Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Money Changes Everything

In the 24 hours after the primary results were announced, the Clinton campaign received $10 Million in contributions--easily a one-day record for her campaign--and her haul consisted almost entirely of online donations, including funds from 70,000 new donors. No doubt we will soon learn that Obama also brought in millions in online donations yesterday as well. Even after the longest and by far the most expensive primary season in history, interest remains sky-high and money continues to pour in from voters all around the country.

Though we all have fears of a train wreck in Denver, I remain hopeful that the candidates and the party leaders will find a way to parlay this unprecedented excitement into electoral success across the board for Democrats this year. Even Barack Obama took pains today to say that the long campaign has been "good" for the Democratic party, and he advised voters not to worry about the Democrats being divided in November.

But even more astounding than the success of the Democratic party is the way campaign finance has shifted radically away from begging for big money from corporations and political action committees (PACs) and professional bundlers toward soliciting small contributions from literally millions of voters. Howard Dean's ill-fated campaign hinted at this back in 2004, but in 2008 Obama's campaign has blasted politics into a new orbit. (Clinton's campaign is finally catching up.) This may well be the year when the internet breaks the "iron triangle" of lobbyists and money and politics on which ironically only John McCain (who coined the phrase) still relies.


History Buff said...

Hmmmm, so the party won't be divided, perhaps Co-President's??????

Dr. Strangelove said...

The party is divided in some ways but remains united in other ways. Since a "tie" is not possible in this race, the candidates and party leaders will have to find some other accommodation. I hope they are more imaginative.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I don't think there's any solution except for Clinton to endorse Obama and get behind him 100%. The sooner she does this, the better for the party - the later, the worse.

USWest said...

Frankly, I am tired of Primary season. It has been long and hard. And I wish something would give because I don't like McCain building steam into June. That gives our candidate only 4 months to make his/her case.

The flip side is that Democrats are gaining a lot of attention and less is being given to McCain. Next to our two candidates, he looks lackluster.

I think once the choice is made by the Party, Democrats will line up. I think that the dialog that this election has created among average Democrats is exciting and very good for the party. The candidates are not far apart on the issues. Their differences are slight policy differences. That is unity. I would be very worried if the policy differences were great. And I think Obama and HRC have both done a good job controlling what could have been a very nasty campaign. They have been very careful not to damage each other too much.

I do agree with RBR, though. HRC is about votes more than Policy. But if it is votes she is after, as Bill Maher pointed out, she needs to muzzle her husband. Everytime he opens his mouth he causes trouble for her. And I am beginning to worry about his role if she were to be elected. If you want an example of that, look and Argentina right now where the wife took over the job from teh husband.

Obama, I think is more about policy. The votes just come because of the charm.

Raised By Republicans said...

Actually, I meant to say that HRC is all about seeking OFFICE not votes or policy. She doesn't care who wins if it isn't her.

The Law Talking Guy said...

In December 2007, Bill Clinton was the most popular Democrat among Democrats. Within a month, he shattered his image. Half the party no longer wants anything much to do with him, and he's made it plain that if his wife isn't nominated, he wants nothing to do with the party. I think the Democrats' loss of a popular figure like Bill Clinton is one of the more serious casualties of this primary season.

I mean, can you even imagine Bill Clinton giving a speech praising Obama at the convention? It boggles the mind. Hillary could do it, because she will likely be the defeated candidate and will act with grace at that time, but Bill can't conceal his rage and contempt.

Dr. Strangelove said...

If Bill Clinton is pissed at the Obama campaign--and I think he is--then I imagine it is probably for the same reason I am pissed. The Obama campaign painted Hillary as a racist back in January. The whole phoney MLK Day flap was just the most visible part of Obama campaign's short-sighted and cynical maneuver to win South Carolina by race-baiting. It was pure Karl Rove politicking, and it worked: before the Obama campaign pulled that stunt, African-Americans were far more evenly split, and in some polls even were supporting Hillary more than Obama.

Bill Clinton had an excellent record fighting for civil rights. Shame on those who, in the name of intra-partisan politics, paint him as a man filled only with rage and contempt.

Raised By Republicans said...

By "phoney MLK Day flap" I presume you are talking about when Hillary said the civil rights achievements owed more to LBJ than MLK?

Even if she had a more nuanced point in mind - that policy change has both a demand and a supply side - it was her statement that got her into trouble. Why did she feel she had to make that particular point, that particular way on that particular day?

And even so, I doubt that Obama ever accused Hillary of racism over it. If you can find the quotation I'll defer but I recall that this period of the campaign was much better characterized by the Clinton Campaign constantly saying that they had been wrongly accused of this or that in response to just about anything said about them on any issue.

