Matt Yglesias' Awkward Truth

By Big Tent Democrat

Speaking for me only

I highly recommend this Matt Yglesias post. The money line for me:

I think that's right, and it's a reminder that though the cliché is to say that Democrats are torn between two very strong candidates, in some ways we're torn between two very weak ones.

This will make me popular with no one, but neither candidate is very electable now and neither is what I wanted from our nominee this year - a Fighting Dem. I support the candidate I believe is the more electable - Barack Obama, but I have no illusions about his weaknesses, on electablity and on political style for governance. My expectations are low now. And yes, I strongly believe a Unity Ticket is necessary for Dems to have a good chance in November.

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    There are no Fighting Dems... (5.00 / 8) (#1)
    by DudeE on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:38:16 PM EST
    ...because the party stewards are too chicken-s*** to get a little dirty.  The incessant nonsense about 'tearing the party apart' and the idea that the Dem campaign is somehow extraordinarily dirty is just symptomatic of the thin-skinned and milquetoast demeanor of the Dem establishment.

    Meanwhile, the two Dems who have been most successful against Republicans - Mr. and Mrs. Clinton a collective 4 for 4 in campaigns for national office - are vilified as awful nasty people.

    It's a weird world when the same Dems in Congress who let Republicans run roughshod over their majority now claim they have a lock on what's best for the party let alone the country.  Ideas are nice.  Now how about actually doing something with them?

    Sharpton/Tancredo '08! (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by mattt on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:40:43 PM EST
    No, really, this is spot-on.  Either Hillary or Barack will have a tough row to hoe in the general.  Obama at least has better positive/negatives, and marks a clearer break from the past that might appeal to many independents.

    Does anybody else think Clinton's threat to take the fight all the way to the convention might be a ploy to force a unity ticket?

    I do... (none / 0) (#35)
    by bjorn on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:08:44 PM EST
    I hope it is a way to get Obama to think unity ticket.  It is also bravado so people don't write her off in PA, IN, NC...at least in my humble opinion.

    Yes (none / 0) (#37)
    by 1jpb on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:09:07 PM EST
    Especially when Rendell is so in favor of it, even with HRC as VP.

    But, there are arguments on the other side too, although those tend to be conspiracy theories that claim HRC is looking at 2012.


    I think Hillary, with a stong (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by kenosharick on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:44:01 PM EST
    running mate has an exellent chance in the general. She would be strong in Mich,Penn,Ohio,Fla,W.Va.,and NJ. Obamawould probably lose most of these and is counting on(according to today's Washington Journal on CSPAN)Virginia,Mo., and NC- which is a ridiculous longshot strategy for the general.

    Are you sure.? (none / 0) (#70)
    by 1jpb on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:30:12 PM EST
    Polling over the last week has BO doing better in all but one state.

    Don't misunderstand, I know polls mean nothing this far out, and many of the new polls aren't in critical states, but I don't think we can say BO is any worse than HRC.  I've heard a couple dozen interviews with the "blue collar and older/white" supporters of HRC in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  A large percentage of these folks choose HRC because they think Bill will help out.  Yes, this is anecdotal--NPR's sampling.  But, I would not be shocked if these type of voters went with BO if 1) they were predisposed to the D Party, and 2) BO had a VP that made them comfortable.  They seem to take comfort in Bill, it seems reasonable that they could do the same with a VP (of course, HRC as VP may be problematic.)  Again I know these interviews aren't a scientific sample, so load up on salt, but this far out everything is speculation.

    New Jersey - Obama performs 6 points better than Clinton
    Washington - Obama performs 8 points better than Clinton
    Michigan - Obama performs 2 points better than Clinton
    Virginia - Obama performs 11 points better than Clinton
    Wisconsin - Obama performs 9 points better than Clinton
    Oregon - Obama performs 12 points better than Clinton
    Connecticut - Obama performs 14 points better than Clinton
    California - Obama performs 6 points better than Clinton
    Missouri - Clinton performs 6 points better than Obama
    North Carolina - Obama performs 5 points better than Clinton
    Nevada - Obama performs 5 points better than Clinton


    Ky Clinton 58 Obama 29, Minn she beats he dose not (none / 0) (#106)
    by Salt on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:19:42 PM EST
    McCain try Survey USA...  

    And I agree (none / 0) (#100)
    by Salt on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:07:24 PM EST

    but she can not carry Obama with her.  But I also agree that unless Dems unite behind Clinton and her policies the Party will not win the White House in Nov. she is the more electable when you look at the electoral map.  I also believe the Party itself now has a creditability problem with most voters and legitimacy is a fair question, after Pa. if Clinton has the blow out I believe she will that's will be the time for the Party to right itself if it doesn't no White House and no big gains in Congress recall that the 30 percent of Clinton voters likely to swing are actual Dems and conservative Independents so you would need to consider a loss in any competitive district or State open seat down stream as well.

    Please back up your claim (none / 0) (#110)
    by independent voter on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:27:56 PM EST
    that "she is the more electable when you look at the electoral map" with evidence.

    Simple Math (none / 0) (#128)
    by Salt on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:25:01 PM EST
    In other words it is your opinion (none / 0) (#129)
    by independent voter on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:30:07 PM EST
    which happens to run counter to every breakdown of the GE electoral map I have seen.

    plus 27 in 41 percent base is not opinion (none / 0) (#134)
    by Salt on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 07:06:25 PM EST
    Clinton leads by a twenty-seven point advantage among White Women and 9 percent among party Democrats ......and guess what 41 percent of the electorate are white women...so call it opinion not sure I care, I call it math.

