Sunday Presidential Race Reading

Four not to miss, and I'm just getting started:

  • The New York Times: Obama in Senate: Star Power, Minor Role. I've read another article like this in the past few days but didn't write about it because the person critical of Obama was a Republican. This one has some meat from Democrats on page 3.
  • The Washington Post: Influential Democrats Waiting to Choose Sides. The Post does a survey of undeclared superdelegates, finding most will wait until the primaries are over. And 100 votes or so difference is no big deal. They'll exercise their independent function not just vote the way the voters do. Why have them if that's their only purpose? Some, like Sen. Salazar of Colorado, say the decision will based on which candidate can better bring it home for the Dems in their state in November.
  • The Washington Post: Philadelphia Mayor's Endorsement Suddenly Matters: Philly's African American Mayor explains why he's staying with Hillary. When asked about Philly being 45% African American, after noting he won both the black and white vote, he said:
    "We feel a certain sense of freedom and progressiveness here," Nutter said of the City of Brotherly Love. "The notion that all black people vote one way has to be destroyed."


  • Washington Post: The Downside of Obama's Strategy
    If Obama becomes the Democratic nominee but cannot win support from working-class whites and Hispanics, they argue, then Democrats will not retake the White House in November.
    "If you can't win in the Southwest, if you don't win Ohio, if you don't win Pennsylvania, you've got problems in November," said Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), a Clinton supporter.

    Even some Obama advisers see a real problem. "Ultimately, all that matters is how the nominee stacks up against John McCain," said one adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity, referring to the senator from Arizona and presumptive GOP nominee. "Right now, Barack is not connecting with the children of the Reagan Democrats. That's a real concern."

There's more cause for concern:

But many Democratic elected officials are worried. "No one's jumping up and down in Okeechobee, Florida, saying we've got a perfect ticket," agreed Rep. Tim Mahoney (Fla.), a moderate, unaffiliated Democrat in a swing district. "If you're a Barack Obama, you're going to have to figure out how to reach out to white, middle-aged men."

Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), who like Mahoney has not endorsed either Obama or Clinton, is concerned about Obama's poor performance among Latino voters in California and Texas. "It's unfortunate," he said, "because Barack Obama has done very well with Latino voters in Illinois, and I know his heart, and it's for an inclusive agenda."

The more concern party officials and elected officials -- themselves superdelegates -- have, the more they may tend towards Hillary over Obama.

One last note: Trial lawyers are trained to look for inconsistencies, no matter how minor. They often are indications of others we will discover.

Here's Obama, telling the Times:

From the Times article above, Obama in Senate: Star Power, Minor Role.

Mr. Obama found the Hill a difficult place to fit in, and it was not always clear that he wanted to. He was 43 when he arrived, younger than most of his colleagues — whose average age was 60 — and even many senior staff members. Unlike senators who come up through the House, he did not have an existing network of friends, and while some members of Congress bunk with others, he lived by himself in one of the nondescript new boxes along Massachusetts Avenue. On the nights he was in town, he typically went alone to a Chinatown athletic club — not the Senate gym — or attended events on the Hill.

He went to a Chinatown Gym. But, here's Mr. Salazar this WaPo article linked above saying:

Sen. Ken Salazar (Colo.) noted that he entered the Senate in 2005 with Obama, and has shared numerous dinners and workouts at the congressional gym with him. As a moderate Democrat, he has also worked often with Clinton.

An image of Obama eschewing the Senate gym for one in Chinatown plays to the notion that he is his own man and not beholden to the Senate traditions while he serves there. He's the outsider, coming to fix Washington. But, how does that reconcile with Sen. Salazar saying one of the places they forged a connection was in the Congressional gym? Maybe Obama works out at both places, but that's not the image one gets form the Times article.

I'm sure I'll be adding to the list as the day goes on, but feel free to comment on these articles or add your own in comments. I think there is a lot more we need to know about Sen. Obama before handing off the Democratic nomination to him.

< The Upshot of Wyoming: Obama Gains Two Delegates | The Will Of The People Is Not In The Pledged Delegate Count (Part 2) >
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    Gym (none / 0) (#1)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 03:26:33 AM EST
    I noticed that as well.  Don't know who and what to believe anymore.  
    (don't you sleep? man you work hard, I know now who would answer the phone at 3:00 am.)

