Sunday, June 03, 2007

Barack, The Comeback Kid

Barack, The Fundamentals: Money, Message, Organization

Barack Obama won the debate. He gave a far superior performance compared to the one last month in South Carolina. And I liked his kind words and gestures towards Hillary here and there. I feel like I owe it to the women of the world - 3 billion of them - to root for Hillary to be Obama's running mate.

Edwards was off his base. He came across as too aggressive. He sounded plain desperate. And I don't really blame him. His numbers have not been looking good at all. I think he is becoming aware he is not going to be the nominee, and he is too stale to get on to the ticket either. It felt like a last ditch effort to latch on on his part.

Hillary was too relaxed. She let the guard down. She was not the Hillary of the first debate. She was not alert, at least not starting out, although she improved in the later parts of the debate. But she did exude a warm presence. And she looked good, as did Obama. I think they will look great together.

The rest don't count. Richardson is Secretary material. But that's about it.

I expect Obama to start seeing the advantage in poll numbers now. He will narrow Hillary's lead. And for now that is all he really needs to do. If he keeps narrowing Hillary's lead this quarter is all it will take. Expect him to start taking the lead somewhere in the third quarter.

And then he wins Iowa. And on he goes.

On February 6, 2008, he decides on Hillary as his running mate. And we muscle our way to victory.

Hillary Is Pulling Ahead
I Watch Politics, World Cup Soccer, And The Olympics
If There Is Another 9/11 Style Attack
Barack, You Can Do Debates
High Energy Generation Obama Event: I Am Hooked
DNC Needs To Take Over The Monthly Debates
Fitting In Hillary, Obama, Spitzer
Al Qaeda Strikes India, Wants Hindu-Muslim Riots
Bush Nabbed Saddam, His Mandate Was To Nab Osama
Barack, The Fundamentals: Money, Message, Organization
One National Primary, Monthly National Debates, Videoblogged
Debates Matter: The Election Is On
Barack Lost The South Carolina Debate
Bad MySpace Move By Barack Obama
South Carolina Debate

Long Walk To Freedom
Long Walk To Freedom: Just A Third World Guy Dazzled By The City

On The Web

South Carolina Democratic debate transcript - The Debates -

In The News

Iraq Is the Flash Point as Eight Democratic Rivals Clash New York Times the rivals’ contrasting positions, political styles and combat techniques. .... The event was a stark contrast to the previous debate among the Democratic candidates, in which Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards largely shied away from confronting one other. ...... the three leading candidates received the most time ..... a lengthy discussion of Iraq opened the two-hour debate ...... few substantial differences existed among the Democrats’ ideas on health insurance, and that the major challenge was to stay united. ..... “You’ve got to have the political will — a broad coalition of business and labor, doctors, nurses, hospitals, everybody — standing firm when the inevitable attacks come.” ...... on the campaign trail, the Democrats have not challenged one another by name, and have tried instead to carve out and clarify their own positions.
US Democrats argue over Iraq strategy in debate Reuters India, India
Democratic candidates square off over war on terror, Iraq, debate ... Boston Globe, MA
Democrats Clash On Iraq, Health Care Guardian Unlimited, UK
Democrats Clash on War on Terror, Iraq Guardian Unlimited, UK
Democrats Clash on War on Terror, Iraq Forbes, NY
Democrat hopefuls in heated Iraq debate Melbourne Herald Sun, Australia
Democratic candidates square off, Canada
Democratic candidates square off Los Angeles Times, CA
Democrats Clash On War On Terror, Iraq Guardian Unlimited, UK
Democratic Candidates Wall Street Journal Obama said that the administration's war in Iraq had detracted from efforts to root out terrorists. ...... Both Mr. Edwards and Mrs. Clinton agreed that they voted for the war resolution in 2002 without reading an intelligence report on Iraq that was available to them. ...... To a question on whether English should be the official language in the United States, only former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel raised his hand in the affirmative. ..... All the candidates raised their hands when asked by moderator Wolf Blitzer if they would get rid of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military instituted by President Clinton. ..... Clinton said her husband's 1993 formulation "was a transition policy," but one that is no longer valid. ..... She said it is being "implemented in a discriminatory manner" and has been used to discharge Arabic linguists when such translators are in short supply. ...... "Bill Clinton, my dear husband, would be sent around the world as a roving ambassador." ..... The Washington Post/ABC News poll found the former first lady leading the field with 42% support among adults, compared with 27% for Mr. Obama and 11% for Mr. Edwards.
Iowa Presents Problems For Clinton Guardian Unlimited, UK first-up and momentum-generating Iowa because of Clinton's lackluster showing despite drawing large crowds ..... Obama has taken the lessons of the Dean campaign to heart. Although he's mostly played to large crowds, including a 10,000-person rally in Iowa City, he's also started doing more traditional meet-and-greets in coffee shops and living rooms. .... ``We're not the front-runner, and don't expect to be for some time. We're still in the phase of introducing Barack to voters,'' said Steve Hildebrand, Obama's senior adviser for early states. ``Every candidate is in this to come in first, but today we are certainly not in first place.''

