The Reason Why I’m Ignoring the Democratic Primaries

My growing disgust with the Democratic primaries can hardly be classified as a secret. There are a whole slew of issues that are bothering me, not the least of which being inane bluster such as this piece by Lanny Davis written for the Huffington Post.

Indeed, it is disingenuous pieces of blatantly false spin such as this that have forced me to swear off reporting on the Democratic primary completely.

After I handle this ridiculous top ten list of course. Then I’ll be done.

I don’t know what irks me most; a progressive trying to tear down a progressive candidate, or the false air of objectivity that Davis attempts to project. Quote:

Let’s forget about the spin on all sides and not use any adjectives to modify the following 10 Facts that should not be in dispute:

He says, right before engaging in a practice of unmitigated spin that will no doubt leave you completely dizzy. But, for the sake of getting our bearings, let’s look at what these objective facts have to bear.

1. Hillary Clinton won by 10%, 220,000 votes, despite after most of the polls in the last several weeks on RealClearPolitics, including its RCP all-poll average, showed her ahead by single digits and dropping. The exit polls showed her winning by +5. (It’s easy to forget that she won if you listen to the Obama spinners last night and today. Believe it or not, Pennsylvania’s Rep. Murphy, a freshman congressman who supported Barack Obama, actually said last night on Larry King that Senator Obama did so well in losing to Senator Clinton yesterday that he has a “wind at his back.” I am not kidding.

Yup, Hillary Clinton sure did win Pennsylvania. No one’s contesting that fact at all. But we find that Davis is cherry picking polls and throwing exit polls out there as though there’s the slightest bit of validity behind them. Even Obama supporters, such as myself, were looking at the exit polls with much skepticism.

But as for the fact that Hillary managed some miraculous margin that the polls failed to predict. How about this?


Where’d the 25 point lead go that she started out with? Trust me, we’re going to come back to this.

2. Senator Obama tried hard to win the state, campaigned intensely throughout the state for most of the last six weeks — and was trying to win, not just lose a narrow margin.

Yeah, you got me there. In fact, Obama’s tried to win in every sanctioned state, regardless of the size. That might be why he’s winning. Are we to commend Hillary for pulling out of states she knew she was going to lose, and then pretending they don’t matter? Is that what Obama should have done?

Davis would have a point there except if Obama essentially employed the Hillary strategy, he would have lost a whole lot more delegates in the state. As it stands now, Hillary’s net gain of pledged delegates is a whopping 10 delegates… Likely the largest net gain she is going to get with only a handful of contests left and a 150 delegate deficit still keeping her out of the hunt.

Man, Obama really screwed that one up, didn’t he?

In fact, Davis is taking Obama to task for not doing what the Clinton camp has done all along and failed at pretty spectacularly; playing the game of lowered expectations. I actually appreciate that. He goes into every contest trying to win, and if he doesn’t, he still keeps the delegate damage to a minimum, and I’m not sitting here trying to parse out which states count and which don’t.

As it stands, Pennsylvania counted, it just didn’t count enough for Clinton to remain competitive, but I digress, I have a list to work through.

3. He spent $11 million on media — about three times more than Senator Clinton.

This is a negative? Really? I would think it would stand as a testament to his fundraising abilities and further highlight the fact that Clinton is essentially broke. There are reports out there that Clinton has seen a surge in fundraising, ten million dollars apparently, which is just enough to pay off her debts.

Oh no, she’s sitting pretty, let me tell ya.

The next two I’m going to take at the same time.

4. Most of his ads were personal negative attack ads against Senator Clinton, meaning attacks on her character and integrity.

5. There were no personal attack ads run by Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania.

Full disclosure, I don’t live in Pennsylvania so I didn’t get a chance to view most of the ads myself. Regardless, despite her campaign being more positive, as Davis implies, she was still viewed by more people to be the more unfair attacker. Which means either Clinton tries to be positive and is really bad at it, or Lanny Davis is full of shit.

6. Barack Obama hasn’t won a single major industrial state that historically constitute the key “battleground” states for both parties, i.e., the states in the last three or four presidential elections have switched back and forth between the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

Yup, very true. Hillary has, which is totally valid because you are guaranteed to win every state you win in the General Election that you win in the primary. That’s why we see come October time all of the states that both the Republican and Democratic nominees won split like cells undergoing mitosis. That way we don’t break the “I won it in the primary so I have to win it in the General Election” rule.

