Friday, October 5, 2007

Hillary Clinton Has Great Week: Anti-Clinton Media Recoils

I am beginning to understand what my right-wing friends and family members are forever griping about. This week, Hillary Clinton's very good September became clear for everyone to see: she outraised Obama by a fair amount, got the endorsement of an important teachers' group, and saw several polls from reputable polling organizations released which showed her with massive leads.

And then the knee-jerk Anti-Clintonites is the fourth estate start to chime in. It really is rediculous. A few examples:

On Drudge tonight, this headline: NYT SATURDAY: HILLARY HAS $$, BUT OBAMA HAS THE CROWDS IN IOWA... Thank you, New York Times, for running a story that everyone has heard over and over again. Why now? Interesting timing, to be sure.

I made the mistake of tuning into Hardball on MSNBC the other night, a practice I engage in only when in need of a splitting headache from Chris Matthews' incessant and obnoxious yelling. (Seriously, I think that he either has a hearing problem or some nervous disorder dealing with the volume of his voice.) Following are examples of some of the very impartial analysis from Matthews, the moderator:

*"If Hillary sits on her lead and doesn‘t say anything and simply has a smart operation, smug and smart, can she get blown away here?" Hmm..."smug" is always a word I choose when in need of a non-loaded and completely impartial adjective when on camera as a moderator.

*"Let me ask you about Hillary Clinton. She went on the Sunday talk shows, all five of them, made no news in five appearances." Speaking of smug...Actually, she did go on all five talk shows and made a lot of news...and received rave reviews. An inconvenient fact...

It did not help that David Yepsen was Matthews' guest. He is the Des Moines Register political pundit who is allegedly the go-to guy regarding Iowa politics. He was full of little gems like those of Matthews detailed above, but they aren't surprising or worth noting. Yepsen lost his credibility as an informed observer of the Iowa political scene when he began to carry Obama's water blatantly every time a camera is pointed at him. He looked discheveled and distracted on Wednesday night. I think his crush on Obama is starting to get to him.

Hardball transcript 10/3/07

And some of the Hillary critics are returning to the old electability saw, and as pre-refuted in this earlier post, have resorted to half-truths and distortions to make their case. In this piece on Real Clear Politics, Steven Stark (who?) penned this missive yesterday. It's title: Edwards, Not Hillary, is Dems' Best Chance. This is truly wonderful journalism. My favorite excerpt:

Clinton's problem is that, according to some polls, Rudy Giuliani is currently running even or only slightly behind her in New Jersey, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania - up-for-grabs states Clinton has to sweep in order to win. Given his current showing, it's likely Giuliani will win some of those contests in November 2008 and deny Clinton a majority.

Well written. It's also utter crap. Missouri hasn't voted for a Democrat since 1996, and is not a must-win for Dems. Ohio is the biggest swing state in the country. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are more and more blue all the time.

What Stark doesn't say is what I outlined in my post on the Northeast: Hillary is of ahead or even with Guiliani in the Northeast, but Obama and Edwards are well behind. People who twist facts to support a thesis are abhorrent.

The media should be impartial and truthful. I am amazed at the lengths media outlets will go to in order to change a narrative. That's the job of political operatives, not "reporters."

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Obama Quits Wearing Flag Pin

Barack Obama had this to say in a radio interview today:

"The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin...Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security."

These are the sorts of statements that should disqualify Obama as a nominee. How do you think that this is going to play in the "flyover" states? What will the Republican filth machine have to say about this if Obama wins the nomination? Every week, these dumb statements give the Republicans more fodder. And don't think that they're not paying attention, in case Hillary falters. It won't be pretty. He's just not ready...

Full Breitbart article
Post from 8/14: Barack Obama Must Be Defeated

The chart for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Shows a trend...

Sen. Craig (Widestance - ID) Staying

In a stunning reversal, Larry Craig announced today that he intends to serve out his term in the Senate. Could be a (nother) drag on Republicans around the country.

