The Watering Hole: Tuesday April 3, What to watch out for..

…tonight:

As Romney seems to be The Inevitable one now, there are a few things that we still can watch out for in the primaries.

Turnout. If I am correct turnout will be low. As in: Really Low. Mitt Romney is not an inspiring candidate at all, not for the Republican base. Nor for anybody, except maybe for those making 200’000 plus, I dare say.

Santorum is just running his mouth now, but not much else. I can’t see any indication that the Santorum supporters are fighting back, I cannot see much trace of them anymore in the comments sections where they used to hang around.

Paul? Well, nuff said.

Gingrich? Well, nuff said indeed.

Watch out for other races, too. Incumbicide is rampant right now. There may be a few surprises coming on this side.

…in November:

That no Republican gets the White House for a while. Honestly, if it is only to avoid further activist Supreme Court judges.

A whole set of polls can be found as usual here at realclearpolitics. Nevermind they are really conservatives, when it comes to politics I want to see what the other side is thinking and be prepared for the worst case.

This is our Open Thread. What do you think?

The Watering Hole: January 24 – Damage Control

Newt has them in a frenzy it seems. The GOP establishment is bringing out their heavyweights to try and do damage control. After Chris Christie calling Newt Gingrich an embarrassment on “Meet the Press”, now Tim Pawlenty has come out with a similar message:

“This is somebody who has had so many incredibly unfortunate and questionable activities while he was speaker, post-speaker, that he’s not somebody that I think can carry the banner for the Republican Party and the conservative movement forward as a nominee or as a future president,”

To the rescue of Gingrich comes, of all people,  She Who Shall Not be Named. Calling Chris Christie a “rookie” and accused him of “lack of self-discipline”.

WOW!

Gingrich tends to autodestruct, Romney could try the “No Drama” approach that your President does so irritatingly well, so why does the uproar come so early in the game?

There’s an unCivil War within the GOP raging. And for once it is not along the lines of evangelical purism against liberalism, it is along the lines of fiscal purism. The rebels couldn’t care less whether Gingrich had married three wives and a goat, or Romney entered marriage as a virgin, they care about The Deficit, The Debt and Big Government.

You do not have to follow the link to the article, if you (understandably) don’t want to give them any views on their website, but it was an article in redstate.com that made this clear to me:

There is general philosophical agreement among both Republicans and conservatives about all of this. Where the fault line lies is in exactly how far we are willing to go to do something about it. Many people who got into politics as good conservatives, and still think themselves good conservatives constrained by the limits of practical possibility, are at a loss when it comes to meaningful ways to tame Leviathan. For reasons, some good (the need to use political power to protect national security, preserve control of the courts and restrain regulatory overreach), some less so, they have thrown in the towel on the central issue of the day. That is who we speak of as the “Establishment.” Others – not always with a sense of proportion or possibility, but driven by the urgency of the cause – seek dramatic confrontations to prevent the menace of excessive spending from passing the tipping point where we can no longer save room for the private sector. They are the Outsiders, the ones challenging the system and its fundamental assumptions. The analogy of a Tea Party is an apt one: the Founding Fathers had much in common with the Tories of their day, but disagreed on a fundamental question, not of principle, but of practical politics: whether revolution was needed to protect their traditional rights as Englishmen from being eradicated by the growing encroachments of the British Crown. As it was then, the gulf between the two is the defining issue of today’s Republican Party and conservative movement. (whole article if you want to here)

The cause for fiscal purity is made with precision in that article and Gingrich obviously knows how to tap into that feeling. He could even spin being kicked out as a Speaker into a story about having been a “Maverick” all along (rings familiar eh?). Romney may still come out on top of it, but at what price remains to be seen. Santorum won’t be in the picture very long for the very reasons I have stated, the race is not about religious purity anymore. Paul, yeah well, he can prepare for his run in 2016.

My projected scenarios, being a European Elitist I am by nature an insufferable know-it-all, would be:

Romney wins. He is at best a lukewarm candidate and will not fire up the GOP base at all, but the “Anybody but Obama” crowd will have to be reckoned with. The prospects of President Romney won’t give Democrats a good reason to go vote, even grudgingly, for Obama. Voter turnout will be low on both sides and this could lead to a closer race than comfortable for Obama. But Obama wins.

Gingrich wins the nomination. Obama wins.

Gingrich wins more primaries, but autodestructs and leaves Romney fatally hurt at the roadside, so a brokered convention will pick a third candidate. Unlikely, Gingrich’s candidacy will be propped up for some months and left to lose. If only, because any Republican insider worth his/her salt, especially the younger ones, will wait out another stretch (hey, it is only four more years) and run then. Obama wins.

How will the Republican internal struggle end? Depends on who has more money on their hands. The Koch Brothers and their associates or the establishment’s funders.