    Wow, he has used two different gyms! (none / 0) (#7)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 06:58:03 AM EST
    Maybe Hillary can cut a campaign commercial attacking Obama about this "inconsistency".  I'm sure she would get about as much traction as she did with his Kindergarden papers.

    I think she should (none / 0) (#23)
    by Marvin42 on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:27:19 AM EST
    "He says he will fix government, yet he wastes money with an outside gym membership when he could have used the free gym paid for by your tax dollars..."

    This, obviously, is a joke.


    I'm up too, Stellaaa! (none / 0) (#2)
    by blogtopus on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 05:10:48 AM EST
    "The notion that all black people vote one way has to be destroyed."

    It's about time people realized that. Remember the line yesterday (or was it the day before) about how white people show prejudice by voting for their race, while black people show solidarity for voting for theirs. I don't remember the author but it was a doozy of a line.

    We are all equal, for better or worse. I'm glad this mayor sees this.

    (ps. you probably don't want me answering that phone. I'll just say I'm not interested in another subscription and hang up.)

    I am not brave (none / 0) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 05:24:55 AM EST
    just in the Euro time zone.  

    Well put.  Huffington even calls them lizard brains, don't want to link cause I don't want to give her a hit.  


    The subtext to the Mayor's endorsement of Clinton (none / 0) (#8)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:01:19 AM EST
    is that it has everything to do with the fact that Obama unwisely endorsed his Democratic Primary opponent.  Nothing like a little revenge served cold.

    Frank Rich (none / 0) (#4)
    by wiredick on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 05:29:27 AM EST
    didn't trash Hilary today.

    Now (none / 0) (#12)
    by kenoshaMarge on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:23:26 AM EST
    that's news! :)

    "100 or so vote difference no big deal" (none / 0) (#5)
    by Aussie Chris on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 05:29:37 AM EST
    What is a big delegate vote difference? What most pundits forget is that there are really only about 260 uncommitted superdelegates left. I assume the 76 'add-on' superdelegates will go with their states and be about evenly divided between Clinton and Obama. Further, committed superdelegates are very reluctant to switch. If Obama leads by 100 delegates, it would take a 181-79 Clinton-Obama split for the remaining 260 superdelegates to give the nomination to Clinton. Very unlikely unless the argument for Clinton is very very compelling. It is not just who would be better able to beat McCain, but also which candidate would be least damaged by the resulting fratricide. Of course, if Clinton was ahead in the popular vote this would indeed be a strong argument.

    I don't think you number is right (none / 0) (#24)
    by Marvin42 on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:28:36 AM EST
    I believe there are more than 260 uncommitted super-delegates left.

    Another TZI (none / 0) (#6)
    by Rainsong on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 06:54:24 AM EST
    (ie Time Zone Impaired)

    I felt sympathy for Obama in the NYT article - made him sound lonely. Mean, nasty Senate. Maybe some of us should invite him over for supper?

    However - I was surprised at the comment about it being an advantage to have little or no record when running for President, because then you have no baggage?

    So does that mean that its better that they earn  their "baggage" in the WH? I dont quite grasp the logic of that.

    The logic is that this will be the 1st (none / 0) (#11)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:23:03 AM EST
    cycle in a long time where the President is elected from the Senate (Clinton, Obama and McCain).

    Traditionally Governors do much better in presidential races as they don't have a legislative track record. e.g. see Bush 1 + 2, CLinton, Reagan etc.

    e.g. Opponents can cut dishonest ads and soundbites like "Hillary voted to raise taxes 3,412 times" and "McCain voted in favour of torture and clubbing baby seals".  In a long history in congress you vote on hundreds and thousands of bills, and they can pick through thousands of amendments to bill to try to make you look bad.  e.g. Republicans put forward a bill to giveaway 100 billion to oil companies,  but cleverly tack on an amendment that allocated $5million dollars to cancer research.  Then if Obama/Clinton vote against the bill you get a campaign ad saying Obama or Clinton hate cancer sufferers and voted against funding research.

    You get the idea.


