Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's not over until the lady in the pantsuit says it is


Tonight will be “clinching night” for Obama, effectively ending the most exciting nomination race in US history. Whether or not Hillary acknowledges that remains to be seen. I’ll have updates here throughout the evening as the results roll in and the speeches are made.

One expects talk will now turn towards finding a vice-presidential nominee for Obama (and McCain of course). While conventional wisdom would tell him to stay the hell away from her, there is an argument to be made for Obama choosing Hillary, simply to ensure the party stays united.

One imagines there will also be a lot of buzz around high profile names like Edwards, Richardson, and Clark. But it might very well be a sleeper like Evan Bayh, Brian Schweitzer, or Kathleen Sebelius who gets the prize. Or any of the other hundred or so names I’ve failled to mention.

Select Smart has a fun quiz where you fill out the VP’s bio and they suggest the names – I put myself into Obama’s shoes, and they recommended Jim Webb based on my criteria.

UPDATE: 10 to go...

UPDATE: ...9...8...7...

UPDATE: ...6...5...4...

"YES HE DID" UPDATE: CNN projects it. Hillary says no decision tonight.

Obama: "I will be the democratic party nominee"

A great final 2 minutes to Obama's speech. So let's get the party started - Obama v McCain...should be one heck of a race.

VEEPDATE: CNN and the online markets weigh in on VP speculation.

Labels: , ,

22 Comments:

  • Countdown is all over the media. At 6:35 eastern we are down to 11.
    It seems so anti-climatic -
    it ends not with a bang but a whimper

    So was the Kennedy-Johnson battle in 1960 equally divisive? (Also two senators and they went on to win together)

    By Blogger Northern PoV, at 6:40 PM  

  • My survey recommended Tim Kaine, who is apparently the Governor of Virginia.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:49 PM  

  • Mine gave Hillary Clinton. Nice.

    By Anonymous Justin, at 6:57 PM  

  • I got Jon Corzine (governor of New Jersey). One of my senators, Evan Bayh was number two.

    northern pov, Kennedy-Johnson is a bad analogy because it was before primaries mattered (in those days it was up to the party bosses, and they had contested conventions like in Canada). With conventions, candidates succeed in a large part because of their ability to make deals with those knocked off the ballot (also the old rules favoured compromise - for instance, Warren Harding came in with almost no delegates, but won out as a compromise candidates after a bajillion rounds because you needed 2/3rds of the delegates to win).

    The two recently contested conventions Dems 1980 and GOP 1976 are a bad example. For one, Clinton-Obama was much closer, moreover, both of the other contests involved issue differences. Clinton and Obama agree on almost everything, except healthcare. I would guess Clinton would cloak any convention fight in a desire to get universal healthcare on the ballot. This helps here in two ways - first, it makes Obama less electable, and second, it helps secure her legacy.

    At any rate, Clinton would be stupid to concede without asking for something. Those chants of "Denver, Denver" from her supporters were all about sending the message that while she has lost, Obama still needs her to win. The extended primaries did not harm the party, but a convention fight might, especially as Americans have no recent historical memory of contested conventions.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 10:50 PM  

  • Clinton for VP = suicide at the polls come November. Simple math.

    She's old-school politics, divisive, hated by a range of political affiliations, and pretty much everything against what Obama stands for. Forget her supporters, only the idiot die-hard fans (see: small group of radicals) would jump ship to McCain, who ironically would do much less for their cause than Obama.

    By Anonymous Angry Chinese Driver, at 11:49 PM  

  • I was 100% Wesley Clark, who I thought should have been Kerry's running mate in 2004, as much as I like Edwards.

    kgp

    By Blogger Kevin, at 12:09 AM  

  • “The extended primaries did not harm the party, but a convention fight might, especially as Americans have no recent historical memory of contested conventions.”

    It is clear that the extended primaries harmed the Democratic Party. The republicans are celebrating.

    One candidate used dirty tricks and unreasonable demands. And claims that she has been treated unfairly!

    Jut look at the behaviour at the rules committee meeting. Not to mention the threats of sabotaging Obama or running as an independent.

    It is time to heal the party, and it is going to take months for the wounds to heal. Obama is willing to be reasonable. It remains to be seen whether Clinton has a future with the party.

    “Clinton for VP = suicide at the polls come November”

    Agree! Obama is better off steering a center-left alternative to the GOP. Particularly since the Democrats are likely to have a strong majority in both houses of congress.

    Obama has the capacity to turn a new page in American history. Perhaps he can introduce the first universal health care program without a fight to the finish ala gay marriage.