This is our Open Thread. Let’s discuss, or let’s vent, or let’s turn this into a caption contest, or, or, or. It’s your thread folks, use it.

The Watering Hole: January 10 – Popcorn

Popcorn is many things to many people.

For some it is a magazine for teen people.

For some it is software.

For some it is a place to go.

For some it is .. well.. pick your favourite.

For me it is the irreplaceable ingredient for having to watch the GOP Presidential nomination unfold. As there is still some time to go for the New Hampshire results, you can have fun making your own predictions here, or right here at The Zoo voting at the polls.

 

For more on Romney solid positioning in politics read this.

This is our daily Open Thread. Actually it is YOUR daily Open Thread. So use it if you feel like it.

Bye Bye Hillary – Opinion

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There is no love lost here. Throughout my blogging on the primary campaign I was obviously anti-Hillary. Not specifically pro-Obama at first, but he increasingly gained my interest and then my admiration. At the start of the campaign I would have strongly favoured Al Gore, in a way I still think he would be the perfect man for these times, but he chose not to run. Seeing the kind of flak Obama got from the Clinton camp, I don’t blame Al Gore at all.  I guess he knew what was coming.

I used to be very impressed by Hillary Clinton and thought at one time that she was actually superior to her husband.  I was sure she could have been a President and wasn’t, only because she was a woman. I have amired her speech at the memorial service after 9/11 a wonderfully emphatic speech. I admired her for being so hard working and focused on the issues at hand and the problems to be solved. I admired her for being able to curb her ambitions in the interest of getting things done. My sympathy was entirely hers to lose.

And she lost it first about Iraq. Hillary Clinton’s ambition got the better of her and badly screwed up her judgement. Her “stay the course” mentality that reminded me so much of George W. Bush’s inane stubbornness in the face of a botched war added to my resentment. Her refusal to admit to a mistake, her apparent disregard of the suffering this war brought and her apparent lack of empathy for the victims, topped it off.

Then she lost it in the campaign. Her arrogance during the first part of the primaries, not campaigning in states she didn’t think were important in the final tally. What about their “every single vote”? Her attempt at changing the rules in mid game. Her lies about Bosnia and sniper fire. Was it her being so stupid or did she think everyone else was? Her secrecy about her schedules as a First Lady and her tax returns, which again reminded me of the current White House.

Her very poorly and much less than profesionally led campaign, left me flabbergasted. This is what I would never have expected from a Clinton who puportedly had an overwhelming political machinery at her fingertips. Was that the effective, hard working Senator I used to admire? She didn’t even have her finances under control, nor Bill, nor much of anything else.

And, when it became clear she had lost it, she really dug deeper. Her ill disguised attempt to stir up racism. “Hard working white Americans” as opposed to what? Lazy coloured people??? And finally the “assassination” insinuation. Did she believe I would believe that was misspoken. Politicians of her ilk almost never misspeak. They don’t utter a single sentence on the campaign trail that isn’t vetted and practised in a closed environment before. There are more examples of primaries that have been contested into the month of June than just Bill Clinton’s and Bobby Kennedy’s. This very successfully created a discussion about Barack Obama’s safety and was deliberate to instill doubts in voters if their candidate would even live to see the general election.

These primaries upended most of the impressions I started out with. The strong candidate, the inevitable candidate, had clay feet after all. And the young inexperienced candidate grew more and more presidential with every challenge he faced and finally matured into a  formidable opponent to John McCain. The seemingly neverending story of the Democratic Primary 2008 has a happy ending after all.

I am sure you can find more reasons, why Hillary Clinton has lost the respect and the admiration of, not only foreign bystanders like me, but many Americans, feel free to add those in the comments section.

Good Morning from Europe – A historic day indeed

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We’ve known for a while that the Democratic primary campaign has a clear winner. Thanks to Senator Clinton’s perseverance, however, it is only now that we can focus fully on the task that matters: The Presidential Race 2008. But today is meant for celebrating a historic event. The US Democratic Party has, for the first time, elected an African American as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America. This is obviously making headlines in Europe, too.

The Times sees Senator Obama’s win as a sign of America as a land of opportunities:

Details of the delegate count no longer matter. This moment’s significance is its resounding proof of the triusm about America as a land of opportunity: Mr Obama’s opportunity to graduate from Harvard and take Washington by storm; the opportunity that the world’s most responsive democratic system gives its voters to be inspired by an unknown; the opportunity that outsiders now have to reassess the superpower that too many of them love to hate. (read more..)

The Guardian is more focused on the task ahead:

Five things, and he needs to start on them quickly. First, Obama needs to redefine himself. Think back to the candidate who gave that powerful announcement-of-candidacy speech in freezing Springfield, Illinois, in February 2007, or the candidate who galvanised the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson Day last November. (read more..)