    And Ky which is May 20th she is 58 to 28 in the polls, Senator Clinton is the voters choice when their votes count.


    Nevada (none / 0) (#112)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:32:19 PM EST
    will be ground zero in 2008.

    Just like "The West Wing"! (none / 0) (#132)
    by cmugirl on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 04:38:23 PM EST
    Ground Zero? (none / 0) (#136)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:21:00 PM EST
    With all of 5 electoral votes.  Blowing off Michigan (17) and Florida (27) is a little more ground zeroish than Nevada's 5 votes.

    What is truly... (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by DudeE on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:48:27 PM EST
    ...ass-backwards in the entire dialogue over electability, is the media's notion that it is somehow dispassionately observing an organic phenomenon.

    The reality is that the daily drumbeat proclaiming Clinton (or Obama's) electability or lack thereof does nothing but reinforce the notion.

    It's such an amazingly simple observation yet the media seems to be startlingly lacking in self-awareness.

    There is a "Fighting Dem" (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Grey on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:48:28 PM EST
    And her name is Clinton, but everyone's become a ninny, so fighting for what's what is the Big Bad now.

    I'm still all over the fighting spirit.  I don't intend to move.

    She only became a fighter in this contest (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:49:52 PM EST
    when it became politically expedient for her. I do not trust her to fight in a GE and as President. I do not think she did the right thing from 2001 to 2006.

    We disagree (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Grey on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:57:34 PM EST
    But I respect your opinions just the same.  I wish our "fearless leaders" could manage to do the same.

    Don't Believe It (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:00:47 PM EST
    She fought through lackluster fund-rasing, having at one point to retain her staff without pay.  She fought through a hostile media.  She fought back from an 11-0 run by Obama.  She fought through the opposition's misrepresentations of her.  She fought the "all boy's club."  

    She also fought the Bush administration over war planning and plan B birth control.  She fought the "vast right-wing comspiracy."  Sorry, I just don't believe that fighting is new or expediant for her.


    we are on the same wavelength. :-) (5.00 / 2) (#30)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:06:11 PM EST
    she's my Senator, and she's been fighting ever since she got to the Senate.

    she was even the one who put forth the bill that stopped Bush from a "use of forces" agreement with the Iraqi government.

    but the press doesn't ever give her credit for these things - the plan-B birth control bill either. :-p


    Of course she'll fight (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:11:28 PM EST
    In a GE.

    And you know it's too broad of a statement to be discussed here, but the large majority of 2001 to 2006 she did the right thing.

    Soo phtttttttpp!


    And? (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:11:41 PM EST
    With the exception of the vote on the war for which he was not yet in the Senate, every wrong thing that Clinton has done had been also done by Obama. And - considering his voting record as a Senator and his active support for Lieberman - it strains credulity to think he wouldn't have gone along with the rest on voting for the resolution to give Bush authority to "defend" us. He even has said as much in one of his few candid moments.

    What right things do you think that Obama has done that Clinton hasn't?


    I'm assuming John Edwards (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:14:46 PM EST
    is your "fighter". Apparently, he didn't have enought fight to get the nomination. I don't think he'd have done any better in the GE. And Obama is not a fighter, he's a uniter. Hillary is the front runner in fighting. She didn't start fighting because it was "politically expedient" for her. She's been fighting for years. Its why people think she's so polarizing. If she wasn't a fighter, she wouldn't be here right now.

    I always felt, (none / 0) (#69)
    by magisterludi on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:29:51 PM EST
    given BC's impeachment, she laid pretty low to let that unpleasantness fade a bit and also to show she could play well with others in the Senate.

    I also think the fact that Bush actually invaded Iraq without letting the weapons inspectors finish their jobs threw her (and many others, to be fair)  for a bit of a loop. Put her in quite the quandry.


    Fighting (none / 0) (#138)
    by cal1942 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 11:12:07 PM EST
    I disagree that she isn't a fighter. But I agree with the larger point, that we have two generally weak candidates.

    Eric Alterman may have said it best (IMO mainly because I felt the same)after McCain clinched. (Paraphrased)

    'the Republicans have nominated their safest candidate while the Democrats have disposed of theirs'

    In the end all the analysis of why McCain couldn't win the GOP nod was destroyed by his win and by the polling of GOP factions that defied the pundits.  I feel that what it came down to is that rank and file Republicans recognized that everyone else in their race came off as whack jobs, idiots, and worse. A veritable freak show.  McCain seemed the only 'reasonable' nominee in the group.  He was the media's darling. The only one who did not come off as some sort of freak. They lined up.

    What did we do?  We bought the media's various characterizations of Edwards and their drumbeat historic duo storyline. The schism was guaranteed and now we have two candidates; either of which will have an uphill climb in the GE.

    But if you meant fighting Dem as in a real policy Dem then I agree that Hillary doesn't quite get to that level.  Obama misses by a galaxy.

    It's interesting that Kevin Phillips, on Moyers after the 2004 Democratic convention, said if the Democrats come out as fighting liberals the Republicans wouldn't have a chance.

    We all know what happened to that.


