On One Hand

November 5, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 3:20 am
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August 30, 2008

Karl Rove on Obama’s VP Selection

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:22 pm

Karl Rove predicting Obama’s VP Pick would be a bad choice:

“I think [Obama’s] going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice,” Rove said. “He’s going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he’s going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He’s not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president.”

Rove singled out Virginia governor Tim Kaine, also a Face The Nation guest, as an example of such a pick.

“With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished,” Rove said. “I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America.”

Why Sarah Palin is Awesome

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 12:40 am
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Sarah Palin is young and fresh – that is, younger than two of John McCain’s kids.

Sarah Palin won’t have any problem being ready at 3a.m. – she’ll be awake with the 4-month-old baby.

Sarah Palin won second place in the Miss Alaska pageant – yeah, feminists love beauty pageants.

Sarah Palin once said she doesn’t know what a vice president does, but she’s come around on that in the last few years months weeks – she made the statement in July.

Sarah Palin supports teaching Creationism in schools and doesn’t beleive in global warming.

Sarah Palin supports an unconditional constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and opposed same-sex benefits for partners of state employees of Alaska, but she says she’s not anti-gay because she has “some gay friends.”

Sarah Palin only met John McCain one time. The second time they met he said Ibarelyknowyoubut hellllpppppmeeeeeee.

Sarah Palin endorsed Pat Buchannan for president in 2000, as a council member of a town of 6,000. Uh…

Time elapsed before realizing that Sarah Palin is not awesome: 16.45 seconds.

August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:10 pm
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So apparently McCain thinks ex-Clinton supporters (who critiqued Obama for his lack of experience) won’t feel patronized and tokenized by a VP selection who pales in comparison to Hillary Clinton’s political experience, who was a mayor of a town of 6,000 before becoming elected governor of a state of 750,000 voters just two years ago.

And apparently they’re supposed to overlook the fact that the former beauty queen is an anti-abortion social conservative who has never made womens’ rights an issue.

Senator Obama’s newness to politics was said to have been a gamble, but it was a gamble that 36 million Democrats voted on in the highest-turnout primary in American history. Would Sarah Palin have stood a chance in a Republican Primary?

I’ve got a great idea for the next VP to anyone running in 2012: my mom. Why? She’s thoughtful, nice, and a “true American.” She teaches speech therapy which means she cares. Why wouldn’t she be on anyone’s shortlist?

John McCain dumped his former wife after returning from Vietnam as a POW to find she had been disfigured in a car accident. Like Sarah Palin, his first wife had been a beauty queen, but was attractive no longer and not worth Mr. McCain’s time – only months after the divorce was finalized, John married an attractive wealthy woman half his age, now known as Cindy McCain (the Regan family cut ties with John McCain because they didn’t like John dating Cindy before the divorce was final). This won’t be the first time John McCain overlooked someone for a pretty young thaang. But the real shock would be if he hopes to gain feminist credentials by picking a pro-life woman who doesn’t support womens’ issues, who tokenizes women as a whole.

If Alan Keyes has failed to appeal to African-Americans as a whole (because, guess what, black people care more about the issues a leader supports than the color of his or her skin), why would we expect swing-voting women to fall for this one?

June 20, 2008

What Hillary can Say to Help the Dems

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:41 am
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Hillary Clinton is going to start campaigning side-by-side with Barack Obama next Friday. The goal is to continue to unite the party, bringing Clinton’s anti-Obama supporters around so that they don’t defect to John McCain.

Clinton has already said that the differences between herself and Barack Obama pale in comparison to their differences with John McCain. But Obama still faces the anger of Clinton supporters who call him sexist or say he “stole” the election from Hillary Clinton. They’d rather undermine their own interests and support the Republican than support they guy who is most responsible for preventing their candidate from becoming president. But Obama, the Dems, and even Clinton herself need to see Barack Obama elected if her direction for the country is to be fulfilled; that means universal healthcare, ending the war, saving Roe v. Wade and rolling back the Bush tax cuts. They won’t get every Clinton supporter back, but they can get a few more and offer Obama a 2-point bump, which makes a big difference when he’s already ahead. Here’s what Clinton can and should say to bring her angry supporters around:

Obama won the primary fair and square. It’s one thing to see the candidate you love lose the nomination, and be forced to turn your support to the party’s other candidate. It’s quite another if you think your candidate won the nomination and the nomination was given to someone else anyway – the latter scenario makes you much more likely to defect from the party as a whole.