The Independent relives the “epic struggle”

After an epic five-month battle that has transformed American politics, Barack Obama claimed the Democratic nomination last night, continuing his extraordinary quest to become the first African-American president in his country’s history.

It was the most important milestone yet, in the meteoric political journey of Mr Obama, the son of a black intellectual from Kenya and a white anthropologist from Kansas who only four years ago was an almost unknown state senator from Illinois. (read more..)

The Telegraph is more thoughtful than enthusiastic:

ST PAUL, Minnesota. It appears this night is not quite the triumphant crescendo Barack Obama expected and would have liked. CNN and NBC have called the South Dakota primary for Hilary Clinton – a shock result that underlines the problems he has among rural voters and will increase pressure for her to be on the ticket. Obama had key Democrats in South Dakota, most notably Tom Daschle and Senator Tim Johnson, on his side but still did not pull off a win despite early opinion poll leads. He appears to have won Montana. (read more..)

Der Spiegel tells us this story from St.Paul:

Brandon Banteh, for example, drove for four hours to St. Paul. Once here, he waited four hours in a line to get in. “I’m more excited than I have ever been before in my life,” the young academic said. He took Monday and Tuesday off from work, “and if Obama needs me in the fall, I am ready to take more days off.” An older white woman stands smiling next to him, nodding her head rapidly. An Iraq veteran pats Brandon on the shoulder and explains to a reporter why he only trusts Obama and why the Democrats need to pull together.

The young black man. The Iraq veteran. The older woman. It’s the spectrum of the coalition that Obama must forge between now and November to win. John McCain will be a formidable opponent, and Obama has lost a lot of his shine in the fierce primary battle against Clinton. But Banteh didn’t want to ruminate too much on that. “Regardless of the outcome, the US will be changed forever,” he said. (read more..)

Die Welt from Germany:

In securing the delegates needed to lock up the nomination Tuesday, Obama completed one of the most remarkable U.S. political campaigns in memory. A first-term senator, unknown nationally four years ago, Obama toppled one of America’s most powerful political families. Clinton, seeking to become the first female president, had long been seen as the inevitable nominee.Obama’s nomination is also a milestone for a nation where, just decades ago, racial discrimination was widespread and many African-Americans had to fight just for the right to vote. (read more..)

This is what some of Europe’s newspapers think and the tenor is similar across the board. It is a historic moment, but the task ahead is not easy for Barack Obama. I wish you all a good start into your days, stay healthy and safe! Cheers form Europe!

Obama has a huge Problem? Codswallop – McCain has!

What utter nonsense! CNN and other media are going on about how Barack Obama is having a huge problem with white working class voters. When will they start to report on the massive problem John McCain has with Republican voters?

If you look at the Republican primaries there is one striking fact: Even after being the presumptive nominee, John McCain has never once won a primary without his opponents getting a sizeable amount of votes. He never once topped 79% and his opponents (except Ron Paul) have long since stopped campaigning and dropped out of the race three months ago. As recently as Tuesday when largely uncommented by the media West Virginia held Republican Primaries, too, Mike Huckabee received as much as 10% of the vote. In pennsylvania Huckabee got 11% and Ron Paul 16%!

McCain is far from undisputed by his base obviously.

Hillary Clinton’s strength with white blue collar voters does not translate into a weakness of Senator Obama on a 1:1 basis, because his opponent will not be Hillary Clinton. The General election is a new race. And Hillary Clinton owes it to the Democratic Party and their nominee to exert her influence on ‘her’ base when she campaigns for Barack Obama for the Presidency.

To spin a loss against a valid, still running candidate in one state with adverse demographics into a huge problem with Obama’s voter base, however, is bosh, bunkum, piffle, poppycock – you name it.

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Project Post Mortem III – Inevitability and Hubris – And why Obama will win in November

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Quite a while before the Indiana and North Carolina Primaries, TheZoo has published two posts on why Hillary Clinton’s campaign has failed:

Project Post Mortem I – The Vote for War

Project Post Mortem II – Money and Credibility

This is the final instalment and will look at inevitability and the hubris of her campaign. A campaign, that was hers to lose from the beginning:

If you look at the polls of 2006/2007 asking who would win the Democratic nomination you will see Hillary Clinton prospective winner on all and mostly with sizeable margins up to 31%. Her margins are higher, when registered Democrats are the sample, but even if likely voters are asked, Hillary has a comfortable lead. (I will pick up the gap between likely voters and registered voters a little later, because it is important to consider Barack Obama’s chances for winning the general election. The electability revolves around this issue.)

Then came Iowa and the incredible third place. We know the rest. Since then, in the majority of the polls Obama leads Clinton or is tied.