Remember this was the heigt of the "they're picking on me" phase of her campaign.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Here is the actual quote, in full, from the January 7th interview with Fox News:

I would point to the fact that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality. The power of that dream became real in people's lives because we had a president who said, "We are going to do it," and actually got it accomplished.

The Obama campaign and their surrogates twisted this into an attack on MLK. They did this by in part by clipping the quote. What you actually read on the blogs and in most op-ed pieces was this conveniently truncated version:

Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Clinton said. It took a president to get it done.

(Even that is far from objectionable.) But the Obama campaign and surrogates were relentless in portraying this as an attack on Dr. King. Furthermore, they plastered this quote all over the news on Jan. 15th to create the impression the words had been spoken on Dr. King's birthday.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Even in its original form, it's a horrible comment for MLK day, a day which honors the movement that forced an ornery old Texan like LBJ to take a political stand he likely sought his whole adult life to avoid. And it wasn't the president who got it done, but the Congress. Also, the "dream" was not "done" with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, any more than it was done when the 14th Amendment was passed (which should not have needed such additional legislation to accomplish that goal). The 1964 CRA was neither the beginning nor the end of anything.

Also, I believe that the Clinton campaign was deliberately playing the race card, not Obama. That's what the Obama campaign believes. Clinton wase trying hard to marginalize Obama as another Jesse Jackson, just another niche black candidate who shouldn't be taken seriously. It didn't work. Nor are the facts correct in sequence: The black vote shifted to Obama him after Iowa, when Obama was seen as a potential winner, not after Clinton's unfortunate MLK day comments.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Oh, and the Karl Rove moment of this campaign to date was the Clinton ad showing 9/11.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Three things. First, Hillary's "controversial" comment was not made on MLK day--as I wrote, the comment was made in an interview on January 7th. We need to read each other's comments, people!

Second, your analysis of her remarks is just wrong. Hillary did not say that the Civil Rights Act completed Dr. King's dream--in fact she specifically said that Dr. King's dream, "began to be realized," with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Furthermore Hillary gave LBJ credit not for the act itself, but for being, "able to get through Congress," something that previous presidents had not. The topic was leadership: just listen to the interview and you will understand immediately that this whole MLK flap was a total non-story.

Third, Hillary made no campaign ads showing 9/11. Really. The famous Texas ad asking about answering the White House telephone at 3:00 called Children showed only sleeping children. (Children of all races, by the way--not just white children, as some Obama surrogates said.) The more recent Pennsylvania ad from last week (called Kitchen) displayed seven two-second clips of past national crises: (1) stock market crash; (2) pearl harbor; (3) Kennedy vs. Khrushchev; (4) 1970s oil shocks; (5) people standing on the Berlin wall; (6) a clip of Osama bin Laden walking somewhere in presumably Afghanistan; (7) several images from Hurricane Katrina.

Several times I have criticized the Hillary campaign on this blog when they pushed non-stories or played dirty politicsnd I have openly praised Obama many times. But I have yet to see any Obama supporters on this blog make any similar attempts to reach out. Clearing the air over an early misstep from January could be a good place to start...

Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. Here is the thing. The Black vote was leaving the Clinton side already when she made the LBJ > MLK statement.

When Black voters hear a rich white lady claim that white politicians deserve much of the credit for the Civil Rights movement it hits some very old nerves. You have to remember that back when HRC was a Goldwater Girl, the Civil Rights movement was splitting over exactly this issue - white participation in its leadership. Many of the black leaders were concerned that the movement be seen to be lead by blacks.

It was also after that HRC LBJ > MLK statement and similar cries about race from Bill Clinton that many black politicians began to switch sides or openly take sides against the Clintons.

This is a far more serious problem for the Clinton campaign than can be explained by Obama's campaign making some unsubstantiated accusations. At this point, blaming the trend on Obama just sounds like whining.

History Buff said...

It must be fun to be around y'all at Thanksgiving.

Dr. Strangelove said...

HB: Settle down :-)

Raised By Republicans said...

Funny he should mention Thanksgiving. Actually I was a guest of LTG and Seventh Sister for Thanksgiving and Dr. S. was in attendence. A wonderful time was had by all! :-)

The Law Talking Guy said...

Dr.S - the image of the twin towers afire is not the only image of 9/11. The image of Osama Bin Laden is a 9/11 reference, pure and simple. Obviously, with a slogan like "if you can't stand the heat..." they couldn't show the towers on fire. So they used a pic of Bin Laden. That's the Karl Rove tactic of the campaign.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I concede: the MLK flap was not the only thing that delivered the black vote to Obama. It was not even the main thing. There were other important factors, notably that Obama had proven himself a winner in Iowa (as LTG and RbR have pointed out).