    She's an establishment Fighting Dem (none / 0) (#126)
    by catfish on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:18:41 PM EST
    and some people, many people, see it as an oxymoron.

    I still am uncomfortable (5.00 / 9) (#16)
    by Fabian on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:54:06 PM EST
    with the Unity Ticket.

    Clinton/Obama I don't have a problem with.  Clinton knows her way around D.C. and Obama needs time to learn the ropes.

    Obama/Clinton I have difficulties with.  While I trust Clinton to do her best no matter who she works with, I think Obama is still too inexperienced, still takes politics too personally and is too likely to rely on people he shouldn't trust.

    It might be different if he treated Clinton as one of his closest advisors, but I don't see that happening.  

    In a perfect world (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Lahdee on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:55:19 PM EST
    we'd have super Democrat to run against the republican machine. Alas we are left with the products of America's twentieth century who will run against the candidate of the nineteenth century. Progressive policy would be nice, but for now I'd settle for smashing 'em.

    Electability. (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:59:19 PM EST
    Why do you consider Obama to be more electable than Clinton?
    I think she would have a much better chance than he.
    I think she is smarter.
    I also think she is more genuine.
    Add to that the fact that with respect to campaigning, she has seen it all.

    In addition, I think you would have a much better chance of seeing a progressive agenda enacted with her as President. I think she cares more.

    I was all for a unity ticket... (5.00 / 7) (#23)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:59:23 PM EST
    until Wright rendered Obama unelectable.

    Sorry, BTD, he is going to lose to McCain and we will have four more years of Bush.

    I firmly believe that HRC will beat McCain, especially if she picks someone like Wesley Clark as a VP. (I'd love to see Edwards in the spot, but I don't think it's going to happen. AG maybe.)The reason? Her hawkishness and experience make her formidable against him. She has the added bonus of being in the spot most Americans are: she started out favorable to the invasion of Iraq, but now wants to get the hell out. McCain wants to be there for 100 years. Barack's FP advisor was caught saying that his plan for withdrawal was only a "best case scenario." NOT. CREDIBLE.

    Calling HRC a weak candidate seems like spin to me. She has shown the ability to bounce back from media bias and losses to Barack Obama time and again. She is the toughest candidate in the race, and if we just have the strength to nominate her, she will be the next President of the United States.

    can you just imagine Obama standing (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:05:24 PM EST
    up and surviving the media environment that Clinton has came through?  the fact that she's still in the race at all is simply amazing.  if the media hasn't been able to kill her off yet, who thinks they'll have better luck in the general election?  against McCain, she's a far better candidate.

    Considering his response to Wright (5.00 / 3) (#34)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:08:43 PM EST
    was to take a vacation, then go on The View...

    and considering that when he was actually asked tough questions by the media, he ran away after complaining that "you've already asked me, like, eight questions..."

    no, I can't imagine it.


    Hillary doesn't really survive (none / 0) (#114)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:36:31 PM EST
    all that well.

    When she takes a hit, she doesn't avoid any damage....Her polling takes tremendous hits....She is behind McCain in many, many states.  Obama is behind in some but polls better than Hillary....

    Nationally, Rasmussen has McCain beating her close to double digits.


    "Tremendous hits"? (none / 0) (#123)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:59:00 PM EST
    That must be why she is 25 points behind Obama and why Obama is clearly the nominee!

    Oh wait. She's not. And he's not. And it's March.

    62% of Democrats want the primary to continue. I don't know what the hysteria is about. Let everyone vote, and then we'll see what the superdelegates think. They're going to decide, one way or the other.


    Kerry the most electable (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by Prabhata on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:12:14 PM EST
    I didn't like Kerry.  He was wishy washy, but by the time I voted in CA, I had no say on the matter.  Now the narrative is again as to who is more electable.  I can support HRC not because she is a good candidate.  I don't support Obama (probably won't in the general) because he does not have the credentials to be president.

    correction (none / 0) (#53)
    by Prabhata on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:16:05 PM EST
    the above comment should read:
    I support HRC because she is a good candidate.
    I make changes but don't follow through.
    Sorry about that

    What lie did she tell? (5.00 / 2) (#55)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:17:05 PM EST
    Had he given that speech out of anything but political expediency, it might have been important to me. But he didn't, so it wasn't.

    Not to mention, The Speech (none / 0) (#61)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:21:02 PM EST
    didn't end Obama's speaking and speaking about The Rev. Wright.  

    It's Difficult to Tell Which is a Fighter (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by Elporton on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    but there's little question that the neither candidate is as electable now vs. several months ago.  In the case of Sen. Clinton, while her own missteps haven't helped, this seems to more a product of relentless  media scrutiny and an interest in creating controversy that will "sell papers".  For Sen. Obama, his image has suffered almost entirely from his own failings, despite a generally positive view from the media.

    Notwthstanding all that, it seems clear which of the two candidates has been through more scrapes and has the scars to show for it.  If I'm in for a political fistfight, I'll take a Clinton with me every time.

    Independents (none / 0) (#116)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:41:26 PM EST
    don't want a "fighter."  They want a uniter....Maybe it is wrong to want that, but that is what they want.

    The fighter image appeals to Democrats....Others not so much.   Hillary as fighter comes off as Hillary as combative and hostile in a general election.  As compared to St. John the Maverick?    


