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


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”.


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 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.