However, there was a concerted effort by the Obama campaign and surrogates to tarnish the Clinton's previously excellent reputation among black voters. (You will recall that Clinton was jokingly but respectfully referred to as, "the first black president" by several African-American leaders.) RbR and LTG seem unaware that they are repeating propaganda, not facts.

The most egregious example of this effort by the Obama campaign and surrogates was the distortion of the Hillary quote. Here is what Jesse Jackson (a strong supporter of Obama!) said about that nonsense on January 27, 2008 in an interview with Essence magazine (the sections in the brackets were added by the magazine, not by me):

Jesse Jackson: "It was unfair to attack her on that basis. The reality is that that was not an insult to Dr. King. Dr. King campaigned for Lyndon Johnson. Because if Goldwater had won, we wouldn’t have had the Voting Rights Act of ’65. You need a combination of litigation, people like Thurgood Marshall, and demonstrations, [people like] Dr. King. And legislation, [people like] Lyndon Johnson. You need that combination. That was gotcha politics."

And as for that alleged race-baiting by Bill Clinton... That was another incredible distortion of the truth. Here is another excerpt from the Essence magazine interview:

Essence Magazine: "Did you hear President Clinton’s comment yesterday in Columbia, South Carolina, after someone asked about it taking two Clintons to beat Obama, and he answered, “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ‘88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” Many people are taking that as President Clinton’s attempt to tie Obama to you or to inject race back into the discussion.

Jesse Jackson: "We are tied together. Barack is the result of all the struggles, from Selma to South Carolina. They are factors in his ascendancy, which is accurate. Again, I think it’s some more gotcha politics. I did win in ’84 and ’88, and because we ran in ’84, the Democrats regained the Senate in ’86. I just think that we’ve got to be very sensitive to what I call gotcha politics..."

Dr. Strangelove said...

LTG: a reference to 9/11 is not the same thing as showing 9/11. You know that.

Raised By Republicans said...

As long as we're playing "gotcha" notice the Goldwater reference in Jesse Jackson's statement?

While MLK was campaigning for LBJ, Hillary was campaigning for good old AU H2O.

History Buff said...

I really haven't heard much about the MLK comment other than here on this blog. But what about Jeremiah Wright? Do y'all think he really wants Obama to be the nominee? He certainly isn't helping him right now.

Dr. Strangelove said...

To be fair, Hillary was too young to vote in 1964. And I might add, she was raised by republicans ;-)

Just to be clear for everyone, I think the original Rev. Jeremiah Wright issue (e.g. "Pastor-gate") is another piece of political crap. That being said, Obama's response to the crisis shows something of his nature.

At first Obama rather reflexively denied having heard the offending speeches at all--denied even having been in the pews when the words were spoken--but fortunately Obama's denials were not very specific and he quickly changed his tune. Whatever minor misstep that may have been, it is easily forgiven because his second response--his major response--was to deliver the excellent speech which I lauded elsewhere on this blog. That speech stands as a triumph regardless of whatever else may come.

I did note at the time, however, that Obama's references to Wright were the least convincing parts of his speech. Apparently, those parts were more hopeful rationalization than anything else. Now Obama has changed his tune once more and has denounced Wright publicly--something Obama had previously, pointedly refused to do. Perhaps tellingly, the reason Obama has done so is not that Wright said anything new about AIDS or 9/11 or what have you. The reason is that Wright refused to keep his mouth shut. Wright refused to accept quietly what he obviously viewed as Obama's public betrayal. Wright refused to accept it as the necessary price to get an African-American candidate elected to office. So now it is Obama's turn to speak angrily as a man betrayed:

Obama: "Whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed as a consequence of this. I don’t think that he showed much concern for me."

Obama: "At a certain point, if what somebody says contradicts what you believe so fundamentally, and then he questions whether or not you believe it in front of the National Press Club, then that’s enough. That’s a show of disrespect to me. It’s also, I think, an insult to what we’ve been trying to do in this campaign."

Obama could have smiled patiently and said he believed what he said before and he forgave Wright for being angry. (Come to think of it, the old preacher could have said the same thing about Obama...) That would have been truly remarkable. But in the end Obama fell back to the conventional "You're with me or against me" response. So what I take away from this is that Obama's political instincts are good, but in the end he gives highest priority to the well-being of his campaign, just like any other candidate would.