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Category: Campaign 2008.13
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
This is a devastating ad against Barack Obama:

Vets For Freedom (view here).

Hugh Hewitt is pushing it--and others will too.

Watch it!

We'll see how this plays--but I suspect that this is a moment we may well remember as a turning point.
Category: Campaign 2008.13
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
As we all know, 2008 remains an excellent year to run for president as a Democrat.

Intense George W. Bush fatigue (brought on by an unpopular five-year war with no end in sight and a paralyzing uncertainty concerning the economy) offers a nearly insurmountable advantage in favor of the out-party.

More specifically, the young and compelling Barack Obama will run against an inarticulate presumptive Republican nominee who is seventy-one-years-old and looks every bit his age, who is admittedly inexpert on the economic questions, and who stubbornly (albeit bravely) advocates doggedly pursuing the unpopular war until the mission is accomplished.

I repeat: this is a good year to run as a Democrat.

Even Worse:

1. Knowledgeable pundits have predicted that Obama would receive a tremendous bounce when he finally clinches the nomination. Obama is at that point, and I suspect the big bounce is in the pipeline. Once the polls begin to reflect a double-digit lead for the Democratic candidate, all the bad will be forgotten for a time, and the new storyline will be the impending "rout" on McCain.

2. The national press corps loves Obama; moreover, they are heavily invested in Obama. The newly crowned young lion of liberalism will enjoy protection from the mainstream media from Labor Day through the first Tuesday in November. Don't hold your breath waiting for George Stephanopoulos or any other mainstream newsman to ask any irritating questions of this Democratic nominee during the homestretch.

On the other hand, John McCain will face withering wall-to-wall coverage of every gaffe, potential hypocritical anomaly, and every ache and pain. The media onslaught aimed at McCain is going to be brutal. As I said the other day, the storm of calumnious opprobrium will be intense.

3. McCain may appeal to moderates (or he may not--we will see), but conservatives continue to revile him. Of course, conservatives are much closer to McCain philosophically than Obama--but that may prove irrelevant in the end.


First, the One Hint of Good News: Because the Democrats have erred so egregiously, Republicans have a chance to elect John McCain. Barack Obama is painfully naive about the world and ill-prepared for the role of commander-in-chief (and I am not really talking about the "youth and inexperience" issue). George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, in their eighties, are painfully naive and ill-prepared to serve as president of the United States.

However, Obama's lack of foreign policy gravitas translates into merely a slim chance for John McCain. Why so slim? Realistically and historically, one cannot count on the American electorate to take that crucial fact into primary consideration.

The other BIG albeit unheralded problem: mainstream conservatism is hopelessly divided over foreign policy, or, more precisely, our predicament in Iraq. A considerable contingent of rock-ribbed conservatives see the Bush "adventure" in the Middle East as pure folly (read this essay by the late Bill Buckley for an example).

Conservatives are uneasy with McCain for myriad reasons. Even worse, the one element that might unify conservatism, a foreign policy exigency, is, in this instance, potentially more divisive than politically beneficial.

While McCain is right on Iraq in my view--and Barack is dreadfully silly--not all my conservative brethren agree. Iraq is not akin to the Cold War in which religious conservatives, social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, and libertarians were so energized in pursuit of a common enemy that they could lay down their divisions and rally around the flag.

Too many conservatives do not see the continuation of our mission in Iraq as absolutely essential to our vital national interests. For that reason more than any other, a long General Election night for the GOP remains our most likely scenario.
Quoting Barack Obama (paraphrased--as his remarks are too rambling to make good copy):

"The GOP can say anything they want about me (that's what they do), but making Michelle an issue is unacceptable."

Three Things.

Number One:

The GOP can say anything they want about him? Really?

You mean the candidate with no middle name?

Ask Bill Clinton how acceptable it was to mention that Obama had posted Jesse Jackson-like numbers in South Carolina.

And the list literally goes on and on...

Let's be honest. The miniature strike zone on this candidate is unprecedented. Thanks to our collective jitters regarding race and a vigilant mainstream media intent on providing security, Obama enjoys around-the-clock political protection.

Number Two:

Shame on the opposition for trying to make this statement seem disdainful of America:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

Number Three:

Obama says:

"[F]or people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable."

Shame on the opposition for trying to take advantage of Obama's poor defenseless Princeton-educated, Harvard-lawyer wife. How ungentlemanly of the GOP to attack a member of the weaker sex.

Get Real fellows! Next thing you know Obama will be talking about his wife's cloth coat. And, as I always say, honey, you'd look great in anything.

