Posts Tagged ‘Primaries’
Could this off the cuff joke at the National Rifle Association be the end of any ambitions Hukabee had for the Vice Presidency?
That was Barack Obama he just tripped off a chair, he’s getting ready to speak. Somebody aimed a gun at him and he dove for the floor.
I know a few American friends have feared that, race being the issue that it is in American politics, there could be an assassination attempt. What works for your current audience may not do you well in the broader court of public opinion.
So could this be a bitter pill for this sweetie? A flippant remark can be deadly to a political career (and Obama’s two not close to this one).
It seems that in the United States talking up your faith is one of those things that we in Britain will not appreciate. However that seems like a good idea – because I am sure that Republicans will paint Obama as a secularist and therefore a godless immoral man not worth spit let alone voting for. Indeed my Aunt, who supports McCain and thought President Clinton should have been impeached, was of the opinion that he was a Muslim.
So the latest flyer for Obama should not put anyone in doubt on that score:
For PZ Myers this is reason enough not to enthusiastically support or campaign for Obama. However much it saddens me that a person’s faith or lack of would be an electoral issue it is as any psephologist will tell you in American politics. This is far from how the founding fathers would have wished it to be – but in a McCain V Obama showdown the secularists should actively support Obama because of future Supreme Court appointments. If the Democrats can control the White House as well as the Senate and Congress the secular state may not be so much in danger of being overrun by those that want an overt Christian Nation which will enlarge the difference between those of different faith and none.
What makes good politics does not necessarily make good government. Obama needs to win by appealing to as many voters as he credibly can. Do not let the cross wearing put you off voting for someone – because especially if Huckabee becomes McCain’s running mate you will need Obama to win all the more.
It would seem unthinkable unless there was a huge scandal that has yet to come out about Obama; calling a reporter sweetie is not one. Reminds me of when I said “Sorry love” to a rival female candidate during last years local elections. She lived in the local ward I was contesting, though she was standing at the county level. I had padlocked my bicycle to her railings which she took umbrage at. My apology caused her to reveal who she was, and make the comment that it was because I was a liberal and that she was Labour that she would not allow me to safeguard my bike. And that I was not her love – it is very much a regional address (like “my flower” or “me duck”) that is not meant to be degrading but I accepted the rebuke with good humour and campaigned the harder for it.
The only scandal I can think of that may have rocked my political career involving my bike is that in racing to the ballot box in my own ward, the British National Party candidate looked after my bike so I could vote in time. Whether having a racist politician look after your bike while you voted would not make you a credible candidate I am not sure. It was telling that they were the only candidates staying there to the close of the polls and that they were very presentable in ways that their policies are not.
So does Obama have anything worse than that in his closet that could yet make the super delegates turn to Clinton? Realistically that is the only hope that Clinton has of winning the nomination. The other is that Clinton can convince that come the election in November she can get the vote out better than Obama – to this her 67% to 26% win over Obama in West Virgina. Super delegates are coming out for Obama, and Clinton may try to claim she is the biggest swinger in town (or at least in turning Swing States that the Democrats would not otherwise win).
As I have pointed out before in my weblog, under the old nomination rules where winner takes all Clinton would be the winner. That must hurt seeing as she advocated the change in the rules.
Meanwhile another prediction comes true – that Edwards would support Obama. I based that on how his supporters refused to greet Clinton. I honestly think that Edwards leaving it till this late to declare his support will make his chances of the Vice Presidency more likely – it also may help Obama in November to reach out to those that voted for Clinton. Justin Webb disagrees that it benefits Obama, but makes Clinton’s case that Obama is a sinking ship not a credible one. I think Webb does not recognise the fact that Edwards will get the Democrats that Obama may not.
The wheels have not come of the Obama campaign, and no scandal seems to be on the horizon – the only ones seem to be past associates that Obama has distanced himself from, a wacko pastor and a crooked businessman. Short of finding out that Obama used to visit Neverland during school breaks his nomination seems assured and not the fairytale that Bill Clinton once called it.