The Clinton campaign, however, refused to see the real challenge. They kept relying on a formidable war chest, name recognition, the Clinton nostalgia and her superior experience. Then came Super Tuesday and with it – no decision. Obama’s lead held. After that, the campaign changed its tune, but not its strategy. They looked on as Barack Obama claimed victory after victory and delegate after delegate, claiming the swing states were deciding the race and waited for Texas and Ohio to vote. Ohio was a clear victory for Clinton, who then started to position herself as the blue collar advocate, but Texas, though still called a victory for Clinton by the media, was not even a tie. The mixed primary/caucus system netted 4 delegates for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and 9 delegates for Barack Obama in the caucuses.Just do the math.

In addition to adding delegates and popular vote, Obama managed to collect an unforeseen amount of money for his campaign. When Hillary Clinton’s donors maxed out for the primaries, the Obama campaign was just warming up. They go about funding the same way as about voting. That’s why the polling samples mentioned above have to be adjusted. The Obama campaign is not about likely voters/donors or registered voters/donors that are already there. The campaign is about who could be an additional likely voter and donor today and in the future. These voters do not fall into the categories already there, because the voters are not already there and when they will be, they’ll be there on behalf of Barack Obama. Here is where Hillary Clinton’s arguments about electability fall short. She is looking at the wrong samples and at the wrong race, because she won’t be in it. Without her in the picture, the demographics will shift.

According to the Huffington Post Barack Obama has 1 million donors and 1 million volunteers. This is what Hillary Clinton’s campaign managers and advisors and many political pundits overlooked and keep overlooking. The campaign of Barack Obama doesn’t rely on the usual demographics of who voted for whom and why. His campaign adds to that point of view the question: “Who didn’t vote last time and how do we bring them out?” Senator Obama’s campaign has the characteristics of a movement. In 2004 some 120 million Americans went to the ballots. If Obama’s volunteers swing an average of 10 voters each for Obama, if even more people can be persuaded to register to vote and campaign, Obama will be your next President. Not by a landslide, but he will win.

The Clinton campaign relied on what used to be a formidable political machinery, but compared to Barack Obama’s it has all the aspects of a steam engine compared to a modern hybrid car. Hopelessly outdated.

Hello from Europe – The Obituaries are in

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Hello Everyone, the European commentators are busily writing obituaries on the Clinton campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised if they drew back again after West Virginia, this race is crazy, but some of the press coverage is mental.

The Times brings you Daniel Finkelstein’s “endgame”

17.37: Not all superdelegates are making the leap. At least according to Washington Wire:

While four superdelegates jumped on the Barack Obama bandwagon Wednesday, handfuls of others said they’re perfectly happy remaining neutral, at least through June 3, when the primary season ends.

17.18: Ben Smith reports on more embarrassment for Clinton as Obama hits the House:

New York Rep. Yvette Clarke, in theory a Clinton superdelegate, asked him to autograph the cover of today’s New York Daily News, with the headling “It’s His Party.” (more…)

The Independent

It was telling that her schedule included a meeting with key campaign donors in Washington, as well as a session with Democrat superdelegates in Congress. The second meeting appeared to be in jeopardy, however, with some superdelegates reluctant to appear with her.(more…)

The Telegraph

Mrs Clinton’s aides revealed that she had now loaned her own campaign $11.4 million (£5.7 million) – more than her earnings from her senate salary and book royalties last year. Howard Wolfson, her spokesman, said that it was a sign of her “commitment to the race”. Democratic strategists, however, said that her dire financial situation might prompt Mrs Clinton to end her presidential bid.(more…)

The Guardian

It is all over, bar the weeping, for Hillary Clinton. With six primaries left to go, she is running out of contests with which to challenge Barack Obama’s lead in pledged delegates and in the popular vote. After a landslide defeat in North Carolina and a narrow win in Indiana her campaign will carry on, but only, one senses, to pick a good moment in which to bow out. If she wanted to end on a high, the next two contests in West Virginia or Kentucky, which she will win, might be the places to do it.(more…)

Germany’s Der Spiegel presents you with their own round-up on their english page.

“Clinton’s last, most poisonous move could be to play the ‘race card.’ Obama was presented as a new kind of candidate, one with the potential to reconcile race and class differences. This image has developed some cracks now that the prejudices of his pastor and longtime supporter Jeremiah Wright have come into the spotlight. Wright’s anti-American and racist statements scared white voters and discredited Obama.”(more…)

I hope we will be able to concentrate on Obama vs McCain from now on. This race is over.

Good Morning from Europe: It’s Obama vs. McCain finally

Bill Clinton knows, Chelsea knows and Hillary Clinton knows. Coming out of yesterday’s primaries without any decisive win, but rather a very decisive loss in North Carolina, running or even being out of money, she doesn’t stand a chance to win the nomination now. A view that is mainly reflected in the English newspapers of today:

The Times

In headline terms it might have looked like a split decision. In the latest instalment of the long-running Democratic primary election saga on Tuesday, Sen Barack Obama won North Carolina and Sen Hillary Clinton won Indiana. These results went roughly as expected – one for each camp. So at least in terms of the state-wide winners it was a tie, and the race looks set to go on through the final few primaries in the next month.