A Minnesota judge today dismissed Craig's petition to withdraw his plea. This would have been the trigger that he earloer cited for his resignation.


Idaho Statesman - Hometown coverage

Talladega Picks

I put a lot of time and thought into my picks for Talladega for this weekend's race. That was probably a waste of time because what with this being the first restrictor plate COT race it should be a madhouse. Two possibilities: 1. The "big one" at Talladega could be several big ones as that ugly batwing on the back of the cars make the cars too tight to steer. 2. This could be the most boring Talladega race in NASCAR history. In any event, here are my picks:

1. 24 - Gordon to win- I saw Jeff Gordon win at Talladega in April. He's good there, sadly. It was a flip for me between Gordon, Johnson, and Stewart, as those three have the COT figured out.

2. 48 - Johnson - Winner in spring '06 and has a good average finish at Dega. See above re: COT.

3. 2 - Kurt Busch - not thought of as a great superspeedway racer, but his avg finish at this track is enviable. (10.2 with many, many top 10s)

4. 20 - Stewart - has won at Daytona several times. Strangely, never at Talladega. He could very well break that streak this Sunday.

5. 29 - Harvick - already won the Daytona 500 and finishes well at Talladega usually.

6. 8 - Earnhardt - once the undisputed master of the Alabama track, he has not won in a while here. However, he is a force to contend with whenever NASCAR comes to Dega.

7. 1 - Truex - had a sting of bad luck at superspeedways in his early races. His last two starts have been much better and he should be in the top ten.

8. 12 - Newman - has a 19.8 avg finish at T'dega but that statistic is skewed because of freshman and sophomore non-starter efforts. He has multiple recent top tens at Dega and Daytona.

And for the superspeedways-only picks:

9. 6 - Ragan - In three superspeedway starts, he has distinguished himself. He is the leading Roush car right now at Daytona and here.

10. 38 - Gilliland - I have never put him in a top 10 before but his 9.5 avg finish at Talladega is the best of all active drivers. His pole in the Daytona wasn't bad either... RYR engines at these tracks are a well-known powerhouse.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Red Northeast?: Guiliani as Nominee (Why Hillary Must Win)

See below (10/2/07) for an analysis of the absurdity of Rudy Guiliani's memo claiming that he is a lock for 210 electoral votes were he to be the GOP nominee, versus Hillary Clinton's lock on MA and VT in a hypothetical "subway series" Guiliani - Clinton matchup. So they claim. It's rediculous in a number of ways, outlined in that previous post.

However, there is a certain peril presented to the Democratic party if Guiliani is ultimately the GOP nominee. It is simple: certain states that are reliably blue will be in play if he is the GOP nominee and Hillary Clinton is not the Democratic nominee. Guiliani, a New Yorker, cuts into the Democratic base in New York / New England in a way that, for example, Mitt Romney from Massachusetts does not appear to do. If he were to be nominated, the electoral map and the strategy that the Democratic nominee would have to employ would be radically different from any recent election.

Look at New York. I believe strongly that in a head-to-head matchup, Hillary Clinton would win the home state she shares with Guiliani. All of the one year out (roughly) polling supports this. As evidence, I offer Quinnipac's NY poll released today. That poll asked the central question that I am exploring here. Answer: she beats Guiliani in NY by 11 points. Obama would tie Rudy. Edwards would lose NY to Guiliani. A Democrat cannot, by any reasonable calculus, win the Presidency having lost New York. Hillary Clinton is the only Democrat who can win NY against Republican Guiliani. (Also, see SUSA on this point. Recent poll, Clinton 22 points over Guiliani in New York. This survey is another example of Hillary winning New York against Rudy, while Obama and Edwards lose to him.) The 31 electoral votes that NY brings to the Democrats should not be lightly treated by those who would support another Democratic candidate.