Senator Obama won 56% of the vote in North Carolina, while Senator Clinton won 51% of the vote in Indiana.
There are now six primaries left – but polls report that half of Clintons supporters will not support Obama if he is the chosen nominee. Party activists should be alarmed – because while it matters doing the best for your candidate, and making sure candidates are properly tested (Gordon Brown never was with lack luster rivals that there was no need for an election as he gathered enough support from MPs not to need a ballot).
Obama has too much of a lead for the Primaries left to effect the result. He will win the majority of delegates and the popular vote. What will matter is how the Super delegates vote. Hilary is still loaning millions of dollars to keep her campaign going.
In Britain we refer to those with power over these things as the men in grey. These were the ones that told Thatcher to stand down for the good of the party. Howard Dean continues publicly to ask for one of them to stand aside, and Prospect reports that Ted Kennedy had approached Clinton to become Senate Leader is she did so (Ted also supports Obama). It seems publicly there is enough to suggest that behind the scenes much has been made to make this happen – I would suggest by trying to dry up funds for the Clinton campaign. Yet she does have a following and a personal fortune to use.
Yet this is about the candidates to be the most powerful person on earth. Who will appoint supreme court judges that will impact on government and social policy for a generation. To make negotiations and decisions on the national stage. It really matters – and Christian fundamentalism impacting science and the separation of church and state is at stake. The need for a robust Democrat candidate that can stand up for these things is necessary – to their credit I think Obama and Clinton would.
The problem is this divisiveness is breaking the Democratic Party, and allowing McCain a shot at the White House. The irony is that the Democrats having two strong candidates may ruin their chances. McCain is no Bush, and he is a better candidate than George W Bush. The latter won two terms as President.
Eddie Tabash made the comment to me that the Democratic machine has the ability to squander millions on a candidate that stands no chance of winning. It would be an irony if two potentially winning candidates loose because of the nomination process. A winner takes all Primary process so an outright winner is chosen without the need for Super Delegates would stop this situation. Ironically for Clinton, who supported the current system, she would be ahead under that system. The rules of the game choose the winner – thus does the electoral system matter.
Eddie Tabash spoke of the importance of the Presidential election in the USA being about one vote – that of the new Supreme Court Justice that will replace 88 year old Justice Stevens when he retires. At the moment the Supreme Court is finely balanced 5-4 for those that uphold the secular constitution as envisaged by the founding fathers. With one appointment that legacy would be undone, from abortion, religious establishment of prayer, state religion. A move towards a theocratic state where the separation of God and State no longer exists and the state regulates faith in public life.
That is the reality, and it may mean some decisions that secular activists may not want to make. My take on the situation (and I want to make it clear what follows is my own opinion) is this. Obama is the only candidate that the Democrats can choose that stands a chance at defeating McCain. Not least a poll that has Obama winning by 5% and Clinton loosing by 5%.
That however is not enough. The Democrats are loosing ground with the bitter campaigns that are splitting the party down the middle. Even the story that McCain’s people have twice talked to the Democrats about defecting seems like the kind of speculation I had about Obama being McCain’s running mate. It sounds like an idea of bi-partisanship to change the country for the better but it will not only never work but never happen.
However I think that any lead that the polls suggest Obama has will be inflated by two key factors. One is that those who are not strongly inclined to vote will be more likely to choose Obama as their man – and may be less likely to vote. The second is that some Republicans, not least because of the recent press coverage about McCain’s team flirtation with the other side in the past, may be more inclined to suggest they are not voting – but come polling day they will vote for McCain.
This, together with the margin of error in polling of 3% variation suggests to me that in the 4 weeks before Polling Day Obama needs 10% to be certain. Let there be no mistake – McCain is the dream candidate and he is a better candidate than President George Bush Sr. or Jr. His experience, and story together with policy on key issues like national security and health will I believe come into it’s own towards the end of the campaign. There will be a McCain bounce that would be enough in a close race let alone one that misrepresents just how close the two candidates are.
