©07 The Media Desk
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - Round 5
The primary race is STILL Hillary's to lose. And she is working very hard to lose it. Already her brain trust is touting how a THIRD place finish in Iowa is a win and that they'll make the nut in South Carolina and New Hampshire.
Face it. People look at Hill and SEE Bill, and nobody wants to go through another eight years of that. Yes indeed, it is time for a woman president, so run one for the office.
Obama is playing it smart by playing it smart. By simply not trying to compete on Hillary's turf.
Nobody can match the Clinton war wagon for dirty politics. So far we have seen ploys dredged up from the Nixon '72 manual on how to kneecap your opponents (other Democrats and Republicans alike) in mid race. Hillary's people have floated news items that have made it into the major newscasts and front pages of their lackey servants in the media that Obama is a drug dealing Muslim white man. They've also found themselves planted in GOP debates where they've put up questions that were designed to embarrass various Republican candidates and give everybody else ammunition to use against them.
Yes the operatives have come out and said they were sorry, that they didn't mean to call Obama a Muslim, or ask somebody about why they hate gays in a debate, and so on, but that was all for show. The stunts worked exactly as they were intended to and the big papers (read "Post", "Times" etc) and the Clinton News Network and its clones dutifully ran story after story first outlining the charges, then restating the charges later when they were making a three quarters lame attempt to refute them.
Of course it is the charges themselves that do the damage. It is what gets repeated in the coffee shops and diners of the early primary states. And 'whispering' campaigns of false charges go all the way back to the 1884 Grover Cleveland campaign when those opposed to his Bourbon Democrat coalition (of 'mugwump' reformer Republicans and Democrats) would chant "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?" at his rallies. The charge was made that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child but the charges didn't stick even though he was voluntarily paying child support because the child's mother had a 'less than sterling' reputation and had been involved with several other men, most of them married including Cleveland's law partner. Cleveland never claimed the child was his and the mother never pursued the action further. To confuse matters further, the mother named the child 'Oscar Folsom Cleveland', using Cleveland's partner's name as the child's first and middle with his last name. Scandals like that make stained blue dresses seem somewhat tame.
The jury is still out (an appropriate metaphor given the subject- no?) on whether or not Former President Bill Clinton's active participation and veiled references from Hillary that 'they' will be president again are helping or hurting Mrs. Clinton's campaign. Or is that Mrs. Rodham Clinton? Funny how she is campaigning using just her first name like she's Cher on tour or something isn't it?
The rest of them.
In any case. Confounding the early primaries further are several candidate's that just will not go away, including Joe Biden of Delaware and John Edwards from North Carolina and the cast of the usual suspects.
Biden is a perennial candidate who runs every four years just to get out of his home state and see a bit of the country on the public tab. He has no shot, he always says something stupid that derails his campaign, but he does it anyway. This time the stupid comments include remarks about foreign ownership of donut shops in Delaware and the fact that Biden has noticed that Mr. Obama is a well spoken and educated 'man of color'. Biden will hang on and make noise through February, then he's done.
After channeling dead babies in court to pay for a six million dollar, Ten Thousand square foot home (complete with a 600 sq ft bedroom suite), he has gone on the campaign trail to talk about how he cares about poor people. Edwards was a failure as a US Senator, missing more votes than he attended in his one six year term in office. He was a failure as a VP candidate running with the man that was for it before he was against it. And he is up for his third swing at the ball. Let's hope he doesn't stop to get a four hundred dollar haircut on his way back to the dugout. As far as the campaign goes, Edwards just will not go away and now some are talking about him finishing second in the early states. Well, if he does it will just prolong the agony until he drops out.
The answer first like that game show: "Who was the Democrat at the debate with the only haircut better than Edward's?" The answer: "Chris Dodd, Senator from Connecticut." That seems to be the only thing anybody remembers about him, his impeccably coiffed stark white hair. And there's a reason for that. Other than having his hair done in DC since 1975 (the only longer term resident in the pack is Biden, since '73) he has nothing else to recommend him for the White House. The only thing surprising about Dodd's campaign is that it still exists.
Ohio's Dennis Kucinich is a flaming liberal. There is no other way to put it. He spouts off phrases like 'peace at all costs' and means it, and he has no problem with raising your taxes to pay for it. His core supporters, both of them, will cling to him with a tenacity that must be marveled at. Kucinich's numbers are high only in polls taken at college campus juice bars on Vegan night.
Governor Richardson of New Mexico looked like an ideal candidate, until he started campaigning that is. To run a successful campaign the candidate must have some spark of charisma (think Obama) or be personable (think BILL Clinton) or have .... something. Mr. Richardson just doesn't.
"Who's on First?"