New England, generally, follows the same trend as New York in this Clinton vs. Guiliani scenario. Massachusetts, the most populus state in the New England region, is not competitive if Romney is the Republican nominee. In spite of his one-term stint as governor of that commonweath, Romney loses handily to all potential Democratic nominees. (Example: yesterday's SUSA poll of MA likely voters. Obama vs. Romney: Obama wins handily, as do Clinton and Edwards.) But if Guiliani were the GOP nominee, the numbers change a bit. According to SUSA (the most recent polling data from MA), Clinton beats Guiliani by 24 points, which is roughly the norm for a Democratic presidential nominee in MA. With Edwards and Obama, a race against Guiliani are too close for comfort. The Obama and Edwards leads are not large enough to put Massachusetts' 12 crucial electoral votes in their pocket and move onto more traditional battlegrounds. Interestingly, this is a point where Guiliani's memo was correct. He is not competitive in Massachusetts against Hillary Clinton. He is competitive against the other two.

Connecticut offers the same scenario. Clinton and Guiliani are competitive-ish, but Clinton would probably win. Obama and Edwards would probably lose. Rhode Island is probably much the same, though polling is scarce. Polling data for a general election is equally scant in upper New England, but assuming that the same conundrum faces Democrats other than Hillary Clinton, the seven electoral votes held by those two states are electoral votes that I would like to see remain in the Democratic column. New Hampshire is an anomoly in the region. NH voted for Bill Clinton twice, Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. It is a close purple state that both Republican and Democratic candidates are going to have to spend money to win, no matter who the nominees are.

The 61 electoral votes that New York and the New England states (excepting NH) reliably offer to the Democrats are crucial. Without them, neither Gore nor Kerry would have been close to the Presidency. We should consider the impact of a possible Guiliani nomination on these votes, and what we can do to keep them in our column.

The outcome of elections is often a function of resources. New York and Boston are incredibly expensive media markets. The less money a candidate has to spend there, the more they can spend (and get greater bang for their buck) in places like Denver and Cincinatti and Sarasota. Hillary would have the luxury of spending the money elsewhere, playing offense in previously red states, and winning some of them. The other Dems would have to play massive defense in the expensive Northeast markets, and would likely lose some or most of these states in the end. This would be a disaster.

President Bush's cruel and strange veto of the SCHIP bill today illustrates the immediate importance of a Democratic president. It amuses me that so many Democrats are concerned about electability, which is valid, but then use that point as an warrant for nominating Obama or Edwards. That line of argumentation flies in the face of reason or current facts on the ground. Regardless of whom the Republicans choose, I believe that Sen. Clinton is the best choice because of her principles, demonstrated leadership, proven record of winning by beating the Republican filth machine, and her electability. If someone other than Guiliani is nominated, maybe another Democratic candidate could win. It would be closer and messy. Hillary would be the best choice in that circumstance, as well. But, if Guiliani is the Republicans' standard bearer, only the Senator from New York can win that competition. Democrats who are concerned with electability should with that consideration very carefully when casting their primary ballots.

Talladega Preview

After the profoundly weird race at Kansas, NASCAR moves to Talladega, AL this weekend for the second of two races at the 2.66 mile-long oval. This will be the inaugural Car of Tomorrow superspeedway race, and it will be exciting.

ESPN preview

NASCAR: Busch Series Renamed

...and the winner is....Nationwide.

The insurance giant will sponsor the former Grand National series starting in '08. A lot of big adjustments for the average NASCAR fan to make next year.

Nationwide to Sponsor...

Clinton Opens Up Expansive Lead

Wow. The ABC/WaPo poll out today shows a marked improvement over Sen. Clinton previously very solid poll numbers. 33 points is an enormous margin, especially given the relatively strong field she faces as rivals. The nomination is not sewn up for Clinton (after all, no one has voted yet) but a moderate catastrophe would have to occur to get her into very serious trouble.

