Remembering the 2008 Primary

Image

Source

Reading about whether or not Clinton would hire Mark Penn again has reminded me of the 2008 Democratic Primary. I volunteered in various capacities on that campaign, the biggest being running the phone banks in San Jose. While Obama’s nomination now seems inevitable, looking back it really wasn’t. I remember everyone in 2007 talking about Clinton being the presumed nominee and how Obama had a bright future ahead of him but not as our next President. And the reality was, they were right.

Clinton went into the 2008 Primaries with the greatest name recognition, fundraising base, and ground team of any of the candidates. As Obama as a state senator from Illinois in 2004, he had to start from scratch. Also, the Clinton campaign (along with Giuliani’s) managed to convince most states to have their primary or caucus on February 5th, as early as possible. This was to shut down any potential upstart challenger in the early states.

So Obama had his work cut out for him. If I had to point to one thing that cost Clinton the election, it was not putting staff in February 5th states like Idaho and Kansas. The fact Obama put resources in those states was accidental-they had raised more cash than expected and decided to contest these states, as David Plouffe documented in his book. However, Mark Penn actually didn’t realize the Democratic primary wasn’t winner-take-all so he failed to put any resources in those smaller caucus states. In the end, winning Idaho by 50 points netted as many delegates as winning New Jersey did, so Super Duper Tuesday was a draw and not the knockout blow Clinton needed.

In the end, Clinton was still a formidable candidate. While we talk about the left being upset at her Iraq vote or her mismanaged campaign, one has to remember she was able to stay in till the very end. I honestly believed after Obama won those 10 primaries after Super Duper Tuesday, Clinton would pack up and concede and her support would give up and rally behind Obama, but she was able to push on till the very end. As I said, in an alternate universe where she had kept Obama’s margins smaller in the caucus states and had put resources in the states after Super Duper Tuesday, she would have netted several hundred delegates more than Obama did and would have been the nominee.

One thing I’ve always remarked on is if Clinton were to run in 2016, she would most likely have a lot of former OFAers on staff. I found this funny because there were a lot of people who joined the Obama campaign in no small part because of Clinton’s Iraq War vote and the general feeling the Clintons sold out on things like “welfare reform.” Now, 8 years later, time will heal all wounds.

Advertisements

Who’s Right? Who Cares-Hypocrisy, Gay Rights, and the Wheels Of Inevitability

Lest I be accused of being a hypocrite, I’ve always held one belief-I don’t care what a politicians motives are, I care what they do. So, with Republican Senator Rob Portman supporting gay marriage, I’ll chalk that up as a victory. I have many family and friends who are gay and I see what not having the same legal rights as straight couples does. One more vote for gay marriage is a good thing.

That being said, I hardly consider Portman a profile in courage. His support has to do with his son being gay. Before then, he had no problem supporting gay marriage bans as recently as 2010. Only after his son came out did he decide to support his marriage equality-and even this took two years. Last year, he was a possible Vice Presidential nominee and, given Romney’s campaign was more anti-gay rights than Bush’s 2004 campaign, he couldn’t possibly expect to be on the bottom of the ticket with a position drastically different than the guy at the top. Once again, I’m glad there’s another vote for marriage equality in the Senate. I just don’t want to praise the guy.

With this in mind, the false equivalency of Obama and Portman Glenn Greenwald has made really does piss me off. In one tweet, Greenwald brings up the two flaws his arguments constantly have. The first is the obsession with Obama and ignoring all the other factors at play. It’s true, as mistermix said in the article I just linked to, Obama’s decision was largely based on political calculations. However, how did it get to the point of Obama endorsing gay marriage and bringing his party with him? It took decades of campaigning from gay rights activists. They weren’t just let into the party-they had to kick down the damn door. It wasn’t that long ago when Democrats just wanted any issue involving gay rights to just go away. It took relentless campaigning and lobbying and organizing to get their message across. The Wheels of of Inevitability didn’t just roll in on gay rights-there were plenty of set backs along the way (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a direct violation of Clinton’s campaign promises, Proposition 8 succeed when 6 months before the vote it was going to go down in flames). Yet those activists who campaigned for gay rights didn’t give up the struggle-they kept on slogging away till one political party lived up to its legacy when it came to civil rights. Obama has always claimed to be a supporter of gay rights-his supporters forced him to live up to that. Portman’s only concern is about the well-being of his family. Beyond that, he could care less.

The second mistake Greenwald consistently makes is his obsession with hypocrisy. In his tweet, he’s trying to make it sound writers like Markos Moulitsas, Scott Lemieux, Charlie Pierce, Paul Krugman and others sound like hypocrites applying one standard to Portman and another to Obama. The answer to that is…so? Hypocrisy doesn’t prove your opponent is wrong-just inconsistent.