But beneath the headlines, this was clearly a triumphant night – and perhaps even a decisive one – for Sen Obama. (more…)

The Independent

The split outcome will mean that the struggle of the Democratic nomination is not over yet. It will give cause for relief and for frustration in each of the camps – as well as grief for the party’s hierarchy which frets that the longer the slug-fest between them continues the better it is for the Republicans. (more…)

The Guardian

Barack Obama took North Carolina by … let’s just say it’s a generous portion. His 14-point victory was far in excess of what his supporters had hoped. Far more than Hillary’s people had dreamed. Words like “rout” and “devastating” come to mind. No one saw a win this big in the cards. Hillary was pumping plenty of cash into the air, here, but Obama won North Carolina on the ground. For two weeks his supporters had been acting as if Hillary were breathing down their necks. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the race-baiting, the questioning of Obama’s patriotism – even James Carville’s shot at his masculinity – all of it had Obama’s people in NC convinced that his once-commanding lead here was slipping away.

So they made one more phone call. They knocked on one more door. They put up one more sign. That’s how elections are won. (more…)

The Telegraph

According to Russert, Clinton has cancelled appearances on the morning shows. There are also reports that Hillary has had to give her own campaign another loan. While there was nothing in her speech that indicated she was about to drop out, she’ll be conferring with her advisers, some of whom will have the courage to deliver some hard truths. Here are 10 things she might want to consider as she ponders whether to remain in this race. (more…)

The Economist

BARACK OBAMA once said that of the three contests in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana, the last would be the “tie-breaker”. He was right. His Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, won the first. He won the second on Tuesday May 6th, romping home in North Carolina with 56.2% to Mrs Clinton’s 41.5%. The margin of victory, nearly 15 points, was much larger than had been expected. As for the tie-breaker, Mrs Clinton won in Indiana, but by such a small margin (50.9% to 49.1%), that it all but counts as a victory for Mr Obama. (more…)

Der Spiegel

The former first lady bet everything — and lost. Barring some kind of miracle, Barack Obama will become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. A dramatic finale on Tuesday night brought an end to the Clinton era. (more…)

It’s time to look ahead now. There is a Republican out there who wants to become the next President and we can’t have that, can we? It is going to be hard work after this grueling primary campaign and is better started right away.

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Shameful pandering: Consumers didn’t get much of the savings when Illinois tried suspending the gas taxes!

It has been done before: Illinois and Indiana have previously suspended the gas tax in the summer of 2000 and for every 4cts/gallon for the motorists, gasoline suppliers reaped 3,5cts in Illinois and 3cts in Indiana.

Small wonder Shell oil lobbyist Steve Helmendorf helps out, as Hillary Clinton tries to sell McCain’s idea of a gas tax holiday again and again:

Thomas Friedman said:

It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away.

Bloomberg:

“It’s about the dumbest thing I’ve heard in an awful long time, from an economic point of view. We’re trying to discourage people from driving and we’re trying to end our energy dependence … and we’re trying to have more money to build infrastructure.”

Clinton is shamefully misleading voters and tries to buy Indiana’s and North Carolina’s votes for $28 a piece! I am shocked, that polls suggest her plan is working.

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PA primary called for Hillary Clinton

The news networks are calling the Pennsylvania primary for Hillary Clinton, beginning when 1% of the precincts were reporting. I’m watching the CNN tally here, because it’s easy to read.

TheZoo’s own RUCerious has predicted Hillary Clinton will take the primary 53% to 47%. We’ll see how good his predicting skills are. :)

Right now (6:30 PT), CNN is reporting 21% of the precincts are in, with 54% for Clinton, and 46% for Obama. I’ll continue updating the numbers in the comments section.

Bush’s DOJ will monitor PA primaries

ThinkProgress:

Question: Would Bush’s heavily politicized Department of Justice be “monitoring” the primaries if twice as many REPUBLICANS had registered to vote?

Justice Department officials will be monitoring today’s primary elections in Philadelphia “to ensure compliance with federal voting rights laws.” According to a DOJ press release, the monitoring arises from “a settlement agreement with Philadelphia related to allegations that the city had violated the Voting Rights Act, the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).” Pennsylvania election officials are expecting twice as many Democrats to vote in today’s contests as turned out for the 2004 primaries.

I don’t think any of us had illusions that our voting is strictly on the up-and-up anymore, but really, do they have to be so brazen about it?