But there’s little merit to claims that Obama “stole” the nomination, especially given that Clinton herself said that the superdelegates can support whomever they like – regardless of the public will – and they clearly favored Obama. Obama got the most delegates, and that’s why he’s the Democratic nominee. He got those delegates because they chose him or were elected to choose him, not because he coerced them or that they felt obligated to favor him because he is Black. Obama won a pledged delegate majority, a superdelegate majority, and the majority of the popular vote not counting Michigan where Obama wasn’t on the ballot. If Hillary Clinton can help her supporters face those facts, it will lesson the sting of turning shifting support to Barack Obama.

Even if Michigan and Florida had been counted in full, Obama would have had more delegates than Clinton. The Michigan-Florida debate was eventually most heated dispute between the two campaigns, and later it was the heated dispute between the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party as a whole when the Rules Committee stuck to its own pre-primary decision to punish states who held their primaries too soon. But the dispute over Michigan and Florida were about Democratic principles, not about choosing the nominee; Obama was ahead of Clinton by delegate gap big enough that those states would not have made the difference for Clinton. Had they been counted in full, Barack Obama still would have won, albeit by a slimmer margin.

Barack Obama supports womens’ rights and gay rights and opposes sexism. Many of Clinton’s supporters, be they gay men or second-wave feminist women, have suggested that Clinton lost the nomination because she was a woman and because the media attacked her for being a woman. Sexist language was certainly there, and it may or may not be why she lost the nomination, but Clinton could help Obama by pointing out that the sexist language came from pundits or ordinary people and not Barack Obama himself. Furthermore, Barack Obama is pro-choice while John McCain is not, Barack Obama is pro-gay while John McCain is not, and Barack Obama supports a liberal Supreme Court while John McCain does not. Barack Obama is as much of a feminist as Hillary Clinton is, and his victory over John McCain can represent a victory for women’s interests in November.

The Republicans are attacking Michelle Obama in the same way they once attacked Hillary Clinton. It was during Bill Clinton’s presidency that Hillary Clinton first became a hero to some feminists, and to those who would whisper – someday, she’ll be the first woman president. But it was Conservative attacks on Hillary Clinton that crystalized that defensive support, and sealed her reputation as a fighter who has taken more heat than most men in politics ever do. If Hillary Clinton was the first First Lady presented as an outspoken and involved woman with her own opinions, Michelle Obama would be the second. Now Michelle Obama’s comment about being “really proud” of America for the “first time” in her adult life is lampooned in the same way that Clinton’s comments about stay-at-home moms were lampooned in 1992. Pundits are calling Michelle a “black separatist” though they have no supporting evidence, while the wider rhetoric suggests that she’s “really bitter” or an “angry woman” who actually wears the pants in the relationship – sound familiar? If Clinton can make the case that Michelle Obama is facing the same kind of sexist and racist attacks that she herself once faced as First Lady, she could coalesce the same kind of support among feminist women and ensure that they will campaign and vote for Barack Obama.

June 3, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s June 3 Victory Speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:53 pm
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Bloggers and pundits have lamented Hillary Clinton’s victory speech that she gave in New York after news stations called the South Dakota primary for her. The point of contention was Clinton’s failure to to concede the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, and that she said she wouldn’t announce the future of her campaign that evening.

I would argue that Hillary Clinton’s speech was as close to a concession as anyone could expect, and was as graceful and eloquent as anyone could have asked. She started out by praising Barack Obama and his campaign, then went over the strengths and merits of her own candidacy. Then she gave a heartfelt overview of the issues that she and the Democratic Party are supporting this fall, explaining that it is for these reasons that she ran for office, and also making a compelling issues-based case, though indirectly, that her supporters should turn to favor Barack Obama who has nearly the same platform as she.