"?? Ron Paul ??"
Far from being the Lyndon LaRouche of the Republican Party, Representative Paul from Texas is making a lot of the 'mainstream' candidates nervous. The former Libertarian still has some rather offbeat ideas, has been consistently against the war in Iraq and voted AGAINST it from the beginning, unlike Senator Clinton and certain others who are now proclaiming that they are against it. However, he has also been consistently against tax increases which has made him a darling of the conservatives. Although he is one of the oldest of the candidates from either party, Paul has proven to be more Internet savvy than the rest of them combined and seems to have learned how to turn online support into real world support, something that Dr Dean failed to do in 2004.
Paul has raised tons of money, is getting some national attention from the political talk shows and a few of the papers, and is still getting incredible buzz on the Net.
Whether Paul's campaign has as much traction as it appears to be gathering as we lurch into the first primaries while still nursing New Year's hangovers remains to be seen.
Billed as the original front runner and the natural champion of the party, Rudy Giuliani's campaign seems to have stalled. While he had instant name recognition as the Mayor of New York City during the 11 September 2001 attacks, that was apparently all he had. His credentials as a conservative were suspect enough that the other 'real' conservatives could hammer away at his softness on such issues as illegal immigration, gay marriage rights, gun ownership, and so on. It was enough to hamstring his campaign and knock enough points off his approval rating to give the rest of them a shot.
Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, picked up a lot of those points. More of a 'true' conservative than Rudy could even pretend to be on TV. However, Romney's being a Mormon was more of an issue with those same voters than Giuliani's being a Roman Catholic.
Speaking of 'playing one on TV' brings us to former Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee is better known as a TV attorney. Despite his staring role on a hit TV show, Thompson just doesn't have the presence of a major celebrity, that and his late entry into the race has hurt his numbers across the board.
Let's say it here and now: "NOT ANOTHER FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS.... and one from HOPE at that!"
Which brings us to Mike Huckabee. Yes he is a former Governor of Arkansas, but he is a Republican, of sorts, as is McCain, whom we will come to in a minute. And Yes, he was born in Hope, that same small town in the extreme southwestern corner of the state where Mr. Clinton was born, although Huckabee came along about ten years later. And as with several others in the Republican pool, Huckabee has religious issues with his candidacy as he is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. However, Huckabee's definition of both what Southern Baptists and Republican's stand for has raised quite a few eyebrows and called into question Mr. Huckabee's judgment and common sense, or rather, his lack thereof.
Senator John McCain of Arizona. Asked the question as to who has run for president more often, McCain or Biden, and most people will have to scratch their heads and think about it. However, truth be told, that while McCain's name has often been floated for a presidential run, the 2000 campaign was actually his first and only serious outing until now. Biden on the other hand, has run, or run an 'I'm not running' campaign every time around since 88. McCain is registered as a Republican, however, to conservative Republicans he often appears to be one in name only. McCain has the habit of sticking around the campaign trail until the bitter end. So look for him well into the summer to be.... spending money.
First and last on the list of 'also runs' has to be Duncan Hunter. The firebrand conservative Congressman from California is the poster child for those that feel that securing our borders is key to maintaining the security of the country. He has also taken strong and sometimes unpopular stands on issues and held his ground, something not usually seen in either California or Washington DC. However his lack of name recognition and something of the idea that he isn't a serious candidate has hurt his national campaign. However, again, look for him in '12 too.
Representative Tom Tancredo is another one who just hasn't caught fire nationally. Part of it may be that he's from 'flyover country' state of Colorado. Part of it may be that we've seen this act before. He has no flagship issue, he has nothing new to say, he's running as a moderate without a message and that won't work any more, if it ever did. Even his catch-phrase is boring- 'paleo-conservativism'. Out of money and never above single digits in the polls, he'll be out as soon as the polls close in New Hampshire.
Independents and Third Parties
There's nobody worth talking about.
The Libertarians have become a laughing stock of inconsistencies and have lost their flag carrier, Ron Paul, to the mainstream. When you go looking for their candidates, you find out about half the party is running.
Of course Ralph Nader is running again. Except this time not as a Green. Oh well.
And Green party is running a wide slate of all sorts of full blown Liberals ranging from college types to newspaper staff members and editors to film makers and Black Panthers. Oh, sorry, just realized that that sentence was triple redundant past the word 'ranging'.
In short, once again the promise of a Third Party or Independent candidate changing the way politics are done in America is found to ring hollow.
AND NOW THE ODDS
Much has changed since our last look at the race when it wasn't a question IF Hillary would win, but by how much.
Now the IF question has come into play.