NH looks great, Iowa looks better now for her than it has in months. Three months is a long time in politics, but it speaks volumes that as the year has progressed, her lead has expanded. Also note that for the first time, her poll result is a majority of respondents, not a plurality. Being over 50% is a huge deal in a multi-candidate field. This result, coupled with Clinton's victory in the third quarter fundraising battle, is great news for the Senator's campaign.

ABC - POLL: Clinton Advances, Strong in Base; Giuliani’s Lead has Less Oomph
The Fix (WaPo) analysis

News Gets Worse For Senate Republicans

Domenici would have eked out a victory, in spite of his abysmal popularity ratings. Now, he's retiring too. Given the swingish nature of New Mexico, this race should be a toss up. Given the political climate, it might even be a "Democrat Favored" rated seat. In any event, another big, messy, expensive, ubercompetitive Senate seat is not what the cash-strapped RSCC wanted. This is the nightmare scenario for Republicans.

Wash Post link

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Rudy Guiliani is Delusional...

if he thinks that he would produce a landslide against Hillary Clinton. In a memo released today from his campaign, he is willing to give her MA and VT (plus 3 from DC).

Via My DD, this is Guiliani's "state of the race" map. I don't know who his pollsters are, but they are not worth what he is paying them. A few issues with this map, aside from obvious methodological flaws:
1. Hillary will carry Arkansas- no doubt in my mind.
2. Putting FL in the Guiliani column is silly. All recent demographic and election data show that it is a competitive state and getting more competitive.
3. CA is probably not up for grabs. The most recent poll I have seen shows a 20 point Clinton advantage over Guiliani.
4. While I believe that Guiliani would run stronger than, say, Mike Huckabee in the Northeast, I think that RI, CT, ME will definately be blue in '08. NH probably will be.
5. MN was the rare blue state that John Kerry carried with a larger margin than Al Gore. It will produce its electoral votes for Hillary, or whomever the Dem nominee is.
6. IL, a state I visited yesterday, is home turf for Hillary and is reliably a Dem state. No dice on that one either.
7. NY is the home state of both Clinton and Guiliani, but all the polling I have seen shows that Hillary is far ahead and would carry the state. Huge margins in Manhattan, coupled with the work she has done to make herself acceptable to moderate Republicans upstate will work in her favor.
8. NJ is a state that no Republican has carried since 1988. I doubt that Guiliani, neighbor to NJ that he is, would be especially competitive there.
9. Not all the mistakes are in Guiliani's favor. LA is a conservative state save New Orleans. With the demographic shift after Hurricane Katrina, it should be a GOP lock in a presidential. Curious that it is purple in Guiliani's rubric.
10. OR and WA are always close-ish in pre-election polling and end up being reliably blue when the returns are counted.
Just a few of the many issues presented by this poll. I still think that Guiliani is unlikely to be nominated. If he is, I think that it will be a tougher race than otherwise. I don't think it is a given that Sen. Clinton would beat him, although I do think that it's likely. This map / memo is absurd. Rudy Guiliani should fire his pollsters immediately.
Later in the week, I will be posting some general election analysis, focusing on the Northeast. The coasts are our base at this point. They are must wins. I personally believe that if Guiliani is nominated, Hillary must be the candidate of the Democratic party if we are to win next year. The truth is, this cockamamie map aside, that Guiliani would run stronger in the Northeast than most other Republicans. If Hillary lost the nomination, and Obama or Edwards were the nominee, NY, NJ, CT and several other "base" states would be perilous for Democrats. She runs stronger and will win these states where other Democratic candidates will lose them. I'll expound on that thesis in greater detail soon.

Hillary Wins Third Quarter Money Race

Today, the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton unveiled its 3Q fundraising totals. Her $27 million take-in was by far the largest of any candidate in either party.

Totals, early reporting:

Clinton - 27M
Obama - 19M
Edwards - 7M (though a lot of this is useless, since he is taking matching funds, and is capped.)
Richardson - 5M

The GOP candidates have yet to release totals, but it is clear that the Democratic candidates are far outraising the Republicans.