Friday, February 08, 2008

Been a while...

I had to write a ten line poem to enter into a contest to pick the most Beat of the Beatniks. The contest is in conjunction with the exhibition of One the Road With The Beats at the Harry Ransom Center from February 5th until August 3rd.

This is what I came up with. Not particularly beat. But I am wearing khakis, jack purcells and a black long sleeve. That is pretty beat, if it isn't Beat.

Am I a Beatnik?

The wind hits my face with an ice cubes smack.
I taste the city on the tip of my tongue.
I smell her sweet stench in my flaring nostrils.
I exhale her in a puff of steam.
The city, she looks good.
The bright sun tears screamingly my unshaded eyes.
Buses rumble past, but I don't hear.
My heart open to the possible.
The city, she looks good
to me.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ouch and Mega Ouch!

From a reader J.C. on the Atlantic Monthly's Marc Ambinder Blog:

Barack Obama: "change we can believe in"

Hillary Clinton: needs a can to leave change in.

Another one bites the dust...

I guess the news is reporting that Mitt Romney is finally going to stop wasting his children's inheritance and quit the race. You have to love/hate Drudge. He really does get stuff first.

No Money Mo Problems!!!

Hillary and Bill Clinton have loaned her campaign $5 million of their own money. They have said that they would go up to $20 million. In addition, key Clinton staffers have decided to forgo salary. This is bad news, made worse by the fact that Obama raised $32 million in January and $5.8 million since Super Tuesday.

This is a horse race and one of the horses is running on three legs.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Big "MO"

The results from California were surprising to see in light of Obama’s surging momentum. How did it happen that she won so big? It was a combination of winning the Latino vote handily, low African-American turnout and the strangeness of voting rules that combined to quell Obama’s “mo.”

Here is a good summary on the voting rules in California from a Slate blog called Trailhead:

“Most polls from the past few days showed Obama gaining on her, and one or two even projected he would win. But judging from the voting results, he was too late. The state of California allows voters—not just seniors and absentees, but anyone—to cast an absentee ballot by mail. As a result, more than 3 million Californians voted early this year (one elections official put the number at 4.1 million). And judging from polls in previous weeks, they voted largely for Clinton. If Obama was actually gaining in recent days, the vote totals may not reflect it.”

Early voting starting in California a few days after Hillary Clinton’s comeback win in New Hampshire (it is true, they can spin anything, including making the presumptive frontrunner a comeback story).

So here is my question: Who has the momentum coming out of Super Tuesday? I look at the states that they won.

Obama won in Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah and his home state of Illinois.

Clinton won Arizona, Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and her home state of New York.

When I look at these things I see something striking. Clinton won states that Democrats always win. You have to figure that Oklahoma is essentially off the table in November. Arkansas was a win because she used to deign to love amongst those people. Tennessee was a bit confusing, so we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she had some crossover appeal.

Otherwise she won New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Does anyone think that the eventual Democratic nominee won’t carry those states? Clinton won Arizona which is on the long march to solid blue state status. And yes, she won the Golden State, but I think that this victory is muted for reasons outlined above.

Obama, on the other hand won the south. These are states that Democrats have not counted on winning since LBJ put pen to paper and signed the Civil Rights Act over 40 years ago. I posit this. Does anyone think that these states should be off the table if the Republicans nominate John McCain?

In addition, Obama won the mountain west. Why does this matter? Well, the Dems have decided that this portion of the country is so important that they are holding their national convention in Denver this summer. Yes, Latino voters in California went to Hillary big time, but what about Hispanic voters in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana. It seems entirely plausible that he will win New Mexico too, though the election officials needed a power nap there, so we won’t have a result until later today.

Lastly, Obama won Minnesota, North Dakota, Kansas and Missouri. Is there anyone who thinks that Dems have a chance if they can’t win the weathervane state of Harry Truman? Kansas? When was the last time Kansas voted for a progressive? The answer is 1976 when they voted for the “anybody but the guy who pardoned Nixon” Jimmy Carter. Minnesota used to be a safely Democratic state, but I believe Democrats ignore the state at their own peril. Obama apparently won the Scandinavian dairy farmer vote by winning Minnesota and North Dakota.

So, who has momentum? That is hard to say. It is probably the campaign with the better spinners. If I were Obama’s advisor (and contrary to my ranting, I am not) I would spin looking forward instead of backwards. Coming up this weekend is Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington (and the U.S.V.I.’s so as not to ignore the utterly irrelevant). I think Obama has a clear advantage in Louisiana and Nebraska and the educated and affluent Democratic population in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia would seem to favor Obama.

We will have to wait and see though. Predictions are not all that useful. The best way forward is to keep on working. Nothing is decided. If you like Obama, if you like Clinton… get out and vote! If you like McCain, Romney or Huckabee… go ahead and take a nap.

On a side note, I love hearing Clinton supporters interviewed. It is not unlike hearing New York Giants fans interviewed. As some supporter spouts the talking points, trying hard to inject the word change into the stale prose as many times as possible, I wonder to myself if this is what Hubert Humphrey’s supporters were saying in 1960?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

This gives me chills...

Ladies and gentlemen, the grass roots have spoken!