Alex Blaze

Pennsylvania primary odds n' ends

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 23, 2008 2:43 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Superdelegates

I was already getting primary fatigue back in December, but I think that I'm over it now. I'm sure whatever state I'm in now will be diagnosed later as a form of Stockholm Syndrome; I'm learning to love this primary process as it should be loved. Maybe I've finally readjusted to this news cycle, it's now the norm, and when the primary process is over, I'll miss it.

Oh, I'm sure I'll find something else to love the way I love this process. But right now, let's look at some fun events from the Pennsylvania primary last night! This was the one that was going to end it all! The make it or break it primary. Iowa, New Hampshire, Super Tuesday, the Potomac primary, and mini-Super Tuesday (Ohio and Texas) all didn't do the trick, but Pennsylvania, well, now the whole thing's over! Clinton won!

Or not. But Obama mentioned the gays in his speech last night....

  • From Obama's speech in Evansville (go Hoosiers!):

    We can be a party of those who only think like we do and only agree with all our positions. We can continue to slice and dice this country into red states and blue states. We can exploit the divisions that exist in our country for pure political gain.

    Or this time we can build on the movement we started in this campaign, a movement that's united Democrats, independents, Republicans, young, old, rich, poor, white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, because one thing I know, from traveling 46 states this campaign season, is that we are not as divided as our politics suggest.

    OK, Hillary, the challenge goes to you. He said the word "gay" and implied that it was a real identity equal to "straight" in Evansville, Indiana. Now you've got to tell your story about your father and the gay neighbors to a church, and an Episcopalian one doesn't count.

  • Surprise, surprise, Hillary still can't win the pledged delegate count.

    iPhone users: Click to watch

    That's OK, her strategy is superdelegates. Too bad the supers aren't going in her direction either.

  • That's all good, because a long primary season is a good thing:

    The long-drawn-out fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is likely to benefit the party in the November general election because its campaigns are gathering massive amounts of data on voters, party strategists said.

    Information gathered by supporters of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama during door-to-door canvassing has been passed on to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which plans to use it in the November election against the Republican presidential nominee, John McCain.

    The data, which can be as simple as a correct phone number and address for a likely Democratic voter, will help the party mobilise its turnout operation and raise money for the costly general election fight, according to party strategists.

    In Pennsylvania, campaigners for Clinton and Obama as well as the party have registered 328,000 new Democratic voters since last May, and their information has been added to the party's national voter data file. The Republicans, however, have seen their party registration shrink by more than 73,000 voters during the same period.

  • It's also a bad thing:

    The Democratic National Committee, too, is organizing an anti-McCain campaign, but a spokeswoman, Karen Finney, said fundraising to support that effort has met "mixed" results.

    So while news releases and Internet ads have been launched, the largest-bore weapon in contemporary politics -- a sustained television campaign -- hasn't. That's because, people involved say, the soft-money groups don't have the soft money.

    "Many of the people who would normally be involved in such an effort are overly focused on the primary, which is a mistake," said Michael Vachon, a spokesman for George Soros, who is the largest individual donor to the Fund for America, which in turn has passed on at least $1.4 million to what was expected to be the main attack group, an organization called the Campaign to Defend America.

    "We know we're going to have a good Democratic nominee -- it's time for Democrats to turn their attention to John McCain," Vachon said.

    Personally, I don't think it's as bad as this article makes it seem, the situation with fundraising. Sure, John McCain says he's going to let Obama and Clinton fight it out and that it's all good for him, but he would have said that no matter what. Either way, there are more people interested in the Democratic Party than in the last few decades, and that can't hurt them all too much come November.

  • Either way, the NY Times (you know, that one home team paper that endorsed her several months ago) called out Clinton for her negative campaigning:

    The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

    Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

    If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

    That's one thing that always annoys me, whether we're talking about primaries or media coverage or viciousness or any debate. There's this assumption that either side participating in any sort conflict are the same. I suppose it's the easy thing to say for people unfamiliar with a conflict - even though "equal" is a pretty exact measurement, it's the one that incites others the less. And for someone on the side behaving badly, it feels good to say, "Well, he's doing it too!"

    I don't know if people are actually rejecting the negativity, or the vacuousness, or just her specifically, but I'll read whatever I want to into this situation and say that it's the vacuousness.

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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | April 23, 2008 3:37 PM

My sources at the Larry Craig For Vice-President campaign headquarters say he's going to be coming out with a "position paper" on the vacuousness nad/or negativity and/or just-being-her of Hillary Clinton very soon. They didn't say whether the paper would be one or two ply.

Thanks for this, Alex. This post should have gotten more attention and comments. You've been pretty thorough.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 24, 2008 6:18 AM

Alex, it was thoughtful, positive, well researched and spot on. I do believe that this prolonged candidacy will help the Democratic party. The longer it continues the less media coverage McCain will receive. As long as we don't commit the stupidity, of treating whomever is not the candidate, with anything less than gratitude and respect.

LOL, Don. You know, you don't have to say your "sources" from now on - I'm willing to go public. ;)

Robert - I'm very open to the primary season staying open long. But now we just need to restructure it so that it's fair to the later states! Even when it goes long like this, those later states don't really have as much influence on the results.

Hillary did NOT win Texas.

She won in the popular vote portion, but was trounced in the caucus portion by Obama. That gave Obama MORE delegates than her in my home state.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | April 24, 2008 11:30 AM

Monica, I love you, you are like that unstoppable Energizer bunny, except more beautiful. Alex, you are correct. I believe we should establish a monarchy and Don Sherfick should be first to sit on the throne.

Every day that goes by where McCain is not front page news is a good day. We are running against a damn hero and we have to keep the publics mind off of it.

I'd have no problem following Queen Don's orders. :)