This will be tight with Obama, and a 5% lead may even not be enough – I believe the margin of error could be as high as 6% variation. So to be home and dry you are looking at 10%, because I think McCain can claw back good percentage points in the course of a well run campaign and that also his vote will be underestimated by the polls while Obama’s will be overstated.
What can Obama do? With Clinton fighting to the bitter end there is not much he can do on that score but making bridges with the Super delegates that are behind Clinton will be crucial not least for him to have a Democratic Party that would give him 100% motivated support.
The second is that he needs to keep the margin at least to 6% to win. The key states where voter turnout is low and the State crucial need to be identified and the vote got out. Every vote will matter because the McCain bounce is very real let alone what I consider will be McCain’s underrepresented intended voting.
The third is that Obama must play the one trump card he certainly has over McCain – his youth, energy and having party willing to make reform and change happen. That can only happen if the Democratic Party can unite around him quickly, but also get election fund that they need – already wasted on a Primary between the one that stands a chance and the one that has none.
Finally Obama must not believe the hype that surrounds him. McCain is a real threat even if loosing by 5% points in the last few weeks. Every single vote will count, every activist contribution will matter, the result will be closer than the polls suggest. The future of the United States as a nation of freedom based on principles that defend liberty on a secularist constitution is under threat. This is further confounded if McCain as an over 70 year old candidate chooses either Romney or Huckabee as his running mate.
Not only must the American people realise the danger to the historical legacy of their country, and do the right thing come polling day – the Democrats must do the right thing now as activists. The vote on the nominee to the Supreme Court will have lasting implications. It is for this reason and if one of the two above become McCain‘s running mate, that I have decided that Obama should be the next President of the United States.
My analysis need not hold true if Obama can run an effective campaign achieving the goals I mentioned above. But a bitter campaign between Clinton and Obama, together with a situation that one has the popular vote and the other the delegate count (unlikely – Obama should hold both) let alone super delegates having the final say kiss the White House good bye.
Unforgettable if it means loosing the White House – the race will be tighter then the polls suggest. Unforgivable if it changes the constitution of the nation. One only hopes that Obama is moved by his principles and not his former Pastor Wright, whose rather inflammatory opinions are a further reason to show that when the founding fathers thought that religion and state went against the liberty and freedom of citizens they hit on an idea that is timeless.
Senator Clinton may still be trailing in terms of delegates 1391 to Senator Obama’s tally of 1477. But her wins in Ohio and Texas yesterday means that she is still in the running.
[EDIT: FOX NEWS readers for current politics blogs follow this link here]
The rest of the race for the Democrats looks like this:
Meanwhile Senator McCain went over the target number of delegates and Huckabee dually withdrew leaving McCain as the Presidential nominee for the Republican Party. Lunch today at the White House may see the seal of approval from President Bush – but it is doubtful we will see him on the campaign trial.
Much is being made that a prolonged negative campaign between Obama and Clinton could leave McCain sitting pretty as he has the opportunity to act as a statesman – and separate himself from President Bush. As a political maverick and someone that is known to be independent that should not prove difficult.
The proportional way in which a State’s delegates are allocated has meant in the close Democratic race there is no knock out blow. A winner takes all allocation may give a more resounding margin to one person. McCain can concentrate on raising funds for the White House campaign. Meanwhile the Democratic candidates will be chasing funds for the Primary at least into May.
Obama may have had hope that winning both states may have seen Clinton bow out. His campaign has learnt from earlier on not to build up such expectations. The key thing will be to recognise that the honeymoon is over and that the scrutiny from media and Clinton will be intense, and in all probability very negative. He won Vermont and is still ahead – it is about shifting gear to keep that margin lead to cross 2025 first.
16 states, 1,391 delegates
- Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas.