In some of the polls Hillary is not only behind, she is significantly behind, and falling. A difference of a point or two either way is still within the margin of error. When the numbers get beyond five percent or so is meaningful in all sorts of ways. And when you see the numbers get close, then merge, then Obama pass Hillary and then pull away, you begin to wonder where the magic has gone.
Yes Obama has Oprah. But Hillary has Barbara Streisand. Oh. Well...
Yes Obama is young and charismatic and well spoken. But Hillary has Bill. Oh, yeah, ok. Moving on.
Yes Obama talks about change and appeals to that same nerve that JFK did. But Hillary talks about change and then runs out Bill and Barbara and... well, so much for change.
"So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein - this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed."
Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in support of US war resolution in Iraq.
10 October 2002
[available the US Senate web site]
Obama is now the points leader by a nose. Unless Hillary has a dirty trick up her sleeve that we haven't seen yet, the race is going to be close through perhaps the Super Tuesday Primary of 5 February. Yes, the deal will be decided before Valentine's Day.
January has three other primaries besides Iowa and New Hampshire with 'make or break' power before twenty states go in the first week of February. Michigan and South Carolina, then Florida which is the gem in the month. Florida's last Tuesday vote could jumpstart an otherwise faltering campaign and keep somebody in the race for another week.
In both parties the majority of the delegates will be chosen on that first Tuesday of the second month. For the Dems, over 2000 convention delegates are up for grabs, with the GOP it'll be around a thousand, and if anybody gets most of them, they'll pretty much lock up the nomination. Of course both parties have cried "foul" against Michigan and Florida and said they wouldn't seat their delegates at the convention because the state's moved their primaries into the sacred month of January, but what happens will play out in the courts, not on the convention floor in the summer. After all, what would an election be without a couple of nasty lawsuits?
Obama by a tick for the nomination with Hillary just behind. Both of them are essentially splitting the EVEN odds spot with O just ahead by a fraction of a point. This situation is really fluid and the polls are fluctuating just in and out of the margin of error almost daily however, it seems Obama is picking up steam. But even then, the Desk doesn't see him going into to Super Tuesday at better than 5 to 4 for. Hill? She stays at even no matter what.
Edwards comes in a distant third, UNLESS the top two get really nasty and he can pick up some of the fallout. 3 to 1 against.
The Field is more or less out of the race as hopeless long shots a 7 to 1 against.
Yeah, lets say that again: There is NO Favorite going into the early primaries.
The entire field. Rudy, Paul, Mitt, Mike, and McCain.... Are ALL sitting somewhere between 3 to 2 for to EVEN.
We could put Duncan Hunter in the list of Long Shots, but what fun is that if there is only one or two of them? Nah, put the entire slate of candidates in as even odds and see where it shakes out.
This also raises the scenario that NONE of these clowns will have a large enough bundle of balloons to be nominated on the first ballot at the convention. And then... who knows, we might end up with anybody from the Red Baron to Snoopy on the ticket.
Well. It doesn't look good for any of them.
In the General it is a different election. They have to appeal to a more mainstream crowd than the activists and single issue voters that usually populate the voting booths in the primaries. And when polled across the wider populace, none of them are bringing in real glowing numbers.
So, for right now, for All Comers in the General- No Odds For.
Hillary, 5 to 3 AGAINST. Obama, 3 to 2 Against. Giuliani and Romney 3 to 2 Against. Dem Field- 5 to 2 against. GOP Field 4 to 1 against.
Check back after Super Tuesday.
Now this is interesting.
IF Obama pulls it out, will Hillary line up behind him in support in the General, if, and that is one hell of an if, IF she is not the VP?
If she does, it will not be very enthusiastic and we've all seen her smile when she is in her "I'm smiling but I only am because I have to" smile mode.
Obama and anybody else might be a hard sell for the general. BUT, that also depends on what the Republicans put up.
IF Hillary wins, can she bring it home in November? Not a pretty picture either. But we are going to have to face one or the other in just a few months.
And that is the bottom line of the whole thing.
Think about it.
And think about it without violent shivers and massive lower intestinal cramps.
One of these people is going to be the Leader of the Free World and have to get on TV to calm the nation after the next Terrorist Attack.
So, now with that thought in mind... who would you vote for? Besides Snoopy and the Red Baron that is.
Countdown to Election- ten months and change.
The HILLARY movie [an uncompensated plug]
The article posted 1 March 2007
2005's look this way- the list is a little different, but not much.
winter '05 and the Primary Date Shuffle! The Desk was a PROPHET!
Other Political Coverage
[NOTE: The Desk is registered as a Conservative Independent Libertarian which pisses off everybody. It has never voted for a winning candidate in any major election, although it votes in every major election. thank you]
Back to the Desk's Main page