    I support Clinton but she has GE weaknesses (5.00 / 3) (#62)
    by davnee on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:21:53 PM EST
    Look I think HRC has what it takes to make a great president.  She is far superior to Obama in my opinion on experience, policy and guts.  The only thing he beats her on, in my opinion, is public speaking.  But even there, I think she is much better off the cuff.  It's really only behind the podium where he beats her.  All that being said though, she is a tough sell in the GE.  Her last name is Clinton and that comes with baggage, some of her own making, some of his making, and some of the R's and MSM's making.  Add to that the fact that she is a woman, and I think we can all agree it will be no mean feat for any woman, much less one with built in high negatives, to shatter the ultimate glass ceiling.  The fact that the economy is bad, Iraq is bad, and Bush is unpopular to put it mildly, probably compensates enough for her to punch through.  But it is no slam-dunk.

    Obama is riding the same exact unity/change pony that GWB rode all the way to DC in 2000.  And he's got extra rock star juice to feed the pony, as well as a crap economy/foreign policy to run the pony against.  But I think his race (which is a + in some demos but a - in other demos), and more importantly his liberal, his corrupt Chicago and his radical anti-American associations are going to derail him.  That and the fact that there is no there there.  The guy has done nothing but give a speech in 2002.  He's got a thinner resume for the presidency than GWB did in 2000.  He's the absolute antithesis of McCain in every way, and I think this is going to be a brutal matchup for him in the GE.  He's no slam-dunk either.

    So yeah, the Dems are not running particularly strong candidates for the GE.  Both have talent, but both have serious baggage.  Both have to rely in part on the field being profoundly tilted for the Dems this cycle to win.  We'll see.

    My own personal issue with Obama is that he is a weak candidate whose weaknesses are largely correctible with time and seasoning.  Time which he has in abundance.  A record of experience and accomplishment and the passage of time would dull his electorally poisonous radical roots and prove his mettle for the job.  His ambition and impatience may prove quite costly for the Dems.

    Hillary's negatives in the 90s? (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:22:55 PM EST
    or Bills? The fact that she won a senate seat debunks your post.

    His response was to give a speech... (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:23:19 PM EST
    He gave a speech about race.
    He talked about his grandma.
    He did not talk about "chickens coming home to roost".

    I think the speech was a smokescreen.

    He also gave a speech about (none / 0) (#76)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:37:29 PM EST

    Who Came Out On Top? (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:25:06 PM EST
    She continued to push her agenda through all the slanderous crap from the right.  She won the Senate twice.  Where is Gengrich and Dole?  Who is affecting policy now?  She survived while her distractors withered.  Win or lose in the current process, she'll survive and fight again.

    I'm from New York (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:33:08 PM EST
    If (Hillary) Clinton was as hated as much you claim, she would not have gotten the support from either party in New York. You claim a lamp post could have won. That's the same analogy I used for the Illinois senate.

    Does the name... (none / 0) (#133)
    by DudeE on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 06:54:35 PM EST
    ...Alan "lamp post" Keyes ring any bells?

    Obama in bad shape for the GE (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by pluege on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:58:02 PM EST
    MY makes the case as to why Obama appealing to republicans is nuts: there is no need to given how well the republican brand has trashed itself. But Obama does this of course, not for the GE, but because its the only way to succeed in the democratic primaries against Clinton. If Obama is the nominee it will be a problem because he has no voting base: republicans will return to the roost and a large percentage of Democrats are pissed off at him. The young Obama fans are not going to be a reliable block, not enough to offset all the Democrats he's pissed off.

    Free Speech In China? (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:05:20 PM EST
    Thanks for making me laugh :)

    That Means (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:08:16 PM EST
    She is 3/2 in the last 5.  And getting ready for a big contest in Penn, where she could score a big victory.  That's a pretty good fight.

    3/3, Right (5.00 / 2) (#109)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:24:37 PM EST
    Fighting from 11-0 to 3-3 is a good thing, and could be an indicator of what can be accomplished.  Yes, I count Texas as a win, becuase she won the popular vote by 100K or so.  No, I don't count re-votes in Texas twice.  The two-step awarded delagates in two contests, but causus goers already voted in the primary, which Hillary won outright.  Texas, Ohio are big wins and proves she can turn things around in big ways.  I'm not denying that the climb is steep for her, but I continue to admire her fighting sprirt.

    BHO Is Sure Working Up A Sweat (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:35:12 PM EST
    for someone who already won ~

    She Won Important States (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:42:50 PM EST
    nothing to be sneezed at.  Obama had all the momentum, and she pulled off significant victroies.  Her campaign siad she would have to win those states to stay in the race, and she did, aganst the Obama juggernaught.

    They do when you back them up with action. (5.00 / 3) (#121)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:54:10 PM EST
    Like, fighting for a year and half to get the Plan B bill through Congress. The anti-pregnancy drug is now available over the counter for 18 and up, thanks to her and Patty Murray.

    Her record on womens' rights speaks louder than her words.

    Between Clinton and Obama (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by caliman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 04:09:04 PM EST
    As a matter of objective comparisons Hillary Clinton is probably the most qualified person who has run for national elected office in my lifetime, and I am 57 years old.

    Barack Obama does not hold a candle up to Hillary or to most of those who came before him in terms of experience and qualifications for the job. He reminds me of the Shrub more than anyone else I can think of in this regard.

    He talks well, gives speeches, and has developed a cult like following. But as to experience and accomplishments there is not much there.