7. The reason that he lost can be found in the demographic data: He lost — and Senator Clinton won — by substantial margins blue collar and middle class white voters earning under $50,000 a year, senior citizens, rural voters, Hispanic voters, and women voters — all core constituencies in the Democratic base that must be won if a Democrat is to win the White House. For example, yesterday in Pennsylvania she won Roman Catholics by 32 percent (66034), union households by 18 percent (59-41), and those most concerned about the economy by 16 points (58-42). Only 60 percent of Democratic Catholic voters said they would vote for Mr. Obama in a general election.

Okay, this one is pretty true actually, Obama has struggled in certain states with Clinton’s key constituencies. Though, in almost homogenically white states, such as those in the Midwest, he’s managed to do pretty well thus far. But where this is really a wash is making the assumption that because someone votes for one candidate in the primary they absolutely refuse to vote for their intraparty opponent in the General Election. Right now there are plenty of folks out there that are claiming they won’t vote for Obama during the General Election should he become the nominee, and some of them will hold true to their promise.

But to think that all of them will is completely asinine. We have to look at where we are; Hillary has a very devoted following of supporters that are willing to do whatever it takes to put her as the nominee, that includes threatening the rest of the party to take their votes away. I know, when Obama was looking to get knocked out on Super Tuesday, I said the exact same thing. My way or the highway bub.

But that reality which is John McCain and the kind of policies he would bring to the White House makes a huge difference in that decision making. Are you really telling me that women are going to flock to McCain after he plainly made it clear that he was on the wrong side of equal pay for women? Somehow, I just don’t think so.

You’re looking at emotions running high in desperate times. Some of those folks are going to stay away, and that’s fine, we’ll cope, we’ll find new voters, but the bulk will over the course of this summer see the error of their ways and return to the fold.

Trust me on this.

8. Barack Obama has lost these same demographic groups in Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, California and New Jersey and other major states that Senator Clinton won. There is a factual pattern of his weakness among these demographic groups in virtually every primary state that cannot be disputed.

See number 7.

9. Barack Obama is currently in a dead heat with John McCain, according to a recent respected poll, in Massachusetts (actually, the results were McCain 46% and Clinton 44%), while Senator Clinton leads in Massachusetts by 15%. The last time a Democrat did not win Massachusetts by a substantial margin was 1980, when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter. Even in the historic landslide election of Richard Nixon in 1972, when he won 49 states, only Massachusetts supported Senator McGovern. Senator Obama currently runs considerably behind Senator McCain in Florida and Ohio, while Senator Clinton is ahead in both of those key battleground states.

Oh WOW! This is awesome. Davis is treating polls taken now, a full seven months before the General Election, and treating them as gospel. Because nothing, nothing at all could possibly change them between now and then, right? Right? And Obama’s being dead even (and Clinton, mind you, she’s not faring much better, in fact according to some polls, she continues to fare worse) with McCain has nothing to do with the fact that Obama is being dragged down by an extended and divisive primary that is currently weakening his base of support. And once he is officially nominated, there won’t be any bumps, and no reconciliation, and he won’t be able to, you know, establish some sort of a lead ever.

Nope, not going to happen.

Give me a break.

And Massachussetts? Really?

10. Current polls show Senator Clinton runs ahead of John McCain nationally or dead even — and Senator Obama runs only dead even. For example, in the most recent USA Today national general election poll, Senator Clinton leads Senator McCain by +6; Senator Obama leads by less than the margin of error, +2.

Cherry picking, pure and simple. Allow me to uncherry pick this data:

Both courtesy Pollster.

So when Davis picks a particularly favorable poll to Clinton, she does better against McCain than Obama does. But when we look at ALL the polls aggregated together, Obama manages to be just a little bit better than Clinton.


I see.

Look, plain and simple, if Pennsylvania were the only state in the country, sure, give Clinton the nom. I’ll go with it. But it isn’t, and from beginning to end, Obama outplayed her.

The question shouldn’t be, why can’t Obama knock Clinton out? The question should be, how did the “grizzled veteran” (I believe Charles Krauthammer used that term for her) get beat out by a punk with less party support, less name recognition, and initially a smaller fundraising operation?

If Hillary has to essentially steal her way to the nomination against someone with so little experience, do we really trust her to run against a career politician with quite a bit more experience than her?

And this, folks, is why I’m staying out of it from now on.

More at Memeorandum: The Moderate Voice and Balloon Juice

5 Responses to “The Reason Why I’m Ignoring the Democratic Primaries”

  1. And Kyle, on #1, the RCP chart looks precisely the same. When you observe the gap closed by Obama in such a short amount of time it looks remarkable.