    Clinton is merely the continuation of the ideological rift in American life. She represents Big Government. She would prevail only by brute force, with the possibility of a payback later from the right.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:10 AM  

  • here is something no one noticed about last night, cnn, obamas private tv station, at least they did not say anything about thing running down their legs, did not do the usuall exit polls that explain how many republicans voted for who in the open primary in montana, they went for hussein this time, why? because they know who they can beat..and who they want to be the democratic nominee.. barrack hussein obama...he will loose....big,,,anyone noticed this ass, looking down at people in minesota, you know the only state that voted for....mondale...oh ho..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:26 AM  

  • Wesley Clark is the perfect choice. McCain already started attacking Obama as being weak on foreign policy. Choosing Clark could end that pretty quick.

    Never hurts to have a four-star general on your side.

    By Blogger me dere robert, at 8:42 AM  

  • Har. What I don't get, Gritty friends, is how you can be Obama supporters and not Layton supporters. Its basically the same policies on pretty much everything... isn't the Liberal party too right-wing for Obamaniacs?

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 9:09 AM  

  • Chucker; Actually, I'd say Obama probably matches up idealogically with Harper. One of the NDP blogs had a good comparison of Hillary and Harper a year back and concluded they were fairly similar. And, really, if you look at things like health care, Iraq, gay marriage, etc, they do match up pretty closely. It's just that the US is far more right wing than Canada so it's all relative.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:25 AM  

  • Clark would be good, although he's a little short on elected experience which is another Obama weakness.

    He was a big Hillary supporter though which works in his favour - when I watch the panel shows with Hillary and Obama supporters talking, the passive-agressiveness comes through loud and clear. That party is going to be in a lot of trouble unless they can unite.

    That said, I think this race has created a lot of excitement, so I'm not sure it neccesarily has to be a bad thing in the long run.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:30 AM  

  • If Obama doesn't nominate Hillary, just watch McCain pick a woman and win this thing.

    He was praising her from the hilltops yesterday trying to grab her supporters.

    By Anonymous John, at 9:50 AM  

  • CG, my friend,

    Harper would NEVER, NEVER be so beholden to unions as Obama is.

    I think on a host of issues, you are correct. Hillary - for all her talk - wouldn't surrender in Iraq like Obama. And she'll drop any Nafta-bashing faster than Chretien did.

    In my opinion, I think America is more left wing on the left than Canada. Liberals never cozy up to unions - that's NDP land. And when Liberals do cozy up to unions, they lose votes.

    By Blogger Chuckercanuck, at 12:02 PM  

  • I was just watching John McCain at a rally in Louisiana. The audience was fidgeting, stifling yawns and rolling their eyes. McCain did work hard to draw polite applause as he shuffled around the podium.

    Obama can win on his own ticket in November. He just can’t afford to have clinton attacking him while he battles the GOP. He does have to unroll specific policies for the lower income American who can’t live on hope alone.

    Here’ the perfect rhyme to finish off the primaries.

    Why Obama won
     Justin Webb
     4 Jun 08, 06:39 GMT
    Ten reasons.
    1. He is black. Geraldine Ferraro has a point: Obama's individual story is important and his racial makeup - he is of mixed race - is a part of his appeal. Black people have rallied to him.
    2. He is not black. He is also the first black presidential hopeful to run as a post-racial candidate (hence the upset with Ferraro). White people feel unthreatened by him.
    3. He was not taken seriously. Oops. If the Clinton people had blown him out in Iowa, at the beginning of the process, he would be toast.
    4. He is serious. This appears to be a serious year, in which Americans are deeply worried about the state of the nation, and Obama's slightly professorial demeanour looks a good fit.
    5. He offers self-help and self-improvement. She offered a plan to make America better - he offers a plan to make Americans themselves better.
    6. He promises change in a year when Americans are ready for change.
    7. He is 46 and handsome.
    8. He catches the attention of the media but is a hard target to attack - you look uncool to diss him (as Hillary has discovered).
    9. Mark Warner - the former governor of Virginia, the other young anti-Hillary man - didn't stand.
    10. Axelrod wrote the script. David Axelrod was an adviser to The West Wing and helped mould the character (Matt Santos) who succeeded Jed Bartlett. He based him on Obama and now Obama seems based on Santos. But either way, it was written... And it has come to pass...

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:25 PM  

  • To those that say Clinton is divisive - true. But SO IS OBAMA. Why the heck do you think he is running even with McCain in the worst election year for the GOP since 1964. I mean they just lost a special election in a CD Bush won by 15%.

    Obama's base is the "new" base of the Democratic party - the creative class, students and African Americans (groups that will strongly support the Dems regardless of the nominee). He turns off Catholics, Hispanics, working class voters and women. Look at the gender gap in most recent polls - it is 4%. Kerry ran 14-15 points better among women than men, Obama runs 4.

    You can't just assume the base will rally either. Catholics, working class voters and hispanics are politically moderate, and could just as easily go for McCain.