    This is the REALITY (none / 0) (#9)
    by maritza on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:01:46 AM EST
    Obama doesn't have to actually win Pennsylvania but he has to look like he is fighting like hell for it and has to narrow the gap in the blue collar worker votes.

    If Obama doesn't fight hard for Pennsylvania and instead campaigns elsewhere and visits overseas, he is going to LOSE the Presidency period.  

    The Superdelegates will NOT give him the nomination if he looks like he is coasting to the nomination based upon the delegate math rather than fighting like hell for it.  

    The bottom line is that Obama needs to LOOK TOUGH. Perception is EVERYTHING right now.  I think that Obama has that toughness in him which he has displayed against McCain but for whatever reason, he doesn't want to take Hillary on.  I don't know if it is because he is an African-American man and doesn't want to come across as an "angry black man" beating up on an older white woman or what.

    But the reality is that he needs to fight like hell to win Pennsylvania and that means keeping his "hope and change" message but re-tooling it to a common man one that speaks to blue-collar workers.

    One thing we know is that campaigns can turn around in a dime.  2 weeks ago everbody was writing Hillary's obituary.  Fast forward 2 weeks later and Obama looks like the weaker candidate.

    We will know what direction Obama has decided to go based upon his victory speech after Mississippi. That speech may be one fo the most important in his life.  It will tell us what his plan is for Pennsylvania.

    absurd... (none / 0) (#29)
    by CentristDemocrat on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 01:53:11 PM EST
    Obama must win PA to have any legiitmacy, he has thus far, not won any state (minus Illinois and Washington) with a large industrial base or is part of the new "knowledge" economy. In trms of population density and percentage of the US GDP, Clinton is absolutely spanking him.

    Obama has consistently not been able to win a majority of votes of non-white/non-black ethnicties, he seems to be at odds with a non-trivial subsection of white democrats (to say anything about white republicans).

    I think all this indicatse that Obama has a very narrow appeal, amongst African Americans, 20 something white voters (cause he clearly dosn't win amongst 20 something Latinos or Asians given that in many states this group went 66 - 70% for Clinton), and the anti-war vote.

    This is very similiar to the group McGovern assembled if I remember my history correct (minus the African Americans), but honestly African Americans are more so then before, moving to the South-East (this is a demographic trend), this is where there votes matter, and this is where i think there votes will be negated if the much larger white majorities in most of these South-Eastern states, don't back him (which I suspect they won't).


    I haven't read the articles yet (none / 0) (#10)
    by kmblue on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:02:20 AM EST
    Is there any concern about Obama reaching out to
    (ahem) older white women?
    I can say that I'm an older white woman.  ;)

    One of the dynamics that I have found (none / 0) (#13)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:27:36 AM EST
    slightly strange is the idea that the fact that Obama appeals to the young, and to Blacks is somehow a bad thing,  whereas the fact that Hillary's strength amongst the old and the female is a good thing.  There is definitely a double standard at play.  If we say,  well of course Blacks are voting for Obama, he is black.  You could equally say,  well of course whites and woman are voting for Clinton,  I would say that is equally valid/invalid.  Taken to it's logical extremes then the only votes that should count for Obama come from non-black females over 50,  and for Hillary it should only be the non-white males under 50.

    I think whoever wins,  the vast majority of people voting for Obama or Clinton currently will vote for the eventual nominee.


    I don't get that at all... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Maria Garcia on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:58:46 AM EST
    There's been so much made of his appeal to the young and how great that is.The young vote is what both parties are courting, particularly since this current young cohort is demographically so large. In fact, much of the glamor that surrounds Obama is his ability to motivate young people. In our culture to be called a "rock star" is not a bad thing.

    And I don't know about older white man (can't speak for them) but I feel safe in making a generalization that older women have a soft spot for the young. I'm glad they are voting, even if I am supporting Hillary.


    The youth vote.... (none / 0) (#31)
    by Rainsong on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 05:02:32 PM EST
    Maria Garcia: "..but I feel safe in making a generalization that older women have a soft spot for the young. I'm glad they are voting, even if I am supporting Hillary."

    Yes, I think many of us oldies do have a soft spot for the young. And pleased to see them so enthusiastic. Some of us were college kids once. Our generation were going to change the world too :) Been there. Done that. Bought that T-shirt. (grin) Even saw the original, and a couple of "remakes" and "sequels" on that meme.