It’s rare for candidates to drop out the night of a losing primary, let alone a primary that the candidate won. A dropout is especially unlikely when someone has fought as long and hard as Hillary Clinton did this year. Edwards waited untill the morning after his final primary to withdraw, and it’s the normal thing to do for presidential candidates in a primary election when there are more contests to come. Though some of the merits of her continued contention are absurd – like the argument that Michigan’s votes should count towards the popular vote total even though Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot – the race still ended up strikingly close, and of late her argument has been less about becoming the Democratic nominee and more about a sentimental insistence that losing candidates should not drop out until the final vote has been cast. Right now a few superdelegates remain, and Hillary Clinton will have fulfilled her rhetorical commitment to outlast the entire contest by waiting until all of them have declared their support for a candidate.

Hating Hillary Clinton can’t possibly restore party unity and won’t help Barack Obama in any way. Since it is already obvious that Obama is the nominee, Hillary Clinton is no longer a threat, so Obama supporters gain nothing by criticizing her. A few more news cycles will see her exit the race. The best thing to happen now is a steady transition toward unity between the two campaigns, which can happen over a number of days rather than hours. It’s already June, and those who say Clinton hung on too long (and kept a negative tone toward Obama for far longer than she should have) are correct in saying so, but a couple more days of indecision, assuming Clinton says nothing negative about Barack Obama, aren’t going to hurt anything, and could possibly help bring her supporters around more smoothly. Barack Obama has clearly decided that the best thing for him is to praise Hillary Clinton and welcome her supporters into his camp in a friendly and open way. That case is helped if Obama’s supporters do the same thing.

Clinton’s scorned supporters are immediately settling for the less-appealing option of asking their girl to be picked as Barack Obama’s vice-presidential nominee. While this is probably not going to happen, it’s a temporary false hope that will ease the pain of the transition for Clinton supporters, and can’t hurt. She and Obama are going to meet and talk about what to do next, and there is talk that she doesn’t even want the VP spot but will allow Obama to stage an invitation as a gesture of unity. I think there’s reason for optimism that Clinton’s next actions will be well-coordinated with the strategy of the Obama campaign and will be helpful to electing Obama as president.

May 8, 2008

African-American turnout in November

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 3:39 pm
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Assuming Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, we can guess that African-Americans will turn out in numbers at higher than they did in 2004 for John Kerry. Just how much the African-American vote will impact the election is up for debate – many will point out that the highest African-American populations are found in the Deep South where no Democrat can expect to win. But the nation, as a whole, is about 12 percent African-American, and a 30 percent increase in their turnout amounts to a 3.6 percent bump for Democrats over their total popular-vote score in 2004.

Obama could expect a state-by-state bump proportional to the African-American population in that state in his race against John McCain. Polls usually do not factor this increase in hypothetical matches against John McCain, so it indicates that Obama may outperform the polls. Assuming, again, that the turnout increase is exactly 30 percent over 2004 levels, that leads to the following boosts for Barack Obama against John McCain:

4.08 percent over current polls in Florida
10 percent over current polls in Louisiana
4.17 over current polls in Michigan
3.21 over current polls in Missouri
6.6 over current polls in North Carolina
5.64 over current polls in Virgina
3.18 over current polls in Ohio
2.76 over current polls in Pennsylvania
4.77 over current polls in Arkansas
4.8 over current polls in Tennessee
3.57 over current polls in Texas
8.7 over current polls in South Carolina
2.67 over current polls in Indiana.

I am not including states in the Deep South (where turnout will be countered by equal numbers of white voters who do not want an African American president) and states that are solidly Democratic already.

These boosts would significantly impact the following states because the Obama vs. McCain margin is close to the expected boost in the African-American turnout:

Florida had McCain +1 on 4/26
Louisiana had McCain +11 on 4/9
Michigan had Obama +2 on 4/7
North Carolina had McCain +9 on 4/29
Ohio had McCain +1 on 4/26
Pennsylvania had Obama +9 on 4/26
Texas had McCain +5 on 5/1
Virginia had McCain +8 on 4/12
South Carolina has McCain +3 on 2/27
Indiana has Obama +1 on 4/29

If Obama’s African-American support helps put him over the top in any 3 of these states, he is mathematically almost certain to win the election. By this math Black voters should certainly help him secure those numbers. But this scenario depends on the following circumstances:

That Barack Obama increases African-American turnout by 30 percent.

That other factors do not boost overall turnout along with African-American turnout.

That pulls accurately predict or underestimate Barack Obama’s support among whites.

That Barack Obama’s candidacy does not galvanize or boost anti-Black turnout (among Whites and Hispanics) in crucial states.