 

Europeanview’s view absolutely – Open Thread

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Good Morning everyone. The results of the Texas caucuses are not yet in and it will take a short while still until the dust settles a bit and more political analysis is available. So, mostly, the papers in Europe are reporting the statistical facts and stating the obvious. Until the pro’s have decided on what to say, here’s a piece of my mind. I’ll give you the press clippings from Europe later in another post. Injun honest. This is an open thread, so whatever’s on your heart, let us know!

Using the pure facts and getting back to my “gut feeling” later, the advantage still lies with Barack Obama. First of all he has the lead in delegates and, never mind her strong showing in Ohio last night, Hillary Clinton has not made a significant dent there. Ohio is clearly hers, as expected, as is Rhode Island, equally as expected. Vermont is a win for Barack Obama with the significant margin we have seen in his other victories, too. Texas has been attributed to Senator Clinton, however, this state’s message is mixed. The caucus results are not in yet and point to Senator Obama. So, when it comes to Texas the number of delegates allotted may be evenly split or even slightly higher for Barack Obama. Even if she wins all remaining primaries by huge margins, unlikely, she will not be able to get in front of his count in pledged delegates. This puts Senator Clintons “bounce back” into perspective.

The campaigning has turned aggressive during the last few days with the notorious “3a.m. ad” at it’s center. Senator Obama seemed flustered by this and he should quickly start getting used to that kind of campaigning, because this is exactly what will be coming from Republicans during a presidential campaign. Here, too, lies a weakness of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. In exit polls voters showed discomfort with the aggressive style. So, while this style has brought her some advantage in the short term lead-up to the primaries, it may be a disadvantage in the long run. It points too much to her being the political animal, the power-hungry member of the political elites in Washington.

No matter what, right now voters in the United States strongly disapprove of the government branches in Washington. In Reuters’Zogby Index you can see, that the Republican President has a 35% approval rate and the Democratic Congress a dismal 18% approval rate. Congress has squandered the landslide win in 2006, which was broadly considered a mandate to end the war in Iraq and a mandate to hold the current administration accountable for breaches of civil rights and international law. Their approval rate shows that voters consider their will disregarded by them. Now, if Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party should disregard the popular vote and nominate her against the majority in pledged delegates this would resonate badly with voters and would do damage to herself and the Party. Moreover, her aggressive campaigning is damaging beyond the nomination process as well. If Senator Obama is going to be the candidate, Hillary Clinton has already done a lot for Senator McCain’s campaign, by chipping away at Senator Obama’s standing.

The decision is in the superdelegates’ and party leaders’ hands now. The fact that Barack Obama will have a lead in pledged delegates is not likely to change, they may as well decide how the’re going to handle it now.

Opinion: This cannot go any further!

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What,what,what,what WHAT!? Hillary Clinton is gaining ground in Texas and Ohio? Gaining ground?

March 4, 2008

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hillary Clinton gained ground on rival Barack Obama to take a slim lead in Texas and pull even in Ohio before their crucial Democratic presidential showdowns, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Houston Chronicle poll released on Tuesday.

Survey Feb 6 – 12 by Quinnipiac University:

Clinton leads Obama 55 – 34 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in Ohio and 52 – 36 percent among likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania. These are the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll’s first surveys in this election cycle of Ohio and Pennsylvania likely voters, a more select group than the wider range of registered voters surveyed in prior polls.

Texas Primary numbers January 30/31

November and December polls both gave Hillary Clinton a hefty 51% to 17% lead over Barack Obama, but that has changed considerably over the last two polls. Current results give her just a ten point lead over her main rival, 48% to 38%.

Gaining ground, my foot! This smacks to me of “the surge is working!”

This spin has triggered a very unpleasant development. Or, is it the other way around and an unpleasant development has been prepared by spinning the numbers? Hillary Clinton seemingly has decided her damaging campaigning hasn’t made a dent yet into the Democratic Party’s chances of winning the Presidential in November, so she’ll continue after today’s primaries/caucus. After all, her goal is her goal.

Indicating her intention to stay in the race, Clinton told a rally in Toledo, Ohio, yesterday: “I’m just getting warmed up.” Echoing the sentiment, Mark Penn, her chief strategist, in a conference call with reporters, said: “We expect on Wednesday morning that the momentum of Senator Obama will be significantly blunted.”

Fact is: Hillary Clinton has lost support in almost all groups that initially, hey only about four weeks ago, had given her a solid double digit lead in both large states. This is a large number of democratic primary voters who turned away from her and her “gains” right now are well within the margin of error. It can turn out both ways. Barack Obama may win both key states, Texas and Ohio narrowly, Hillary Clinton may win both, or there will be a split decision. What will not happen is a win in both states for Hillary Clinton by margins large enough to overtake Barack Obama’s lead in delegates. If you want to see how hard it is to get a decisive lead, check out the delegate counter at CNN.