24 states, 1,477 delegates
2,025 delegates needed for nomination. Source AP (includes all kinds of delegates)
Ohio and Texas will show if Clinton can turn the tide next week as Obama seems to have the momentum now to the nomination. However, before this is all over it seems we shall have moments like Clinton poking fun at Obama’s oratory:
Probably more statesman like ways to make the point. Then a picture of Obama turned up when he was in Kenya two years ago. Reading Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope he mentions that someone suggested after 9/11 that his name was too similar to Osama Bin Laden to have an effective political career. A Clinton volunteer was sacked for suggesting Obama was a Muslim. Mind you seeing as there are plenty of pictures of Clinton and Bush being dressed in traditional garb overseas what anyone thinks the photo will do to the poll results is beyond rational discourse. I imagine it comes from the same thought process that produced Obama’s childhood essay on wanting to be President.
It is not as if Obama is acting like Machiavelli, who would retire to the country and dress in a Toga like times of the Roman Republic.
Much is being made of the Latino vote in Texas and their traditional support for the Clintons. But if Obama wins in Texas then it may be time for Clinton to call it a day. However, if anyone was prepared to fight to the bitter end and try and persuade the super delegates to swing it their way then Senator Clinton may go on.
McCain is the clear front runner for the Republicans, with the number of delegates so far more than twice that of Romney and more than Romney and Huckabee combined. The real issue is can the Republican Party unite behind someone who is not a hard conservative, but stands the best chance of winning the White House for the Republicans.
Huckabee looks set for a chance at the White House – all be it as Vice President. The states he has won shows that evangelical Christians have stayed faithful to him perhaps more for his up beat style which is at odds to Romney’s more personal attack approach. For McCain such a running mate may well help to unite the party, with perhaps some party members doing what his 96 year old mother suggested holding their noses but crucially privately.
With the Democrats it seems that postal ballots done before the Obama bandwagon really started an impressive show helped Clinton take California – which is a winner takes all delegates, and due to its size has many delegates. However, because most States for the Democrats send delegates proportional to the vote the total delegates thus far only gives Clinton a slight edge. The question is will Obama be able to use the excitement about himself and the vision thing to win over natural Clinton supporters or will Clinton’s well known brand and popular and well known issue stance for Democrats see her through as the Democratic candidate of experience.
The danger of fractious in fighting seems more a danger for the Democrats than the Republicans. While the Media have been good at finding hard right Conservatives disappointed as they drink their pints, McCain having a clear mandate may see them off (at least till the President is chosen). The Democrats by contrast in a sharp knife edge race have already shown teeth into each other that makes the Republicans seem cordial, and with different parts of the party campaigning against each other the question is whether the party can reunite.
The religious wing of the Republicans attacking McCain could actually help him – not least because it is clear water between him and Bush. Mind you, despite them not liking him I find on the atheist side when chatting to Americans that any Republican candidate cannot get passed the Iraq war – and McCain’s support of the surge. Let alone a baptist and a Mormon. I am with Hitchens’ view that McCain is the right person but if Romney or Huckabee got it then either Clinton or Obama would be better.
So the race goes on. Huckabee will continue not because he can be President but because by helping McCain his political career will be helped. As vice President to an elderly President there is a chance for a spring board. That of course assumes that the Republicans win the Presidency. That is not assured but if the Primaries point to one thing: their best shot at it is with McCain.
On the Democrat side, unless Obama can start showing that his policies are different from Clinton and that he is the best candidate- not just the best speaker – than I think Clinton will win by a nose. I have stated my concern at the related dynasties that have effected American politics (Bush Sr 8 years, Mr Clinton 8 years, Bush Jr 8 years, Mrs Clinton???). So far Obama has made a lot of noise and excitement, but he needs to provide the meat to the table about how he is going to change America not just with hope but with the nitty gritty of public policy that makes people change from Clinton’s well known policy stance.
ADDITION 7 February 2008
Romney has suspended his campaign. He will still be on the ballot and will still have his delegates. In a race that McCain looked like winning this seems the rational move – it saves him money but also gives him a chance should he wish to make McCain pledge for stances he supports in return for his delegates. It could also avoid in fighting making Romney a more possible running mate.
Huckabee must see the danger that this is the move Romney is making. The fact that Romney talked up the big similarity between himself and McCain shows that he is indicating support for McCain. Huckabee must decide whether he stands a better chance to take on McCain to win (doubtful) or whether to stay in the race to make his chance as a running mate more viable. Or pledge loyalty to McCain and try to be the running mate.
