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    March 20, 2008

    Say anything, do anything (IV)

    Posted by: Chris

    Bayhclinton Just when you think the Clintons will engage in any tactic, no matter how sleazy, or make any argument, no matter how sneaky and specious, they set new lows -- almost by the hour. As the mathematical impossibility of Hillary's nomination effort sink in, the growing desperation is resulting in a whole host of tactics that alternatively make me laugh, shake my head or vomit a little inside my mouth.

    The latest from Hillaryland:

    • Because the Clinton campaign knows that they will lose the pledged delegate count and must convince the superdelegates to overturn that result, they've settled on two arguments both of which are fundamentally race-based. The first is that Obama can't win white working class voters. The analysis suggests Obama trails in this demographic because of some failing of his, and no doubt some white working class males simply don't like him. But there's also no doubt that racism is at play here, and defaulting the Democratic Party nomination, despite the majority of pledged delegates and popular vote, is unconscionable. That the Clinton campaign would explictly use race to argue against Obama's candidacy is abhorrent.
    • The second argument is also explicitly racial, based on Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright. You won't hear Hillary Clinton or anyone on her campaign talk about it openly -- campaign chief Maggie Williams has issued a stern edict against any such utterance. Instead, it's the focus of behind-the-scenes arguments made to superdelegates: "Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they had spent recent days making the case to wavering superdelegates that Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Wright would doom their party in the general election. That argument could be Mrs. Clinton’s last hope for winning this contest." (New York Times)
    • Asked today in Indiana if her surrogates were using the Wright controversy to sway superdelegates, Clinton responded coyly: "Well my campaign has been making the case that I am the most electable." A follow-up question about whether the Wright flap was an example of Obama's unelectability, she ignored the question.
    • As part of swaying superdelegates, Clinton must overtake Obama in popular votes because she cannot in pledged delegates. Keep in mind that the "popular vote" measure is itself a misnomer because it only includes primary states, ignoring voters in caucus states entirely. Even still, winning the overall popular vote mathematically requires a re-vote in Michigan and Florida, and that both be won handily by Clinton. As a result, Clinton ratcheted up the (ridiculous) rhetoric.
    • Failure to conduct a re-vote in Michigan would "disenfranchise" voters there and be "un-American,"  Clinton claimed in a quick trip to Detroit that cast the re-vote issue in civil rights terms, citing the barriers to office she faced as a woman. This is the same Hillary Clinton who said last October, "It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything." The difference? Last October she was on a New Hampshire radio call-in show, reassuring voters there that their primary's early influential status wasn't threatened.
    • To make the case yesterday, Clinton claimed in Michigan that "when others made a decision to remove their names from the ballot, I didn't, because I believed your voices and your votes should count." Back on in New Hampshire last October, in addition to saying those votes weren't "going to count for anything," she claimed she left her name on the ballot to protect Democrats in the general election.
    • Chastising Obama for removing his name from the Michigan ballot, the Clinton campaign argued, "There aren’t many second chances in life but Senator Obama has one now and should ask the people of Michigan for their vote." How Orwellian is that? The January primary was invalid under DNC rules, as Clinton herself acknowledged, and it is Clinton -- not Obama -- who is pressing for a re-vote to preserve any semblance of her viability in the race for pledged delegates and popular vote.
    • The Obama campaign has challenged any Michigan re-vote that disqualifies everyone who voted in the GOP primary there in January, given that voters generally knew the Democratic primary was invalid and the only vote they could cast that would matter would be on the GOP side. The Clinton response? Simply to cite the DNC rule against allowing double-voting in both parties' primaries, as if that answer the concern.
    • The Clinton campaign also dismissed out of hand the Obama campaign's argument that a June primary is unfair to college-age voters because school will be out of session and Michigan law does not allow first-time voters to cast absentee ballots.

    Is it a surprise to anyone that Gallup finds this?:




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