    Nevertheless I was an eager supporter of Barack Obama at first. But over time I came to realize that I could never vote for him. I dislike him intensely for his playing the race card and see him as unworthy of any elected office due to his embrace of black bigotry. I would like to see him driven from public office entirely.

    So in my mind I see only one strong candidatem, Hillary, and one stongly disliked candidate, Obama, to run against McCain.


    She's A Fighter! (5.00 / 1) (#137)
    by facta non verba on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 10:48:33 PM EST
    Fights hard at that. Who else could withstood this onslaught of hate and innuendo against her and still be standing? Perhaps her calls for all votes in MI and FL may be self-serving to some degree but they also fit her principle that every vote should count. Her call for universal health care is yet another aspect of her willingness to fight the good fight and win.

    I even think she can win the general election running as an independent in a three-way race. The amount of people willing to write-in Clinton amazes me. There is support for her deeper than that for Obama albeit I do think Obama too has deep support.

    I do not yet subscribe to the belief that this election is lost, perhaps we yet to truly commence the battle against the GOP. For what it is worth my efforts and I assume so many others is still focused on the primary. When our sights can be set on McCain, so much the better.

    I am an Edwards man but I've got to tell you I am proud to support Hillary Clinton. She's got flaws and I don't agree with her on everything, but I do like her spirit, energy and drive. She's a fighter.

    Skex (1.00 / 0) (#103)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:09:30 PM EST
    You are suspended and recommended for banning.

    Comment no further.

    then you are indeed suffering (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:39:12 PM EST
    from "delusions of obama", a syndrome treatable by harsh doses of reality.

    And yes, I strongly believe a Unity Ticket is necessary for Dems to have a good chance in November.

    neither would be a suitable pairing for the other: clinton would gain more by being the senate majority leader, and obama's inflated sense of self-importance wouldn't enable him to be the "good soldier" required of the VP. ain't gonna happen.

    convince me, or any other sentient being, that sen. obama is the most "electable" of the two.

    good luck on that.

    good luck with that indeed (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:53:12 PM EST
    not likely to happen anytime soon!

    Apparently there are alot of unsentient beings (none / 0) (#17)
    by Faust on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:54:21 PM EST
    running around. Who knew that half the democratic party was filled with zombies?

    most people who've been paying attention (none / 0) (#26)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:00:50 PM EST
    since 1988 could make a guess about it.

    BTD, these are two weaker candidates (none / 0) (#4)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:42:27 PM EST
    not in terms necessarily of policy, but in terms of the GE. I concur on the need for the unity ticket, also.

    If either Clinton or Obama were stronger, then one would have emerged as the presumptive before now. We  don't agree on a candidate, but my support for Clinton is probably as tepid as yours for Obama.

    They both have a lot of problems, and combining, whomever on top, would eliminate many of those.

    I think they are weaker (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:48:39 PM EST
    in what I wanted from my candidate this year - for electability and policy reasons - a fighter for Dem ideals ready to practice the politics of contrast.

    Of all the criticisms I receive on this blog I am always surprised I do not get hit with the one that has the most merit - why was I not a strong supporter of John Edwards?

    I expected to be. I really did. But my substantive differences with Edwards on trade and immigration stood in the way for me.


    I always wondered why Edwards (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:00:25 PM EST
    wasn't a choice for you.  Never thought to criticize you for it though.

    He took public money (none / 0) (#118)
    by MKS on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:44:29 PM EST
    That was perceived as a problem....With McCain, it might not have been as big a problem as thought.

    The two candidates are very strong (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:45:55 PM EST
    and very weak at the same time.

    To be blunt, they are the other two examples of what the Democratic party can do to itself. John Kerry was the first.

    The first!? (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Demi Moaned on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:51:12 PM EST
    What about Michael Dukakis?

    They both have an outstanding chance in November (none / 0) (#10)
    by HeadScratcher on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:49:09 PM EST
    Since the economy is tanking, the war is unpopular and there does seem to be a strange desire for party change every 8 years (with the exception of George H.W. Bush this has happened every 8 years since WWII).

    Considering that the past 2 elections were close this election can be had. But Dems have been so good through the years of shooting themselves in the foot.

    If so much wasn't at stake this fight between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama would be comical.

    By that metric (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:50:50 PM EST
    we could put up anyone and they would be electable. The electability comes not from the candidate, but the circumstances. I think that indeed might save us this year.

    Fingers crossed.


    cross all your fingers (5.00 / 4) (#21)
    by RalphB on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:58:32 PM EST
    people won't vote for someone they don't trust to protect the security of the country as president.  that describes Obama for me.

    do you ever wonder.... (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by bjorn on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:15:10 PM EST
    why Obama has not been around the troops more?  I am not trying to be nasty, but he kind of reminds me of the whole Dukakis thing, where he looks small or weak next to soldiers.  Hillary is so powerful (whether you see it as negative or positive) that she does not look like a shrinking violet next to military men!

    I don't recall seeing any photos or film (none / 0) (#59)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:19:42 PM EST
    of Obama in the presence of our troops.  

    Bowling, yes.  Hunting, probably very soon.  