    As for Clinton being too liberal/big government, have you been paying attention? Yes, she supports universal healthcare. But take a look at who has been endorsing her - all of the DLC folks. Take a look at her posturing - it has been patriotic, and yes, pandery, but that is precisely why she has become considerably more electable (in the general - see fivethirtyeight.com's projections, and that is with an Obama-friendly site) over the course of the campaign.

    Does she represent old-school politics? Yes. But if Obama is going to get working class and hispanic voters to come home to the Democrats he isn't going to do that with his post-racial transdencental act.

    Have you actually looked at polls with Clinton as VP? No. Because there aren't any. But I can say that all of the losers you are talking about do nothing for Obama outside of their home-states, and usually don't do much in them either (the exceptions are Edwards, who would be the next best pick after Clinton, and Al Gore).

    Clinton as VP brings instant healing of the rift between Obama and Clinton. She puts Arkansas into play (and provides a bonus in swing states, where her support clusters). She brings with her the best stump speaker of our generation (Reagan and Obama are better at staged stuff, but not on the stump). Oh and she counters the fears that Obama is too much of a lightweight.

    Will Obama like it? No. But I would say Democratic divisions are the ONLY way he is going to lose this election.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:21 PM  

  • To those that say Clinton is divisive - true. But SO IS OBAMA. Why the heck do you think he is running even with McCain in the worst election year for the GOP since 1964. I mean they just lost a special election in a CD Bush won by 15%.

    That actually is problem that McCain has. Obama is in the middle of a heated primary campaign where as many as 50 % of Clinton supporters are saying that they are not voting for Obama if he is the nominee... both the democrats have been at each other's throat for the past couple of months... media has been exclusively focused on the dems and a lot of that coverage is negative yet McCain is only running even with Obama, the media and the dems have yet to focus on McCain's relationship with bush... imagine what would happen once the democrats unite and the focus of some of the coverage shifts to McCain! (and btw it is only the tracking polls that are showing a dead heat, polls that are published most of the time show Obama leading by 4-11 points depending upon what poll you look at, for ex the Gallup tracking poll shows a dead heat however the gallup poll that is going to be published shows a 5 point lead for Obama.)

    Obama's base is the "new" base of the Democratic party - the creative class, students and African Americans (groups that will strongly support the Dems regardless of the nominee). He turns off Catholics, Hispanics, working class voters and women. Look at the gender gap in most recent polls - it is 4%. Kerry ran 14-15 points better among women than men, Obama runs 4.

    That is not true, for example look at Oregon... that would be a state of "liberal creative class, students" as you put it but that state went to Kerry by a whisker and polls show Clinton in a dead heat with McCain in that state but Obama is leading by 10-15 points. The point is that Hillary could not have excited these groups to come out and vote, with AA and students esp, their turnout would have dropped had Hillary stolen the nom from Obama and as much as people like to talk about "white working class" if the turnout of AA & students drops then Hillary can say goodbye to Wisconsin & michigan and even make PA & OH difficult to win. Kerry ran 14 points better among women in november... this is june, like you said before if Obama is doing that badly with women why is he running even with McCain (and at the same level as hillary) that is because Obama so far is doing slightly better amongs men and is winning the upper income voter (a group that bothe Kerry and Gore lost to Bush)

    You can't just assume the base will rally either. Catholics, working class voters and hispanics are politically moderate, and could just as easily go for McCain.

    Does she represent old-school politics? Yes. But if Obama is going to get working class and hispanic voters to come home to the Democrats he isn't going to do that with his post-racial transdencental act.


    Kerry won hispanics by 9 points... according to Gallup Obama is winning this group by 17 points and according to Rassmussen he wins this group by 23 points (about the same as clinton)... needless to say he has a lock on this demographic

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/105964/Obama-Clinton-Leverage-Different-Groups-vs-McCain.aspx
    http://rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

    As far as 'working class whites' go... no democrat has won that group since 1963. James Carville, one of Clinton's biggest supporters said Obama is where he needs to be with this group. He only needs to hold on to how much Kerry got in this group as he will have enough upper income voters to put him over the top.


    Have you actually looked at polls with Clinton as VP? No. Because there aren't any. But I can say that all of the losers you are talking about do nothing for Obama outside of their home-states, and usually don't do much in them either (the exceptions are Edwards, who would be the next best pick after Clinton, and Al Gore).

    Clinton as VP brings instant healing of the rift between Obama and Clinton. She puts Arkansas into play (and provides a bonus in swing states, where her support clusters). She brings with her the best stump speaker of our generation (Reagan and Obama are better at staged stuff, but not on the stump). Oh and she counters the fears that Obama is too much of a lightweight.