April 16, 2008

Philadelphia Debate

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:31 pm
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ABC made an interesting judgment call by choosing former Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos to moderate the Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The appearence of a conflict of interest is frowned upon in journalism even if that person can assure neutrality – ABC is the real loser of Wednesday’s media spectacle. If the debate itself seemed neutral or favorable to Obama it wouldn’t be any real issue, but the debate did seem like a piling-on, and many Democrats are going to be offended by the way it was run.

The debate’s real winner is John McCain; both Democrats missed opportunities to make themselves moderate or appealing, and the tone between the two candidates was viscious. Their supporters increasingly hate each other and independents who want to vote for someone who seems fresh and positive will be put off by the bitterness.

The pundits’ early reaction to the Pennsylvania debate says that both candidates performed poorly and were hurt by the negativity – but since they are running against each other for now, one must be hurt more than the other. That will appear to be Barack Obama, who was pummeled for the first 45 minutes with questions about his gaffes and personality. His response to the unfavorable environment was unfortunate; he seemed exhasperated most of the time, which doesn’t look good even if it’s understandable.

Wednesday won’t be remebered as a great day for Obama, but Thursday might. Some superdelegates who leaned towards Obama and were waiting to endorse could jump on board early tomorrow morning to neutralize the debate’s coverage. If those delegates are big names, they will push the debate to page two.

Obama probably shouldn’t complain about Stephanopoulos – bickering about the media makes any candidate look bad – but if a few pundits pick up on ABC’s weird choice, the debate will seem more like a gang-up on Obama than a fair match, which will buffer some of the negatives.

This will almost certainly lead to a boost in fundraising for Obama since his supporters will be angered and empassioned by what they saw. But fundraising won’t do Obama any good; he’s already raising twice as much money as Clinton and outspending her 5 to 1, so the market for his TV commercials is saturated. For Obama to bounce back after this, he needs to get some superdelegates to endorse in the next two days.

Obama needs to come up with some better explanations for his Jeremiah Wright associations and his “bitterness” comment than he gave on Wednesday. My excuse so far has been that he hasn’t had a good platform to make new statements; one epic speech per 6-month period is enough to saturate the market for that. But at Wednesday’s debate, he had a platform to at least roll out some new lines, and didn’t do it. The fact that columnists can come up with more effective lines in his defense than he can make for himself is a problem. He may not want to be a say-anything candidate like Hillary, but he has to be at least a little political, and do it in a smooth and a prepared way. The next best excuse for his failure to generate new material is that he’s exhausted – which is a reasonable explanation, but not something that voters consider in a voting booth.

Clinton’s biggest downfall is that her ring of advisors are so partial to her and so entrenched after backing her in well over a decade in politics that they’ve lost their objectivity – they’ve pushed her into being overly defensive, overly viscious against Democratic colleagues, and far too negative to be appealing. Could Obama be similarly suffering from his campaigns one-sidedness?

March 4, 2008

Clinton Banks on a Brokered Convention

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:53 pm
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The Tina Fey factor is a real thing in 2008. It’s hard to say the entertainment media doesn’t have power, after one late-night comedy program was able to spark an onslaught of negative press that stalled a potential Obama upset in Texas that would have effectively ended the Clinton campaign.

Hillary Clinton won Texas and Ohio by a popular vote on March 4, in a near tie that represents a huge drop from the 15-point lead she saw three weeks ago but will be claimed as victory nonetheless. The timing of this contest serves to block Obama’s 12-win streak, and means that a brokered convention is more likely to occur. Obama won Vermont by a large margin, but as the smallest of 4 states voting on that day, it doesn’t prevent the psychological victory from going to Clinton with big wins in the hard-fought contest.

Yet Clinton’s victories failed to encroach on Obama’s lead in delegates. It’s almost mathematically impossible for Clinton to attain a delegate lead in the primary contest, and similarly unlikely – though not impossible – for her to become the Democratic nominee. But Clinton does position herself to stir things up in the party by playing with the Michigan-Florida deadlocks and by ensuring that intra-Democratic negative campaigning continues for months to come. This fight will almost certainly extend past Pennsylvania, which won’t vote for a whopping 7-week stretch on April 22.