    Yes. n/t (none / 0) (#19)
    by Faust on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:57:20 PM EST
    Polls (none / 0) (#86)
    by Stellaaa on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:48:55 PM EST
    I read somewhere that Kerry and Gore were in double digit leads when the got the nomination.  Were they strong candidates?  I don't think there is such a thing as a strong candidate.   America like most western nations are in a political stalmate.  No leadership, centrist blather everywhere.  Impasse.  Strong leadership could have happened if Edwards caught on.  But Obama sabotaged the message for Dem agenda to the Obama as a person agenda.  

    Turnout from here out... (none / 0) (#15)
    by ineedalife on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 12:54:04 PM EST
    will be very interesting. If what Matt is saying is true, and I suspect it is, then record turnouts should not happen in the remaining primaries. On the other hand, if we keep seeing record turnouts, that might not be the case. The exception is Puerto Rico, which has never had a meaningful voice, in either the primary or general election, before.

    I think a unity ticket will hurt more then help (none / 0) (#27)
    by angie on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:01:48 PM EST
    and, as much as I support Hillary, I don't think either of them should go for it.  They each have enough "baggage" that adding the other one to the ticket will only give the GOP that many more shots to take at them in the GE. If Hillary is the nominee and Obama is the VP, then the whole Rev. Wright mess follows and vice versa -- with Hillary as the VP, then the whole "Clintons are the devils" follows Obama. Whoever gets the nomination should pick a strong "less baggage" VP, ideally a governor from a swing-state.  Maybe John Edwards or Wesley Clark would be ok too. Just my 2 cents.    

    I think Evan Bayh would be a (none / 0) (#54)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:16:33 PM EST
    killer to her campaign.  Clinton's VP choice needs to be much, much more inspired than that if she does want to win.

    My Mom is for the unity ticket with Obama in the VP slot, but I don't see him playing the attack dog role that we need.  I'm an Edwards gal and even I don't really know if I think VP is a good role for him based on what happened with the Kerry campaign and this year's campaign.

    I think Clark could be good because he is a really good advocate for Democratic Party politics and he is a clever debater.


    My favorite part of Matt's post (none / 0) (#28)
    by oldpro on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:05:04 PM EST
    "But in a primary election, where Clinton has formidable strength, it would have been extremely difficult for anyone other than "the black guy" to build a viable anti-Clinton coalition."

    Which explains why the anti-Clinton camp drafted Obama instead of supporting Edwards.  Makes sense to me...as much sense as anything else in this nightmare year.

    Now why is it (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Edgar08 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:15:56 PM EST
    If Ferrarro were to say something like that, she'd be race baiting?

    True or not.  I think it's true.


    I was amazed he wrote that (none / 0) (#39)
    by andgarden on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:10:14 PM EST
    but it's something I've suspected for a while.

    It is obvious (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:11:40 PM EST
    As long as Clinton had a stranglehold on the A-A vote, and she did, beating her would have been well nigh impossible. Only Obama could take it away from her.

    At what cost? (5.00 / 3) (#50)
    by lentinel on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:15:36 PM EST
    Obama took the black American vote from Clinton by insinuating that she was a racist. Very noble.

    You won't like this source, (none / 0) (#125)
    by 1jpb on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:05:47 PM EST
    but about a year ago Insight said that they received details from an opposition package on BO, they claimed it was from someone associated with the HRC campaign, and they said that the HRC team anticipated that BO was the toughest competition.

    This Insight piece was the origination of the madrassa-lie against BO.  

    Yes, I acknowledge that the Insight folks are big time wingnuts, so HRC supporters need not point that out.


    Lets see if he gets the same reaction (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:13:20 PM EST
    as Ferraro did.

    Also true that (none / 0) (#130)
    by ruffian on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 04:02:59 PM EST
    Clinton was the only first tier Dem Obama could beat.   He admits he saw his opportunity this year because she was the frontrunner and he thought her high negatives would mean he could win.

    If Gore or Kerry had run again, I doubt Obama would even have run.


    Agree, but Clinton is Better in General (none / 0) (#31)
    by Exeter on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:06:23 PM EST
    I used to think Obama was slightly better in the general, but that was before the Wright stuff came up. And only about 1/10 of that has been fully explored-- like it will be in the general.  Plus, most of his overall negatives have still not been explored, like they will in the General. Clinton and McCain, on the other hand, benefit from being known commodities for a long time. There is no news to break on either of them.

    Problematic: (none / 0) (#32)
    by oculus on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:06:45 PM EST
    Given the extreme strong underlying pro-Democrat fundamentals, it's very hard for me to imagine how a "generic Democratic white dude" like Chris Dodd or John Edwards or, indeed, John Kerry would lose in this environment.

    The Republican coalescence behind McCain is brilliant.  Even though he is not conservative enough or consistent enough for the most conservative portion of the party, there is no question he is acceptable to most Republicans on national security issues and staying in Iraq until we "win."

    I can't think of any Democcrat who has equal or greater public creditiliby on national security issues.  HRC spoke strongly in the Petraus hrgs., but hasn't established a "walk the walk" record.  

    McCain is the only one (none / 0) (#45)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:12:54 PM EST
    who even has the possibility of winning this year. Truth be told, he's a horrible candidate, but the media LURVES him and he's a white male.

    The Republicans vote strategically, whereas we want to win AND we want the person to be the most moral, the most brilliant and the most progressive candidate EVAH!


    McCain is a weak candidate (none / 0) (#38)
    by lyzurgyk on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:09:42 PM EST
    Fortunately McCain also has plenty of weaknesses including lukewarm support within the GOP, superhawk status on Iraq, a Republican party on the skids and a propensity to insert foot in mouth.   Either Hillary or Obama should still be able to win in November if we can avoid all-out civil war within the Dem party.