Go to CNN Election Center for the video of the debate.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Hillary Is Pulling Ahead

Hillary Has Widened Her Lead Hillary Clinton has significantly widened her lead in the Democratic primary to 22 points, leading her nearest rival by a roughly 2-1 margin ..... Hillary's lead over her nearest Democratic rival has jumped to 22 points (46-24), from 15 last month (39-24) .... 73% of all Democrats polled believe Hillary can win the general election (an increase of 9 percent since January) ..... Hillary's favorable rating among all Democrats polled is over 20 points higher than her nearest rival (Clinton 65%; Edwards 44; Obama 40).
Central Premise of New Hillary Biography Totally Discredited
When she unveiled her universal pre-K plan in Florida, I am thinking, wait a minute, this woman has something up her sleeves. And now she has given this major speech in Silicon Valley, every part of which makes sense. The basic of the speech is that she will put more money into R&D. You can't argue against that.

What is the lesson for Obama?

Ideas matter. Debates matter. The election is on. Obama messed up the first debate and now Hillary has the endorsement of the Hispanic mayor of LA. So if Obama were to mess up two more debates in a row, Hillary is going to have this huge momentum. She will not have sealed it yet, but everyone else will definitely be sweating, hard.

My worst fear is Hillary becomes the nominee, and picks Edwards for running mate, and where goes my minority male agenda?

I mean, I like Hillary. Like a lot. On a non-sexist planet, she might have been the first in her generation to become president, it might not have been Bill. But I have an agenda.

I was rooting for Obama-Hillary. But right now it looks like Hillary-Obama. Then Obama gets to be president in 2016, and Spitzer gets to be his running mate. A New Yorker made you running mate, so you make a New Yorker your running mate.

My primary allegiance is to the progressive cause. With Hillary-Obama-Spitzer, I think we got the White House for a generation.

I will keep rooting for Obama until we have a nominee. For me it is personal. Rooting for Obama is therapeutic to me for all my personal experiences in racism. And Hillary and Obama genuinely like each other. And they are going to compete the way competition should happen. Not with the politics of personal destruction. Not with mud. Instead you compete on money, message, organization. No matter who wins, Hillary or Obama, at least they will have played a fair game. They stand to redefine politics in this country.

Where I Stand On Gay Marriage

I am for gay marriage. For me it is less about gays. For me it is about the fundies. F____ the fundies. I was looking around for something that will really piss off the fundies. If tax cuts for dogfood would have pissed off the fundies, I would have been for tax cuts for dogfood. But, no, they get pissed off by gay marriage. So I am for gay marriage. The gay people are for gay marriage so they can get married. I am for gay marriage to piss off the fundies.

Bloomberg 2010: A Case For Total Campaign Finance Reform In New York

If Spitzer can pull off gay marriage, that will put him on the cutting edge of progressive politics. And he better think in terms of total campaign finance reform. It is called survival. Bloomberg will run against Spitzer in 2010. And we all know Bloomberg does not do fundraisers. And he is pretty good. He used to be a Democrat, so he is not one of those scary right wingers on social issues. He has the management skills of a self-made billionaire. Two terms as New York City mayor does also make you a pretty good politician.