Either way Romney appreciated the danger of conservative in fighting. If he can make himself a peace maker then it may not just be the Republican Party that may be thankful but a certain Republican elected nominee for President McCain. The ball is now in Huckabee’s court. Be interesting to see his play.
Well the Giants came back to win the Super Bowl in a way Rudy Giuliani could only have envied. On that note the USA enters Super Tuesday which may tell us more about who is the Republican candidate then it does about the Democratic candidate. I should point out it is not Tuesday in the USA when I write this, but I am still on Super Bowl time from having watched it. Those final two passes by Manning will stay in my mind for a long time.
In term of the party nominees, it seems McCain is getting the sort of momentum that the Giants used to win. The idea that he is the Conservative in the Republican race but has the most appeal to non conservative parts of the electorate seems to be getting him support in the polls. I think his statesmanship is also an edge over Romney. As to Huckabee’s claim that Romney get out of the race for him to beat McCain – in your dreams, and if both of you defeat each other the only thing is whether Huckabee could be a running mate to the other two – that is possible.
With regards the Democrats it would be a brave person to stake who will win between Obama and Clinton. The only way I can answer that is to say that it would seem perplexing for a Republic to have George Bush Senior eight years in office, Mr Clinton eight years, George Bush Junior eight years and then followed by Mrs Clinton. In a nation of 300 million people this kind of politics is against the idea of opportunity, freedom and hard work. For this, let alone the issues, would I hope that Obama wins the Democratic nomination.
Which then means for me the perfect showdown is McCain and Obama (McCain I predict; Obama is what I hope but too close to call at this stage). Who would be the best President of the USA for the world?
To this end Obama has the oratory and the vision. He does however have youth on his side and a wealth of political experience yet to accumulate. McCain has that in spades, and a personal history that typifies the American spirit in a way that would make an American proud rather than shameful. His commitment to getting rid of pork barrel politics of long standing and ability to work across the floor marks him as the person I would most like to see as President.
Which if my experience at the AAI conference in Washington DC may put me at odds with secularist activists in America that seemed to be largely Democratic in nature. I can only say that I am impressed with McCain as a statesman, as a politician working beyond partisan lines, as a man of personal courage, and one that can get people working together rather than dividing it. One that does not show personal hostility but calm reflection of the facts.
When in a debate he said that he accepted evolution but saw the hand of god in the Grand Canyon I could live with that. Because I do not think McCain would be against science, or allow religious interest groups to impede it – his conservatism would seem against that type of orthodoxy. I think he has the character that Obama with more years could develop.
I accept that if Obama won the nomination he could still convince me he should get the job. But on this side of the pond I have heard of McCain for far longer. He struck me as the sort of Republican I would have hoped George W Bush would have been. That he can work across party lines, to make a better decision making process. Be a leader that understands what needs to be done rather than thinks he knows best.
Taken from here, came across on the web but they seemed like very sensible questions to ask:
Here are ten questions to draw from or to modify in your own words.
1. Leaders of the religious right often say that America is a “Christian Nation.” Do you agree with this statement?
2. Do you think houses of worship should be allowed to endorse political candidates and retain their tax exempt status?
3. Do you think public schools should sponsor school prayer or, as a parent, should this choice be left to me?
4. Would you support a law that mandates teaching creationism in my child’s public school science classes?
5. Do you think my pharmacist should be allowed to deny me doctor-prescribed medications based on his or her religious beliefs?
6. Will you respect the rights of those in our diverse communities of faith who deem same-gender marriage to be consistent with their religious creed?
7. Should “faith-based” charities that receive public funds be allowed to discriminate against employees or applicants based on religious beliefs?
8. Do you think one’s right to disbelieve in God is protected by the same laws that protect someone else’s right to believe?
9. Do you think everyone’s religious freedom needs to be protected by what Thomas Jefferson called “a wall of separation” between church and state?
10. What should guide our policies on public health and medical research: science or religion?