    My gripe with that particular post from MY was that he said nearly exactly what Obama supporters (like MY) tried to tar and feather Geraldine Ferraro for saying - that Obama had an advantage in being "the black guy".

    You forget... (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by oldpro on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:13:37 PM EST
    sexism is OK, so Gerry takes the heat but Matt doesn't.  Not yet, anyway.

    You're referring to Obama (none / 0) (#51)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:15:51 PM EST
    I believe...

    And he still can't put her away... (none / 0) (#56)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:18:41 PM EST
    oh well..

    This is the third election in a row that the (none / 0) (#58)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:19:19 PM EST
    Democratic party has managed to screw up. Gore ran a terrible campaign. Kerry was only slightly better. We're about to go into the GE with a very weak candidate. I'd like to know if we are going to mess this up again in 2012.

    The unity ticket! (none / 0) (#67)
    by oldpro on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:27:16 PM EST

    The only way to unite the party and (evidently - though I'm not giving up on her yet) deny Obama the nomination would be to cut a deal with Al Gore...he gets Hil's delegates (and a Helluva lotta Supers) and puts her on the ticket as VP.

    UNITY!  LOVEFEST!  Oh, OK...the AAs would be pissed but that could be dealt with.  Almost everybody else in camp would come aboard...Clintons would be resurrected/rebonded with the Gores.

    Hallelujah!  Amen, brother!

    Think Bill could pull that off?  I do.  Bet he and Al have already cut the deal.


    Al Gore was my guy from the start. (none / 0) (#124)
    by madamab on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:05:19 PM EST
    I thought he would be an absolute slam-dunk and win 65% of the popular vote. Not to mention the hayuge coattails.

    Unfortunately, if Gore were selected as the nominee now without anyone having voted for him, I'm not sure how happy the electorate would be...


    I suspect not very.. (none / 0) (#139)
    by alexei on Tue Apr 01, 2008 at 01:22:51 AM EST
    happy at all and I would be one of them.  I also was for Gore and still didn't have a candidate until NH. It was between Edwards and Hillary and when Edwards did the double team in the debate - it was Hillary (plus loved her performance in that debate). Also, couldn't stand the media pushing her out, so I was on the edge that night.  

    Some one (none / 0) (#84)
    by Fabian on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:46:08 PM EST
    or most likely, multiple someones wrote a "Extending a hand in reconciliation and partnership to Clinton supporters" from an Obama supporter diary at dk.  (I only saw one diary.)

    I told them thanks for the gesture, but Obama needs to do that himself, personally and very directly.  No squirrelly language, no caveats, no hemming and hawing.

    Without that, I think Obama will have a very rough time of it.  There's a huge difference between quietly waiting until November to cast a vote and being an active outspoken supporter.


    Unity Ticket has become essential (none / 0) (#68)
    by pluege on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:29:42 PM EST
    Given the Democratic divisions over Obama and HRC, a unity ticket seems absolutely essential now.

    The most advantageous to the Democrats in the General Election is with HRC heading.

    I agree... what were we thinking. (none / 0) (#74)
    by sar75 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:34:09 PM EST
    ...and have been saying this since the beginning of the campaign.  It is nothing less than remarkable that in a year that should be a slam dunk Democrats have chosen two candidates who both might very well blow it. 2008 should be like 1964 or 1932 - a sea change election that reorients the country fundamentally.  If we had a Mark Warner, Evan Bayh, Al Gore, or even John Edwards at the top of the ticket, the only question we'd be asking right now is: 30 more seats in the House? Maybe 60 in the Senate for a filibuster-proof majority?  

    But no.  We chose two highly problematic candidates. I support Obama, and think he has a better chance in the GE, but not that much better. And I still think that the structural advantages favoring the Democratic candidate are so enormous that either one will still likely win. Just wait for unemployment to top 6% this year - it will be hard for any Republican to win under these circumstances.  But still, we shouldn't be wondering how we're going to get to 270.  We should be winning 40 states and 55% of the popular vote.

    In my opinion, this speaks volumes about our party.  What were we thinking?

    I still have my Mark Warner stickers.  If we lose, I hope we won't be so foolish next time around.

    and so are her.. (none / 0) (#75)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:34:10 PM EST
    presidential opponents.

    Sign of strength (none / 0) (#77)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:38:32 PM EST
    Strong candidates get weak challengers.  Fact of life. That's because strong challengers don't want to risk whatever office they currently hold for a not-sure-thing.  Weak candidates get strong challengers.  

    Being a strong candidate is about more than winning.  It's about being able to scare off prospective opponents.  The strongest candidates don't get any opposition at all.  

    Clinton should get credit for the fact that she stared down better opponents and only had token opposition.

    Scared The Hell Out Of Guiliani (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:43:23 PM EST
    as a matter of fact.  As for her doing nothing, she appeared on national TV to push back against the very real right wing conspiracy.  She also helped push through a very popular clildren's health bill.  In spite of all the flase claims, Sen Kennedy praised her valuable efforts in getting the law.

    And China (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:50:48 PM EST
    Let's not forget that she went right into China and lambasted their "one child" policy and called out all nations that mistreat women - whether through forced abortion, forced child birth, genital mutilations, what have you.  That was frakin' brave.  

