Tight Race In Wisconsin To Test Obama’s Mettle

A new Rasmussen poll out today highlights how contested Wisconsin is, shaping the state up to be the testing ground of Obama’s momentum since the five day winning streak he built up after Super Tuesday.

At first, it was looking as though Hillary was going to go straight to Texas, lower expectations in Wisconsin, and fortify her support in the Lone Star State.  The firewall tactic.  However, one thing that Obama’s post Super Tuesday performance has done is force Clinton into a state by state strategy.

Obama, who has contest just about every state throughout the nomination process, was finally getting some significant returns by serving Hillary a string of blowouts which had a twofold affect on the race.  Technically, it allowed Obama to surge in delegate collection, which has put Hillary down by triple digits in some counts and makes it difficult for her to regain the lead in pledged delegates before the Democratic convention.  More metaphysically, the wins have allowed Obama to stir up that all important momentum which in primary contests of the past has been all that was needed to end nomination race by Super Tuesday.

With Hillary originally moving on straight to Texas, it was looking as though Obama was working Wisconsin anyway in order to run the numbers up on Clinton just as he did in the Potomac primary.  But Mrs. Clinton has changed her strategy and is putting together a last minute organization in order to strip away as many delegates as possible.

And with a Rasmussen poll showing the two only four points apart, Wisconsin is not totally out of Hillary’s grasp for a complete win.

But Hillary is not the only one making some changes to the strategy, though with Obama, the change is a little more subtle.  From his opponents both within the party and amongst Republicans, the most frequent attack that Obama has had to weather lately has been that he is all style and no substance, an attack I have time and again is silly on its own merits when applied to any presidential candidate, and is even doubly so when it comes to Obama as reader Angellight points out in a recent post:

Below is a comparison of Clinton and Obama Senate Accomplishments so you can decide for yourself who has the Beef?

Check out Amadeo Sogni’s article A Light in the Darkness where he actually does research in comparing legislative records of both Clinton and Obama. It was very illuminating and I would like someone to try to debunk it.

Sogni states:
Senator Clinton, who has served only one full term (6yrs.), and another year campaigning, has managed to author and pass into law, (20) twenty pieces of legislation in her first six years.
These bills can be found on the website of the Library of Congress (www.thomas.loc.gov), but to save you trouble, I’ll post them here for you.

1. Establish the Kate Mullany National Historic Site.
2. Support the goals and ideals of Better Hearing and Speech Month.
3. Recognize the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
4. Name courthouse after Thurgood Marshall.
5. Name courthouse after James L. Watson.
6. Name post office after Jonn A. O’Shea.
7. Designate Aug. 7, 2003, as National Purple Heart Recognition Day.
8. Support the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day.
9. Honor the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton on the bicentennial of his death.
10. Congratulate the Syracuse Univ. Orange Men’s Lacrosse Team on winning the championship.

OBAMAS:

Now, I would post those of Obama’s, but the list is too substantive, so I’ll mainly categorize. During the first (8) eight years of his elected service he sponsored over 820 bills. He introduced
233 regarding healthcare reform,
125 on poverty and public assistance,
112 crime fighting bills,
97 economic bills,
60 human rights and anti-discrimination bills,
21 ethics reform bills,
15 gun control,
6 veterans affairs and many others.
His first year in the U.S. Senate, he authored 152 bills and co-sponsored another 427. These included:
**the Coburn-Obama Government Transparency Act of 2006 (became law),
**The Lugar-Obama Nuclear Non-proliferation and Conventional Weapons Threat Reduction Act, (became law),
**The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act, passed the Senate,
**The 2007 Government Ethics Bill, (became law),
**The Protection Against Excessive Executive Compensation Bill, (In committee), and many more.
In all since enter the U.S. Senate, Senator Obama has written 890 bills and co-sponsored another 1096.

(FROM WIZBANGBLUE, Mothermaven, 2/13/08)

SO WHOSE GOT THE BEEF?

Obama’s got plenty of substance behind the lofty rhetoric, more than enough to satisfy any reasonable progressive, and one need not look much further than his website to find it.  But as John Kerry taught us in 2004, it’s less than wise to throw a URL in your speech or in an answer in a debate.

Thus, as he campaigns in Wisconsin, he’s going to be changing the tone and substance of his speeches to be more policy based, an altogether good idea before the claims of style over substance begin to stick.  After all, before he become a serious threat to the Clinton campaign, more than a few people not in the Obama cult had been gracious enough to call him something of a “wonk”.