You cannot send your hard-hitting, highly educated wife out on the trail as a fire-breathing political surrogate and then try to hide behind the chivalry card when things get a bit too hot.

Or maybe you can.
David M. Potter, in his magnum opus, The Impending Crisis, wrote of John Brown:

"If he had been killed [at Harper's Ferry]...[the general public] might quickly have dismissed Brown as a mere desperado. But he was not killed, and he surpassed himself as few men have ever done, in the six weeks that followed. The most striking testimony to his superb behavior was the fact that he extorted the complete admiration of the Virginians. They had regarded all abolitionists as poltroons, but Brown showed a courage which captivated southern devotees of the cult of courage in spite of themselves."

So also has Hillary Clinton won the admiration of her erstwhile (and undoubtedly future) adversaries. As Weekly Standard columnist, Noemie Emery, wrote last week, Hillary has earned an exceedingly strange new respect from conservatives since "March Fourth and long."

The governor of Virginia (quoted in Potter) praised John Brown back then with an encomium that some of us might apply to Hillary's late underdog incarnation:

"...a bundle of the best nerves I ever saw, cut and thrust and bleeding...[s]he is a [wo]man of clear head, of courage, fortitude, and simple ingeniousness. [S]he is cool, collected, and indomitable...."

Of course it goes without saying, like the Virginians of old, none of our new found admiration for her would have deterred us from working with all our vigor toward her metaphorical execution come November. But many of us have sincerely appreciated her gameness in the face of long odds (which is the primary reason why I would like her to make a gracious and honorable exit).

One last thought: it is worth noting, unlike John Brown, the passion of Hillary Clinton will probably not lead to her apotheosis (even among her most stalwart supporters). We are not likely to be singing folk songs about Hillary any time soon.
After spending the last two days and three posts explaining how this race is over, and why Hillary must withdraw, allow me to explain why it goes against her instincts:

1. She thinks she is a better, more-qualified, more electable candidate for president than her opponent. I happen to agree with her.

2. All of her political experience (including the most defining moment in her public life--Bill's impeachment), compels her to trudge on in the face of adversity and full-throated pundits who assert emphatically that she is finished. "Press on," her inner voice must be saying right now. "You can beat these S.O.B.s!"

3. She keeps thinking: "Obama is ripe for the taking. He is weak. People are going to wake up from this "fairy tale." She wants to be the one to pick up the pieces when the illusion comes crashing down.

Once again, for the most part, I happen to agree with her analysis--although this awakening may take years to transpire.

Having said all that, realistically, she cannot spend the next three months (between now and Denver) waiting for a pack of ravenous predators to catch up with her opponent somehow. She cannot win by circling above her prey like a canny vulture awaiting the impending demise of a frail wildebeest who has wandered too close to the lion's den. There is no political future in the vulture strategy. She needed to be the lion to win, but she missed her last chance to be a predator in North Carolina.

She must face this sooner or later.
1. We are about to see a deluge of superdelegates for Obama. If Hillary does not withdraw soon, her decision will be academic. She must retreat gracefully of her own volition right now in order to avoid total defeat. That is, to make any political hay out of this ugly thrashing she must do the honorable thing while she can still claim with some plausibility that her exit is her idea.

My guess is that party stalwarts are making this argument to her right now. Give her a few days to let it sink in.

2. The worse this gets (superdelegates and graybeards and all that), the humiliation factor will rise exponentially. The Clintons will become the butt of every late-night political joke. Hillary has endured a lot of mortification in her public and private life. We know she can absorb copious amounts of debasement at the hands of the mainstream media and her political opponents, but can Bill and Hill face the derision that will accompany a decision to continue at all costs?

At this point in their lives (in his life especially), will they allow themselves to become public laughingstocks? Probably not.

I give them seventy-two hours (one week at the most).
In part one I offered the psychology and the emotional explanation of "why it's finally over."

In a nutshell, Hillary had one last "moment" of opportunity to "change the game," and she did not. Barack beat her fair and square in a big show down state, North Carolina (tenth most-populous in the Union). Democrats in North Carolina were attentive and cognizant of the stakes, and they chose him over her. Done deal.

Why she will actually quit:

The Practical Reasons.

1. She is a practical politician. Lyndon Johnson purportedly said, "if you can't walk into a room and know who is for you and who is against you, you shouldn't be in politics." Hill and Bill understand who is for them and who is against them and time has run out to change that complex but clearly unfavorable calculus. They wake up this morning to the inescapable conclusion that this thing is all over.

For the record: it was not over until last night, which is why they stayed in when so many people told them to quit. But it is over this morning.