    I meant to say (none / 0) (#81)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:44:16 PM EST
    false claims by the media about Hillary and the SCHIP plan...

    Oh, nonsense (none / 0) (#82)
    by weldon berger on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:44:22 PM EST
    The truth is that Democrats have two singular but mediocre candidates who are both perfectly electable and who will both be deeply disappointing to many Democrats if they win the White House. If whichever of them gets the nomination runs an even modestly competent campaign in the general election—not a given, I know—McCain will be lucky to crack 45%.

    Weldon... (none / 0) (#89)
    by sar75 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:53:08 PM EST
    ...I agree.  I do think that this should be in the bag, but it's not.

    Still, I think you're right. The circumstances favoring the Democrat this year are just so favorable that a moderately competent campaign should ensure their victory. I just wish it were not at all in doubt. I think it will be closer than you're suggesting, and we'll be lucky to break 300 in the electoral college.


    And So Is He Unable (none / 0) (#85)
    by flashman on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:47:56 PM EST
    to put her away.

    Yglesias Flawed as Usual (BTD misses it: oooooo) (none / 0) (#87)
    by pluege on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:50:19 PM EST
    As usual, there's a few things there, but Yglesias again is fundamentally flawed (and I'm surprised BTD didn't pick this up). MY says:

    "[HRC] is an almost uniquely poor choice to try to expand the Democratic Party's appeal at a time when George W. Bush has brought the GOP into discredit."

    Ygelsias creates his own conflict between a 'need to expand democratic appeal' at a time when bush has discredited the GOP. If the GOP is undermined, this would be the time when Democrats are least in need of expanding their appeal because there are fewer competing choices with the repug label trashed, i.e., the choice for republican leaning indies is vote Democrat or don't vote (which also helps Democrats). At same time, bush provides the incitement for a large Democratic turnout regardless of the Dem nominee.

    So opposite to what Yglegsias says, this is the best time for Democrats to venture into new territory going with a candidate that is not a white male. The only thing stopping a Dem victory are the usual things: missing the big picture and not knowing who the enemy is, which Democrats are doing very well so far.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#90)
    by Chimster on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 01:54:51 PM EST
    I DO dispute it. Please show me the negatives she received during the 90's. Not Bill's negatives, but hers.

    Clearly you don't remember it (none / 0) (#99)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:06:45 PM EST
    Otherwise you would not say that.  But if Obama went to a tolitarian nation and gave a speech half as challenging to that nation, I would give him some credit for his speech-making.

    Moved (none / 0) (#127)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 03:21:42 PM EST
    Sorry - this is a response to ObamaMaMa above.  It got moved.  

    Can we take a step or two back? (none / 0) (#111)
    by manys on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:30:54 PM EST
    This post and many of the comments exemplify the latest instances of the apolitical backbiting that threatens to allow McCain to win. I don't especially like either Obama or Clinton, but come November I'll be voting for whomever is the nominee. However, it pains me to see people wasting energy being angry at one or the other for not satisfying some nebulous and entirely personal ideal. In this context, idealism is ambition's evil twin.

    I'd love it if people put more effort into getting the candidates (of all stripes) to address the actual problems of today without resorting to paeans of "hope," "history," and other fuzzy humanisms. Remember, there are real problems that aren't being addressed in the campaigns and they aren't solely associated with any one candidate.

    Let's hear some "If you were president right now, how would you be dealing with 'X'?"

    McCain is weak (none / 0) (#119)
    by nellre on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:45:10 PM EST
    MSM just does not want to report on it.
    But they will. As soon as HRC and BHO start campaigning against him.

    Bush was far weaker but they barely ever (none / 0) (#122)
    by tigercourse on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:57:23 PM EST
    bothered reporting on that either. Relying on the media to do it' job is, I think, a waste of time.

    If you were president right now ... (none / 0) (#120)
    by weldon berger on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 02:46:06 PM EST
    How would you be dealing with your inability to deliver on any of the costly things you promised during your campaign, and your reluctance to deliver on any of the inexpensive but vital structural reforms you promised?

    Neither Obama nor Clinton are particularly (none / 0) (#135)
    by macwiz12 on Mon Mar 31, 2008 at 08:39:20 PM EST
    attractive to me. Of those who ran, John Edwards was my first choice although he was second overall. Al Gore was first. How can you like him, he lost to Bush? Yea, and Nixon lost to Kennedy.

    Actually, for hard fought campaigns, the 1960 race has a lot of parallels to 2008. The primary season was hard fought and the nominee was not decided until the actual ballot at the convention. A lot of Johnson supporters were very upset until Kennedy picked him for VP.

    Of the two, Obama and Clinton, I currently lean toward Clinton because I think she would do better in the general election. There are a lot of people out there looking for reasons to avoid Obama without appearing to be racists although many of them really are.

    In my opinion, Obama is a running a little too early. He has only been on the national stage for a few years. Of his years in the senate, he has really spent almost as much time running for president as being a senator. While I like much about him, his charisma reminds me a lot of John Kennedy, he seems in need of a little seasoning.

    I will, of course, vote for whoever the democratic party nominates, to do otherwise would be unthinkable. I am too old to make symbolic votes. I have seen too much of the terror of war, both from home with respect to Iraq and as a participant in Viet Nam, where I first voted by absentee ballot in 1968.