Hillary Clinton will have to make a decision tonight. It will have to be a decision mindful of the goal of taking back the Presidency for the Democratic Party and much more important, a decision mindful of the difficult task ahead. Mending a country broken by war and economic depression, a country ill-prepared for a future that requires a fundamental change in lifestyle as to not ruin the very basis of our existence – our planet, can not be done by enlarging the rift in society in order to fulfil oneself’s lifetime ambition.

America’s voters have voted for an end to the war and gave the Democratic Party an immense credit in November 2006. The disappointment with what Congress did with these votes is going very deep, the approval rates of the Democratic led Congress are at a dismal 18%.

If Hillary Clinton, too, does not listen to what voters say, Congress and Hillary Clinton, between them, will have achieved the impossible. Running against a Republican Party which brought you the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush and not winning. No mean feat!

I wish you all a good Primary Tuesday, take care!

The heat is on!

Whatever well meaning leeway  Obama got or did not get from the media during the last months, some of the press are definitely turning on the heat. Leader of the pack: Murdoch’s “The Times”. While their reporting has been fairly unbiased up to, let’s say yesterday or the day before, the increased media pressure on Barack Obama is their brain-child. So they happily join in the slapping and make their headline: “Mansion ‘mistake’ piles the pressure on Barack Obama” and Gerard Baker asks his rapt readership “Obama: Is US ready for this dangerous left-winger?” (Note: This is “The Times” not “The Daily Prophet”). The Times’ first article claims:

A British-Iraqi billionaire lent millions of dollars to Barack Obama’s fundraiser just weeks before an imprudent land deal that has returned to haunt the presidential contender, an investigation by The Times discloses.

All the investigative prowess of “The Times” has unearthed a land deal by Senator Obama with Tony Rezko, who in turn was buddy to this “British-Iraqi billionaire”, or maybe wasn’t. If you read carefully what “The Times” has to say, there are insinuations about the relationship Tony Rezko – Nadhmi Auchi, Senator Obama didn’t know Auchi. The land deal in question is the one Barack Obama has already admitted to as a “boneheaded mistake” and was initially brought up by the Clinton campaign. The Clinton campaign, however, dropped this ball when a photo surfaced, showing her along with said Tony Rezko.

The second article centers around Michelle Obama’s statement that her husbands campaign was the first time in her adult life when she felt proud of her country and  contrasts it with:

For most ordinary Americans, those not encumbered with an expensive education or infected by prolonged exposure to cosmopolitan heterodoxy, patriotism is a consequence of birth.

Their chests swell with pride every time they hear the national anthem at sporting events. They fill up with understandable emotion whenever they see a report on television about the tragic heroics of some soldier or Marine who gave his life in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Now, if you go and have a look at US papers, what do you find there? A great stir about these scandalous revelations? Not really, it’s water under the bridge already. And other English newspapers? Nope. Nothing. “The Telegraph” quotes Eugene Robinson, who calls Barack Obama’s campaign organization superior to Hillary Clinton’s and “The Independent” analyses the somewhat cult-like campaign of Barack Obama, but concludes:

I think Barack Obama understands this risk. For all the fever of his rallies, his own oratorical style never descends into ranting, still less foam-flecked hysteria. Yet the frenzy he has engendered contains within it the seeds of bitter disappointment, or even tragedy. There is the question of his own physical safety. Less morbidly, what will be the reaction of his supporters if he should fail to be elected President? Perhaps most troubling of all, what will be their reaction if he is elected, but the celestial choirs fail to appear and the world refuses to be perfect?

But, still the European media doesn’t really concentrate on facts and platforms in the campaign of Barack Obama, nor that of Hillary Clinton and John Mc Cain. It is the “Washington Post” in it’s elections blog “The Trail” that provides us with an insight into the substance of the candidate’s policies and this is really what it all should be about.

Good Morning from Europe – The Sunday Papers

View from Piz Martenas – Savognin – Switzerland

What’s another week? While “Europeanview” was negotiating the slopes of Swiss Mountains “on two sticks” as our revered resident witch calls it, the world kept turning. For me personally the fun story came out of Germany this week. A tax fraud scandal rocked the Republic and threatens the safe haven for tax-ridden estates, Liechtenstein. And, of course, the Democratic Party’s nomination leads the news again. Kosovo has declared its Independence, much to the dismay of the Serbs and Russia and Pakistan has voted, but not found a government coalition yet.