Two weeks ago this contest result would have been considered a loss for Senator Clinton, who, as of February 12, needed to win 55 percent of all remaining delegates to win the nomination. By getting less than 55 in these states, she is now required to win that much more in all remaining contests; to become the de-facto nominee she would now need roughly 62 percent wins from now until the last states vote in June. Since Obama is nearly sure to win some of the remaining states, Clinton needs 75 percent wins in states that are in play for her just to be a contender in a brokered convention.

Pennsylvania’s demographics mean a probable win for Clinton, but Obama will have near guaranteed wins in two oft-overlooked states voting in the next week, Mississippi and Wyoming, that could tip by large margins. He is also going to win Montanna, South Dakota, and Oregon, which vote over the summer.

A recently leaked internal memo from the Obama campaign – which was printed in late January – predicted the huge 12-win streak that propelled Obama to where he is now. The memo also predicted losses in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, and a win in Vermont. With a 100 percent accuracy so far, it indicates an ultimate nomination for Barack Obama, but also predicts a loss in Penssylvania before subsequent wins put him over the top.

If that is true, it shows why Obama can brush these expected losses off with breezy confidence (and in spite of these losses he has a virtual lock on the nomination, though it won’t be without suffering a few more stinging blows from the Clintons), though few would deny it would have been the best thing for everyone to put this contest away once and for all. Clinton has angered many Democrats on all ends of the party by indicating that John McCain is “more prepared” to be President than Barack Obama, probably intended to position herself as a candidate who is more likely to beat McCain but effectively weakening the person who is most likely to be the Democratic nominee.

A brokered convention nominating Hillary Clinton with a weaker popular vote and fewer delegates would result in a likely Democratic loss in 2008, along with Democratic losses in the House and Senate, but there is some upside to the hard race if the contest ultimately lands on Barack Obama. It will spark an exciting press-frenzied convention that builds enthusiasm for democracy, even if it means Obama’s nearly sure-fire victory is weakened to a 50-50 chance or even less. It also increases the chances that Hillary Clinton will be the vice-presidential nominee, which means that the first African-American presidential nominee will be accompanied by the first woman vice-presidential candidate. It also strengthens Barack Obama as a politician, so that even if he loses, future elections let a stronger and more experienced candidate return to the national scene.

February 28, 2008

Presidential Match-ups

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:58 pm
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To win in the general election, a Democratic presidential candidate has to take two of three crucial swing-states, they say; those states are Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Hillary Clinton supporters would want to point that out more than anyone, since, while Barack Obama does much better overall against John McCain in hypothetical matching polls (winning 48-43 while Clinton loses 44-47), Hillary Clinton is doing better than Obama against McCain in two of those crucial states – Florida, and Pennsylvania.

But that seems to conveniently ignore one fact about how the Barack Obama campaign has worked in Florida and Pennsylvania. Obama is the unknown, and repeatedly does poorly in a state until he shows up, after which point he surges ahead of Clinton in the Democratic Primary and in general appeal. Coincidentally, Florida and Pennsylvania are the exact two states that Barack Obama has never campaigned in.

Clinton loses to McCain in those states too, according to many polls, but unlike Obama, she doesn’t have the same kind of momentum appeal that Obama has; they’ve known Hillary for years across the country, so she would have to fight much harder to boost her favor. She has a “glass ceiling,” so to speak, which coincides with her unfavorability rating in any given state. Since her “likeability” in polls is not much more than 50 percent overall, it’s unlikely she will get votes exceeding that, because it would mean getting votes from people whose attitude toward her is unfavorable.

Meanwhile, the argument ignores another powerfully important fact involving states like Colorado, Missouri, and Michigan, where Obama is favored to beat McCain (by huge margins) while Clinton is not (she loses by big margins). The truth is that a landslide of small states tip for the Democrats with Barack Obama as leading candidate.

The updated polls at PresidentElectionPolls.com currently show Barack Obama with a 277 to 250 electoral delegate lead against McCain among all polled states; that is, without winning in Florida, Pennsylvania or Ohio. He also loses in Virginia by that count, though Virginia is one state where high turnout among African Americans could tip the balance in his favor. Meanwhile, Clinton loses in electoral delegates by 211 to 271. It’s true that she could come ahead and close that gap a little, but it also seems true that Obama is a safer bet for a Democrat winning against John McCain.

Especially considering how Barack Obama could come back in Florida and Pennsylvania when he finally gets on the ground there.

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