  2. Hey Kevin. You know, I’m going to have to look at that when I wake up this afternoon. I’ve gotten so used to using Pollster, but I’ve noticed that RCP’s been getting a lot of attention lately. But either or, it’s the same story, Clinton’s getting way too much room to spin on this. It’s just this kooky progression where she needed REALLY HIGH double digit performance, 25+ margin, to High double digit (in the high teens), to just double digit.

    And, funny thing is, I’m getting that she really only won the state by 9.2%, so she didn’t even clear that bar.

    The whole effing thing is just ridiculous, ridiculous I say.

  3. Pug says:

    It’s all spin and, as you;ve shown, it’s false spin.

    Spin worked for these guys during the Clinton administration and now they seem to believe they can spin their way to the nomination. Their problem is that everybody, including them, realizes it’s just spin.

    The old Clinton administration spinners like Lanny Davis, Terry McAuliffe, James Carville and Dee Dee Myers are starting to come off as a bunch of tired old hacks.

  4. Angellight says:

    The Two-headed Giant that Barack is battling — the Clintons, a Political Couple which has a hard time being truthful and her Surrogates, and the Republican Spin Machine, which also includes Cable Television, are very good, I would say excellent at re-labelling a person and re-characterizing them by use of the Media, brought and paid for by the Republican Party, mostly to shape, mold, distort, lie, carricaturize a person so the very thing they are, is not seen and that which they are not,is seen all in the hopes of continuing their Power and Domination over the American people!

    Barack’s achievement in Pennsylvania — to close the enormous gap between him and Clintons was a monumental success and not given any credit by the Republican talking-points media. Instead they ask, “do we really know who Barack is?” — They slyly ask, “why can’t he close the deal?” This after showing him bowling over and over again and stating how he cannot relate to blue-collar workers with such a low bowling score or showing skits from Saturday Night Light which casts him a poor light, along with continuing whipping of Rev. Wrght and now his self-inflicted wound, bitter. They do not report the news anymore, they do not inform us of Iraq and other pertinent news but rather pass on Gossip, fit for the Enquirer Magazine or Entertainment Tonight, so far we have fallen!

    Then there is the fact that the Clintons, a dynasty in their own right, have an army of political hacks all over the country that owe them, and they call in their favors one by one, which skewes the odds in favor of the Clintons. Barack does not have that long coattail to depend on. But, what he does have are political people who are tired of the spin and dishonesty and loyalty to the corporations and who want change, so they forge alliances with Obama whom they know incorporates the best hope for unity, and inspiration which can bring about real change and a break from the past of corporate greed and domination. Obama does not have to tear down his opponents or speak with a Loud Voice for the masses to hear him, although he is up against a Mighty Giant in the Clintons and the Republicans: Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan, Wolf Blitzer, and Fox News TV which berate, distort and belittle Barack and his accomplishments on a daily basis, 24 hours a day, and yet he is still standing and still getting endorsements, although bloodied and bruised, as Rush Limbaugh asked his loyalists to do.

    Ironically, the very Republicans that are helping Hillary today, will turn on her like a mighty sword come Fall if she becomes the nominee! It seems they know things they are holding back on because they are trying their darnedest to get her to become the Democratic nominee. For years they had planned this and it is obvious that she is the one they really want to run against, and so for now she has a stalwart ally in the Republicans, again for now.

    As Michael Moore so ably pointed out in his recent endorsement of Barack, Hillary Clinton ridicules Barack for his Pastor, Rev. Wright, yet who did they turn to when Bill was facing Impeachment due to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, who did they call — yes, the very Rev. Wright himself, such hypocrisy! And, Remember, according to the Clintons, this was all supposed to be over by Super Tuesday!

    However, despite the enormous odds and challenges, and brain washing, we, the people, do have a say in this process of ours, although that too can be suspect with some of the “voting machines” still in process. We can reclaim our Power! We can chose to turn off those so-called television news shows which are used as hack jobs instead of truly informing the news. Yet in spite of the odds, Barack continues to battle on for the peoples’ true independence and for the people to have a true democratic say in this process of ours (that includes blue-collar working-class white people also, though some of the media like to brain wash us otherwise, because the more they try to departmentalize us as to who has who, they are dividing us). There is a Light at the end of this Tunnel!

  5. Lee Coles says:

    While I’m not on board with the “new math”, or the personal attacks, she has a point regarding The Big O’s inability to win a state with sizable electoral votes (Cal., Oh. NY, NJ, Mass., Pa., TX).

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