    The only problem with that thinking is that people usually don't vote for vps. Look at how the Kerry- Edwards ticked did in NC, I mean a good vp may bring in 1-2% maybe 3 in their home state but not enpugh to deliver a state, early polling tends to overstate the volatilty that would happen as a result of the vp choice, it's all name recognition right now. Survey USA's polling shows that Edwards as a vp would double Obama's support in almost every state but if anyone thinks that something like that is seriously going to happen in November, they are deluded. Hillary as a vp migh help make Arkansas competive but if she is the vp Colorado & Virginia red states where Obama is very very strong are going to become very difficult for Obama.


    Obama should not care about which states his vp puts in play his vp should be someone with military/foreign policy expertise like bush chose Cheney who came from Wyoming. Someone like Joe Biden, Wesly Clark or Chris Dodd is great for Obama. Hillary is the absolute worst choice... she comes with so much baggage that the Repubs are going to try to make the campaign about her.

    By Anonymous the_real_justin, at 2:55 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 3:26 PM  

  • I love John McCain, and he'll make a good President if he wins. If he'd beaten Bush's dirty tricks campaign 8 years ago, he'd have made a formidable enemy against Bin Laden; he is fifteen times the man that GWB could ever be.

    My personal pick has always been Obama, I wish him the best. Hillary Clinton is tireless and committed and strong, but I think she's created too much negativity around herself.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 5:08 PM  

  • Your baseline comparison of Obama to Kerry ignores the fact that the Republicans are losing special elections in places they won by 15 points in 2004, and where the Republicans are 15 points behind in presidential matchups where candidates are not named.

    You ask why McCain is only running even with Obama? Given the situation in Iraq, unpopularity of Bush, looming recession, and divisions in the Republican party, I ask how the Democrat candidate is not ahead?

    Well I was a bit too kitchen sink before, when I just listed Clinton's core groups. Obama's problems are more confined to women - professional and not - which averages out to a tie with McCain, given Obama's other strengths (while Clinton is further ahead of McCain and has a more efficient distribution of votes).
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/107416/Obama-Faces-Uphill-Climb-vs-McCain-Among-White-Voters.aspx

    Why does Obama do well in Oregon, it being a haven of latte-dom? Well the thing is that Oregon is not just a haven of latte-dom, it is the LEAST moderate state in the country. Oregon's Democrats, on a Lickhert scale, are the most liberal in the country, while its Republicans are the most conservative. It is one of the few places in the US where winning the center at the cost of some activists staying home doesn't work. Thus candidates like McCain, Kerry and Clinton are not likely to do well there.

    Appointing somebody like Webb as VP (Webb long fought against women in combat, and described one female officers desire to join the navy as "a horny woman's dream".

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 11:59 AM  

  • Now that the battle is over, let’s review Obama’s tactical weaknesses. Apparently, 15% of Americans still think that Obama is a Muslim! And, he did not really attempt to satisfy the lower-income voter.

    The result was a desperate fight to the finish line. Why was Obama so adept strategically, while inept tactically?

    Obama’s strategy was a classic. He chose the right time and place for the message of change. He used the internet to proselytize, recruit and fundraise like never before. He translated his cyber strengths into a terrific ground organization and magnificent rallies. He did this within a single year.

    He addressed the fundamental questions of why, what, how, when, and where. Yet, no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. Tactically, he needed to cover his own weaknesses and exploit the weaknesses of his enemy.

    IMO, Obama has two ego weaknesses. He was inflexible because he wanted to stay on-message to preserve the white knight image. He didn’t want to compromise himself. And, it is possible that he was unable to see his own defects.

    Obama finally prevailed because clinton’s revival started too late. She was too far behind. In a closer fight, Obama’s strategic strength may have been completely negated by his tactical weakness.

    On the other hand, clinton had a weak strategy because of complacency. Once desperate, she transformed herself into the underdog and became the champion of the white working class. Yah right!

    Obama allowed her to get away with it by conceding this vital constituency to her. Bad mistake! Fortunately, clinton did not convince most people

    In the presidential campaign, Obama will be his own worst enemy. It should be possible for a saint to see his own flaws, and to throw some dirt when it is necessary.

    Obama lacked the experience to handle the diversity in a national campaign. Will he do better against McCain?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:06 PM  

  • Here is the first poll of "Obama/Clinton". Whereas Obama generally performs worse in state-level polls once VP's are brought in, Obama-Clinton runs 5 points ahead of just Obama, according to the first Gallup poll to test it.

    So a few considerations:
    1. Eat it, losers. You were wrong (I know it is just one poll, but 5% is bigger than the margin of error).
    2. This probably includes some defections among Obama's core groups - like African Americans and students, meaning that the Hillary people he is picking up more than make up for that effect. Where do you find Hillary people? In swing states.
    3. A solid majority of Democrats would like to see Obama pick Hillary.
    4. Think of the advantages. Obama could be the day president, while Hillary worked the night shift (say at 3 am).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 5:12 PM  

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