In the end, Wisconsin will prove to be the biggest test of Obama’s momentum and his staying power.  It is the closest contested race since Super Tuesday, and perhaps the first where Hillary Clinton is attacking the state all out.

That’s not to say there aren’t any risks for the Clinton campaign as well.  She’s going to have to sink prescious resources in Wisconsin, and a decisive win for Obama here will be unspinnable, both items making it more difficult for Hillary to turn Texas into the wall she was hoping it to be.

But the risks for Obama are potentially greater.  Should Hillary manage to win the state, many are expecting his momentum to hit a stand still, if not reverse completely, and he will have to battle straight through the rest of the states just to hold on to his lead in pledged delegates.

Overall, I’m very interested to see how this thing turns out.  We haven’t seen the two candidates go head to head like this yet through the nomination race, and Wisconsin could prove to be the indicator of which nominee has the best ground game, and is the most effective on the trail.

But, barring reliable tracking polls, we won’t know until Tuesday night.

7 Responses to “Tight Race In Wisconsin To Test Obama’s Mettle”

  1. Dynamic says:

    I know people are working the phone banks for both candidates, but here’s a strategy I don’t believe any of the candidates is using that I feel would score some pretty good returns (though I admit it would take some resources to implement as each call could potentially be time consuming).

    Rather than calling and saying why you should vote for one candidate – or not vote for another – let’s have our phone bankers call up and say “Hello, my name is X and I’m calling on behalf of Barack Obama. I’m just wondering if you have any questions about his comprehensive policies for addressing America’s issues that I can anwer for you?” This engages people and is much more likely to generate a response than simply trying to get out a string of facts before they hang up. And if they say no, they don’t have any questions, you can include some of those highlights in your conclusion as you say goodbye, so you still get a message out.

    Just a thought.

  2. Wow…

    Just… wow!

    That is good, though, you are right in that it would take a lot of resources. Granted, on the front it may not seem like it, you’re just changing the script in a phone bank, but at a second look, you know, NPR Tuesday night had one analyst on who was remarking on how the lead attack against Obama was that he was all style and no substance, as I laid out above. But then he countered that and said that Obama has over three hundred pages out there in policy point papers, fifty hours of substantive debate footage, over a hundred public policy speeches, and basically, just an awful lot of material to go through.

    You would have to train each caller on all of that material as well as the blueprint for change available at the Barack Obama website which is a detailed document on his platform, and then, maybe then, you would be able to do that.

    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think that if you could do that, you would have a killer campaign tool at your disposal, on the other hand, it would be near impossible to pull off because you’re talking about an untold number of hours of training for each operator, plus, you have to trust that operator’s debate skills in case of follow up questions, and the more I dissect this, the more it seems filled with booby traps.

    It’d be nice if there was a way though.

    What he really needs to do, though, is get out there and hold more townhalls, hold more events where he himself can answer more questions. That would be a huge advantage over Hillary who, since the planted questions fiasco, will have issues with the integrity of such events.

  3. Mark says:

    I’m sorry, but Hillary’s substance all too often amounts to throwing some round numbers together in a sentence to make it sound as if her campaign promises are well-thought out…hence her batsh!t insane call for a five-year moratorium on teaser rates. (As an aside, I would really appreciate if a politician would acknowledge the fact that about 3/4 of the people going into foreclosure and who they want to bail out LIED ON THEIR APPLICATIONS AND COMMITTED FRAUD!) It sounds good to the uneducated voter, and maybe even to the educated voter without any background in economics. But to anyone with even the vaguest understanding of economics, the disastrous result of such a proposal is pretty obvious.

    Point being: Hillary’s “substance” amounts to nothing more than the student council candidate who promises “free tacos at lunch on Thursdays” without thinking about the tradeoff that will mean for lunch every other day of the week. The only conclusions that can be drawn from some of Hillary’s proposals are that she either:
    1. Is economically illiterate and has hired Robert Mugabe as her economic advisor, OR
    2. Is fully aware that her statements sound substantive to the average voter since they include, like, numbers and stuff, but in fact have exactly zero chance of ever getting implemented and would be a disaster if they were.

    …I’m going to go with 2.

    For an explanation of why her mortgage bailout proposal is batsh!t insane, you can look here:
    http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/02/when_hillary_clinton_fixes_the.php

  4. Ya know Mark, I don’t think I would be that honest as a politician. It sounds crappy, but that’s the case. I mean, Obama’s said some gutsy things but to take the sup-prime mortgage crisis and point to the people and say, “It’s at least partly your fault,” well… you may as well go on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney cuz you’re getting shot in the face either way.