2. Fighting on once you have lost is poor form and bad politics. Once Lee was cut-off from joining Johnston in April of 1865, he faced a monumental decision. Did he "go see General Grant" or take his fight into the hills and stage a guerrilla war? Hill and Bill will follow Lee's gentlemanly example and choose not to "devastate the countryside any further."

She will shut down her campaign and begin to do things to help her party and the man who defeated her. Anything short of that will garner nothing but ill will from too many Democrats. Will there be hard feelings? Yes. Will she need to grit her teeth and smile as she forces herself to tell huge crowds that Barack Obama is the most qualified man to be president of the United States in 2008? Yes. But she will be a trooper.

What does she have to gain by being a team player?

She is relatively young at 60. And life takes funny turns. She had to play this like it was her one and only chance--but, in truth, it may not be. Who knows? But what she does between now and November will determine her political viability over the course of the next ten years. Moreover, being president is not the only mode of serving your country with honor and distinction.

She must be a good soldier. She must show grace in defeat.

3. Money (the most compelling of all the practical reasons). At this point, who would invest in this sinking ship?

Next Question: Is she VP material?

No. There is no place for her on this ticket. If elected, she and Bill would overshadow the young president during the early stages of even the most successful of Obama administrations. Moreover, although I continue to believe that she could have beaten McCain in the General Election, why place a national politician with such high negatives in the second chair? How would that help?

Is there a need for unity? Not really. The Hillary supporters are going to be frustrated and a bit bitter for a time, but all that will wear off between now and Labor Day. Hardcore Hillary-ites are going to support Obama all the way in the fall. An Obama loss would have created a crisis (with "millennials" and African Americans), which could have only been alleviated by an Obama conversion. Not so with a Hillary defeat.

Speculation in re VP: I look for Obama to pick a less-famous white woman (from the Midwest maybe).

Anyhow, the party is finally over. The Clintons had ample opportunity to take their case to the people--and the people have spoken. All that is left now is deciding on the protocol for a graceful exit.
If, indeed, these exit numbers from North Carolina are indicative of the final official tally, the Hillary campaign is essentially finished.


There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

In terms less grand, life is made up of moments.

Tonight was Hillary's last great moment of opportunity. She was on a roll, still gaining altitude after notching an exultant ten-point victory in Pennsylvania. Even more encouraging, the data underneath the Pennsylvania numbers illustrated deep trouble for the wunderkind from the Land of Lincoln. Add the second wave of the Reverend Wright fiasco to the fire, and Obama was not just in a slump, he was gasping for air and desperately in need of a high note.

For the first time in a long time, there was the a sense of possibility floating around Camp Clinton.

UPDATE: with 29 percent reporting in NC, Obama leads Clinton 59 to 39. Rout.

Oddly enough, the raised expectations concerning North Carolina makes this defeat ultimately more crushing. It was suddenly and unexpectedly the moment to "change the game," as Mrs. Clinton sensed earlier in the week.

The game changed tonight--but not in the way she had hoped. Is there anywhere to go from here?

Can anyone really get excited about the 28 delegates available in West Virginia next week?

I don't expect her to withdraw within the next twenty-four hours (but I would not be completely surprised if it happened much sooner than we might have dreamed earlier in the day). However, this loss cuts deep, and I expect the life to gradually fade from the Clinton campaign before our eyes over the course of the next seven days. This thing looks over to me.

Expect my final salute to the gutsy and surprisingly sympathetic Mrs. Clinton in the days to come.
Category: Campaign 2008.13
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
My Two-Cents Worth (discounted to move fast):

My predictions:

• if Hillary wins both Indiana and North Carolina, she wins the nomination (the "math" be damned).

• if Obama wins either Indiana or North Carolina comfortably, she is finished. I did not think this two weeks ago—but the fact that she has pulled even in NC, ironically, makes it a must-win for her; if she loses big in Carolina, she will suffer from the recently inflated expectations there.

• however, if Hill wins in Indiana—but loses a tight race in NC in which she wins big with white voters, then Barack is in real trouble (see Jay Cost on the upcoming West Virginia primary).

• Of course, Hillary has been in sudden-death mode for months, for the first time in a long time the pressure in on O. He needs to win tonight. Let's see what kind of clutch player he really is. On the up side, a nice clear and convincing win in either state may well clinch the nomination for him.

One last non-prediction: as I have come to expect the unexpected in this battle, and, if truth be told, I am actually expecting a good night for Hilllary, I suppose we should actually prepare for the opposite: an evening in which Obama turns the tables and finally registers a knockout punch. We shall soon see.