in this familiar situation.  It is the same procedure pursued Bush: highly regulated media access, and opaque to entirely obscured “disclosure.”  First, they are trying to block efforts in Alaska to resolve the ethics investigation.  The party against lawyers and courts is once again making liberal use of them. Second they are not permitting her to speak freely.  She is required to read script or be quiet.

This may avert a disastrous episode but is will also deter the groundswell of support for her.  How quickly things turn around

Whining About Sexism

September 17, 2008

Saturday Night Live satirized Palin’s lack of knowledge about national politics when compared to the sophistication of Hillary Clinton. McCain’s campaign, according to Joe Klein of Time Magazine, has launched the sleaziest campaign in memory with its attack ads against Obama.

McCain who laughed out loud when Clinton was called a “b__,” feels that it is contemptible sexism to compare Palin to Clinton and satirize Palin’s lack of knowledge. (What, women should only be compared to men?) This of course is the same “sexism card” that Palin said made Clinton look weak when Clinton objected to her treatment.

So according to Palin this strange charge of sexism makes her look weak. But I don’t think Palin went far enough. It makes McCain look like a hypocrit and it makes them both look like shameless whiners.

Hold on Sarah You Were not Going to Do This

September 2, 2008

Remember the interview a few months ago in which Sarah Palin said that it was unfortunate that Hillary Clinton was complaining about her treatment in the media because she was perceived as a “whiner?”  If not not whining, what are we supposed to call this,?  Stronger words come to mind.

Clinton Supporters for McCain?

August 26, 2008

CNN reports without any details that there was a “Clinton supporters for McCain” party in Denver.  This would have been a good opportunity for serious reporting.  How many were at the party? Where was it? Who are these people?  Why would people who wanted Clinton so disrespect her beliefs?

I have been looking for someone from of this persuasion and I have been unable to find anyone who says he or she was for Clinton but is now voting for McCain, who opposes all of her programs.  The linked article seems to say that the binding belief of these people is that Obama is too inexperienced.  These are obviously people who would have jumped for Nixon over Kennedy, who did not vote for Bill Clinton the first time and would not have considered Reagan or Bush.  They seem to be going for McCain because he has aged in the Senate, not for what he has done there.

This can’t be real can it?  Why isn’t Clinton expressing shock and betrayal over this?  Does she believe in her own policies?  I would really like to know what is behind this, as it makes no sense and I have not found an explanation even from the people who are quoted as members of this group.

Reagan Democrats

May 14, 2008

Reagan Democrats or swing voters are described by the New York Times as white working class people who did not attend college. These are the people described in Thomas Frank’s best seller What’s the Matter with Kansas?  His book is a discussion of how this portion of the population, traditionally left leaning was won over by the right.  He says that it had to do with Republicans successfully characterizing Democrats as intellectual elitists and selling themselves as defenders of traditional values on issues such as abortion and gay rights.  In this way the people whose economic interests are not promoted by Republicans were brought into the fold.  This shift on an entire demographic from left to right is a huge accomplishment of the Republicans.

The upcoming election, like many others, is about winning over these voters.  This is Senator Clinton’s base and in substantial part accounted for her runaway win in West Virginia.  Securing this base has always been a primary part of Clinton’s strategy.  She accomplished this but lost the left as well as other constituents.  McCain has defined his base as Bush’s base, recognizing at the same time that this is a miserably unpopular president, so he must gather voters from the center to have a strong bid for the presidency.  So both Obama and McCain will inevitably rush to the center during the campaign.

The Democrats have many things going for them this time: a highly unpopular war, economic troubles, particularly severe now but present in both Bush terms.  While working people have experienced difficulties, the wealthiest people have enjoyed an unsurpassed (literally) bonanza, separating themselves by historic margins from a declining middle class.

The likely Democratic candidate however has not been embraced by the swing voters.  This is a problem for the Democrats and the reason that the intense rivalry between Clinton and Obama is injurious to the party.  In attacking Obama Clinton was driving swing voters from him when the party needs to attract them to win.  In a sense her behind closed door arguments that he is not electable were fueled by the divisiveness of the campaign for candidacy.

McCain’s rush to the left to gain the center already seems a little desperate.  What else can explain a strategy to avoid absolutely all critical environmental votes in order to be able to campaign as an environmentalist.  Candidate’s position always are distorted in their need to capture the center, so Obama is likely to also make stretches.  He is already awakening to the vital importance of symbolism (an area in which the Clintons are extremely capable) and has begun wearing the flag on his lapel, which is now more or less a uniform item for candidates.

Whoppers: The Candidates’ Competition

March 31, 2008

You can feel the increasing intensity of the campaigning. All three are locked into an “I’m better than you are” contest of self promotion. Less and less time goes by between salvos between the politicians. This week though was unusual in that the candidates seemed to be on a tangent in which each tried to show that he or she was a better prevaricator and master of quackery than the others.

This effort to show that each candidate was capable of distortion and mendacity was probably set off by Bush’s announcement that he was going to Europe Monday to explain to people there why it was a good idea to participate in our Mid-Eastern wars.

The opening salvo was launched by Clinton who said that she had bolted out of an airplane, dodging bullets with her eleven old daughter, to bring permanent peace to the Balkans.

McCain — seeing the challenge to his standing as the foreign policy czar and apparently not satisfied to rest with his recommendation that we all take a Sunday stroll through Baghdad markets — announced that the surge was working and repeated this as casualties mounted and al-Maliki directed our troops into the heart of the civil war.

Obama, knowing now that his advantage lay in his African ancestry, said that JFK had brought his father to the US, a Chappaquiddickian account of history.

John Edwards said that he thought the two Democrats were equally able to spin a good yarn and couldn’t pick between them.

McCain was given a good boost when Robert Bennett said that he would not comment on McCain’s sincerity and several Republicans questioned McCain’s sincerity as a conservative, suggesting that his courtship of the right over the last year was one huge imaginary tale.

Clinton’s Bad Day.

March 28, 2008

It appears that the curtain is going down on the Clinton campaign. With no realistic shot at winning a majority of delegates from the primaries and caucuses and no realistic shot at winning the popular vote, Clinton’s hopes are pinned on winning over the superdelegates. This strategy likely involves taking the battle to the convention where political infighting could be used to best result.

This strategy is being actively opposed by the party chiefs, who have dealt Clinton strong blows recently. First, Nancy Pelosi urged supredelegates to vote for the candidate with the most delegates from primaries and caucuses. Then Howard Dean, the party chairman, said that he hoped that the decision would be made by July 1 at the latest, more than a month before the convention.

Today with the forthcoming primary in Pennsylvania in the spotlight Bob Casey, one of the two senators from that state, endorsed Obama, while Senator Pat Leahy urged her to withdraw. Also today the Gallup Poll announced that nationally Obama enjoys nationally a 8% lead over Clinton.

Clinton fought back against the Pelosi edict by having several billionaire supporters write a letter to Pelosi which seemed to suggest that if she did not withdraw her proposal they might withdraw party support. This was not a smart thing to do for two reasons. First, it called attention to the divisive, polarizing aspect of this nomination process, exactly the thing the party wants to avoid. Second, it took away from whatever ground Clinton had gained in coming across as a populist leader. The letter made Clinton look like an insider attempting to subvert a democratic process with money. This is exactly what she has been trying to avoid with talk about change and appeals to everyday Americans.

This splintering of her message was probably inevitable as she seeks to appeal to the grass roots voters while trying to win the nomination through the superdelegates. This is certainly not an enviable position to say the least.