What would total campaign finance reform look like? I don't know enough about the terrain of the state to say much, but I can talk in terms of outlines. The idea has to be that the candidates don't raise money. Elections are publicly financed. I am sure Spitzer and Pollak know all the details and have a gameplan.

There is another interesting twist to that for the legislative branch. 150 members for the lower house, 50 for the upper. You divide the state into 150 constituencies of roughly equal population. You hold direct elections. But for the 50 seats in the upper house, you hold proportional elections at the same time. A political party that gets 2% of the votes gets one seat.

The idea behind total campaign finance reform is to take democracy closer to the ideal of one person, one vote. Proportional elections to the upper house serves the same purpose. This will also allow for a breaking up of the two party system. Small, innovative parties could get in and start having a voice. Democracy is a cacophony.

And then we go national with the same model. 100 seats in the US Senate should be fought the proportional election way.

What Would Obama Do?

What would Jesus do?

Obama beats Hillary on charisma. But I am assuming, both of them are equally smart, as in brainpower stuff. And both are hardworking. But Hillary has had more time. She had had more time to read, more time to meet more people. And Hillary is methodical. If Obama does not break even with her in the money, message, organization departments, charisma is not goinng to carry the day. Hillary will make Obama work hard. That is for sure.

This race is far from decided. But Obama will have to learn to hit back.

Bill Clinton is charming and ruthless at the same time. If he were just plain ruthless, he would have been a less menacing opponent.

Two Clinton attacks went unanswered.

Bill Clinton went on Larry King Live and said "unlike some people who can't wait to get out of the Senate." The Obama camp did not counter that. That makes Bill Clinton a swift boat veteran.

Hillary went to Chicago and said "I am not ceding any vote anywhere to anyone." Obama did not respond. He should have done a major event on Wall Street where he is wildly popular.

I am all for clean politics. I don't want Hillary and Obama to tear each other apart. But in politics, when you get hit, you hit back. That is basic. You hit back, or you lose. You can lose gracefully if you are a nice guy, but you still lose.

Obama is going to have to show that he notices when he gets hit, and he hits back.

And he is going to have to move beyond stump speeches, to speaking to select crowds - like tech executives in Silicon Valley - where he does not have to worry about sounding too wonkish. Bring on the ideas. He has done it before. His speech to the Foreign Relations Council something was fabulous.

In The News

58 convicted in Bihar fodder scam case Gulf Times Of the 58 convicted, 42 are suppliers and rest are officials of the Animal Husbandry Department (AHD) and other government departments.
Iran: Israel striking in Gaza because of Winograd report Ynetnews
Sen. Barack Obama Says He Would Restore Environmental Regulations ...
ABC News
George Clooney Supports Barack Obama, Offers To Stay Away From Him
Obama Enters National Health Care Bidding War
Yahoo! News
Sen. Clinton's 'Innovation Agenda' Gets Warm Welcome In Silicon Valley
InformationWeek call for big increases in federal spending in alternative energy, biotechnology, and other areas of scientific research. ..... Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Google, Microsoft ...... a $50-billion Strategic Energy Fund ...... increasing by 50% over 10 years the basic research budgets of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the Defense Department. Today, the federal government spends $28 billion a year on basic research. As the third point in her plan, Clinton proposed increasing the budget for the National Institute of Health by 50% over five years, with the aim to double it over 10 years. ........ bring more women and minorities into math, science, and engineering ....... The U.S. educational system today uses an agricultural model for the school year, and still uses methods developed during the industrial age. "We're just not thinking how to unleash the creativity and ingenuity of kids," she said.
Hillary Clinton Woos Silicon Valley With 'Tommorrow' Technology Plan FOX News encourage girls and minorities to study "STEM" subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. ...... Executives in the nation's technology hub — where 53 percent of all engineers are foreign-born — worry many workers will return to India, China and other countries developing tech sectors.