    It's not that it's bad (none / 0) (#21)
    by Democratic Cat on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:16:18 AM EST
    But that it may be limiting in a general election.

    "Limiting" (none / 0) (#30)
    by diogenes on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 03:26:51 PM EST
    It might be limiting if stab-in-the-back Hillary keeps saying that although John McCain is qualified to be commander in chief, Obama is not.  Isn't this a monstrous approach which puts her personal ambition above the party's chances of winning in 2008?  Oops, I forgot--it's all about HER.

    Obama's coat-tails help Foster take Hastert's (none / 0) (#14)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 07:36:56 AM EST
    congressional seat in Illinois.

    Obama cut a commercial for Foster and put his campaign behind him in his bid for election in a solidly Republican district.

    Why this is good news for Democrats and for Obama

    1.McCain campaigned and appeared for the Republican, Oberweis.  Didn't do him much good and shows that Republicans are going to have a tough year

    2.It demonstrates Obama's coat-tails and suggests that he can help expand the Democratic parties reach into red districts to build a working majority in both houses

    3. Another superdelegate for Obama almost certainly.  Foster becomes a Super by virtue of his seat,  and will almost certainly vote for Obama.

    Still waiting for a blog entry on this (none / 0) (#18)
    by cannondaddy on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 08:36:27 AM EST
    I guess BTD is working on putting a negative spin on it.

    Yup, either that or it will be ignored completely (none / 0) (#19)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 08:51:06 AM EST
    Or (none / 0) (#25)
    by Marvin42 on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:30:09 AM EST
    Its not as big a deal as you think it is in the national level.

    Helping Democrats get elected and re-elected (none / 0) (#32)
    by JoeA on Mon Mar 10, 2008 at 05:40:49 AM EST
    in marginal seats is not important?  That's the kind of attitude that lost the Democrat's both houses during the Clinton years.  and that's why Democratic superdelegates have been going 3 or 4 to 1 for Obama since Super Tuesday.

    They are voting for the candidate they think will

    a) get elected
    b) have coattails to expand majorities in both houses.

    That is why this is important,  and I'm sure the uncommitted super delegates are watching.


    I commented on it last nigh (none / 0) (#26)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 11:23:21 AM EST
    I think it's great for Obama.  Good job, man.

    However, I don't think it says much of anything for national coattails.  It does say he's very popular in his home state.  But we knew that anyway, didn't we?


    Great line from Mayor Nutter (none / 0) (#17)
    by Munibond on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 08:08:42 AM EST
    "There's the regular season, and then there's the playoffs."

    Sour grapes from Nutter (none / 0) (#20)
    by JoeA on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 08:52:23 AM EST
    Obama unwisely endorsed his primary opponent in the Mayoral race due to some hazy connection with David Axelrod.  Nutter obviously has a long memory.

    Well that's politics (5.00 / 5) (#22)
    by Democratic Cat on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 09:17:40 AM EST
    Obama didn't think Nutter was good enough for the job.  Maybe Nutter just doesn't think Obama is good enough for the job.

    Seems Obvious To Me (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 12:45:39 PM EST
    However, women still contended with unequal access to gym facilities and other indications of sexism.[41] Once when fellow freshman Leslie Byrne of Virginia entered an elevator full of Members, a Congressman remarked, "It sure is nice to have you ladies here. It spiffs up the place." Exasperated, Byrne quipped, "Yup, chicks in Congress."[42] Another Member of the class of '92 observed that Congress had failed to keep pace with changes in American society. "Out in the real world, we took care of a lot of these basic issues between men and women years ago," said Lynn Schenk. "But this place has been so insulated, the shock waves of the '70s and '80s haven't quite made it through the walls."[43]


    As enlightened as today's Senate may be (cough, cough), I am sure that there are still some vestiges of sexism and racism still floating about.

    Given that, if I were BHO I would not want to go to a white only men's club either, unless I was invited to go with a friend. My guess is that the Chinatown club is a bit more diverse, IOW African Americans would be less a novelty ergo less gawking.

    From AP: (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 01:09:15 PM EST

    Academic who is tracking black voting patterns in this season is writing a book on Obama.