    As for this style vs. substance thing, I was skimming through comments over at Matt Y’s blog, and one of the commentors reminded me of something. Early in the preseason, Obama was getting a lot of criticism for being too wonkish, for being too policy and detail oriented when most people wanted to see the keynote speaker at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

    The big point being, if Hillary really wants to make this about substance, I think she may be letting go of the tail of the tiger at the wrong time.

  5. Mark says:

    I know there’s no way a politician would ever say that…but I can always hope. The bigger thing of course is that those 3/4 of people in no way deserve government intervention to bail them out of the agreements which they fraudulently signed, punishing the lenders in the process. Not that the lenders deserve to be bailed out either, mind you – they often actively participated in the fraud or at the very least turned a willfully blind eye to it. The whole thing makes no sense to me – Clinton’s plan amounts to a desire to totally screw up the mortgage market, depressing home prices even further, possibly turning a short-term recession into a long-term depression, and all to make sure that a few hundred thousand people get to stay in homes that they’ve lived in for all of three years and committed fraud to obtain. UGH!

    (Blood pressure slowly returning to normal)

    Anyways, I have to disagree that Obama ought to make his speeches more substantive – he’s been on a roll with his existing style, and it’s the main reason he’s managed to make such a huge leap in the polls. I worry that changing his style at this point is akin to going into a prevent defense up by 14 but with 7 or 8 minutes left in the game when you’ve been absolutely dominating the game on the defensive side of the ball. He’d be much better off continuing with the strategy that has gotten him this far in order to get that last killer interception and put the game out of reach.

    Hillary and her surrogates have been making the charge about substance in one form or another for awhile, and it hasn’t stuck yet. While they may be pushing to make that charge more aggressively now, there’s no reason to think it will work this time around.

  6. Hillary’s plan might drop housing prices lower? Really? Damn… I may have voted for the wrong person… One of the benefits of being a Federal employee, nevermind.

    Either way Obama goes it’s a risk. He’s going to have to keep up with the inspiration speeches because, as you say, that’s what got him where he is. By that same token, I’m hearing that talking point on style and substance far too much to not think it’s going to stick if he doesn’t do something about it.

    The only problem is that without adjusting his speeches, the only other option he has is putting the substance out in the debates. The snag there is that Hillary is better in the debates than he is. On the other hand, he has improved in just about every single debate while Hillary has stayed for the most part static with some glitches in a couple of debates neither of which were in her favor.

    If that’s the case, it’s possible that Obama could possibly start beating her in debates now too, but we’re definitely going to have to wait and see on that one.

  7. Janet Reno says:

    Obama’s efforts to connect to the Republican Party, specifically Bush, and Dick Chaney, of the Halliburton Company, dates back to the Presidents Grandfather, Prescott Bush, and indeed Chaney was once an executive officer of Halliburton.

    The American military pounds Iraq with Artillary, bombs, and the like, destroying large sections of cities, and infra-structures, then Halliburton comes in to rebuild. Halliburton and Halliburton associated companies have raked in ten’s of billions.

    Obama is just like the BIG HALIBURTAN. Haliburton has contracted to build detention centers in the U.S. similiar to the one in Quantanammo Bay, Cuba. Halliburton does nothing to earn the Two Dollars for each meal an American Serviceman in Iraq eats.

    http://www.associatedcontent.c…..ong…

    Halliburton was scheduled to take control of the Dubai Ports in The United Arab Emiirate. The deal was canceled when Bush was unable to affect the transfer of the American Ports.

    Now we see what some might suspect as similiar financial escapading from the Democrats.

    Two years ago, Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity gave a $50 million contract to a start-up security company – Companion- owned by now-indicted businessman (TONY REZKO) Tony Rezko and a onetime Chicago cop, Daniel T. Frawley, to train Iraqi power-plant guards in the United States. An Iraqi leadership change left the deal in limbo. Now the company, Companion Security, is working to revive its contract.
    Involved along with Antoin “Tony” Rezco, long time friend and neighbor of Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, and former cop Daniel T. Frawley, is Aiham Alsammarae. Alsammarae was accused of financial corruption by Iraqi authorities and jailed in Iraq last year before escaping and returning here.

    Obama should be vetted and disclose his connection to the criminal money generating underworld. Besides, his connections to the REZCO MAFIA types, his up-coming tax fraud charges — Obama needs to disclose why he is a Muslim and stop suppoting our intervention in IRAQ. It’s time to shove an introduction to this fake rip-off Obama and invite the thief pipsqueke to meet the Waukesheake Police Department.

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