Germany first. When the boss of Germany’s logistics giant “Deutsche Post” was led from his villa by police on charges of tax fraud, this made headlines, but as it turned out it was the tip of an iceberg. What had happened? The LGT, the Liechtenstein Bank of the principality’s ruling family, decided to join the ranks of 21st century banks and digitalize their bank records. An employee, who was scanning documents in this projects, decided to save the records on a bunch of DVDs and then asked the bank for an allowance for special expenditure which would have included the return of the DVDs to the bank. The bank refused, so this person sent e-mails to the German, British and US authorities, claiming moral scruples in the light of so much blatant tax evasion and reaping in a hefty sum from Germany alone. German Police and State Attorneys are orchestrating a drama in publishing names and facts which will see it’s next round on Tuesday. “The Economist” says:

THE word Schadenfreude was coined for just such occasions.(…) Germany was already in the throes of an argument about pay, equality and whether capitalism is fair. Globalisation and economic reforms have squeezed the wages of ordinary Germans. Yet the pay of Germany’s top managers jumped 17.5% in the 2006-07 financial year, according to Kienbaum, a headhunter. The same class has lately been held responsible for expense-account sex (Volkswagen), systematic bribery (Siemens) and subprime self-abuse (IKB and the state banks of Saxony and Bavaria).

The culprits now have a chance to turn themselves in, which will lower their sentences considerably, or try to sit it out and face the music later. Many may wish they had acted according to the wise words of this commentary in “The Telegraph”.

The US Democratic Primaries are still making headlines in the Sunday Papers. Especially Hillary Clintons woes are being pleasurably reported on, it seems, by “The Times”. The Paper relishes the blunders a campaign, once dubbed a well oiled machinery, made on its way from unavoidable to “on the ropes”.

Clinton has set up a website, http://www.delegatehub.com, outlining a path to the nomination which relies on arm-twisting the super-delegates and seating the “ghost” delegations from Florida and Michigan, states which broke party rules by holding their contests early.

Gerard Baker suggests Hillary Clinton may become toxic in the end, never mind the damage to the Democratic Party.

“The Guardian”, however, concentrates on a relatively new development in the campaigns. The role of the press and their increased scrutiny of Barack Obama.

In the New York Times, two influential columnists weighed in with brutal attacks against Obama. David Brooks called him a ‘trophy messiah’ and Paul Krugman claimed Obama’s campaign was ‘…dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality’. Meanwhile, in the Boston Globe, Obama supporter Margery Eagan expressed her own doubts about her pick. ‘I’m nervous because John McCain says Obama is an “eloquent but empty call for change” and in the wee, wee hours a nagging voice whispers: “Suppose McCain’s right,’ Eagan wrote.

But the Guardian, too, decides:

Such tactics (circumventing campaign finance laws) also cannot hide the fact that the Clinton camp is in deep trouble. Much of the top leadership still remains deeply split over the right tactics in the final days before Texas and Ohio go to the polls.

The Kosovo province of Serbia has unilaterally proclaimed its independence, which turns out to be an inspiration for many separatist movements around the globe, much to the anxiety of the ruling majorities. “Der Spiegel” portrays six European regions with separatist movements.

Pakistan’s elections didn’t bring a clear winner. There will be a civilian coalition government, maybe even without Musharraf, but the Pakistani Taliban have already made clear, that any governmant better stayed clear from getting involved in the tribal areas.

This is what struck “Europeanview” as interesting this morning and there is, of course much more to be found through the links provided. I wish you all a very peaceful, happy and healthy Sunday. Take care! 

In 344 days Bush will retire! But who is going to be President?

You are working on it. And this election year harder than any election year before, you are all doing a fine job in going to the polls. You, the people, will provide an answer to this question in 268 days. Until then, no one knows.

You should need two or more candidates first and this year there will not be a coronation or proclamation, but the lengthy process of choosing a candidate precedes the nomination. Even the Republicans who have McCain and a clear frontrunner, chose to vote for Mike Huckabee in large numbers. They are not happy with McCain and look what they do? Execute their right to chose. How dare they?

Barack Obama’s  winning streak first reduced Mrs Clinton to tears and now her top advisers to outright panic. Prematurely and unnecessarily a compromise candidate Al Gore is being considered. The knight in shining armour to relief the democratic party from the painful process of waiting out a perfectly democratic process of choosing a candidate. There is still time and there are as many as 20 opportunities left for one, either Hillary Clinton of Barack Obama, to prevail. And if the Delegates have to decide at the nomination convention, so be it, it has happened before.

For more European coverage on the primaries and caucuses see:

The Times                  here and here
The Guardian            here and here and here
The Independent      here and here and, how morbid is this?
The Telegraph           here and here and here.

“Europeanview”wishes you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Sunday. If you vote, vote wisely and check our “Fact-Checker” if you’re not sure.

Breaking: Romney gives up!

Mitt Romney has given up on his bid for the White House.

(Source: CNN-Political ticker)

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mitt Romney ended his presidential run Thursday, telling a conservative audience that continuing the race against rival John McCain would make it more likely Democrats would win the White House — and “in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

Read the rest of the story here…