The fact is this-we have one political party that support gay rights and another one that doesn’t. Sure, you’ll get a handful of people who will endorse gay rights but never anything that will bring about change-just today, Speaker Boehner announced his position won’t change on gay marriage. Gay rights was hard fought with the Democrats. The question is-do you want to fight for change or just sit on the sidelines and heckle at those that do?

David Brooks and Power

David Brooks has a new column out involving his “grand bargain” ideas with President Obama.  I won’t go into the details because there is only one important point-

David Brooks cannot deliver a single Republican vote in the House or the Senate.

Nothing else matters.  Even if he had the best ideas on planet Earth, Brooks can’t deliver the votes.  This is true of every other Republican “reformer.” Michael Tomasky wrote on this Saturday-

And the following people will write nothing about [Republican fanaticism]: David Brooks; Ross Douthat; the aforementioned [Peter] Wehner and [Michael] Gerson; Reihan Salam; Yuval Levin; Ramesh Ponnuru. Now I know most of these gentlemen, and I like them. But they’ve been participants to varying degrees in these recent conversations I’m talking about, and frankly, they are wasting their own and their readers’ time.

The Republican caucus cares nothing about detailed policy proposals.  Ted Cruz is a rising star in the Senate thanks to accusing a Republican Vietnam War vet of being in bed with terrorists. John Cornyn and Lindsey Graham are so worried about their employment prospects next year they’ve jumped on-board various far-right ideas. There is no way we will see a new moderate Republican party rally around an expansion of the EITC instead of raising the minimum wage or means-testing Medicare and using the savings to pay down student loans.

What we do see from the David Brooks column is he does care about what one group of people think about him-liberals. In response to Ezra Klein’s take down of him on Friday, he said “Humiliation is a good teacher.” Now you can have a low opinion of him as I do and see him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing but you have to admit he made the fatal mistake when it comes to the right-don’t care about what liberals say about you.  If you get tossed by them in a debate, you complain lefties were lying or ambushed you or didn’t play fair.  You never concede-after all, WOLVERINES!

The problem with “reasonable” Republicans is they have no cred. If they could deliver 20 GOP votes in the House and/or 10 votes in the Senate, they probably would be the most influential force in Washington. The Democratic leadership would bow to their every need. However, all they want to do is to go to the cool parties in DC or NYC or LA and sell tote-bags for NPR. In a way, they’re worse than evil-

They’re Useless…

You Claim To Be A Player: Rubio Is A Symptom

f2c81d5075f511e2b7d622000a1f968a_7

I have a challenge.  Name me one Republican economic proposal that doesn’t involve cutting taxes, deregulating business or busting unions.

Name one.

Can’t?  Don’t feel bad.  Neither can I.  Honestly, I doubt even the Republicans can.

A lot has been made about Senator Marco Rubio’s water break in the middle of his State of the Union response.  To be fair, I mocked him on Twitter for that.  There is comparisons between that speech and the one Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal gave in 2009.  One speech people are forgetting is when Paul Ryan gave the response in 2011.  As then Congressman Anthony Weiner stated he needed a drink after that speech it was so depressing.

There are many reasons to complain about President Obama.  I do.  However, what ever you may say about his proposals, you must admit he is a public servant trying to implement what he feels are the best public policies to solve real problems.  The same cannot be said of any policy maker in the Republican Party.

Rubio, like Ryan and Jindal, is a rising star in the party.  While everyone conceded giving the response to the State of the Union is hard, people were genuinely hyping up Rubio.  The greatest was when former McCain adviser said Rubio was modern because “he knows who Tupac is.”  Tupac died 17 years ago.  I doubt Wallace wanted to talk about how Rubio defaulted on his mortgage during his Senate campaign or how he tells Catholics, Evangelicals and Mormons he belongs to their church depending on the audience.

The reality is you can’t find any good candidates in the rigid doctrine that is conservatism.  In order to be a conservative, you have to believe the world is falling apart.  You have to think everyone outside the US is depressed because their big intrusive government is destroying your dreams.  You have to believe in Obama’s America, jack-booted government thugs are coming to take your money and your guns and are destroying your vary way of life.  It requires you to ignore the last 30 years when your ideas were implemented and failed disastrously.

More importantly, it requires you not to care about anyone else.  One of the least talked about incidences in the State of the Union was Speaker John Boehner’s response to Desiline Victor.  Victor was the 102 year old African American woman who waited 6 hours in line to vote last year.  Having lived in a time when women and blacks were not allowed to vote, it is quite shocking she had to wait that long.  She received the standing ovation she deserved from the Democrats in the chamber.  What did she get from the highest-ranking Republican?  Nothing-he just sat there, not giving a damn.  She wasn’t going to vote Republican, why should he care?

As much as we may dismiss critiques of style in speeches, style comes from substance.  Even after electoral defeats, Republicans refuse to believe people have rejected their world view.  Instead, they crawl deeper into their bunker, living in a world where everything is falling apart.  If I lived in that world, I’d need a drink too…